Businesses quickly had to adjust to a fully remote workforce in a matter of days. Some organizations, like LHT Learning, have always had fully remote workforces and have found that one of the best ways to thrive in a remote environment is through frequent communication in a variety of formats.

As teams settle in this week to a remote way of life, several virtual work tools can help keep employees connected and productivity up.

Web-Conference Tool
A web conference platform, such as Zoom or GoToMeeting will facilitate discussions with several team members at one time and allow screen shares, real-time document editing, or virtual instructor-led training. This is the best way to replicate in-person meetings, conversations, or training programs in a remote setting.

Encourage others to turn on the video feature and use it yourself. Allow yourself to move past the initial discomfort of seeing yourself on camera. Video allows others to see, and hear, your excitement over a new idea, frustration with a new process, or confusion over changing priorities. Some of the best conversations and lasting connections with clients have occurred over video conferences.

Team Chat Platform
With a remote team, chat platforms have been said to “keep the lights on.” They are the powerhouse behind real-time, rapid remote team communication. Team chat platforms, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Skype connect team members through easy-to-use threaded chats, content or topic channels, voice and video calls, and document sharing. Team members can communicate one-on-one or through instant chat groups. This is critical as employees begin working outside traditional office hours and in multiple time zones. Often chat platforms can sync up teams and get work done in a matter of minutes.

Old Faithfuls
Perhaps it goes without saying but email and phone calls are essential. Use email to convey more complex thoughts or ideas. Aim to keep all messages clear and to the point. If a long string of back-and-forth messages begins, consider a phone call to clarify and keep business moving forward.

Most remote work platforms have free or low-cost versions, but what works for your organization and culture may vary. Many more remote work tools are available to aid in virtual training, project planning and tracking, document sharing, or recorded video sharing. The most important thing when making this quick transition to a remote workforce is to connect with team members and clients in whatever way works best for them to keep your work moving.