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Tools you and your customers can use while working from home

by | Apr 15, 2020 | Remote access

Since it’s all the rage to work from home these days, there’s no better time than now to share the tools that we use to get the job done.

Working from home comes with its own set of challenges, many of which can be managed by properly understanding how to manage a remote team.

 

Monitoring your staff

One of the biggest concerns people who are new to having remote workforce is knowing whether or not their staff are actually working when they say they are.

I have very mixed feelings on surveillance apps. I don’t personally use them. In particular, I woudn’t install them in a BYOD situation, first because it’s an invasion of privacy; and second, because you’ll discover things about your staff that you’d probably rather not know.

You can generally get a better sense for how busy your team is by seeing what they actually deliver rather than how many hours they spend on reddit.

With that said, and since a lot of people have asked, if you want to monitor what your team is up to, you can use a tool like Activtrak to keep tabs on what they’re doing.

 

G-Suite alternative

One of my favourite tools in my arsenal is Nextcloud. We use it for everything: file sharing, as a drop box for files from external customers, and to share files internally among ourselves. It also has a calendar, contacts, email, a Talk app that lets you host video conferences, and even a password manager. Here’s an example of a document share.

Nextcloud is an excellent replacement for G-Suite, but not quite as robust. If you’re looking for higher margins, it’s an alternative that you can sell. It’s also open source so you can host your own instance (or an instance for your customers) or you can order Nextcloud hosting from a variety of vendors.

 

Collaboration tools

If you need to get documents signed, you can use the canonical Docusign or the poor man’s alternative, PDFFiller.

We use Zoom for meetings and webinars (yes, they’ve taken a lot of heat lately). There is not shortage of alternatives, but one of the more compelling ones is Jitsi.

Slack is our IM client of choice. We use it in place of email for just about everything, and it integrates nicely with our ticketing system. MatterMost is an excellent alternative and it comes with a ton of integrations. You can either use their hosted service or, again, host your own or host it for your customers. Riot.im and Rocket.chat receive honourable mentions.

Instant Housecall is, of course, how we provide  remote tech support to each other and remotely accessing Windows servers. We also use it for collaborating remotely on documents, graphics, and just about anything. If you want to give your customers remote access to their own PCs, subaccounts are accounts you can sell or give your customers so they can control their own unattended PC.

As always, if you’re looking to provide remote tech support, give Instant Housecall a try.

Did I miss anything? Share your favourite work at home tools in the comments below.

 

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