Author bio: Gary Stevens
Gary Stevens is the CTO of Hosting Canada, a website that provides expert reviews on hosting services and helps readers build online businesses and blogs.
Lockdowns, restrictions, and public health advisories during the pandemic have limited in-person business operations, yet in many industries, customer demand remains the same or has even grown. Companies that were able to pivot and quickly adapt to these changes have thrived, while those that did not have the proper technological solutions have struggled.
The necessary shift away from physical offices and the increasing acceptance of remote work has changed the way organizations operate. Businesses with more flexible work cultures and adaptability to economic challenges have been more successful.
We’ll discuss how choosing the right team collaboration and productivity platform for your virtual office is crucial to maintaining the success of your company and the remote or hybrid work structure within it. Let’s explore some of the top functions to look for when choosing a software and why they’re important for business success.
Communication is key
The ability to manage operations and reliably communicate with clients and your team is an important factor in the success of any company. This is particularly challenging since remote work has become more commonplace, as running a remote or hybrid team and meeting or monitoring project life cycles without everyone in the office can be difficult.
In this respect, flexibility is critical, and the ability to adapt to changes and maintain cohesive business processes hinges upon great communication. So, how can you bring teams together and enhance communication when your staff and clients are hybrid or remote? Let's take a look at how Zoho Cliq and Zoho Meeting, apps included in the Zoho Workplace suite, will help you communicate with your colleagues more efficiently.
Zoho Workplace is an office suite that comes with different integrated communication tools, each built for a specific purpose. With discussions ranging from one-to-one conversations to one-to-many meetings, this blog will help you understand when to use each of these communication apps in Zoho Workplace.
Streamline virtual communication: meetings and chats
Whatever virtual office software you use, it’s important that it has the ability to integrate seamlessly. Zoho Workplace offers email, calendars, instant messaging, virtual meeting functions, and more, all of which are integrated with each other for easy file sharing. Zoho Workplace is a great solution for remote teams because it offers so many of the functions needed to bring virtual workers together.
i. Zoho Cliq:
The ability to instantly send a message to a coworker is an important function for communication. Messaging is available in all Zoho apps through Zoho Cliq, integrated to offer a seamless virtual office experience. Zoho Cliq is not only a messaging platform, but also offers audio and video calling so your employees can call anyone in your organization over the internet. These secure calling options give you a more seamless experience as you collaborate. Zoho Cliq also allows you to "fork" an existing chat and invite colleagues into the conversation. With this feature, you can choose which part of the pre-existing conversation to share.
Zoho Cliq in Zoho Workplace also includes features built to help strengthen your remote work structure and offer the same immediacy and connection you get working in an office. With Cliq, employees can check in for the day into their departments and set their availability for meetings and calls, as well as see others' availability. By being able to easily instantly see each team member’s current availability on Cliq and compare schedules on Calendar, employees from all departments can make the most of their time and ensure meetings or group calls are scheduled when everyone can attend.
ii. Zoho Meeting:
Zoho Meeting in Zoho Workplace is another important tool that allows companies to easily set up virtual meetings for both employees and external collaborators. Setting up external meetings is an important feature for virtual offices, and Zoho Meeting is easy to use and doesn't require any software downloads—participants can join directly from the meeting link.
Using Zoho Meeting, you can also dial in to meetings and sessions through a voice call, which allows you to host and attend meetings from remote locations with poor internet connection. To make the meeting more interactive and collaborative, Zoho Meeting also offers a screen share option, which makes it easy to share an application window, screen, entire window, or connected monitors to deliver your presentation or provide visual context.
To sum up, Zoho Meeting is usually used for conducting more formal meetings that require recordings for later reference and Zoho Cliq for group chat and group calls. Zoho Cliq is also used for one-on-one messages/calls and quick screenshare sessions. Overall, Cliq and Meeting are both great options included in Zoho Workplace.
Prioritize usability and security
Virtual meetings can be complicated for the less tech-savvy, so choosing a user-friendly platform is a must. The Zoho Meeting app offers intuitive online meeting controls, allowing people to share their screen and turn their camera on or off when needed.
Zoho Meeting also offers recording for virtual meetings, which is helpful for building a reference library for new hires or to help those out of the office fill in the gaps when they return.
Of course, a high level of cybersecurity is vital for any company’s tech solutions. In today’s world of rampant data breaches, it’s important to be vigilant. Businesses are only as secure as their remote devices, so remote work presents new security challenges for companies in 2021.
Zoho Meeting’s security controls allow meeting planners to lock meetings and remove participants when necessary, ensuring only the people invited to the meeting can attend. Meeting encrypts and stores all user data in secure servers, and offers two-factor authentication to keep user accounts secure.
Zoho Cliq also encrypts your messages, both in transit and at rest. This ensures that your messages are not leaked or misused. Additionally, Zoho Cliq allows you to chat privately with your teammates by switching off the chat history. This means that the messages will disappear the moment you close the chat window, allowing for more discretion during sensitive conversations.
And another way to protect remote workers as your business operates virtually is by using a virtual private network (VPN). Remote workers should use a VPN to encrypt data and mask IP addresses in order to protect their browsing and sharing histories, as well as internal and external communications.
Zoho Workplace apps are deeply integrated with each other and allow you to use one app from another. For instance, you can use Cliq's call feature from a spreadsheet on Zoho Sheet or another app like Zoho Mail. You can launch a meeting or add a meeting event to the Calendar from your email and more. Workplace's unique dashboard provides an overview of recent items from all Workplace apps in a single window.
Communication is key to running an efficient business, whether in-person or remote. Fortunately, the right technology can make a huge difference in your business outcomes. With fierce competition in almost every market, businesses large and small can’t afford the delays, miscommunication, or wasted time that comes with outdated technology.
There are numerous success stories of businesses thriving during the pandemic because they were able to pivot seamlessly to remote work and virtual operations. The right virtual office software can close any gaps in communication and help your business stay competitive in the modern world.