In this guide we will show you what they are the best tools to achieve smart working, using a PC with Windows 10 or a Mac to be used exclusively for the purpose (so we will not have to use a PC with games, fun programs and so on), so as to increase the concentration and the results obtainable with our “virtual office” .READ ALSO: Smart working station to work from home to the most comfortable PC
Programs to work from home
To meet everyone’s needs, we will only point out free programs or programs with special licenses for offices and companies, so that we can organize the smart working suitable for your business in no time.
Skype is probably the best solution for organizing meetings and for working from home as if we were in the office. For smart working we can use various versions of Skype, designed to adapt to any company:
- Skype: the free version of Skype ideal for small businesses and offices with up to 20 employees. It offers a group chat, the possibility of attaching and sending files and the possibility of making video conferences between all members of the work team.
- Skype for Business: This enhanced version of Skype allows you to add up to 250 people to online meetings, provides corporate-level protection for communications and allows you to manage employee accounts, integrating everything with the Office 365 platform. The cost is equal at € 2 per month per user.
We can use one or the other version based on the number of users to be connected, a choice that obviously belongs to the administrator or owner of the company, also based on the number of users who want to connect in smart working.
If we want to use Skype directly inside the browser, we invite you to read our guide Skype online for chat, phone calls and video calls from website.
To work on documents shared between various colleagues and to show a work project to everyone we can use the potential offered by Office 365, that is, the cloud version of the Office suite.
With this powerful tool we will be able to edit business documents with multiple hands, share shared calendars with Outlook, upload and download other documents shared by the boss or other colleagues and manage every Office document without installing anything on the computer, since it also works very well from a web browser .
The Office 365 license should be available to the company, so to use it from home we will only have to download the dedicated client (we always ask the system administrator) and using any web browser (very convenient and easy to manage in every situation).
If we are looking for a valid alternative to Skype and Office 365, we can try G Suite, the platform reserved by Google for companies.
With this platform we will have corporate Gmail addresses, support for all Office files thanks to Google Docs, a platform to save data and documents on the cloud (also shared among colleagues), Google Calendar to schedule appointments and meetings, Notes for shared notes and finally Google Hangouts Meet, a high definition teleconferencing service capable of supporting up to 250 users simultaneously.
The licensing prices for G Suite are highly competitive and allow to meet the needs of small, medium and large enterprises.
Another platform widely used for smart working is Slack.
The platform offers all the tools to manage a sales team or a development team, thanks to the ability to manage various channels to which to assign categories and tasks, in order to better divide and direct professional communications to the various teams.
In all the various channels we can find an integrated chat system, videoconference for channels or intra-channels, cloud system to share files and documents to all people registered and belonging to the same work channel, shared screen and designated accounts. In addition to the common chat, there is also a Direct Message chat to chat individually between colleagues.
Slack can be tried for free for small teams, but it expresses the maximum potential supported by a corporate license with decidedly attractive prices.
Slack is similar to Microsoft Teams to organize remote work, and it’s one of the best tools for group work, chat, communication and project sharing
If we are looking for something free and manageable through a corporate server (without using the servers of other companies or other clouds), we can rely on Mattermost.
By installing the server version in the company, we will be able to organize a complete smart working platform, capable of providing management of various channels and various teams with integrated chat, video conferencing, file sharing and advanced encryption of all incoming and outgoing flows from the server.
In fact, we will only have to configure the company server on a fast enough Internet line and provide an account to all employees, assigning them to a team.
To connect to the home office computer it is not necessary to create VPN or particular network configurations, but simply install a program such as Teamviewer, which works great for connecting in remote desktop from one computer to another, via internet connection. For more information we have written one guide on how to use Teamviewer
Alternatively, you can read how to access your PC remotely by overcoming firewalls and proxies and the best remote desktop programs.
We also add to this list the Bitrix platform, which for the emergency COVID 19 has made available its numerous business management tools for free for all companies. You can read more information on the Bitrix24 website
The solutions to be able to apply smart working to any company that works a lot on computers or shared projects are numerous, just choose the one that is already active in your company or proceed with the payment of the license necessary to cover the activity of all employees. The free solutions that can be used by small teams or small companies are not lacking, but it is always advisable to focus on paid versions in order to have all the advantages and work at maximum productivity.
Not to forget, therefore, also the best video chats for PC and video conferencing programs and also programs for remote work and online group collaboration
Still on the topic of productivity, we invite you to read our guides Extensions to improve productivity in Google Chrome is Chrome extensions to work faster online.
If we are looking for other project sharing platforms instead, we can read our article for collaborate online and write documents together and programs to manage and plan Projects