Communication: Useful tools for smart working

Communication
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It may seem obvious, but to avoid misunderstandings it is good to underline some things about the two most used communication systems in the company, namely email and telephone.

The reference corporate email addresses, for example, should not change. Therefore, everyone must be able to respond to their company account even from home. The simplest way, without changing anything, is by directly accessing your webmail via a browser, otherwise you can set it by importing / forwarding from your e-mail options (e.g. GMail). E-mail, however, remains the most professional communication tool.

As regards the use of the telephone, however, it is highly inadvisable to make public cell phone numbers or private telephone numbers available. Better to keep your corporate landline number by setting up a call forwarding.

Chat and messaging applications

Chat is one of the most used, but unfortunately, also most abused, communication systems. The trend, in fact, is to use chat taking for granted that, simply because a person is connected, he is also available. Furthermore, it is often associated with the use of the smartphone, so it can involve a continuous distraction from the work that is being done from the PC.

Also to avoid distractions related to social media, we advise against using Facebook Messenger for business communication, for example. As an alternative, much better …

  • Google Hangouts: The native chat associated with GMail. Ideal if you are using Google’s email service, through which you can manage your corporate email accounts by importing and forwarding POP / IMAP.
  • Slack: It combines the features of a private chat with those of a collaboration room, also offering various possibilities of integration with the project management / marketing / sales tools. It allows you to create various work environments and then divide them into additional channels. This makes it possible to separate information and direct it to specific teams and projects, a bit like email threads.
  • WhatsApp Desktop: It seems incredible, but many still do not know that it is possible to have all the features of WhatsApp within reach of the monitor and keyboard. Definitely more comfortable than a smartphone, especially when you need to upload / download files directly from / to your PC.

Video conferencing and brainstorming tools

When there is a need to bring together more people for a comparison or maybe for an online lesson or a webinar, eye contact can be important. In times of forced social distance, video calling and video conferencing systems are the only possible alternative to physical encounter.

Talking face to face can help collaboration, but it’s also a great way to stay connected with your team and keep up with what others are doing, also helping to maintain a relationship that might otherwise be overlooked.

Among the numerous video conferencing programs, we can point out, in addition to the aforementioned Google Hangouts which also allows you to create video calls …

  • Microsoft Teams: It is a paid platform, which Microsoft has decided to offer at no cost (Premium version) for 6 months, precisely to support smart working during the Covid-19 emergency, offering all the most advanced features including cloud storage and possibility to organize online meetings with up to 10,000 participants. As of March 10, Microsoft has also updated the Teams free plan by removing restrictions on the number of users who can join a team and opening video conferencing features to all, without specifying how long the extra features will be made available for free in the profile at no cost.
  • Cisco Webex: Widespread in companies, Cisco’s professional platform dedicated to meetings, events, webinars, training courses or online remote assembly, provides the highest quality videos and a video-to-voice switching feature, which allows you to highlight the person who is speaking during the video conference. The Audio Meeting feature allows you to share presentations with active audio during video conferencing.

For the Coronavirus emergency, Cisco has made available its remote teaching technology for the school system.

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