With tens of millions of Americans currently working from home, business owners are smart to think about productivity. After all, getting things done efficiently when your team is dispersed can be challenging.
Beyond making sure your remote employees all have reliable high-speed internet and a way to securely access their work files from home, what other technologies can bolster your team’s productivity and save time? Here are three working-from-home productivity tools to consider:
1. Document management systems
Nothing slams on the brakes faster than employees having to chase down the documents, data or information they need to do their jobs.
A document management solution allows you to convert paper documents to digital files and store them and all your documents in a secure, cloud-based platform that can be accessed remotely. They’re essentially an all-in-one solution for keeping your documents organized and making it easy to collaborate.
Many of today’s leading document management software platforms leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to help automatically file and track documents for you.
For example, eFileCabinet, with business plans starting at $99 per month, can automatically recognize, organize and name files using the information contained in the files. Onehub, which starts at $12.95 per user per month, offers advanced document activity tracking features and security features.
Another bonus: Cloud-based providers offer state-of-the-art encryption services and monitor their systems around the clock, providing a level of security that most small businesses could never manage on their own.
2. E-signature platforms
If your business relies on contracts, unnecessary paperwork can be a huge drain on productivity. Printing contracts, collecting ink signatures, making copies, filing the documents—all of that busy work can be reduced to a couple of clicks using an eSignature platform. (And, yes, digital signatures are just as legally binding as those written in ink.)
Most e-signature platforms today provide templates for common contracts and agreements, so it can take only a few seconds to send out a document for a signature.
Alexis Haselberger, a productivity, time management and leadership coach in San Francisco, uses HelloSign for all of her contracts. “It eliminates a lot of the friction in my business and makes it easy for clients to sign their contracts,” she says.
Other providers include DocuSign, which offers a business plan starting at $40 per user per month and can send reminders and allow clients to submit payments. PandaDoc, which offers business plans for $49 per user per month, integrates with many customer relationship management platforms.
Think only big businesses can afford the latest AI technology? Think again. Natural language processing (NLP) platforms are proliferating across every industry, and chatbots powered by AI and NLP are already at home in millions of living rooms across the country. (Think: Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.)
Companies of every size are using bots for everything from streamlining internal processes to customer service (chatbots)—saving their employees the time of having to answer the same questions over and over again. There are dozens of providers out there that will help you customize and deploy your own bot.
Statsbot, for example, can monitor and visualize your company’s top performance indicators and key data points, giving your employees quick, easy access. It can be integrated with the Slack internal messaging hub.
Chymebot offers a customer service chatbot, so you can answer common customer questions and perform other customer service tasks without the need for human interaction.
Many tools offer free trials, so it can’t hurt to give them a test run to see if they can help save your business time and money.
Spectrum Business can help companies connect their home-based workers to business critical technologies—and with no monthly contract required. Call us at 855-299-9353
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