October 7, 2020
The pandemic has changed many areas of life. But fortunately, technological innovations have made it possible to maintain productivity while working remotely and enjoy your downtime during a time of social distancing. In this two-part series, we take a look at the latest productivity tools for your home office and cool tech offerings to keep the family entertained while staying in.
But before we get to play, work needs to be done. Perhaps no other aspect of our lives has been affected by COVID as our work environment. Research suggests that around 40 percent of Americans are now working from home full-time and there is little evidence to indicate they will go back to working in offices and cubicles anytime soon. However, there are advantages to working from home. Costly and stressful commutes become a thing of the past and in many cases, productivity has gone up because employees can work hours that fit their personal preferences.
Here are five companies leading the charge:
Slack Technologies Inc. (Tii:WORK)
This collaboration tool has been around for some time. But with more people working from home than ever, it's become an invaluable communication tool. Slack touts itself as an email alternative. Instead of email chains, participants can share messages and files in chat rooms that are archived and searchable. Public channel conversations become permanent common institutional knowledge, so you do not have to have the same conversations via email over and over again. The platform also allows for video voice calls right from the app. A long list of app integrations that range from practical items like G Suite to whimsical choices like CatFacts allows each workplace to personalize Slack to work with their internal culture.
Zoom Video Communications Inc. (Tii:ZM)
This video chat service has become so ubiquitous that as of late March, linguists were already listing "Zoom" as a new verb. While there are dozens of video chat options, this one has become the default for many workplaces and teams. Adherents say that they find the call quality better than options like Hangouts. Zoom's video quality allows for screen sharing of video clips that isn't possible in lower quality streaming options. Zoom also has a built-in beautification filter that may seem frivolous on its surface but is appreciated by people who haven't had the chance to get salon treatments that they'd normally be using to keep up appearances.
Dell Technologies Inc. (Tii:DELL)
More people working from home has meant a greater need to update equipment, especially laptops. While many computer makers are offering excellent products, Dell has a good mix of computers at virtually every price point. One interesting note about this computer maker is its longstanding policy for a partially remote workforce. Even before the pandemic, about one in four Dell workers already worked from home.
Salesforce.com Inc. (Tii:CRM)
This company already facilitated many remote teams with services that include cloud-based suites for functions such as marketing, information technology, sales and customer service. As more workers went remote this year, the company helped them adapt with initiatives that include their B-Well Together program to help with mental well-being and Salesforce Care, which helps employees and customers stay connected while transitioning to a remote workplace.
Netgear, Inc. (Tii:NTGR)
With more devices connecting to the Internet than ever, having a solid router for your home workspace is a must. Netgear is a major player in the industry with a slew of product offerings for various needs and budgets. In fact, CNET named the Netgear Orbi (dual-band, AC1200) as its best mesh value for 2020. For those not in the know, a wireless mesh network is designed to handle high volumes of traffic with no downtime due to equipment failures – something you may want to consider if work requires heavy internet usage.
As companies continue to see stable or improved results with a remote workforce, expect more positions to go remote. These are just a few of the companies who are making this change possible and who will continue to facilitate this new way of working.
Check back for the second part of Smart Home Technology – The Family that Plays Together.
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