2020 Mar 22
With the government issuing an official #WorkFromHome notice in Sri Lanka in order to contain the Coronavirus pandemic till the 27th of March 2020 and most of us, especially those who work in teams, finding it difficult to be productive during this time period, Pulse decided to put together a list of applications and tools you can use in the comfort of your home. Whilst apps like WhatsApp and Skype are easily accessible and good for social settings, here are a few apps we think will help you be as optimal as possible for the near foreseeable future.
Great for socially distanced hangouts with friends too, Google Hangouts is an app that’s readily available and that we’ve been ignoring for too long. Easily downloadable for desktop, Android and iOS, Google Hangouts provides you with easy chat functions, allows you to turn conversations into group calls with up to 10 people, and facilitates alerts that are synced across multiple devices for your convenience.
Google has also made the decision to offer chargeable enterprise options on their Hangouts Meet tool completely free of charge to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until the 1st of July 2020 which can facilitate:
- Larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
MS Teams is quickly gaining in popularity with many users favouring this tool over its competitors for its easy-to-use features and collaborative functions. With this app, functions like file editing and sharing on-the-go mean you can conveniently manage your teams’ projects, save important chats for later reference, and customise your notifications to minimise distractions all in an easy user interface.
Currently, a version of Teams is available for free with limited features but Microsoft is also making the premium version available for free as part of a six-month trial offer for the Office365 E1 payment plan. MS Teams is also rolling out their functions for free to doctors, nurses and support staff across all NHS organisations to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
Bringing all your team communications to one place, Slack boasts features such as organising conversations by topic or project, sharing and editing documents with teammates, and integrating tools you already use into the app such as Google Drive, Dropbox Twitter and so on. In a tweet by CEO, Stewart Butterfield, Slack also pledged to make the paid version of its chat app freely available to anyone directly supporting COVID-19 response.
If you’re working on #COVID19 research, response, or mitigation and @slackhq can help in any way, email email@example.com. Free upgrades to paid plans, setting up a consultation for remote collaboration best practices: we got you. Even socially distant, we’re all in this together.
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) March 16, 2020
According to Forbes, last Friday, Zoom ranked No. 3 among all free apps in Apple’s App Store, behind only TikTok and Google. With Zoom seeing their share value climb dramatically due to the boom in remote workers worldwide, their features like video-conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration are proving to be a crowd-favourite.
An eSignature website that allows companies to manage electronic agreements, DocuSign comes very much in handy these days when curfews are on-and-off and physical presence to sign documents is a difficult task to achieve. With a 30-day free trial available, DocuSign boats of being the world’s first Agreement Cloud that features convenience and ease.
Cisco Webex is a corporate tool that helps you collaborate with customers, partners, and employees worldwide and is available in Sri Lanka as well. The company recently expanded the capabilities of their free Webex offer in all countries which has additional features like unlimited usage with no time restrictions and the support of up to 100 participants. They also provide a free 90-day license to businesses who are not currently Webex customers in this time of need.
Currently on the list of Editors’ Choice Apps on the Play Store, Google Keep helps you readily capture whatever that’s on your mind and set it aside for use at a later time or place. While working on trying to complete all the tasks on your to-do list, Keep lets you easily add notes, lists or photos to the app, transcribe voice memos into a note for later reference and also syncs across all devices so you can easily access your notes.
Offering simple, no-fuss tools to keep people connected while they’re working remotely, Facebook Workplace has made their services freely available to emergency services and government organisations until June 30, 2020. These organisations include ambulance services, fire services, police services, emergency dispatcher services, coastguard, search and rescue services and hospitals under emergency services as well as public international organisations, central government entities, central government administrations, regional or municipal authorities and local authorities under government organisations.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka has also requested network providers to consider giving their customers free packages or discounted packages during this #WFH period and you can be sure that Pulse will keep you updated on all the latest developments in the country.
Whilst normal telephone conferencing is also available in times of low data, with this many convenient, collaborative and free office tools to use to get your work done, we hope your remote-work days are now more productive than ever. Until next time, wash your hands and stay safe, Sri Lanka!