Working From Home?Here Are 10 Essential Tools to Keep Your Team Connected While Working Remotely.

Even before coronavirus disrupted the planet, remote work had gone from that rare unicorn of workforce arrangements to a standard component of many people's workweek.

Businesses, large and small, continue to embrace the remote workplace - even startups are getting on board. Collaboration is the new normal. No longer are employees expected to work cut off from one another, but instead are needed to work more closely together. Collaboration means improved efficiency and increased productivity, but only if you have the right tools for collaboration in the first place.

If your business is now managing a full-time remote workforce for the first time, there are several helpful Odoo apps available to help your team stay connected while transitioning into remote work. From instant messaging to task and productivity trackers, from customer service web chats to SMS text messaging, Odoo has you all covered.

Real-Time Communication/ Instant Messaging

Communication within the team can be the biggest challenge when your workforce is remote.

Odoo Inbox

Odoo Inbox can be customized as much or as little as you'd like and allows seamless communication between individual team members, departments, and the entire company. Different chat "channels" enable people to discuss work, brainstorm ideas, and stay connected throughout the workday. It allows sending direct messages (DMs) and files to a single person or a group of employees; there is the ability to organize conversations into different channels.


 


New channels can be created for different teams, projects, or whatever else is relevant to your business. In each channel, members can tag each other, share documents, and communicate through voice calls. And the built-in bot will notify you of any important messages you missed. 

Odoo Live Chat

Odoo Live Chat integrates with your Odoo Website to allow your team to chat with your customers in real-time and answer questions, schedule appointments, and sell your products or services in 1:1 conversations with customers. The Odoo widget can be customized to include an avatar, greeting, and away message for any queries that come in after regular business hours. It’s a great personal touch to add to your “online office” and e-store.


Odoo SMS

Today, businesses use a wide range of methods to interact with customers. From a VoIP phone system to personalized emails, brands aim to create an omnichannel experience that best serves their consumers.

That's why, along with email, messaging, SMS, or IM services have become a highly effective form of communication, a channel that many customer service teams are beginning to adopt. Odoo Voip provides truly two-way communication, meaning your customers can write back to any message you send, and you'd be able to reply directly.


Project management

Your business likely has several ongoing projects to complete. This means you'll need a way not only to keep the details organized but also to communicate with your employees about them. Keeping employees on track and maintaining everyone's regular workflows while you are all working remotely will require a top-notch project management tool. If you are not already using Odoo Project Management, now is the time to set it up. It allows you to plan, track, and collaborate on projects in a visually simple manner. You can monitor tasks, discussions, documents, scheduling, milestones, collaboration, and more, in a user-friendly dashboard.


Drag-and-drop functionality and ease of use make this particularly useful for project management and general workflow management amongst teams. It integrates with Google Drive, Outlook, and Google Calendar, so you can use it as a central focal point for teams to work together. It's very flexible and allows you to use boards, lists, and cards to map out your project however you want.

Tasks are easy to assign and break down, and status updates and project progress are available at a glance.

Once you've created a new board for your project, you can add any relevant team members to the board. From there, you can create tasks, assign them to other team members, and share documents, all within your    Odoo dashboard. Business Owners can stay on top of every project in the business and always see the big picture; what's in progress, what's coming up, and who's in charge of what. Project managers can easily delegate work, set deadlines, review, and evaluate what's left to do.

For remote employees, Odoo Project Management app includes all the tools they need never to miss a deadline again.

Odoo HR

Human resource management is a difficult job. From managing time off, negotiating salaries, booking meetings across time zones, and managing conflict, a lot is going on and the potential for things to slip through the cracks. Odoo HR is an employee management solution with integrated team communication features. It offers a way for you to contact not only your employees but also track the daily aspects of managing them. You can also track your employees’ work hours, handle scheduling, and effectively communicate with them in team chats. The app is easy to customize to the needs of your business.

Employee profiles

To make your business communication as connected as possible, you want your staff to know each other. Whether a company is large or small, if a member does not know the people and roles within your organization, communicating about a specific topic, or asking questions is difficult.

In the Employees app, Employee profiles provide context about each person within your organization. Members can read-up about specific individuals, understand their role, interests, and who they report to. Furthermore, the profiles put a name to a face making it easier to know who is within the company. 


Task management

Task management and collaboration become a big challenge when working with remote teams. Your overall business performance will not be as successful as it could be if you do not have an efficient task management tool. Combining strong communication features with assignment tracking capabilities, a task management tool will transform the way staff completes the most vital aspect of your company: their jobs. Without a strong project management system in place, projects could be a confusing, timely process for team members who are unsure about what they should be doing. These issues further escalate when management doesn't have a direct way to monitor progress, thus detaching them from the situation.

Odoo Project’s task management is one of the most effective business communication tools out there. From execution to completion, it helps employees and directors reach their goals as efficiently and successfully as possible.Managers can directly assign tasks to team members and track their progress. They can also set due dates and priority settings, which appears in an organized list for everyone involved. Odoo Task management, with built-in communication tools, helps employees know who is delegating an assignment, when it is due, and the level of importance so they can plan projects accordingly.

Appointment

Good meetings happen when people prepare for them. A way to make out a little more time for that is to be more efficient with how you schedule your meetings. Choosing a time and date for your meeting can be either a smooth and quick process or a time-consuming one, usually involving an unnecessarily long email chain. Appointments scheduler help make the process quick.They let you poll colleagues and friends on the best date and time to meet, make your availability known to others, and ensure you don't double-book a time slot. Appointments app then connect to your online calendar, which is fully integrated with your Google and Outlook Calendar.

Among everything else, It also has the option  for sending invitations to the people with whom you need to meet so you can find out when would be best for them. It syncs all the confirmed appointments to your calendar and offers to create an event on your invitees' calendars as well. While it works well for scheduling meetings with individuals or team members within an organization, it makes it ideal for connecting with external clients, customers, and colleagues as well.

Meeting Management

Poorly planned or unnecessary meetings waste the valuable time of your most important resource—your team members. Bad meetings slow processes down, create confusion, and breed a lack of confidence in the organizer. But that doesn't mean you need to spend all of your time planning the perfect meetings Instead, let technology help. With Odoo, you can put much of the work behind scheduling meetings on autopilot and focus on the things that matter, and let technology handle the rest.


Automatically Create Meetings from Events in Your Other Apps

With easy automations, you can generate new meetings from actions in your other planning and organizational tools. You’ll never find yourself thinking you scheduled a meeting only to realize you’re the only one with an invite.

Get Reminder Before Your Meeting Begins

The right meeting scheduler tool helps you get meetings onto your calendar quickly and efficiently, and that helps keep you productive. But you don't have to stop there. Another way to stay productive is to automatically have notifications sent to you before a meeting occurs in whatever app or device suits you best.

Not only you can receive reminders in your Google and Outlook calendars or by email, but also you can get SMS notifications however far in advance you like before events in your Google Calendar start. Anything you can do to make your routine of scheduling meetings more efficient is a win for everyone because it allows you to focus on preparing for the meeting instead of finding the right time for it.

Share and Collaborate on New Notes

The takeaway points and action items from a meeting are the most important outcome of most meetings. Don't forget to share these with your team.  Automate that process so you never have to think about it again.

Send Meeting Minutes to the Right People

Taking minutes is an important part of the business process, but it can feel like a time waster. Don't let it waste your time. After taking notes during your meeting, Odoo can send these to your team (and your supervisor) to keep everyone on the same page.

Email Marketing

Email  marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. The easy-to-customize templates can help you build an appealing newsletter with relevant information, business updates and entertaining content. Email is one of the best ways to reach someone, too. Email marketing is 40 times more effective at reaching your target consumer than Twitter or Facebook. While your store is closed, use your newsletter to share content that entertains people or keeps them engaged with your brand. Email Marketing is equipped to help you build something that generates a high open rate.

Social Marketing

Whether you're managing social media for your business or are trying to build a personal brand, managing all social media platforms can be a huge undertaking. You might be building a Facebook Page, trying to improve your LinkedIn profile, or watching for company mentions on Twitter. On the other hand, many customers automatically resort to social media channels to stay in touch with businesses. Your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages are the default place where they will go to find out if you’re open, selling or accepting returns.

A team working remotely is likely to have a pretty varied schedule. To ensure that social doesn't get left behind and your content marketing stays on track, you can use Social Marketing to schedule posts in advance so they always publish at just the right time. With Social Marketing, your team can simultaneously respond to comments, direct messages and posts that your company has been tagged in to keep up with any questions and concerns. Social Marketing allows you to:

Share New Content

One of the best ways to build a solid community on any social network is to share content that your followers will find interesting.

Cross Post and Syndicate Content

You've written a great post. Now it's time to ensure your audience sees it regardless of what platform they're using. It's tedious to share content across platforms, but with Social Marketing, you can automatically cross-post content between all of your social media accounts.

Monitor Your Brand Online

Tracking your online brand mentions can be a tedious process working with multiple tools, sifting through pages and pages of links to find legitimate brand mentions. Social Marketing can help monitor social networks for you automatically.

Odoo NOTES

Whether you're in a meeting or doing research, taking notes helps you concentrate and gives you a reference later to remind and reinforce the context of your work. It may take less effort than writing a full transcript, but notes still take a significant amount of time to format, organize, and follow through. Whenever you need to take notes on something, you should do it in Odoo Notes.

It helps you make your notes actionable

Having your notes convert into a task list where you can check things off lets you stay on top of your work and ensure you don't miss following up on those important items. Or, you could create notes from your new tasks. That way, whenever you add something new to your to-do list, you'll have a perfect space to keep track of your thoughts and notes about it.


Get Reminded About Notes on Your Calendar

Sometimes we humans make mistakes and forget things. Following up with all the action items you just jotted down can be a repetitive task. Create a workflow that automatically turns your notes into reminders in a calendar so you'll remember to check back on your notes.


Documents and Files Cloud storage

When it comes to remote work, collaboration doesn't just take place through video chat, but on files as well. This is why it's imperative to have an app that enables project stakeholders to share and edit files with their remote teams. This is where cloud storage applications like Odoo Documents can come in handy. By moving all your files to the cloud, you ensure that your team has uninterrupted access to important documents, spreadsheets, presentations, videos and more.


With Documents, you can store multiple versions of all of your documents and control permissions to ensure everyone has access to what they need. You also have access to file edit history to see who changed what. Plus, it's easier to collaborate in real time and avoid sending edited versions of documents back and forth. It's also a great way to organize work from freelancers and your remote team when they need to submit projects.

Make Signing Documents Easy

While ink pens and paper may seem a thing of the past, signatures still hold weight and make business deals real. You can simplify the process and automate and  sign documents with digital ink, and modernize this old world aspect of business.

Time Tracking and Productivity

One of the challenges with remote work is that employers and clients want to know that work is getting done and productivity isn't falling off. At the same time, employees don't want to have constant check-ins and feel like someone's watching over their back. This is when using a time tracking tool comes handy.

It is a great way for businesses to measure employee productivity but also hold employees accountable for their work. On the employee side, especially for freelancers and independent contractors, time tracking software can be critical when it comes to sending invoices to payroll. All parties involved benefit from unbiased time and productivity tracking.

Conclusion - Working From Home Is Here To Stay

The lockdown has shown remote working is possible on a far wider scale than many companies thought. Flexible working is becoming the new norm and we already start seeing a shift in the working culture. After the pandemic passes, it is expected there will be a cultural shift towards working from home as a norm and many employees will want to do this, at the very least for part of the week. On the other hand,employers, managers and founders are now realizing that the home office can actually help productivity and with great tools,resources and advanced technology, it has never been this simple to set up a professional working environment at home that empowers efficiency.


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