In telework, exchanges using communication tools are indispensable. However, there are now a variety of communication tools available, and many people may be confused about which one to use. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce communication tools that are useful for telework by scene.
Table of contents
- Points and precautions for introducing communication tools
- business chat
- Web conferencing system
- task management
- Other tools to include
Points and precautions for introducing communication tools
Due to the influence of the new coronavirus, telework is now being adopted by many companies. However, in telework, unlike conventional office work, it is difficult for employees to easily exchange words with each other.
At work, communication between employees is essential. Insufficient communication can lead to problems such as different employees doing the same work, and difficulty receiving support and advice from superiors.
This is where communication tools come in handy. Various tools are provided, such as a chat tool that allows you to easily contact each other and a web conferencing tool that allows you to talk face-to-face. Incorporate appropriate communication tools according to your company’s work content and policies.
Points to note when introducing communication tools
When introducing communication tools, it is important to keep the following four points in mind.
- Ease of introduction and ease of use
- Meet your needs
- Number of participants (for meetings)
Points to note when introducing communication tools
Even if you have introduced a communication tool, if it does not suit your company, you may not be able to use it well. Pay attention to the following two points so that the installation does not fail.
1. Verification of usability
It is recommended to test the usability in normal office work before fully introducing it. You can also take advantage of the free trial period.
2. Determination of management settings and operation rules
Before installation, set the functions for administrators and the operation method. If the method of use is not established throughout the company, it will not take root in the workplace.
From the following, we will introduce communication tools for each usage scene. Please refer to it when choosing a tool.
Business chat tools are indispensable for daily communication in telework. Compared to conventional e-mail, business chat allows for easier and real-time communication.
Emojis, emoticons, stamps, etc. can also be used, and one of the advantages is that you can express your emotions more easily. Also, since the conversation takes place in real time, it can be used to check if the other party is online. In addition, the number of multi-functional devices is increasing nowadays, and business chat tools can also be used for calls and meetings. This time, we will introduce a chat tool that allows web conferencing.
Recommendation 1. ChatWork
It is a communication tool boasting the No. 1 number of users in Japan. As of February 2021, 300,000 companies have introduced it.
ChatWork features a simple UI design that is easy to use even for beginners. In addition to the chat function, the task management function is also provided as a standard function, so you can manage tasks with deadlines by adding them to tasks. In addition, there are voice and video call functions, and file sharing is also possible.
One of the advantages of ChatWork is that it can be used with peace of mind in terms of security. All communications with our servers are encrypted and comply with international security standards. The high level of security is used by large companies and government offices.
There is a free plan that allows you to use the basic performance for free, so it is recommended to try it for the time being. Also, if it is used by an individual or a small number of people, it will work well even with the free plan. However, the free plan has limitations such as up to 14 group chats that can be participated in, and you cannot make calls with a large number of people.
Recommendation 2. Slack
Slack is a communication tool from the United States that is used globally. It is a highly functional business chat with a reminder function, thread display, etc., and there are various additional functions. A function that can be especially useful in business is the ability to link with external tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox. As with ChatWork, voice and video calls are also possible. There is also a search function for chat history.
Group chat is possible for each project, so it is recommended for companies with a large number of employees and projects. It is also popular overseas, so it will be convenient for companies that have exchanges with overseas companies.
A free plan is also available, although there are limitations such as a history of up to 10,000 messages that can be checked. In addition, there are plans such as standard and, so it is a good idea to try it once for free before choosing.
Web conferencing system
A web conferencing system is convenient for complicated communication such as meetings and meetings, which cannot be completed by exchanging only letters in chat.
With the web conferencing system, you can hold a conference by projecting the faces of the participants like a video call. You can also share materials and computer screens, which is convenient for team meetings and meetings. It can be used simply by installing it on a terminal, and in many cases, a free version is available, and since a large number of people can participate, it is also used for seminars and interviews.
However, the quality of video and audio is often affected by the communication environment, and there is a possibility that it will be interrupted in the middle. For important meetings, some companies seem to think that a videoconferencing system that uses a dedicated line is better, even if the initial cost is high.
To check the communication environment, it is a good idea to use the system once in the company before selecting the conference system. Below are two web conferencing systems used by many companies.
Recommendation 1. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a service operated by Microsoft. One of the features is that you can hold a large-scale web conference with up to 10,000 people. It can also be used in 225 countries and regions, so it can be used for global web conferences. It can also be useful for external webinars and company-wide events. In addition, it is possible to link with 65 kinds of applications, and you can also use the schedule management function.
Also, since it is a service provided by Microsoft, it is a great point that it can be seamlessly linked with other Microsoft products such as Word and Excel. You can also co-edit on the spot during the meeting. If your business currently uses Microsoft products, Microsoft Teams will help you.
Although there are functional restrictions such as a maximum number of participants of 300 and a meeting time of 60 minutes, a free version is also available (as of February 2021). Also, if you are currently using ” Microsoft 365 Business Basic” or “Office 365 E3”, it is included as one of the basic services.
Recommendation 2. Zoom
Zoom has been introduced by many companies for telework due to the effects of the new coronavirus. You can hold a web conference for up to 1,000 people, and it can also be used for large company lectures and employee training. In addition to basic functions such as web conferencing and screen sharing, Zoom’s feature is that you can react with stamps and chat during the meeting. Recording and auto-transcription features are also handy if you want to review the meeting later.
In addition, the data is encrypted when it is sent, so it has excellent security measures. The proof is that it is used by large companies and government offices.
Although there are restrictions such as a maximum of 100 participants and a maximum usage time of 40 minutes for one multi-person meeting, it can be used free of charge. If it is one-on-one, there is no limit on meeting time even in the free version, so it will be easy to introduce even if you try it.
In remote work, the difficulty of management is sometimes said to be an issue. A task management tool solves this problem.
Task management tools are for each employee to manage their tasks on the tool. Since it can be used and viewed not only by individuals but also by teams, the progress of tasks can be easily shared. It helps bosses see the status of their subordinates’ tasks, prioritize them, and adjust work distribution. This will keep your business running smoothly.
Recommendation 1. Asana
Asana is a project and task management tool used in 190 countries around the world. It features a simple UI that is easy to operate even for those who use task management tools for the first time. Set due dates, and priorities, and assign tasks in one place. In addition, you can select Kanban format or list format, and it is easy to use so you can customize it to your liking. Also, if you use the timeline function, you can see at a glance who will do what task at what time. It will help you plan projects with your team.
Collaboration is limited to a maximum of 15 people, but you can use it for free with the Basic plan. Other plans such as Premium, Business, and Enterprise can be selected according to the function.
Recommendation 2. Backlog
Backlog is a task management tool that allows you to visualize your tasks in an easy-to-understand graph. In addition to Kanban boards, you can manage tasks in forms such as Gantt charts and burndown charts. In addition, file sharing and notification functions are also provided. One of the features is that it is widely used by engineers in sales and back offices. It is used by web production companies and advertising agencies.
There is no free plan, but you can try the paid plan for free for 30 days, so why not try it once?
Other tools to include
Above, we introduced three types of tools that are useful for telework. In addition to the above, if you have the budget and schedule, I would like to introduce two other tools that I would recommend considering.
1. Attendance management tool
One of the issues with telework is that it is easy to work long hours because there is no one watching. Therefore, thorough attendance management is important.
An attendance management tool is a tool that manages the start time and ends the time of work. In addition to being able to manage attendance from a remote location, automating attendance also has the advantage of making it easier to grasp. In addition, it would be convenient to have a function that links with payroll management tools and manages working hours by the Labor Standards Act.
Representative tools include RecoRu and AKASHI.
2. Data storage service
Telework also increases opportunities for employees to exchange large volumes of data. Data storage services that can store and share data are convenient for this purpose. A large amount of data can be stored in the cloud, and data can be easily sent simply by sharing a URL. It is convenient for exchanging data not only within the company but also with external business partners.
Typical tools include Google Drive and Dropbox.
When it comes to communication tools, there are many different types. Using it properly for each scene will lead to smooth information sharing and quick decision-making. First, use the free version or trial period to verify the usability and choose the tool that meets your needs.