So you’ve now got your basic IT set up at home to get you working productively.
But unless you’re a company of 1, you will still need to communicate with your colleagues even if they aren’t co-located. You could all start emailing each other, but that rapidly descends into an awful chain of emails where numerous parties are copied in and you spend more time reading emails than doing anything else.
Most people are familiar with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp for sending short, chatty messages. There are tools like Slack, Yammer, Facebook Workplace, etc. that are more “work” focused versions of your normal messaging app. If you aren’t already using something, sign up and have a go, see which one you like. As with so many tools, there are “free” versions you can host yourself, on your network and VPN. But again, they require a reasonable level of technology to run. Slack and Yammer look after the security and availability for you. You just have to pay the bill.
“Phone” and Video calls
I suggest everyone gets a headset with a boom mic. There is nothing worse than someone on a call with a bad microphone that is better at picking up the background noise than the person speaking. You can pick up headsets from £10 that go up to hundreds of pounds for “gaming” or “operator” grade.
Your text, chat app may have voice and video calling built in so you can talk to each other. However, you may need to talk to external people. To get on the normal phone network you can use a mobile phone; but there is a bill to pay. If you prefer not to use a mobile, you can either get something like Skype or talk to one of the many VOIP providers and have an app on your computer. Skype doesn’t offer the full range of things you might want from a PBX, like call recording and hunt groups. A VOIP provider and suitable software will let you do everything your office exchange can do and probably more. And your calls will go out over your internet or VPN connection.
It’s important to get communication right, as it not only helps with corporate goals, but also facilitates a positive environment and can help overcome what can be a lonely place.