Since mid-March, you’ve likely encountered many characterizations of this highly unusual era…
“unprecedented times” “war on coronavirus” “gripped by COVID-19” “pandemic pandemonium” “an uncertain future”… These narrations describe a pandemic that’s managed to dramatically alter our (temporary) reality… especially professionally.
Although temporary unemployment has recently surged following America’s shuttered economy, many organizations have successfully implemented teleworking arrangements among staff as a way of continuing with business as usual. Yet many of these capricious telework arrangements and processes lack the basic operational elements needed for professional teams to function.
3 Critical Solutions for Every Teleworking Team
While unique needs vary based on industry, company size and a handful of other factors, these every remote team’s basic functioning relies on these three classes of digital solutions:
1. Digital Transaction/Document Management : AssureSign
Transitioning to working from home often leaves many operational details overlooked, particularly if the transition is rather abrupt or unexpected. Sending and receiving documents—sales contracts, consent forms, renewals, internal signoffs, timesheets, invoices, etc.— is among every business’s essential operations, yet this logistic is often left unaddressed during a transition to teleworking, raking havoc on sales pipelines, deal closings, payroll and other essential activities.
Fortunately, digitally transforming and sending documents can be a simple and fairly straightforward task.
AssureSign’s eSignature & Document Management platform empowers your team to create and send documents for internal signoff, external agreement, or both with its effortless drag-and-drop document template builder. AssureSign’s electronic signature platform supports multiple file formats, including Microsoft Word (.docx) and PDF (.pdf), making it easy to digitize existing documents like quotes, contracts, timesheets, and other templates. One feature our sales team utilizes quite often is template sharing. When a team member creates a template for a frequently sent document, such as a sales contract, it can be saved and shared with the entire team for ongoing use.
Need a form back ASAP? Send it directly to your customer’s smartphone and capture a legally binding signature with the eSign via Text Message tool. Prefer to broaden the types of devices your customers can eSign documents on? The eSign Anywhere solution (email-based), static link feature, eSign In-Person solution, and other AssureSign sending/eSigning options are supported on nearly any internet-capable device! Regardless of how you send your documents or what device customers use to sign them, your team can track their signers’ page-by-page progress and setup auto-reminders to keep the process moving.
Completed documents are affixed with a tamper-evident SHA-256 hashing protocol and an ID-verified audit trail prior to being stored in your cloud environment of choice, a helpful feature should you later need to review documents or terms with your customers.
2. Internal Communication: Slack
Every professional team relies heavily on communication to yield productivity and success! This can become problematic among remote teams when supporting processes and software aren’t in place.
In attempts to facilitate communication, many organizations default to using individual emails and conference calls to relay messages. However, endless phone tagging and lengthy chain emails can become laborious, particularly with projects that require consistent back-and-forth communication.
“I once went back-and forth for more than four days just to schedule a meeting with people at another organization. If we utilized emails to coordinate meetings or exchange minor details like that internally, I would never have time for anything else! Thankfully, there’s an app for that.”– Michelle Reape, Marketing Director at AssureSign
Slack is easily the popular choice among businesses in search for an all-in-one messaging application. The solution offers individual chats, group/team chats along with video conferencing as ways to stay connected. The ‘channels’ feature is the supreme alternative to lengthy (and confusing) chain emails (think group SMS/text chats). Members of your organization can join (or leave) a channel as needed during ongoing group collaborations.
Additionally, Slack supports hundreds of integrations with popular business solutions, such as Office 365, Google Drive, Salesforce, Zapier, and more.
3. Collaborating, Demos and External Meetings: Zoom & GoToMeeting
After polling many of our fellow AssureSTARS, we noticed strong preferences for both GoToMeeting and Zoom.
We choose to leverageGoToMeeting internally; however, both solutions provide quite a desirable repertoire of options. Below, you’ll see a comparison of both solutions—commonalities, differences, and coveted features—so you can choose the best fit for your team.
Both offer multiple HD video feeds along with various webcam views (e.g. full screen, speaker only view, gallery view, etc.). GoToMeeting’s webcam controls include rather technical settings, such as contrast, hue, and white balance. Zoom’s webcam adjustments are uniquely reimagined with settings like ‘touch up my appearance’ and ‘virtual background,’ which transforms the user’s background into a virtual green screen with multiple imagery options. While GoToMeeting can display up to 25 attendee webcam feeds simultaneously during a virtual meeting, that capacity is shy by nearly half of Zoom’s, which supports up to 49 thumbnail feeds in its gallery view. Both platforms can handle well beyond those numbers with respect to a meeting’s total attendee count, but you’ll need to maneuver (scroll) through the interface to view all the thumbnail feeds when the attendee count exceeds the solution’s viewing cap.
Regardless of the attendee count, both video conferencing platforms allow presenters to share their screens OR opt to allow an attendee to share his or her screen. Zoom additionally offers advanced screen sharing abilities, such as sharing only a selected portion of your screen and the capacity to share both visual and audio elements.
Zoom takes the lead with whiteboarding/drawing tools and chat features. Zoom’s ‘Breakout Sessions’ allow facilitators to divide and assign (or randomize) attendees into groups. When the group function is activated, Zoom automatically routes attendees to their respective groups, where they’re left to collaborate for the allotted duration. Once the duration expires, all attendees are returned to the meeting’s main environment. This feature is great for educational use or meetings with activity components.
Both applications include a dial-in method of joining meetings along with a ‘call me’ option, involving the application placing calls to attendees when a meeting begins. However, Zoom’s ‘call me’ option requires purchasing an additional audio package ($100/month), so if you anticipate a large number of attendees joining by phone, GoToMeeting may be a better bet.
After earning his B.S. in communications and M.Ed. in professional counseling, Jackson began employing his marketing and professional helping efforts within the B2B technology space. He has several years’ experience advising businesses across the industry spectrum on digital platforms and workflow optimization within CRM, ERP, sales generation, and document management systems.