by Sarah Potter
You probably thought you’d be back in the office by now – and you wouldn’t be alone. We were all geared up to socially distance and meet safely again in our offices, but it seems like we have a bit more time to go before that will happen. So, with national lockdown 3 now in full swing, we thought we’d share with you the top tools for home working harmony. The best bit? Some of them are free.
If you’ve not heard of Zoom by now… where have you been?! The tool is almost ubiquitous by this point, but we’ve scoped out some lesser-known tools that might better fit your business requirements:
A little bit video conferencing and a little bit project management with plenty of features in between – Hibox combines a whole host of useful tools in one package. Host video calls, create tasks and assign them to your project calendar, enjoy company-wide chat and make use of the incredibly useful AI assistant feature. Importantly, Hibox syncs with Dropbox, Google Drive & email and encrypts all files and conversations. Up to 10 users can use Hibox, totally free. Any more than that and you’re looking at $4 per user per month (around £3). Find our more here.
Combining video-conferencing with attractive slide decks makes for engaging presentations. With MmmHmm, instead of simply screen sharing, you stay on the screen as a presenter – you even get a fancy laser pointer to direct attention. Equally as good for sales presentations, and for teachers attempting remote learning, MmmHmm offers a free trial (all users get 60 minutes a day completely free) while upgrading costs $9.99 per month (around £7.35). Even better is their current offer to teachers and students – a whole year, completely free. Find our more here.
Consider this a virtual workspace for remote teams – like if Zoom and Slack had a baby. In fact, Jamm integrates directly with Slack – perfect for teams already using the tool. Jamm specialises in 1 click calling – like passing a teammate in the hallway of your office – and utilises a ‘floating head’ interface with face tracking, so you can concentrate on collaboration rather than staring at each other’s wallpaper. You can also chat to those who don’t have Jamm by sending them a browser based weblink. Currently, basic plans are totally free for the next few months. Find out more here.
Microsoft Teams & Direct Calling for Teams
Ok, it’s hardly the new kid on the block – but there’s a number of reasons MS Teams can become your go-to productivity tool. Teams allows one-click calling and status setting as well as secure file sharing and instant messaging chats (we particularly like the GIF functionality). Unlike the rest of the tools featured, Intercity Technology has developed a service whereby MS Teams can be set up with direct calling features – allowing you to make phone calls from Teams, directly to non-Teams users, making this less of a simple internal communications tool and more of a fully unified communications tool. Find out more here.
Sometimes, you still need to make a good old-fashioned voice call. If you’re running a small business, not having your usual office set up can be prohibitive. Check out the following applications for some simple home-based solutions:
Google Voice enables you to create a voice number that will work across your devices – whether that’s your mobile or desktop – meaning you can make and receive calls from anywhere. Choose which devices you want to answer calls from, and forward to different devices at the touch of a button. The personal plan is totally free while the basic business versions start at £7.80 for 10 users. Find out more here.
Get a free virtual number for your business, to save sharing your personal mobile number. Sonotel gives you one free number, anywhere in the world, so no matter where you’re based you can have a relevant geographic number. There is a small catch, you must install their free chat function on your website and forwarding the number to your mobile incurs standard carrier charges for your country. If you answer via a voice app or voice device, calls are subject to a fair usage policy of 1,000 free minutes per user. Find out more here.
An intuitive, reliable, and secure UC solution — Touch Technology allows you to embed holistic communication technologies into your existing applications. Touch Technology is a reliable and innovative cloud-based UC tool that gives you all the functionality of an on-premise solution, without the installation and maintenance of an expensive system. It’s feature-rich, and unlike some of the other suggestions, comes with resilient infrastructure that’s trusted by highly data sensitive clients like the NHS. It’s protected by our ISOC 24/7/365 and has end-to-end security and round-the-clock critical support. Learn more here.
It’s easy to become complacent sat at home, after all, you’ve trusted this network for years – what could possibly go wrong? You’d be surprised at just how much this is a common occurrence. Secure both your personal data and the data of your business by checking out our suggested security tools:
Still having trouble with clicks from dodgy emails? Protect yourself, and your employees, from well crafted phishing scams by utilising Redirect Detective. This simple tool lets you copy and paste any link sent to you in an email and checks the validity of those links. Check if those bit.ly links (or similar URL shorteners) redirect to a legitimate site and check your own sites redirects are working effectively. Learn more here.
See that little ‘lock’ symbol in the corner of your search bar? That means that your browsing a secure website, using https. Unfortunately, some sites use its lesser version: http, meaning that your browsing won’t be secured. Ensure safely by using https everywhere, a Chrome, Edge and Firefox extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing safer.
A decent antivirus system will keep you and your employees safe from day-to-day threats – and this one won the award for ‘Product of the Year’ at the 2019 AV Comparatives awards. It comes packed with the largest threat-detection network, machine-learning virus protection, easy password management and home network security that won’t slow down your PC. Avast Free Antivirus uses multiple layers of security to keep you safe from even the newest, never-before-seen threats. Best of all, for single users, it’s completely free! Find out more here.
TouchSecure Remote Working
If you’re looking for a more robust security solution, we can help. Providing you with complete endpoint protection across computers, tablets, and mobiles – TouchSecure will keep your network, and your people secure, protected, and connected. TouchSecure is compatible across Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, ChromeOS and Android - and protects devices whether they are in the office or at home.
So how does TouchSecure help protect your users? It provides protection across computers, tablets, and mobiles, prevents access to inappropriate and known bad websites, detects & removes malware and provides a VPN client for connecting to corporate networks, all delivered from UK-based private cloud - ensuring data sovereignty. Fancy trying it for yourself? We’re offering a 30-day trial to see how we stack up against these free tools. Find our more here.
Here at Intercity, we hope that this strange period comes to an end soon, but remember, we’re here for you when you need us most. Whether it’s by supplying you with free tips and resources or with robust solutions – get in touch today to find out how Intercity Technology can enable your business to do more.
For millennials, access to the Internet is not optional. They’re more dependent and demanding of the use and benefit that technology can bring to their everyday lives.