Remote Working Tools and Tips

Our contractors are core to our business. We have some of the most talented individuals on our books, ranging from project managers to infrastructure engineers and everything niche in between. Many of these men and women have been contracting through I.T. Alliance Resourcing Services for more than a decade and it’s for this reason that the latest impact to our economy has hit us all very personally.

In mid-March, 2020, Irish businesses experienced what the Business Post referred to as “nuclear fallout” with the arrival of the COVID-19 virus on our shores. Initially, our thoughts went to the thousands of victims globally and we then turned our attention to our own friends and family who would be vulnerable during this pandemic.

It’s difficult to pretend that it’s ‘business as usual’. On a daily basis, our teams are supporting hundreds of contractors and clients who rely on us and we needed to act.

As a people-first organisation, we focused on our staff, contractors and clients who are all impacted by this global crisis.

Firstly, our team were already fully equipped to work remotely and securely, with full business continuity thanks to our sister company Auxilion. We use a Microsoft suite of hardware and software to ensure our team members are available to contractors and clients when needed most. There was no hesitation in offering the team the option to work remotely, ensuring they could look after their health and the health of their families.

Secondly, we contacted all our clients to ensure that our contractors could continue to work remotely or semi-remotely. This ensured the safety of our contractors and secured their current assignments. In tandem, our resourcing services account managers were in touch with all contractors to ensure they had all required software and hardware to work effectively.

Finally, it’s very much business as usual for us – even though our world is changed forever. This is more poignant for those who have lost loved ones to this tragic pandemic – life will never be the same again. Our goal is to continue to serve our people, contractors and clients as best we can. This will ensure our clients can continue to keep their businesses going and secures the salaries of our contractors who are particularly exposed at this time. If you are a contractor concerned about your current assignment, please reach out  to your resourcing account manager or Tom Moxon (head of resourcing services) directly.

With the current situation we find ourselves in, we hope the following might be helpful for contractors who may not be used to work from home.

In a previous blog post, we covered how Zapier have built a successful business with over 300 remote workers. The organisation is 100% remote. They onboard staff remotely, built a phenomenal product and are one of the success stories from the States.

They conducted a survey lauding the benefits of remote working. Their survey (US based), found that 31% of skilled workers would like to work from home but their companies would not permit it. Interestingly, 2 out of 3 workers think that the office will be obsolete by 2030 and 74% would be prepared to quit their job to work remotely. It has also become a growing trend in Ireland, with many preferring to live and work remotely. According to research in 2018, there were 216,000 workers operating remotely in Ireland.

So what are the most useful tools for remote working?

Working from home can be a joy, but we understand that the added pressure of world events can take its toll. The apps listed below might be just what you need to. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we decided to go with what other leaders are recommending. We have included the recommendation and source as it applies.

Screen Sharing and Remote Access:

Time and Task Management:

There’s one feature that the marketing team in the I.T. Alliance Group loves in particular and it’s the project templates. Basically, Asana has mapped out standard workflows for marketing, design, HR, IT, and other departments. All users need to do is input information for their own projects and follow the predetermined process. Ta dah!

Time Tracking

If you’re interested in learning more about time tracking software, EverHour has you covered with their top list (from 2017, but still valid).

Password Management

We change our passwords regularly to ensure safety and compliance, but it can be a pain to remember which password for all the multiple sites, and let’s not talk about MFA (multifactor authentication).

Workflow Automation

Document Storage and Sharing

When it comes to document sharing updates, email is not always the best way to be productive. This is where online storage is best placed to help.

Productivity Blockers

Distractions are inevitable with the news updates and announcements from the government. This makes it very difficult to be productive, so blocking some websites during working hours, might just help you get work done.

Stopping Interruptions

“No matter where you are working from, once out of focus, it takes you an average of 25 minutes to fully focus again!”

Make Sweet, sweet…music.

Music is the one thing that powers many of our most effective teams. Working in an open plan office can turn a music playlist into a matter of contention. This is why we are so happy to have headphones readily available these days. If you don’t want to listen to your favourite playlist and need to get into the zone or ‘find your flow’, there are some options.

Other Productivity Bits

On a final, more sombre note, we wish you and your family navigate through this health crisis. If there is anything that you need as a contractor – whether it’s help with your CV, training advice or just a chat about your current role, please contact a member of our team. We’re all online and happy to help lighten the load as much as we possibly can.