In less than a month, COVID-19 has forced many businesses to re-think their operations. Public health and safety concerns are keeping more and more customers at home while government agencies stress the importance of social distancing. It’s a challenging time for small business owners in every industry across Canada.
The good news is that we live in the digital age, a time when we’re all connected online.
Many of the things you do at the office can be done from home, including replying to emails, collaboratively editing team documents, or even hosting meetings. Most importantly, working from home (WFH) allows you to continue managing all aspects of your business amid the uncertainty of this pandemic. Do you already have a great work from home environment set up with the right technology and space? The next step is to ensure you and your team have the right collaboration tools, so you can continue to be productive. There are many tools to help you with meetings, project management, scheduling, and communication. With so many options, it can be hard to know which will work best for your business. Several tech companies now offer free access to their applications to help businesses transition from the office environment to working from home. To save you time and help you work as efficiently as possible, we’ve compiled a list of some key WFH apps with free trials!
Google’s G Suite
The G Suite is a bundle of applications that allows you to create, connect, and control all aspects of your business online. In early March, Google announced free access to the Enterprise edition of G Suite to all customers until July 1. Here are a few ways your business can use it to work from home effectively:
- It provides a secure network to protect you and your team from cyber threats such as spam and email compromise scams.
- It allows for seamless integration with other third-party business solutions such as Salesforce.
- You can make informed, strategic decisions using data analysis insights in apps like Google spreadsheet.
Click here to learn more about the Enterprise edition of G Suite.
Atlassian is the company behind Jira, Trello, and other project management software systems that are used by more than 150,000 businesses worldwide. Their solutions include:
- Agile tools such as Jira Software, Align, and Confluence to help you plan, develop, and deliver products.
- Helpdesk software such as Jira Service Desk, Opsgenie, and Statuspage to help you manage IT incident requests.
- Coding tools such as Jira Software, Bitbucket, and Sourcetree to help you test, collaborate, and deploy products.
- Collaboration platforms such as Trello, Confluence, and Jira Core to help your team stay on top of and discuss ongoing projects.
You can now access the cloud-based editions of Jira Software, Confluence, Jira Service Desk, and Jira Core for your small business for free.
Allow your team to connect seamlessly and move your communication to the cloud with Microsoft Teams. For a limited time, Rogers is offering customers free access for 6 months, which gives you access to:
- Unlimited Teams chat
- Built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling for meetings
- 2GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal file storage
- Access to Microsoft Office apps such as Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Whiteboard, Stream, Sway, and Yammer Enterprise
Microsoft launched Teams to extend and replace the capabilities of Skype for Business. To learn more about how to roll out Teams across your business and for access to technical resources, click here.
Adobe Creative Cloud
For all your design and production needs, there’s the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). If you’re a current CC user, you’re eligible for a free two-month subscription. All you have to do is log into your account on the Adobe website, cancel your current subscription and then select the offer. Because of COVID-19, Adobe has also adjusted the terms of their other software to help businesses with:
- Document sharing: Web-based PDF services on Adobe.com are free through May 31.
- Data analytics: To meet the needs of enterprise customers, Adobe Analytics and Experience Manager will be more accessible, so you can make use of their content management, email, forms, and signature technology.
- Adobe Summit: The annual conference will be streamed online on March 31 and will include sessions to educate customers on how to utilize CC applications.
For more information, head to their website.
The Slack platform has paved the way for more productive communication, especially for remote work. You can house all your team’s communication in one platform, divide conversations by topic with channels and host meetings with video calls. The Slack App directory allows you to plug in over 2000 services, including Google Drive and Office 365. Slack for Enterprise supports collaboration with unlimited channels and gives you visibility of access to your data. In response to more and more companies switching to a WFH environment, Slack is giving all nonprofits free access to the standard or plus plan for three months.
Despite current events, you can ensure business runs as smoothly as possible with the right online tools and software. You can also make sure you’re as prepared as possible by staying updated on the latest resources to help your small business navigate COVID-19. Visit our resources page.