Work From Home Tools

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, possibly forever! The United States has seen an unprecedented shift of work moving from the work office to the home office. The WFH acronym was born.

During the second week of March 2020, Next Century Technologies shifted its workforce to work-from-home status and put a halt to almost all on-site visits. Staying productive and communicating well while at home is quite the challenge. We leveraged our existing technology to make this happen but still ran into some bumps along the way. It was a great learning experience, and we shared that experience with other business owners through a series of Zoom webinars (click here to see info on our webinars).

Here is a list of technologies we leveraged to make work-from-home work for us!

Microsoft Teams

Collaboration software for the entire team is a must to keep communications going, and our go-to product is Microsoft Teams. Included with most of the Office365 licenses, this product is very similar to the Facebook platform with some extra features thrown in. Along with public/private chats, we can share websites, pictures, videos, GIFs and comments to posts, just like Facebook. In addition, we can store files on the platform and share them. We can also leverage the video conferencing features to call each other on the platform. There is a calendar feature as well.

Hosted VoIP Phones

We utilize and sell our own hosted VoIP solution called ProVoIP. Our goal is to answer every call that comes into the office with a live human. Hunt groups have been setup to route the calls to staff at their homes. Some of us have handsets at home, but most use their computers or their cell phones to answer calls. The caller really has no idea if we are at home or in the car. If one of our staff places a call over the ProVoIP mobile app, it hides their personal cell number and lists the caller ID as Next Century Technologies. All these great features plus no long term commitments makes ProVoIP a powerful platform for businesses that rely on phone calls. You can learn more about our ProVoIP product here.

Enterprise File Sync-n-Share by Datto Workplace

We utilize and sell Datto Workplace for file sync-n-share. A file server at the office is not easy to access securely from home. With Datto Workplace, all the files are in the cloud, all the time. Certain folders can be sync’d to a local drive if needed. Files can be shared to the public or other team members through a set of simple permissions. Files can be accessed from desktops as well as mobile devices. Best of all, files are backed up for 6 months and restoring a lost file takes only 2 clicks. With its intuitive interface, advanced security features and reporting, plus ease of sharing, Datto Workplace is a great reason to ditch an on-premise file server.

Person typing on laptop at home

Putting It All Together

Our workdays start with a morning video conference meeting hosted in MS Teams. We go over our plans for the day and discuss any issues that need to be addressed. We also discuss any new information or restrictions on the COVID-19 front. One of our team members takes meeting notes, and posts them afterwards on a MS Teams channel.

Throughout the day, the team communicates with each other through Teams. Impromptu video calls occur as needed. During the lunch hour, a Teams video conference is scheduled not for work, but for social time. Attendance is optional.

At the end of the day, each team member posts a typed summary of their day in Teams.

Work from Home!

Have questions? Need help making your work from home work? We are happy to help. Call us at (859) 245-0582 or click on the yellow “Schedule time with me” button at the bottom of this website. Consults are free!

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Tracy Hardin

Tracy Hardin is President and founder of Next Century Technologies in Lexington, KY. She has a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Kentucky and has earned certifications from Novell, Cisco and CompTIA. Her specialties in the field of IT are network design and security, project management and improving productivity through technology. She loves helping people by sharing her knowledge of tech.