If you work remotely, staying in touch with your coworkers and supervisors is key to your success. With all the awesome online tools available today, it's easier than ever to work full time from the comfort of your own home. Here are some of the apps we like the best for remote workers. You'll find social networks for companies, collaboration software, chat apps, and more that can help you move into the future of working remotely.
Yammer is a full social network, designed specifically for internal use by companies. It's like your own employees-only Facebook, making it easy for employees to communicate and connect. The service is entirely cloud-based, and can be accessed by employees from anywhere - making it a great way for remote teams to stay in touch with distant coworkers.
Yammer lets employees create public and private groups, which facilitates communication between members of small teams. It's easy to use, especially if you're already familiar with Facebook, and its interface isn't cluttered up by unnecessary features. It's currently included with Microsoft Office 365 making it quite accessible for businesses of all sizes.
The basic tier of Yammer is free, and the Enterprise tier runs a modest $3 per user per month. It's designed to be equally useful for both small businesses and large enterprises, meaning it can scale easily along with your business. If your remote teams need to stay connected, Yammer is a great choice.
The only real downside to Yammer is that it's a social network, that's essentially all that it is. This keeps the program lightweight and streamlined, but it lacks project management and scheduling features. [yammer.com]
Podio is a cloud-based team collaboration software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. This web-based platform empowers teams to communicate, manage projects, and share data and content through the cloud. It has a modular design, and users can select "apps" to add to the program to accommodate their project needs.
Unlike Yammer, which is almost exclusively a communication tool, Podio blends communication with project management features. Pricing is set at $9, $14, and $24 per user per month, depending on which tier you need. There is a free version available, but it doesn't have the user management features that you get with the paid tiers.
Podio is best described as a "collaboration platform." It works like a social network, and users can create customizable "workspaces" where they can collaborate together. It has both a direct messaging feature and a built-in chat app, making it easy to communicate.
By visiting Podio's apps marketplace, you can purchase further modular features, including CRM tools, business development tools, and software development tools. Apps are available for all kinds of industries and business functions, so you can customize Podio for your particular company. [podio.com][click to continue...]
Acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, SlideShare has become one of the most useful social media platforms ever created for professionals. SlideShare allows users to share information in the form of PowerPoint presentations, PDF documents, infographics and videos embedded from YouTube.
The user interface is easy, providing the option to either click or scroll through the pages of each document with easy to see arrows, and a static page counter that lets you know what page you're on. And, with the ability to go full screen with one click, you can view each presentation in its full form.
Not Your Usual Social Media Platform
Although it's built for professionals, SlideShare is considered a social media platform - but it's much different than what you're used to.
While Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are built to facilitate social conversations, SlideShare is designed to facilitate the exchange of information.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "social media" as "forms of electronic communication... through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content."
SlideShare meets this definition to a tee, with one difference. The SlideShare community focuses on content and information first and conversation (including engagement) second. For example, this presentation on how to setup a school notification system is perfect for SlideShare, yet unlikely to be found on Facebook.
Slideshare Retains Some Social Familiarity
Although it's different than Facebook and Twitter, there are some familiar social features you’ll find on SlideShare. For example, in addition to accepting comments, each document can be “liked” and shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter.
By allowing users to comment on each upload, SlideShare encourages the conversation to stay relevant to the uploaded file.
You can also view the statistics for each slide that tell you how many people have viewed, liked and embedded each document. These statistics are a great measurement tool for businesses using SlideShare to reach more of their market.
Perhaps the best feature of all is the “notes” section, where the document creator can publish notes for each slide to summarize and provide credit where it is due.
How You Can Use Slideshare
Let’s say you're a brilliant problem solver and you’ve created a beautiful PowerPoint presentation on how to solve someone's problem. You want to share it with the world, but you can’t embed PowerPoint presentations on your website, you know that no matter how much traffic you get, people aren’t going to download a PowerPoint.
To make your presentation available to the world, you can upload your PowerPoint presentation to SlideShare where it will be available to everyone in a normal presentation format.
Once your presentation is uploaded to SlideShare, you can embed your presentation on your website just like you’re used to embedding YouTube videos. This will make your presentation available to people in the SlideShare community, as well as your regular website visitors.
Here are some more great ways you can use SlideShare for your business:
1. Market Your Business
If you're tired of posting endless marketing messages to Facebook that seem to go nowhere, SlideShare provides a unique opportunity to market your business in a more professional way. Because people come to SlideShare looking for high quality information, you can offer that here.[click to continue...]
You may think that you are effectively communicating with your employees, but ask them and you’re probably in for a big surprise. It seems easy enough on the surface, but communication in a work environment is complex and often confused with talking. If your employees are continually not getting your point, or even underperforming, it is probably time to take an inward look at the ways in which you can improve on your communication skills.
Do You Know Your Audience?
Not every business model is the same, and different employees will relate to your communication efforts in some ways better than others. For example, in a business where the majority of your staff is young, a mandatory, after hour, two hour staff meeting is not going to be well received. Consider other forms of communication such as small group meetings, emails and even SMS text messaging.[click to continue...]
Now more than ever, the ways in which consumers are accessing services and products change in the blink of an eye. This means that a small business needs to be quick on their feet and flexible in order to keep up and keep a steady income flow. There are some people who think that starting a small business is not much more than setting up a website or opening the store's doors. They quickly find out that there is much more to it, and will lose everything they have invested quickly if they don't adapt right away. Here are some ways in which you can not only avoid that happening to your small business, but will help you to grow it to be successful.
1. Stay Organized
There is a lot to be done every day with a small business, and you need to be organized to stay on top of it all. Keep a detailed calendar of your daily tasks, as well as important due dates in the future. Something small like an appointment can be easily over-looked, but could seriously hurt your small business if you forget about it. Or imagine if you forget to order an important stock item for an upcoming holiday. You will never remember everything on your own, so get in the habit of writing down all you have pending, and look at the calendar often during the day.[click to continue...]
As we are entering a new realm of cloud-based internet services, we are seeing the disappearance of installed software. It is now believed that the convenience and ease of these on-line services will eventually lead to software being sold as a service as opposed to as a product.
This SaaS (Software as a Service) approach is being embraced by businesses and industries of every type and size for a number of compelling reasons:
When you use web-based software there are no upfront costs or investments needed - you no longer need to buy multiple software packages for all of the desktops used in your business. Ongoing costs are also minimized as the provider of your online service is taking care of any maintenance issues. With traditional software you might need to install additional hardware to support the program adding to the overhead.[click to continue...]
Medical practices are now estimating that yearly, they are losing up to $150,000 due to patient no-shows. In multi-physician facilities and clinics the amount can easily surpass $1 million. As one clinic reports that they had 14,000 no-shows over the course of one year, a staggering number that could be reduced by automated SMS text messages.
Regardless of the size of the practice, profits are being lost due to the overwhelmingly amount of patients who cannot keep an appointment.
Why Use SMS Text
The act of notifying patients of an appointment is a time consuming task when taken on by a receptionist or secretary. That time could be spent doing other pressing office work if the physician utilizes SMS text messaging as a tool to remind patients of upcoming appointments.[click to continue...]
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