Tools to Stay Connected During Lockdown

Tools to Stay Connected During Lockdown

-As published by ITSquad

Below are some areas that may be of interest to you to help you stay connected with your clients and work together while staying apart.
  • Email services like MailerLite and MailChimp make it easy to manage mailing lists and create email campaigns, like this one, to help you keep in touch with your clients.
  • If you're looking to provide contactless sales, Shopify can help you quickly get an online store up and running so that you can take orders and process payments online. You could consider productising some common services to simplify your offerings, making them easier for clients to understand and purchase.
  • With changes to the way your workplace operates, it may be useful to review your telecommunications. Modern cloud based solutions allow for very cheap phone systems to be setup with extensions in different physical locations. You may have your receptionist working at their kitchen table transferring incoming calls to a sales person working in an office at home or a staff member working in the warehouse. Automated attendants, voicemail to email options, time based diversion, and secure audio and video conferencing are available as part of modern cloud based solutions.
  • Online booking systems can make it easy for clients to schedule appointments without any toing and froing. An added benefit is that clients get reminders about upcoming appointments and can reschedule appointments themselves. This can be just as useful for virtual meetings as it is for when meeting in person. An online booking system may also be useful for managing click and collect style operations.
  • MailerLite now allows you to create full websites as well as landing pages. These are great features for quickly and cost effectively creating an online presence for your business or for an offer.
  • Claim your free Google My Business profile which connects with Google Search and Google Maps. It’s quick and easy to setup, and allows you to keep clients informed about your business, products and services, and offers.
  • If you're using free, consumer email services, this might be a good time to upgrade to a custom domain that reinforces your brand and leaves a more professional and credible impression with your clients.

Working Together While Staying Apart

  • Online storage solutions like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox all provide online storage which you can synchronise with your devices. Once your files are in the cloud, you can give anyone with an internet connection secure access to them. This is great for working with colleagues, but is also useful for sharing documents with clients.
  • I've already mentioned some benefits that modern cloud based phone systems provide. Collaborative solutions like Microsoft Teams and Slack also help you stay connected to the people you need to work with. These platforms provide a more effective way of staying connected than email and include secure file sharing, instant messaging, group chats, and voice and video calling.
  • Online tools like Microsoft Planner, Trello, and Asana help you to keep track of projects and tasks while working with others. These tools allow you to keep conversations and files linked to tasks, monitor who's meant to be doing what, and the progress that's being made.
  • Managing staff rosters and timesheets could be more complex for a while. You may need to stagger shift times and breaks. Some staff may suddenly become unavailable and you may need to quickly fill shifts. Staff may have additional demands and need flexibility to work more or less some weeks than others. Online scheduling tools can help you to be flexible and to keep in contact with your staff wherever they are.

Cyber Security - Protecting Your Devices and Data

Unfortunately, cyber criminals aren't resting while we're in lockdown. With COV-19 themed scams and more people working from home, hackers and those behind malicious attacks and ransomware are still working to take advantage of security vulnerabilities. Extra precautions are necessary to stop data ending up in the wrong hands or being lost. To keep you devices and data protected, make sure that you:

  1. install updates
  2. use anti-malware protection
  3. backup regularly
  4. choose unique, long, and strong passwords
  5. setup multi-factor authentication

IT Squad can help you cover the cyber security essentials, including backing up your Office 365 and G Suite accounts.