Productivity is one of the biggest challenges that employees face when working from home. While many report increased output levels when working remotely, it also presents challenges when you’re trying to collaborate as a team.

With more team members working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, technology is essential to collaborate efficiently and effectively. If your organisation has recently made the switch to working from home, here are five technologies that can help you increase workforce productivity, including non-work ideas that will help teams bond.

1. Video conferencing apps

Rather than communicating via email and virtual chat, video conferencing is a great way to boost team productivity and fight off feelings of social isolation. Apps like Google Hangouts, Zoom and Skype allow you to host video calls with the entire team.

Kick off the day with a virtual roundtable, and use teleconferencing for one-on-one meetings. If you’re struggling to be productive when working alone at home, rally the team together on a group call and work in short bursts with the Pomodoro method.

2. Virtual collaboration platforms

While email is still a handy communication tool when working from home, group chat platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams provide teams with a far more organic way to work together in real-time. These instant messaging platforms allow you to create private group chats for projects to streamline communications, and collaborate quickly and effectively.

If you need to run virtual brainstorms, there’s an app for that as well. Mural and Stormboard can be helpful for mind-mapping and planning with the entire team.

3. Virtual to-do lists

When you’re working remotely, it can be harder to manage team projects efficiently. Luckily, there are plenty of apps to simplify the process. A tool like Asana allows you to keep track of projects and delegate tasks to certain collaborators — making it easier to check up on what’s happening and keep everything organised in one place.

If you prefer a more visual approach, Trello is a simple drag-and-drop app that allows you to create boards and to-do lists within those boards.

4. Online fitness challenges

Office fitness activities don’t have to stop just because the nation’s in lockdown. While it’s much harder to train for marathons or do yoga in the park, there are plenty of apps to get the team moving together. Use an app like Spliff to set a team challenge, such as doing 100 squats or 30 minutes of cardio every day. For every day someone misses a challenge, they contribute a small amount (i.e. $1) into the group Spliff account.

Charity Miles is another way to help the team stay fit while physical distancing. Pick a charity for your team and have everyone log their exercise, such as running, cycling or walking. For every mile (1.6km) you move, the company will donate to the charity of your choice.

5. Digital team-building activities

According to a study by Workplace Trends, two-thirds of all employees that work remotely aren’t very engaged in their workplaces. There’s no doubt that it’s tricky to keep team morale up when everyone is working remotely. However, apps like Kahoot and Skribbl can help you build workplace bonds from anywhere, at any time.

In addition, Kahoot and HQ Trivia allow you to run fun quizzes and trivia sessions for the whole team. These help employees learn more about each another, while also serving as a powerful tool to run polls and surveys to gauge employee sentiment. Alternatively, a virtual Pictionary app like skribbl.io or Drawasaurus can help break the ice and get everyone involved in a collaborative activity.

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