How to Mature Your Remote Work Toolset: 3 Steps to a True Distributed Work Platform

Neil Dholakia

While remote working is nothing new, its adoption and breadth have dramatically increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individual organizations and entire industries that never expected to go remote have suddenly found themselves with no other option — and in many cases, without the technology tools they need to support their newly at-home workers. 

These companies, as well as many businesses that have had a smattering of remote workers for some time, started with the basic productivity tools that have become table stakes for the modern workforce. These solutions provide a solid foundation. As remote work becomes the rule instead of the exception, however, organizations should consider how to evolve past the fundamentals towards an enterprise approach to distributed work. 

The evolution of remote work: Establishing the baseline

When an organization decides to support remote work, either by choice or due to circumstances like the coronavirus, they typically start by investing in productivity tools. 

Step one is typically file sharing, using services like MS OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. This is a simple continuation of LAN shared drives and allows for secure access to company documents. Next comes basic collaboration. Tools like MS Office365 and G Suite allow people to not only share files, but work on them together in real time. Collaboration can extend beyond documents into business applications as well, such as using Salesforce to collaborate and communicate on account plans.

Another key component of the remote work toolset is real-time communication. Solutions like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have helped groups stay in touch for years, but their utility and adoption have sky-rocketed with most employees out of the office. I think it’s safe to say that the desk phone is essentially obsolete; today’s workers rely on chat and video for the conversations that keep work moving forward. 

All of these productivity solutions are important. They are also not enough to truly facilitate the connections and collaboration that spur innovation and growth. 

The future of remote work: The distributed work platform

Extending your remote work toolset begins with expanding your definition of collaboration. Really working together cannot be accomplished by making comments in a Google doc at the same time. True enterprise collaboration empowers multiple teams and individuals to come together and create active, dynamic, contextual spaces that connect employees to the people and information they need. Our Jive customer base has been doing this for years. We’ve learned a tremendous amount from them about how to foster and further the sharing of work, projects, and goals. 

If enterprise collaboration is a step up from document collaboration, the virtual office is the successor to chat and video. Tools like Slack approximate the experience of using a phone to reach out to a colleague, but don’t solve for the impromptu conversations that happen when you knock on the door of your co-worker’s office or bump into someone in the break room. 

That’s where the virtual office comes in. A virtual office like Sococo provides real-time office availability for individuals. It shows if someone is in or outside their office and whether they are available for those chat or video conversations. It eliminates the need to start every chat with “You there?” — with a virtual office, you already know the answer. 

The third component of a complete distributed work platform is enterprise knowledge management. At Aurea, our vision of this is PeopleGraph, the mechanism that enables linking together the knowledge of an enterprise, including knowledge assets and the relationships between people. This layer acts as an intelligent, interconnected web that streamlines all aspects of work to enable everyone to work smarter and more efficiently. 

Taken together, enterprise collaboration, the virtual office, and enterprise knowledge management allow organizations to go beyond productivity to create a best-in-class remote work environment. Learn more about how Sococo and other Aurea tools support this vision in our recent webinar, Engage Remote Workers with a Virtual Office