Microsoft, Slack, Cisco, and other tech giants are rolling out remote working tools to help businesses sustain productivity during the coronavirus pandemic. In this article, we discuss 15 such tools to help your team stay safe and efficient when they’ve been forced to work from home. As the world […]
15 Free Tools to Streamline Remote Work During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis
Free flagship cloud products
Atlassian is a remote working and productivity giant, with several tools for project management, collaboration, software development, and more.
The company announced that starting March 18, 2020, its flagship cloud products will be available for free to teams with 10 members or less, in addition to their already free resources for teams of all sizes. Unlike most remote work tools on this list, this is not a time-bound offer.
COVID-19 Resource Center
Benefits administration provider Benefitfocus will offer a COVID-19 Resource Center that demystifies health-related requirements for employees in the time of coronavirus. The Center also includes communication tools for remote working employees, apart from government data on reported cases, proprietary health data insights, a community forum, and more.
This resource center is only available to existing customers.
Free Business edition for SMBs
Box is a popular file storage and collaboration app that supports nearly every device out there. Box CEO Aaron Levie announced that SMBs who need to use Box can sign up for the Business edition, which will be free for the next 90 days. Box Business has loads of useful features, like up to 5GB upload in a single file, unlimited users, advanced security, and mobile security controls.
4. Cisco Webex
Free services in 53 countries
Networking and communications giant Cisco has made its flagship Webex platform available for free in the countries most affected by coronavirus. This will prove to be a useful tool for remote work as employees around the world try to stay connected with their colleagues despite the lack of in-person meetings.
As of March 16, Free Webex was available in 53 countries, with features such as unlimited use and up to 100 participants.
Free Standard edition software for 3 years
Unified communications provider 3CX announced that the Standard edition of its software is now available for free. With the coronavirus outbreak, remote work tools like this will help companies transition to a new operational model.
For this reason, 3CX has made its software free for a whopping 3-year period, allowing for a comfortable transition. You can use 3CX for business telephony, virtual meetings, chat, and conference scheduling.
Free tool for secure access to enterprise networks
DH2i provides a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) and Smart Availability™ software that helps businesses manage their network footprint. As more employees work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, they will likely need access to vital company assets from outside the company network.
That’s why DH2i has released DxOdyssey Work from Home – a tool that gives remote workers secure access to enterprise networks from any device – free until August 31, 2020.
Google is the go-to online productivity platform for millions of workers around the world. In response to coronavirus, Google has introduced a free upgrade to its G Suite for business subscription.
Users will now be able to hold larger meetings (up to 250 participants) as well as record them. You can also live stream for up to 100,000 viewers – an essential remote working capability at this time.
These features are typically limited to the Enterprise edition but will be accessible at no added cost until July 1, 2020.
Free healthcare recruiting software for essential healthcare providers
JazzHR has launched a remote working tool particularly for HR teams impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
In a press release, the company announced that essential care service providers can access its healthcare recruiting software at no additional charges. This will help care providers quickly onboard new talent, using digital channels to limit in-person interactions, and providing relief to the vast populations hit by COVID-19.
Increased recording limits on Free plan
Loom is a video communication software that lets you capture and share quick video notes. The company realized that remote working drives up the volume of video recordings by 40%, and this number will grow as confirmed COVID-19 cases increase around the world.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Loom announced on March 12, 2020, that it would remove the recording limits on its free plan. Loom Pro is also available at a 50% discount, and a free trial will now last for a month instead of 14 days.
Free access to Microsoft Teams
An important requirement when working remotely is the ability to chat with large, distributed teams without in-person interactions. To address this, Microsoft has made its Microsoft Teams offering for chat, meetings, calling, and collaboration free for the next six months. Microsoft EVP and president, JP Courtois, announced it in the following tweet:
11. NICE inContact
Free access to digital contact center software
On-premise contact centers will be hugely hit by the coronavirus outbreak, as hundreds of employees typically work together in a shared space. A digital contact center is a safer alternative, such as CXone@home by NICE inContact (available till April 15, 2020).
The solution moves contact centers to a remote environment in under 48 hours, providing free access to the CXone cloud software for 45 days. Features include unlimited agents, 5GB storage, and 99.99% uptime.
Free access to communication app for shift workers
Leading workforce management solutions provider Quinyx is going all out to provide remote working tools to the deskless workforce during the coronavirus scare. On March 16, 2020, the company announced that its communication app will be absolutely free for shift workers for the next six months.
Apart from two-way communication, Quinyx supports a pulse survey to track employee stress levels, a built-in employee directory, and the ability to recognize shift worker contributions via badges.
Free select features for cybersecurity
Does your remote working toolkit for coronavirus factor in cybersecurity? If not, take a look at Senseon – the automated threat detection, investigation, and response platform provider that’s making select features free for use.
Mainly, its Endpoint 360 feature is designed to secure remote/field devices. As employees use their personal devices to work from home, you can leverage Senseon to protect the business from possible vulnerabilities – free for the next six months for new customers, starting March 20, 2020.
Slack is already a hugely popular remote working tool, and during the coronavirus quarantine, its user numbers will only rise. Slack is committed to providing non-profits and other organizations associated with COVID-19 relief with full support.
If you are part of this sector, Slack’s Standard and Plus plans are now free for the next three months. Here is a recent tweet from Slack’s Stewart Butterfield on this upgrade:
Specially designed remote working suite
Zoho has assembled a remote working suite designed explicitly for the coronavirus crisis available to everyone. This includes the following:
- Cliq, Meeting, and Showtime for chats and communication
- WorkDrive, Projects, and Sprints for productivity
- Assist for remote support and assistance
- Writer, Sheet, and Show for documents, spreadsheet, and presentation management
The suite is available for free until July 1, 2020.
Rapid Innovations to Tackle a Global Crisis
Companies are stepping up to deliver tools that enable others to maintain productivity while doing their best to contain the spread of COVID-19. Even Apple’s app store is now fast-tracking the launch of credible apps related to COVID-19. Apple is also waiving the annual membership fee in some cases to ensure that these tools reach the widest possible audience.
Keep in mind that this is an evolving space – we recommend tuning into Gartner’s April 11 webinar titled “Overcome Remote Work Challenges Amid COVID-19” to stay abreast of the latest movements. Stay safe and stay connected!