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6 technologies that changed the way we work

5G
5G is the next generation of cell networks, rolling out across America this year, and it promises to make remote work a lot easier. Providing speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G – designed to handle more devices than ever.

A stable and fast connection is elementary to remote working – particularly for CPU-intense video communication apps. Where remote work locations may have been previously limited by connection to Wi-Fi or ethernet, 5G will help expand potential job sites and providing more opportunities for distributed working.

VR and IM communication
Business instant messenger like Slack and Twist and video conferencing tools like Zoon, help transport everyday team collaboration to a remote setting. They offer an easy and cheap solution for distributed teams looking to replicate an in-person synchronous experience.

Virtual reality is promising to take this to the next level. While many VR meeting tools are still in beta, they provide good ideas of what a virtualized meeting environments might look like. For fully-remote companies teams looking for a more personal and authentic conference call experience, VR is a powerful new development.

Admin automation
Working remotely offers people unprecedented autonomy in how they structure work and manage their environment. By relying on individual self-reporting and self-organization, remote work introduces a complex new layer of admin into employees’ lives. To ensure collaboration, performance accounting and management all stay fluid, they need to ensure their work activities, schedules and expenses all stay visible.

Automation means that this new digital coordination need not come at the expense of a remote worker’s efficiency. A slew of smart technology has already solved the biggest issues: automatic time trackers like Timely can now create accurate time sheets for employees and keep managers on top of workloads; AI scheduling apps like Dewo can intelligently book meetings around remote teams schedules; and smart expensing apps like Expensify can document company receipts via a quick scan from a mobile phone camera.

Productive assistants
While autonomy directly supports employee motivation, being completely responsible for how you structure and manage your work can be unsettling. Remote workers need a quick understanding on how they work in order to manage their productivity – from peak times of concentration to distracting behaviors.

Collections of tools designed to help remote workers optimize their workflows and stay on-task makes the whole ordeal manageable. Productivity personal assistants can use AI to predict a user’s working patterns – revealing how much they switch context, as well as the apps and websites that sink their time. A new market in anti-distraction tools also serves to protect remote workers from disruptive Slack and email pings when they’re trying to focus.

Cloud storage and computing
Many in-house teams rely on cloud storage to create quick backups, keep company documents in one shared space, and enable access from multiple devices – like Google Docs and Dropbox. But cloud computing and cloud-based tools are quickly becoming the norm.

There is now a cloud-based version or alternative that can be accessed from anywhere. Since many in-office teams are already using these virtual tools, a significant amount of businesses are already sitting on the basic means for geographically untethered working.

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