This blog was written during the 2020 COVID Pandemic.
Are you hanging in there, baby?
Earlier this week, we shared helpful tips on how to remain productive while working remotely, as companies large and small across the world are facing unprecedented challenges in how they conduct business. While many businesses are embracing policies of working remotely, to others, this is uncharted territory and many do not know where to begin.
In response to these challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, global technology companies are doing their best to provide free and low-cost tools to help remote workers stay connected.
Starting this week, Google will roll out free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally at no additional cost until July 1, 2020, which allows for meetings with up to 250 participants, live-streaming for up to 100,000 viewers, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Companies and businesses can take advantage of the six-month free trial of the premium version of its Microsoft Teams application. Users will gain access to features which aren’t available on the free plan including better access to scheduling, meeting features, recording, and storage.
To assist in supporting the community and its customers, LogMeIn will be providing free Emergency Remote Work Kits for healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, non-profit organizations, small businesses owners, and current customers. The kits include GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, which allows users to host presentations for up to 3,000 users, and LogMeIn, which provides remote access.
While Zoom already provides a free version of its video conferencing software, the company is actively monitoring servers “to ensure maximum reliability amid any capacity increases, as uptime is paramount,” and scheduling helpful informational sessions and on-demand resources.
Effective immediately, Cisco Webex has expanded the capabilities on their free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, and the features include unlimited usage (no time restrictions), supporting up to 100 participants. They are also providing free 90-day licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers, and expanding the usage of existing customers at no additional cost.
Vidyard for Internal Communications:
Vidyard for Internal Communications will be offered to businesses at no cost until June 30. The cloud-based solution offers capabilities including centralized administration of security policies; capture, share, and store unlimited video, access control to video content to ensure only authenticated employees can access the content, and password-protected videos.
RingCentral, the cloud-based communications program, is offering RingCentral Office, free of charge, to educators, healthcare providers, and non-profit organizations who have been affected by the pandemic. This includes HD-quality audio and video conferencing, messaging, business phones, SMS, and fax.
Slack is offering “free upgrades to paid plans” for teams working on coronavirus pandemic research, response or mitigation. The platform is also rolling out updates that’ll allow users to organize channels, compose a message and save it as a draft, search using a navigation bar, and more. Slack already has a free version of its product that anyone can download.
Calendly is offering free integrations with Zoom and GoToMeetings through June 30, and is providing free premium plan access to researches and teams helping to solve the COVID-19 crisis.
The cloud content management and file-sharing service is offering a free 90-day trial for small and medium businesses and lifted user limits for its customers to help them accommodate to an all-remote workforce. Box is also releasing new integrations with Microsoft’s cloud software products, including Microsoft Teams.
The web-infrastructure and website-security company is offering free seats of Cloudflare for Teams for small businesses through September 1, and throwing in an optional 30-minute on-boarding session with a technical expert.
The professional social networking service has provided free resources and unlocked 16 courses which include tips on how to use a variety of virtual meeting tools, staying productive, and managing stress (sign us up!).
Apple’s creative professional apps – video editing software Final Cut Pro X and music production suite Logic Pro X – are both getting 90-day trials for a limited time, helping creatives working from home to cut down on costs. The 90-day trial is available for now for Final Cut Pro X and will arrive in the coming days for Logic Pro X.
As we continue to adjust to new times, some businesses are allowing the slow return of employees for the sake of those that prefer working in the office. It’s important for these businesses to set up safe practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and sanitizing surfaces just isn’t enough for people working together eight hours a day. If you’re looking to start opening up, we suggest following this evidence-based return to work plan to keep your employees and company in good health.
In the meantime, we will continue to update this list as we learn about new ways to stay connected in the workplace for those staying home. See you on Slack!