KAMPALA – The COVID-19 pandemic that hit last year has since changed the workplace as we know it. Many lost their jobs, companies down sized and majority now work from home.
According to the recent presidential address after the lockdown, His Excellency the President of Uganda allowed only 20% of the employees to work from office. This has left employees working twice or thrice a week remotely.
We have all adjusted to this new normal despite the challenges that employees face while working from home; the increase in mental health cases due to limited physical and emotional interaction with others, distractions from children, destruction of work property from pets, among others.
Working from home requires more than just a laptop and fast, reliable internet. You need collaboration, communication, creative thinking, and a task/activity schedule. In effect, technology experts have provided various solutions and tools on the market to enhance the remote working experience for employees. These however, come with one free trial period for a couple of days in addition to purchasing the tool.
Open-source tools on the other hand are free of charge and effective as their counterparts. Some of the available open source tools to boost productivity include:
Jitsi; a tool for video conferencing
Jitsi is entirely free and offers features which enable you create meeting links, share links amongst colleagues, record, screen share, and more. No registration is required. To create a meeting, click on the link: https://meet.jit.si/ and share it with colleagues. For security and privacy purposes, companies can download Jitsi on their servers and customize.
Libre-office is an alternative solution to the commonly used Excel, Word, and PowerPoint applications. It’s also free. I love Libre because I can edit and annotate PDF files. With Libre office, you can create a fillable PDF file with buttons, form fields and more. Say goodbye to old tedious forms and go digital.
Docusign is another powerful tool that can enhance productivity. We all know that every organisation deals with documents that need to be signed or approved. Docusign is an internationally recognised tool that supports digital signing, accelerates online transactions, and provides real-time document trails for signatures. Docusign is not entirely free, but the digital signing feature is free.
Quire is a project management solution for small and medium institutions. It is designed to manage collaboration, file sharing, task management, real-time editing and project management. Managers can assign roles to employees and sort the assignments according to priority. Quire is available on mobile apps supported by iOs and Android.
These tools and many more can enhance your productivity while working from home in addition to easing your work.
The writer, Shakilah Nagujja is the Manager of the MUBS eLearning Centre, a lecturer in the MUBS Business Administration Department and a PhD Student at Nelson Mandela University.