Remote work is here to stay. A recent report from Ladders suggests that 25% of all jobs paying more than $80,000 will be remote before the end of 2022. As the pandemic drags on, businesses are experimenting with multiple work models, combining in-person office hours with remote work for some tasks. Despite the lack of personal contact, the workforce seems to enjoy working remotely. A survey by FlexJobs found that over 50% of men and women surveyed would quit if their remote work transformed into an in-person job. Ladders CEO Marc Cendella thinks that this enduring shift to remote work represents “the largest societal change in America since the end of World War II.”

Keeping In Touch With Software

The lack of immediate physical proximity to your coworkers makes internal communications tools incredibly important. Tools like Slack, Yammer, Clarizen, and Igloo have stepped up to the plate to try to connect remote workers with their teams to facilitate communication, file sharing, planning, and more. Not only do these tools replicate the benefits of being on a company’s internal network, they also replicate much of the functionality of modern social media. This allows employees to present problems, offer insights, and coordinate on projects via a familiar, tried-and-true paradigm of communication.

The recent shift to remote work has created an incredible demand for this type of software. The intense competition within this market niche has driven all of the major players to introduce powerful new features at a breakneck pace. At this point, most enterprise social networks do more-or-less the same thing. Choosing between tools becomes an issue of price, integration with your existing workflow, and scalability.

Yammer: Microsoft’s Facebook For Business

Yammer was purchased by Microsoft in 2012, and the industry giant has been integrating the innovative communications software with Office 365 enterprise plans since 2013. This gives Yammer full native integration with products like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, allowing seamless communications and collaborations without having to juggle multiple programs. Yammer analytics tools ensure that your business can reflect on how these tools are being used and improve workplace practices over time.

Slack: Chat Connections In Real-Time

If you’re more focused on messaging than integration, Slack has become a popular choice for many companies around the world. Slack allows a company to provide real-time text, voice, and video chat channels for all of its teams. It’s been slowly building up functionality on top of this model. Nowadays, Slack offers both in-browser apps as well as desktop and phone clients, with community-built integration for tools like Google Drive, GitHub, and Zendesk. While Slack offers some file-sharing features, it’s often criticized for how its networking model scales with large organizations, leading them to pursue other solutions to exchange files between team members. Slack is free, but it locks some functionality behind a subscription which can be purchased for $6.67 – $15 per user per month.

The Best Internal Communications Tools?

Choosing between internal communications tools will only get more challenging as time goes on. Subscription-based models and plenty of competition ensure that software developers work hard to provide more functionality and better tools to retain their subscribers. This means that the big question isn’t what software you use, but how you use it. Keeping communication channels open, ensuring that employees feel comfortable using them, and using analytics to improve your teamwork and workflow will help you maintain productivity in today’s remote work environment.