Cloud Tools To Run A Virtual Office

Cloud tools to run a virtual office

During this uncertain time, officed based workers have been presented with new and unexpected challenges. At Ammeon, like many other companies, we have had to adapt and scale. Luckily our journey to the cloud had began in 2018. In the next series of posts, we are sharing our experiences to help you and your teams.

In this post, we will discuss what tools and systems we implemented to assist with our internal communication and HR processes.

As a medium-sized company, we couldn’t afford to spend a fortune on systems. So, we didn’t. We researched widely and picked wisely. Here is the stack we chose:


Communication

Group communication is vital in times of crisis. In the current emergency, our business couldn’t function without the communication tools we have tested and implemented over the past 18 months.

Ramping from zero to full adoption isn’t going to happen overnight. Tools like Slack take a bit of getting used to because of the asynchronous nature of the chat. Zoom is click and go, but bear with it and you will reap the rewards.

Slack

Communicating broadly across sites is challenging at best. We landed on the collaboration tool Slack, which allows direct communication with employees and allows for asynchronous communication via personal IMs, groups and channels. It takes a while to get critical mass and adoption but by insisting on its sole use we have successfully created an ecosystem where we can broadcast information as well as receive feedback.

You can integrate with simple productivity tools and integrate with third-party systems. You can also share files and it’s available on mobile. What’s interesting is once usage begins, it takes on a life of its own. Banter channels and special interests like gaming or hobbies start to spring up. You don’t need a moderator: set a few simple rules and trust your people. Ensure people are conscious of security and you are away.

Zoom

Zoom is our tool of choice for setting up conference and video calls. The quality of the calls, in terms of picture and sound was better than anything else we tried. It’s really made the transition to home working very straightforward.

Slacks quality is outstanding, but you can’t send links outside the organisation. Our team love Zoom for our 3:00 pm Virtual coffee meetings where we sit and chat about informal topics for 15 minutes. For those with kids stuck at home during the Covid crisis, you may have noticed that Zoom is being commonly used by teachers to connect kids and their pals. The company must be booming right now.

HR Systems

Having a set of HR systems which are not only functionally complete but also usable and accessible remotely has allowed our People Operations team to scale a shared services function with a relatively small team. Consistency, templates and automation in all the tools have reduced admin, improved employee self-service and allowed HR to move up the value chain. Here’s what we picked

PeopleHR

After road-testing a heap of different HR tools, we were excited to choose PeopleHR as our tool of choice. There are masses of HR tools out there. But for a company of our size (currently around 200 people), it’s an ideal choice.

Not only does it do all the basic HR admin storage, timesheets, holiday planners but it also integrates with a rake of other systems. The bulk upload of data was easy, the user interface is modern and easy to use. It has powerful reporting capability and mobile app. We even worked with finance to integrate the expenses module which has totally streamlined the user experience of submitting expenses by using the mobile phone.

The killer app though is process automation. Auto-generation of letters reports and processes is fab. It doesn’t have all the things that Workday has but you don’t need half of the functionality they have in a smaller enterprise. What’s more, the output from PeopleHR can be extracted into our SaaS accounting tool Xero which keeps our finance people up to date with changes to employee data.

Greenhouse

As a services organisation, we handle a huge number of job applications across a number of different roles. Greenhouse is the creme da la creme of candidate management systems.

The tool allows recruiters to push out to our website and to various third-party recruitment sites. Some API integration is required but your website provider can help you with this. The tool allows you to post multiple roles and manage workflow as candidates move from stage to stage in a fully configurable workflow. The system automates responses to potential candidates. Reporting allows managers to see what is in the candidate funnel and help identify where in the process candidates fall out. API integration with PeopleHR simplifies the hiring processes by ensuring that when a candidate is hired data is pushed into the HR system, so we don’t have to reenter the information. Sweet!

We use a heap of other online tools for group whiteboards, Kanban boards and so on. Follow the guidelines above and you will be up and running in no time. And maybe after this crisis is over, remote working may continue to be a desirable and productive way of working for your company.


Of course, tools are only as effective as how they are used – read our post on how to effectively communicate while working remotely.


Author - James Ryan - Ammeon

Author
James Ryan,
COO | Ammeon


Learn More About Ammeon’s Cloud Solutions

Penetration Testing In DevOps

Ammeon | August 5, 2020

Pentesting should be performed on an ongoing basis to keep up with the continuous developments

READ MORE

A Brief Introduction To DevSecOps Techniques

Ammeon | July 8, 2020

Here we explore some of the ways one might go about implementing DevSecOps in their organisation to ensure confidence in security at scale.

READ MORE

Cybersecurity For Remote Workers

Ammeon | July 1, 2020

The Recent Adaption Of Remote Working Has Seen Thousands Of Companies Adapt To Working From Home. This Can Cause Issues For Companies Who Are Not Prepared.

READ MORE