Remote working is no doubt the best option for professional workers even before the forceful transition caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One can imagine a work style that allows employees to execute their projects and obligations, achieving their goals from anywhere they please instead of commuting to an office every day to work from a designated desk.
This trend has grown over the years as companies and organizations are thrusting their teams into working from home, all thanks to the advancement in tech which makes real-time meetings and team collaboration possible without been physically present.
One of the technology advancement which has helped remote working thrive significantly is videoconferencing.
What is videoconferencing and its benefits?
This is a form of telecommunication that allows users to communicate in real-time at different locations through the reception and transmission of audio-video signals.
Videoconferencing allows the team to interact, exchange ideas, and contributions in a real-time manner from the comfort of their various locations and increase their professional bond while eradicating the feel of isolation.
There are numerous video conferencing apps globally, and they have witnessed a tremendous increase in demand over the past few months as video conferencing apps record 62M downloads during one week in the month of March with ZOOM topping the charts worldwide in February and March.
Work-from-home policies, social distancing, and government lockdowns have increased the demand for video conferencing apps, for both business and personal use. Because of this we recommend these top five to help you collaborate and have the best work experience with your remote team.
Zoom has the largest market share right now, thanks to COVID -19. It has become the go-to app for industries especially for small businesses and individuals. The free version allows up to 100 participants on a call. Though one of the disadvantages of the free version is that it can last 40 minutes per meeting before you have to start over. Designed to suit meetings, the zoom has features like breakout rooms, private back-channel chatter, and screen sharing, all built-in. Zoom offers a free and paid version for longer meting and larger crowd
2. Google Hangouts Meet
One of the best features about Google Hangout is that users can access Hangout (Hangout Chat) through their phones or computer, or the web browser, this is because it is tightly integrated with Google services which enable users to launch a video chat directly from Gmail and embed meetings into calendars without leaving the Chrome.
For non-paying users, it allows up to 10 – 25 participants at a call. For businesses that need extra and advanced tools, they can get the paid version. This version (Hangout Meet) can accommodate up to 250 participants with recording and document sharing features.
3. Microsoft Team
Microsoft Team is a bit more complex, though suitable for Office and Outlook savvy because it offers easy integration with other Office 365 apps Excel or PowerPoint files and other collaborating tools which include Slack itself.
Microsoft Team allows up to 250 participants with no real-time limits and the least team plan, Office 365 Business Essential starts at $5/month per user.
Note that the only free version is for school.
A robust version of this app is Skype for Business though it has been officially replaced by Microsoft Team. Ever since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2011, Skype has become well integrated with almost all Microsoft products, from Windows to the Xbox. The best part about the app is that it allows you to make calls to any telephone worldwide for low per-minute fees. The Skype video chat allows up to 50 people on any mobile device, tablet, or computer.
5. Cisco Webex Meeting
Webex is our favorite at Lagos Cowork when the network isn’t weak. It’s built for more engagement and can easily integrate with the tools and video devices you already use, Cisco Webex allows participants to join meetings in just a click, accessing video, audio, polling, and sharing features without needing to download a single plug-in.
The free version can take up to 100 participants at a time without real-time limits, though on a promotional offer.
Though the app you might be asked to use next may well not appear on the list, there are other options of videoconferencing tools in the market that still works depending on your team size, goals, and objectives.