The understanding of office work has recently changed significantly, particularly because of the pandemic. More and more organisations are going for teleworking; for some, it is a big challenge. We have previously collected a variety of digital tools and solutions for teleworking, but sometimes it is not enough for creating a successful telework culture. Therefore, this time, we share the experience of the RIGA COMM participants in creating a virtual environment for productive work and a united team of employees.

The most important thing – enough communication

Although moving to work remotely initially at Neopay (part of NEO Finance) was a major challenge due to a lack of experience, the Lithuanian financial company dealt with it impeccably and the results achieved show that productivity has even increased. This may have been due to the company’s investment in internal communication and team building. As before, teams met with executives remotely every week and prepared monthly presentations of results.

Much attention was paid to informal communication. Each month there were team-building events and different quizzes, but on Fridays, there were presentations to get to know colleagues so that newcomers could get into the team as soon as possible and long-term employees would get to know each other better.

As well as working in an office, maintaining sufficient communication is most important when working remotely, indicates Neopay. “Remote working led to new communication channels, learning to use new platforms and ways of sharing information. In order to avoid confusion, it is important to plan and record all tasks or appointments, so that everyone involved can clearly know their responsibilities,” told Aleksėjus Loskutovas, Head of administration at NEO Finance.

United and cooperative team – without meeting each other

The Latvian digital marketing agency iMarketings.lv has already had teleworking experience before the pandemic, as employees could work two days a week outside the office. Nevertheless, Sergejs Volvenkins, head of the company’s digital division, admits that continued working remotely presents the challenge of being able to maintain a team spirit and passing the company’s values on to new employees. In order to maintain “contact” between the company’s employees while working remotely, virtual appointments take place in the company every week. Once every two weeks, there is a meeting where management tells you how all the projects are doing, so that there is no feeling that the work in the company has stopped. Similarly, once every two weeks, there are virtual coffee drinking meetings, which, as in the presence, allow you to chat about topical issues in an informal atmosphere and get to know each other better. In addition, it is useful not only for new employees, but also for those who have been working in the company for quite some time.

Even before all restrictions, iMarketings.lv launched an initiative that is also very valuable in remote working conditions and helps to form a united and cooperative team: every week, each colleague has the opportunity to vote for another colleague whom he or she would like to say special thanks, for example, for sharing one’s knowledge. The employee who receives the most votes gets a pleasant reward – from dainties or event tickets to extra paid leave. Sergejs is pleased to admit that this reward goes to different colleagues and that the team is cooperative and supportive in teleworking conditions.

It is not important for the management of iMarketings.lv what the employees do during their working hours, but the main thing is to get work done. Moreover, the Employee Performance Score (KPIs) shows that employees are as efficient or even more efficient as working from the office. However, given that it is more difficult to distinguish between working time and leisure time when working from home, the company’s policy is to communicate work issues only during working hours, so that people could fully relax and recover energy during leisure hours.

Transition to working from home offers additional opportunities

The Estonian financial technology company Wallester also managed to successfully transfer all work processes to working from home and even improve the efficiency of employees. When the company started teleworking, the office’s schedule was maintained and it allowed the optimum pace and discipline of work to be maintained. Regular appointments from the conference room were directed to Zoom, but the project results were discussed on Skype. As before, Trello, Slack and other cloud services were used in the project management. When starting to work remotely, there were concerns that the home environment might be hindering productivity, even though professionalism of the employees allowed them to return quickly to the path of productivity.

While working remotely, the willingness of some employees to develop professional skills decreased, the adjustment of each employee’s individual career development plan and the introduction of additional incentive indicators helped to resolve it. It was noted that Wallester employees were happy to share useful information with colleagues on video chat tools and other communication channels.

“Teleworking, compared to working in an office, provides even more opportunities for professional growth. It is now easier to organise and attend conferences and educational seminars,” told the Wallester representatives.

Business technology exhibition and conferences

Learn about the latest technology, tools and techniques at the annual business and IT industry event RIGA COMM, October 14–15, where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation. An extensive conference programme will complement the technology exhibition.

RIGA COMM is held by the International Exhibition Company BT 1 in cooperation with Wallester, Cognizant, Intelligent Machines Riga, Riga TechGirls, SmartHR Latvija, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mailigen by Pipedrive, Finance Latvia Association, A.W.Olsen & Partners and other partners.

Work habits have been changing even before the pandemic, but many future work trends have become commonplace over the past year. As remote work becomes a reality, there is a need for new solutions that improve communication, process management and virtual meetings, as well as pay more attention to internal company communication, team building and atmosphere.

Get acquainted with the latest technologies that change the way we work at the business technology exhibition and conference RIGA COMM 2021 to be held October 14-15, Riga, Latvia. In this article, we have summarized the existing technologies that can improve your and your team’s performance.

Tools to achieve employees’ well-being and work-life balance

The Bottle team management solutions software helps colleagues collaborate and manage tasks, as well as manage various motivational elements. The solution developers identified three key factors to make any team great and created a product that takes care of those factors. It is a tool to manage and improve teamwork and team culture.

Neuroscience has demonstrated that learning new information with the elements of gaming and social networking is more effective than routine training methods and meetings with colleagues. The Efectio platform for employee involvement created in Latvia promotes the well-being of employees, the development of skills and the consolidation of teams, as well as bringing the values of the company to life in every team.

Mursion is a virtual reality solution for simulating emotional intelligence and other social skills relevant to the workplace. The goal of this solution is to make managers and employees more empathetic. How does it work? Mursion, by combining artificial intelligence and the interaction of living people, provides impressive virtual reality training. Using trained professionals who organize the interaction between learners and artificial images, Mursion simulations achieve realism and significant team improvements.

In order to prevent employee and team burnout, Timeoff helps to find time in the daily work plan for subordinates to recover, learn, reflect on what they have done, plan, and be creative and innovate. For any position, rest is as important as work, so the Timeoff developers believe that rest should be treated in the same way as work. To prevent burnout, the accumulation of holidays and days off, the company is developing a software tool to help companies implement measures such as compulsory leave, artificial holidays and even mental health days to strengthen the well-being of the organization.

More convenient remote communication

Yac is the solution for better communication and fewer meetings. It allows you to exchange voice messages and share the screen asynchronously. Instead of scheduling a video appointment or endlessly exchanging messages on Slack or another platform, shorten this conversation to a few voice messages or asynchronous screen sharing. Yac can be used for two-person or group communication.

The Loom video communication tool records and shares video messages from the screen, camera, or both, allowing you to transfer information faster and asynchronously compared to composing emails or organizing an online meeting.

Kona helps managers to follow the emotional mood of the team remotely and manage the team empathically. This tool keeps track of the team’s daily mood, determines the working styles of team members, and creates “health” reviews for the team.

People cannot handle loads of meetings, emails, chats, portals, and other apps. Soundbite is a platform for better remote communication that allows you to easily perceive, efficiently organize, intelligently analyse, and securely share verbal communication.

Productivity and automation

Holopod provides for accomplishing the most important jobs without the fear of missing out something important (FOMO – the fear of missing out; the fear of missing something), keeping the work-rest balance in your life, building boundaries for communication with your team to avoid burnout working remotely. This solution automatically updates the Slack status, blocks notifications, and keeps you synchronized with the team, allowing you to plan a productive workday. The tool allows you to plan times of continuous concentration, time for collaboration, and for yourself.

Clickup believes that productivity is generally compromised – there are too many tools to track all the information and they are often each in their own system. Therefore, ClickUp was created, which aims to ensure that all work information is in one place, allowing people to be more productive and free up at least 20% of their time that could be devoted to other things.

With Paperless you need just seconds to transform existing files into interactive, professional-looking documents without programming. It is a tool that helps you create, customize, and send documents that you can fill in and sign immediately, which will save you time by reducing errors and automating the workflow of documents. All documents are cryptographically signed, locked and protected from modifications.

Miro is anonline collaborative whiteboard platform to bring teams together anytime and anywhere, and make innovation process faster. This digital solution makes it possible to improve the ideation and brainstorming process by using Miro’s infinitely zoomable canvas with a variety of integrated tools and pre-made templates. Miro offers all the tools for creating a user’s story or customer journey map, web page frames, sprint planning, retrospectives and other working techniques. This makes it possible to involve remote teams in the processes of idea generation, working and decision-making, allowing them to work asynchronously or synchronously as easily as if they were in the same room.

Learn about the latest Smart HR technology, tools and techniques at the annual business and IT industry event RIGA COMM, October 14–15, where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation. An extensive conference programme will complement the technology exhibition.

RIGA COMM is held by the International Exhibition Company BT 1 in cooperation with Intelligent Machines Riga, Riga TechGirls, SmartHR Latvija, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mailigen, Finance Latvia Association and other partners.

Although there are various opinions and studies on whether remote work is effective for organisations and convenient for individuals, the virus-induced crisis is forcing employers and employees around the world to abandon face-to-face communication, rapidly acquire new skills and become significantly more digital. Today, there are many and different digital tools available to help you work remotely, promote digital communication, co-operation, and allow you to get feedback quickly!

Baltic companies will find appropriate digital solutions and technology partners at the RIGA COMM business technology event to be held on 15 and 16 October. Now, however, we would like to introduce you to digital communication and collaboration tools that help employees work flexibly and improve business productivity.

For medium-sized and large companies, the choice must be centralised
The leading researcher at possible.lv and IT security expert Kirils Solovjovs recommends the creation of a virtual private network, or a company virtual private network as the most secure solution to working remotely. This solution allows you to securely get access to the work network, all systems and documents without worrying about the reliability of the wireless network you are using. VPN installation should be centralised and should be entrusted to a competent company specialist. It should be stressed, however, that in every medium-sized or large company decisions on the choice of any digital tools should be entrusted to an IT department or department that would centrally choose the best solutions from both functionality and security perspective.

Reliability of the service provider
When choosing digital tools and cloud services, it is important to consider the reliability of the service provider and the service itself – how the service may be affected by the law of the country where the company is registered or physically located, will it operate smoothly and for as long as necessary, whether the user support will be available, will it be possible to retrieve the transmitted / supplied data, if necessary. It is also important to consider information security – whether the service provider has taken steps to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to the data, whether the data will not be deliberately passed on to a third party, whether there is a possibility that the data may be rectified, that the security has been sufficiently contemplated and cannot be hacked.

Company’s data security and availability
The most reliable tools in terms of service provider reliability, of course, are company-based tools, or at least those contracted for individual use. If an organisation chooses to use a publicly available and ready-to-use digital tool, it is important to carefully read through the terms of use and the rights of both parties, since they are likely to ensure a secure transfer of information and prevention against unauthorised access by your neighbours, for example, but will provide for the right of a service provider to use the transferred data. When choosing a service provider, it is important to assess the content of information – whether it is secret or contains sensitive information and whether its leakage may cause any problems.

There is also a variety of free and open source solutions that an IT administrator can install on a server, so a company does not have to worry about the security of data transmitted. As an example, the expert mentions the Jitsi video conferencing tool, which can be used as a more reliable alternative to the widely popular Zoom.

Clear company’s policy reduces mistakes made by people
The coronavirus has led to the largest mass exercise in remote working, it is high time to review the emergency and crisis management policies on the senior level management, so that the responsible employees know how to proceed; it is also likely that annual policy reviews and renewals should be carried out. In order to ensure the security of company’s IT infrastructure, employees should be reminded of the company’s IT user behaviour policy or guidelines – what action is allowed and what must not be done using company’s IT networks and resources, including e-mail.

Information for employees on security risks while working remotely
It is good to have a company that also has an employee remote work policy, draws employees’ attention not only to security of devices and Internet connection they are using, but also to that of their physical environment, for example, whether screens of their devices are not seen in surveillance cameras. If the company does not provide its employee with a secure and verified device, the IT specialist should make sure that the private device is secure and does not contain any malware. If the same device is used for both work and private purposes, it is recommended that you create separate work and personal profiles to prevent private and work files mixing up and minimise security risks.

Recommendations on IT security are provided by CERT.LV
The Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution of the Republic of Latvia CERT.LV has prepared recommendations on remote work in the state of emergency circumstances, general risks, storage of information to be processed, online meetings, VPN security, computers and access rights restrictions.

In cooperation with NIC.LV, the holder of the Latvian domain name register, CERT.LV has also created a DNA firewall. It is a free tool to protect individual users and organisations from cyberthreats, such as fake bank websites, fraudulent online trading platforms, sites spreading virus and malware, etc.

Available tools

Access to all necessary documents

Without easy access to organisation’s information resources, remote work would definitely become more complicated, if not stop at all. Some of the most popular document management tools are Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Sharepoint, Box, Xtensio and Dropbox.

Virtual private networks (VPN) to access your office systems and documents

Virtual private network (VPN) allows secure access to company’s intranet, all of the systems and documents on it, as if employees were working at their workspaces. Some of the available solutions – NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, Hotspot Shield, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, TunnelBear VPN, IPVanis and Private Internet Access.

Virtual meetings

To encourage structured talks, to be creative and put forward new ideas, to communicate important information “eye-to-eye”, there are services allowing users to host video calls and video conferences ‒ Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams (including Skype for Business), Cisco Webex Meetings, GoToMeeting, Slack, CyberLink U Meeting, BlueJeans Meetings, Jitsi Meet, Whereby and Adobe Connect.

Task management and team’s performance monitoring

Task and project management and planning tools make it easy to manage complex processes with multiple stakeholders and keep track of task execution status. The most popular tools are Asana, Trello, BasecampProductive, and ProofHub or for example a tool for creative projects like Milanote.

Internal communication and team building

Digital platforms and internal social networks, intranets, that can be used by businesses to exchange work-related information directly and to conduct internal communication activities, are the Latvian-made Whimsical, Yammer, Jive, Trello, Teamwork, Asana, Bitrix24 and Workplace by Facebook.

For chatting and quick communication

For quick exchange of operational information, organisations may use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Discord, Slack and Google Hangouts Chat.

For time tracking

Software for automatic real-time recording of working time allows you to improve your team’s productivity and to record man-hours spent on each project – Latvian Desktime, Estonian Toggl, Hubstaff, Rescuetime, Time Doctor, Timeneye, Harvest, Qbserve and Everhour.

Content management

You can use the available content management tools (CMS) WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3 or Wix to easily provide business related information on your website and the Internet.

eCommerce platforms

If your business is selling goods or services, choose one of the online store platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or PrestaShop.

Email marketing

Tools for automated emailing that make it easy and simple to connect with existing and potential customers worldwide are – the Latvian-developed Mailigen by Pipedrive, Smaily, Mailchimp, MailerLite, Salesmango, HubSpot, as well as ActiveCampaign.

Data visualisation tools

Simple business intelligence tools for convenient data visualisation provided by Latvian companies – Zoomcharts, eazyBI and Flex.bi.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

The following software is available to better serve your customers – Salesforce, Zendesk, MS Dynamics 365, Scoro, Pipedrive, Standard CRM by HansaWorld, SAP CRM, ZohoCRM, Sage CRM, Oracle CRM, Siebel CRM, Bitrix24, SugarCRM, vtiger CRM, Creatio, Meemo, Norgate and amoCRM.

Human resource management tools

Smart tools for recruitment, scheduling and assessment of working time are also available – Latvian CakeHR by Sage, Sympa HR, MS Dynamics 365, BambooHR, eddyHR, NetSuite SuitePeople, SAP SuccessFactors, Paddle HR, PurelyHR, Zenefits, Bitrix24, PeopleBookHR, Workday, Kronos and Namely.

Customer support software solutions

Tools and solutions to build and maintain good customer relationships: Help Scout, Zendesk, Zoho Desk, Salesforce Service Cloud, Jira Service Desk, Desk.com, Cisco Webex Support, Oracle Service Cloud, TeamSupport, LiveAgent, Freshdesk, Helpjuice, Khoros Care, ConnectWise Manage, Intercom, Groove and AzureDesk.

RIGA COMM is an annual business technology event in the Baltic States where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation.

The Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution of the Republic of Latvia CERT.LV has prepared recommendations on remote work in the state of emergency circumstances, general risks, storage of information to be processed, online meetings, VPN security, computers and access rights restrictions.
In cooperation with NIC.LV, the holder of the Latvian domain name register, CERT.LV has also created a DNA firewall. It is a free tool to protect individual users and organisations from cyberthreats, such as fake bank websites, fraudulent online trading platforms, sites spreading virus and malware, etc.

Available tools

Access to all necessary documents

Without easy access to organisation’s information resources, remote work would definitely become more complicated, if not stop at all. Some of the most popular document management tools are Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Sharepoint and Dropbox.

Virtual private networks (VPN) to access your office systems and documents

Virtual private network (VPN) allows secure access to company’s intranet, all of the systems and documents on it, as if employees were working at their workspaces. Some of the available solutions – NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberChost VPN, Hotspot Shield, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, TunnelBear VPN, IPVanis and Private Internet Access.

Virtual meetings

To encourage structured talks, to be creative and put forward new ideas, to communicate important information “eye-to-eye”, there are services allowing users to host video calls and video conferences ‒ Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams (including Skype for Business), Cisco Webex Meetings, GoToMeeting, Slack, CyberLink U Meeting, BlueJeans Meetings, Jitsi Meet, Whereby and Adobe Connect.

Task management and team’s performance monitoring

Task and project management and planning tools make it easy to manage complex processes with multiple stakeholders and keep track of task execution status. The most popular tools are Asana, Trello, Basecamp and Productive.

Internal communication and team building

Digital platforms and internal social networks, intranets, that can be used by businesses to exchange work-related information directly and to conduct internal communication activities, are the Latvian-made Whimsical, Yammer, Jive, Trello, Teamwork, Asana, Bitrix24 and Workplace by Facebook.

For chatting and quick communication

For quick exchange of operational information, organisations may use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Discord, Slack and Google Hangouts Chat.

For time tracking

Software for automatic real-time recording of working time allows you to improve your team’s productivity and to record man-hours spent on each project – Latvian Desktime, Estonian Toggl, Hubstaff, Rescuetime, Time Doctor, Timeneye, Harvest, Qbserve and Everhour.

Content management

You can use the available content management tools (CMS) WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3 or Wix to easily provide business related information on your website and the Internet.

eCommerce platforms

If your business is selling goods or services, choose one of the online store platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or PrestaShop.

Email marketing

Tools for automated emailing that make it easy and simple to connect with existing and potential customers worldwide are – the Latvian-developed Mailigen by Pipedrive, Smaily, Mailchimp, MailerLite, Salesmango, HubSpot, as well as ActiveCampaign.

Data visualisation tools

Simple business intelligence tools for convenient data visualisation provided by Latvian companies – Zoomcharts, eazyBI and Flex.bi.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

The following software is available to better serve your customers – Salesforce, Zendesk, MS Dynamics 365, Scoro, Pipedrive, Standard CRM by HansaWorld, SAP CRM, ZohoCRM, Sage CRM, Oracle CRM, Siebel CRM, Bitrix24, SugarCRM, vtiger CRM, Creatio, Meemo, Norgate and amoCRM.

Human resource management tools

Smart tools for recruitment, scheduling and assessment of working time are also available – Latvian CakeHR by Sage, Sympa HR, MS Dynamics 365, BambooHR, eddyHR, NetSuite SuitePeople, SAP SuccessFactors, Paddle HR, PurelyHR, Zenefits, Bitrix24, PeopleBookHR, Workday, Kronos and Namely.

Customer support software solutions

Tools and solutions to build and maintain good customer relationships: Help Scout, Zendesk, Zoho Desk, Salesforce Service Cloud, Jira Service Desk, Desk.com, Cisco Webex Support, Oracle Service Cloud, TeamSupport, LiveAgent, Freshdesk, Helpjuice, Khoros Care, ConnectWise Manage, Intercom, Groove and AzureDesk.

RIGA COMM is an annual business technology event in the Baltic States where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation.

Follow the news: facebooktwitter, instagram and linkedin