Tech Companies Help Fight Coronavirus with Free Remote Work Tools

Tech companies help businesses fight spread of coronavirus with free remote work tools

There has been much anxiety about COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus, and many people are asking whether they should be working from home. In uncertain times, it feels good to find something productive to do, maybe even something that you can control the outcome of. For businesses in most parts of the United States, good hand hygiene around the office will go a long way in keeping employees healthy. That being said, there may come a time when your business will need to implement a plan-b for employees who work in a traditional office space. This goes without saying, but having that plan ready to go BEFORE there’s an emergency situation is critical, so don’t put it off. Now is the time to plan for how your employees will continue to work, even if they are unable to gather in your office. Several major tech companies have announced that they will help fight Coronavirus with free remote work tools.

 

Hand sanitizer may be in short supply right now, but it’s not hard to get your hands on free tools to help your employees telecommute. Microsoft, Google, LogMeIn, and Cisco have all announced that they will help businesses by providing free tools to support working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak. These tools will allow remote workers to hold virtual meetings and chat with their coworkers while working from the safety of their homes. Let’s go through the solutions available to you, and how you can get them if and when you determine they are needed.

 

Tool: Microsoft Teams

Duration: Free for Six Months

Microsoft has stated that they want to “Support public health and safety by making remote work even easier.” We think this is quite admirable, and know their Teams tool can do a lot to keep workgroups connected. They are doing this by offering a free six month trial for their “Freemium” edition of Microsoft Teams, and are offering this globally. Microsoft rolled out an update to the free version of Teams on March 10 that removes any user limits, and allows users to schedule conferences and video calls.

 

What it does:

  • Online Meetings
  • Voice & Video Calling
  • Instant Messaging

Tool: LogMeIn – Emergency Remote Work Kit

Duration: Free for Three Months

LogMeIn has taken a proactive approach to providing assistance during the outbreak, saying “We feel LogMeIn is in a unique position to help our customers, their employees, and our communities during this time. As a result, we are making it a top priority to do all that we can to help our customers focus on the health of their employees and their business, while also helping the critical service providers in our communities who are on the front lines. Starting immediately, we will be offering our critical front-line service providers with free, organization-wide use of many LogMeIn products for 3 months through the availability of Emergency Remote Work Kits.” Their kit is now available to critical front-line service providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations, in addition to current LogMeIn customers. This make a world of difference for those organizations in the thick of it because it includes a range of helpful solutions for things like video conferencing, meetings, webinars, IT Support, remote device management, and more.

 

What it does:

  • Meet and Collaborate with GoToMeeting
  • Host Presentations with GoToWebinar
  • Remote Access to Work Computers
  • Provide Web-based Technical Support with RescueAssist

Tool: Cisco Webex Enhanced Free Licenses

Free Cisco Webex accounts used to only allow users to host meetings with a limit of 50 people for 40 minutes. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, they have annouced they are upgrading their free Webex Licenses. Free Webex licenses will now allow users to host meetings with up to 100 participants with no time limit. They have also decided to offer free, 90-day licenses to businesses who are not already Webex customers.

 

What it does:

  • Video Conferencing
  • Team Messaging & File Sharing

Tool: Google Hangouts Meet

Duration: Free for G Suite Users Until July 1, 2020
Google announced that multiple advanced Hangouts Meet features, typically only available in their Enterprise edition of G Suite, will now be rolled out to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers across the globe. The added capabilities will allow users to host video conferences with up to 250 participants per call, includes live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and gives users the ability to record their meetings to save to Google Drive.

What it does:

  • Video Calls
  • Live Streaming
  • Screen Sharing & Presentation Features
Each of these solutions will only be free for a limited time, so we recommend waiting to take advantage of these offers until there is a clear threat in your area. We salute these companies for pitching in to help workers get their tasks done amidst some chaotic circumstances that many businesses are under-prepared for. It remains to be seen how this will play out in the United States, but it’s safe to assume this won’t be the last crisis that causes disruptions to the traditional work environment.

 

With technology changing the way we all work, telecommuting is becoming more common every day. Perhaps recent events will speed up the rate of adoption as businesses recognize the benefits of empowering a mobile workforce. For now we urge business owners to start creating a plan to “future-proof” their work environment.

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