Telecommuting Toolkit: What you Need to Work Remotely

techsoupRepost from the TechSoup blog. TechSoup is a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations that provides technology and other resources to the voluntary sector.

Is your staff spread across multiple locations? Or perhaps you have some virtual volunteers who help out with your website or online community? Just because your some of your staff isn't physically present in your office doesn't mean that they should be left out of meetings and important projects!

The power of technology can bring your entire staff together — whether they're in the office or working elsewhere. Best of all, this technology doesn't have to be expensive, either. TechSoup's catalog has discounted and donated hardware, software, and services to help your staff better telecommute.

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Collaboration Tools

Don't let distance get in the way of productive collaboration! These tools from TechSoup and our donor partners can help:

  • Office 365 is the ultimate collaborative productivity suite! With Office in the cloud, you can easily work on documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more from anywhere and at any time.
  • Microsoft Lync is a unified communications application that lets users talk to each other in a variety of ways, using instant messaging, voice, or video. It is included with Office 365, but it can also integrate with Microsoft Exchange as well as with Office 2013. It can also incorporate your entire office's phone system.
  • Huddle is a cloud-based project management tool that supports file sharing, virtual workspaces, content management, and task prioritization.
  • Keep your email communication secure with Microsoft's Exchange Server 2013, an email management software that runs on Windows Server.
  • Need to send large files, such as image albums or reports to your remote coworkers? Citrix Sharefile makes it easy to securely upload and share large files.

woman wearing headset looking at laptop, working from homeAudio and Web Conferencing

Whether you need to conduct a meeting across continents or hold a training session for remote volunteers, we've got the audio and video conferencing tools you need.

  • Eligible organizations in the United States and United Kingdom can request donations of $20 credit vouchers for Microsoft's Skype. For those unfamiliar with Skype, it provides voice calling, video calling, instant messaging, and more, allowing users to communicate with other Skype users and with mobile phones and landlines.
  • The ReadyTalk donation program has everything your organization needs when it comes to meeting virtually. You can use ReadyTalk to host webinars for internal training or for audio and video conferencing services.
  • Through TechSoup, eligible organizations can get discounted rates for BetterWorld Telecom's audio conferencing services. This service allows you to collaborate on audio calls using your existing phone system. You can host up to 125 participants and have access to controls such as polling, muting, and more.
  • The Citrix donation program gives you a few different options when it comes to conferencing. GoToMeeting is an online web conferencing tool that allows 25 users and 1 organizer to collaborate securely on the web and over the phone. If you're interested in organizing interactive trainings (either for staff or external constituents), GoToTraining might suit you better. Need to accommodate even more participants? GoToWebinar allows up to 100, 500, or 1,000 attendees to meet and collaborate securely over the web.
  • After you get your conferencing service, you'll need a great headset to make those calls. The discount program at TechSoup gives you access to high quality headsets you can use with office phones, PCs, and Macs.

Secure Access with a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you or your staff need to access your internal network from outside the office, a VPN lets you do so securely. A VPN is like a tunnel — it is a way to transmit data securely over the Internet between your laptop and your nonprofit's server.

Browse our Cisco catalog for all the security appliances and other hardware you need to set up (and secure!) your network.

Remote Access for IT Support

When you have remote staff members, your IT department will need some means of reaching them in case something goes wrong with their PCs or software. Eligible organizations can request donated versions of Citrix's remote access programs:

  • GoToMyPC is a web-based remote access software for a single user that provides secure entry to a PC or Mac.
  • If you need your remote access software to support more than one user (if you have multiple IT staff), GoToAssist provides support service for use by one, two, or three technicians.

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 TechSoup Resources on Telecommuting

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Third Party Telecommuting Reviews, Resources, and Recommendations

H/T: Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.

Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?