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Top 10 reasons why organizations need to have critical communications

Is your business resilient? It leaves us puzzled with no correct answer to reply to it. The impact of COVID-19 has us struggling to cope with the evolving situations, whereas we already have some familiar critical events like severe weather, supply chain disruptions, workplace violence, and lots more to cause business disruption while exposing our people and assets to potential threats. Business crisis communication plans are the key to prevent future threats. But, without a robust business-critical communication tool, organizations cannot activate this strategy.

What are critical communications? What is their importance before, during, and after critical events?

Critical communications are the ability to communicate appropriately with your people when you need it most before, during, and after critical events like a pandemic, supply chain disruptions, bad weather, flood, cyber-attacks, or any other industrial events.

During these evolving times, a legacy system falls short of delivering reliable, consistent, secure, and easy-to-use critical communication flexibility.

Critical communications that easily allow businesses to leverage the advanced level of mission-critical communication flexibilities along with data visualization can help emergency response teams communicate with people in the field or onsite in a much better way. However, not only the emergency response team, chief security officers, chief information security officers need critical communication in IT departments, no matter what the verticals are.

Hence, your critical communications can become faster and your recovery process can deliver expected results.

A critical communication tool must have lots of solutions and features to solve problems arising from critical events on the ground, office, or anywhere.

Zsuite, a comprehensive CEM or Critical Management platform is designed to process threats, analyze their nature, and foster ways to handle your business crisis communication plans to mitigate threats on time.

As a leading CEM tool, Zsuite takes an initiative to advocate for the importance of critical communications for businesses and encourages why businesses should not overlook this critical matter. Here are 10 reasons why organizations need to have critical communications.

Data intelligence

Today, critical events are fast evolving, frequently occurring, and complicated too. Different types of critical events can be coincidental, creating challenges to review data using legacy systems. In most organizations, emergency response teams still follow the manual process of data gathering. This process is rigid and making assessment and validation of information is tough. As a result, organizations cannot visualize threats and add context to emergency communications. There is a high chance that key intelligence would go haywire.

Zsuite CEM platform is a critical communication enabler with a granular level of focus on data intelligence, making your critical communications much more efficient and reliable at times of emergency.

Scalable decision-making

Most organizations still rely on siloed systems to handle crisis communications. Although security teams or emergency response teams are available 24×7, they do not have an integrated communication tool to enable crisis communications and keep everyone informed about changing situations. This is in fact leading to more gruesome challenges as organizations fail to identify exact business threats and take measures for risk handling. Lack of coordination between teams gives rise to confusion, impedes situational awareness, and delays appropriate decision-making.

Many crisis communication tools like Zsuite help you make efficient emergency plans and tackle immediate pressure with scalable decision-making.

Message fatigue

A crisis communication plan must include an integrated and unified communication system. This kind of orchestration not only improves communication and collaboration but provides visibility into who has been reached out, when they have been connected, how has been that person contacted, and what feedback has it received. Also, it provides the capability of leveraging pre-built message templates which are consistent and do not cause message fatigue.

As with fragmented communication channels that are omnipresent in many organizations, they can be subject to message fatigue.

Administrative overhead

Critical events can never be limited to a certain region. The reason is the advancement of digitalization. The information erupts as fast as wildfire through social media, personal messages, emails, news, and different entities among others. Messages can be voluminous, repetitive, and incessant resulting in wrong interpretation of certain messages and add to panic buying. Organizations need to coordinate with their people to give them real-time and fact-filled critical information to keep them informed so as to avoid unintended consequences.

Zsuite CEM enables two-way communication via multiple channels and improves organizational response.

Direct communication

Critical communication is always direct, consistent, and contextual. But, when your legacy system does not allow you to nurture the advantage to edit and approve of messages to be used as pre-built critical messages, you tend to impede human intelligence to take charge and act more responsibly. Using a Zsuite CEM platform, you can build your emergency response to help avoid ambiguity while also keeping everyone informed. This can be the most effective means of critical communication that enables a faster recovery process.

Better coordination

The right crisis communication plan can focus on coordination strategy. Having the right tool that allows you to enhance your critical communication can help you collaborate easily with all your stakeholders internally and externally and your people. Zsuite enables you to collaborate and communicate effectively so as to allocate resources better and act as necessary. This can add to better organizational resiliency.

Multimodal communication channels

Before, during, and after critical events, stakeholders must ensure their assets should not be in harm’s way. To ensure your people are safe, you must reach them at an incident site at the right time. No matter what device your people use, the idea is to reach them, so they never miss critical information. However, connecting does not always mean it is over. People receiving the message have to understand it and make a reply. Critical communication tools that integrate multiple languages allow communicating at ease while two-way communication brings feedback at a lightning speed, ensuring plans are being strategized as designed.

Contextual and location-awareness

Not all CEM is built to derive location intelligence to help reach people in harm’s way and save them. Zsuite CEM enhances its critical communication ability by leveraging the power of location intelligence and contextual awareness.

Zsuite relies upon location data it fetches from its contact centers, which helps provide visualization and analysis of geographical data. Also, by drawing spaces in the smart map in the dashboard and integrating it with demographic, traffic, and weather data, you can gain location awareness and add context to your critical communication so that you can predict the potential of threats, take appropriate action, and help save your people.

Accurate analysis

Powerful crisis communication can provide visibility into the incident’s nature, its causes, and its effects. Which part of your organization was badly damaged? How is it impacting spaces and life outside of your organization? Using Zsuite, your crisis management or incident management team can gain a better understanding of loopholes and prepare a better version of internal and external recovery plans with necessary inputs from stakeholders. It improves your monitoring of the factors impeding your recovery strategy and lessens the impact of disasters.

Plan and test your recovery plan

Critical communications enabled by a CEM platform such as Zsuite can help you run drills and evaluate the scope of your plans and their efficacy before a disaster happens. As you practice with simulations of critical events such as earthquakes, IT Incidents, terrorist attacks, or hurricanes, your emergency response teams can enhance their crisis communication plans, be prepared for the next disaster, and be more proactive to mitigate its threats.

Critical communications are the backbone of business resiliency. In the event of a crisis, crisis communication tools scale and give robust communication flexibility that can narrow the gap between life and death.

Are you prepared to handle critical events? Schedule a demo today.

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How CSO or CISO need to prepare for physical and digital security threats

How CSO or CISO need to prepare for physical and digital security threats

Cyberattacks, once an underrated topic to discuss, suddenly evolved into a huge concern for organizations after the COVID-19 pandemics forced businesses to stop their operations. With so many uncertainties still doing rounds, especially the ongoing second wave of the pandemic and the probability of the third wave, cybersecurity is capturing high attention to meeting agendas across the board for CSOs/CISOs. The continuous challenge to meet the safety and security standards that could ensure network wellbeing, employee mental and physical health, and business resiliency is becoming more exacerbated. Adjusting to the new normal of hybrid work culture needs to pay more attention to protecting high confidential corporate data while encouraging safer work from home environment. Meeting these high expectations can help CSOs and CISOs keep up with employee productivity, business continuity, and revenue generation.

Cyber threats- an evolving challenge for CSOs and CISOs

Home workspaces were the only devices made available to most workforces as soon as the lockdowns began. Organizations with little to no adequate resources at hand quickly nodded to these norms without measuring their effects. But, the saddest part, many organizations, especially small-scale organizations failed to provide a cyber-safe telecommuting ecosystem. The sudden scenario exposed the organization’s security at risk and led to cybercrime inadvertently.

As per reports from National Cyber Security Center, there was an increase in cyberattacks during the pandemic. WFH was the leading cause of this concern because of the lack of inherent protective home devices.

On top of it, telecommuting is a critical step towards making public health measures effective to curb the virus outbreak. Organizations encouraging this protocol have been facing novel challenges due to the more complex nature of employee health safety standards. Also, not being able to work in a centralized environment, employee communication took a hit, impacting their mental health and also decreasing productivity.

Classification of physical and digital threats organizations are facing

As businesses reopen after months of lockdowns, organizations face dual challenges-

  • Maintaining COVID-19 compliance to ensure the physical security of their people.
  • Maintaining digital security to prevent cyber threats like scams, phishing, and more.

Physical threats

Physical threats are those components that pose risks to mental health or overall wellbeing. In between reopening and reclosing of businesses, the most grueling challenges for organizations or security officers are to maintain social distancing norms at office premises, maintain a proper screening process to identify COVID-19 symptoms so as to be alert, and aid in preventing the transmission risks. The incapability to maintain the basic norms can result in so many issues-

  • Transmission of infectious disease at large
  • Mass infection of employees
  • The shutdown of business operations
  • Revenue losses

Apart from the pandemic threats, bad weather, natural disasters like floods, cyclones, or man-made disasters like terrorist attacks, or active shootouts cause the same consequences for businesses.

Digital threats

Digital threats are information shared online via websites, emails, or landing pages, or social media can deliberately cause risks to physical or information security risks.

One of the key digital threats that invited risks for CSOs or CISOs during a pandemic-

Social engineering

Social engineering scams are proliferating during the pandemic. Many novel tactics of social engineering have surfaced in the wake of COVID-19. Employees are an easy target for cyber intruders to infringe data or steal important credentials.

  • Video conferencing led to data breaches for more than half a million people.
  • A phishing scam shouldering on the key interest of people to get updates of coronavirus related news also deceived.
  • False emails containing malware caused disruptions to IT systems.
  • Phishing emails with malicious links siphoned off millions of dollars.
  • Phishing-related data breaches related to WFH are likely to cause $137,000 worth of losses.

Due to these evolving situations, organizations need to boost employee cyber-security training more than ever, which is a growing challenge for them too.

Threats to concentrate on while an employee is working from home

So, due to the changing norms of work culture in society, we have a reduced workforce, putting more pressure on the employees. Not able to comply with the new work from a home ecosystem, employees tend to compromise their mental health. Away from a supervised environment like that of an office system, mindlessness may crop up. Additionally, working from home does not offer the similar degree of cybersecurity that the office follows. Besides, there are a lot of threats to home devices-

  • Absence of regular anti-virus or anti-malware scans
  • Lack of sophisticated cyber threat prevention measures
  • Weaker Wi-Fi networks, which is susceptible to cyberattacks

All these are a great opportunity for hackers or cybercriminals to prey on personal devices to steal corporate files and data and pose threats to organization reputations.

However, be it physical or digital threats, a CEM platform provides organizations with capabilities to implement immediate critical communications, keep everyone informed of the evolving situations, and prevent the risks before it becomes a huge organizational risk.

How CEM helps CSO / CISO during uncertain times and how it improves response times during physical and digital security threats

Zsuite CEM platform is built to handle critical information in a more flexible way that helps organizations with IT incident management, disease prevention, and business continuity. Some of its sophisticated features guarantee a great level of flexibility and agility to curb major incidents or critical events quickly.

Critical Communications

To simply put, critical communications give organizations the ability to communicate before, during, after critical events. Zsuite features robust crisis communication features to help CSOs/CISOs design their recovery plan to mitigate threats that stem from physical or digital threats.

Two-way communications, multi-channel message delivery, mass notifications, critical alerts, comprehensive contact center along with powerful pre-built message templates make handling crisis communication effortless and efficient. Leveraging these tools can speed up the communication process for CSO/CISOs, keep stakeholders, partners, and employees informed, and give them much-needed resources to communicate at the right time with the right person. Hence, critical communications can improve response time, thus accelerating the recovery process.

Situation awareness

Zsuite unleashes the power of data intelligence to identify risks at granular levels. As this CEM platform helps capture unstructured data from different sources, CSOs can have data relevancy and therefore, enjoy the flexibility of connecting dots, and find missing links. This is probably a faster process to gain situational awareness of the evolving situations, which gives the organization a competitive advantage in identifying risks and opportunities, allocate resources, and communicate efficiently with everyone exposed to risks.

Common operating picture

In-depth visibility into how the critical events can evolve with the changing time or location is an ideal mechanism that provides a common operating picture. It is situational awareness that improves understanding of the critical events for every emergency response team or CSOs/CISOs. Based on what organizations see on the system improve their action plan. It becomes easier to predict threats to physical or digital assets, determine ways to mitigate risk, improve future plans, and help boost business resiliency.

Zsuite CEM is pioneering ways to combat the growing challenges of COVID-19 threats or familiar critical events to businesses. Whether you move to hybrid culture or still follow the traditional operating model, you need the expertise of Zsuite CEM to prevent business threats. Schedule a demo today.

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Gain situational awareness and improve business resilience

Situational awareness refers to an ability to derive, process, and analyze data related to critical events. To simply put, situational awareness tells you what is happening around you, how things change with time, and being relevant to situations as they appear. Enabling human experience or situational awareness is the most important approach in bridging the gap between life and death because it helps with logical output and more informed decision-making. As critical events are more frequent than ever, situational awareness can be the key to mitigate emergencies before they occur or impact your business.

When we fail to have a good understanding of a critical event or don’t have full situational awareness, poor decision making, inadequate communications and weak management of the crisis are likely results. It sounds straightforward in principle, but in reality, it requires defined processes, appropriate resources and practice. Often, many crisis management teams and enterprise command centers (ECC) overlook and result in last-minute scrambling to figure out the information management process and fully understand the incident and its impact.

But, the question is how capable are you to achieve situational awareness? If you don’t have insights into this, what ways can you try to seek it?

Challenges for a modern business to get hold of situational awareness

Did you ever think about what stops you from taking proactive action to mitigate the fast-evolving impacts of critical events? The answer is no. Reasons can range from information overload to the traditional approach of handling emergencies for organizations. They include,

Incessant attacks of critical events

Incidents are more frequent these days. Businesses are at stake as the synchronicity of different incidents makes it more complex to handle. With pandemics still raging through, one could never anticipate how it can complicate measures to handle critical events like natural disasters, man-made disasters, industrial threats such as IT incidents, or data breaches. Due to the evolving nature of these events, crisis response teams fail to leverage enough data from critical event endpoints, which is indispensable to build situational awareness.

Information overload

The digital world is full of DATA, DATA and DATA. Crisis Management teams often describe gathering situational awareness and managing that information during a crisis as like drinking out of a fire hose. How does one manage such a volume, velocity and variety of information?

A traditional approach to data handling

Most organizations still rely on an old infrastructure to analyze information wherein the crisis response team manually integrates data into a system. But they lack a comprehensive understanding to validate data, resulting in intelligence slipping through hands. These siloed systems add to more complexity to discern who and what are in harm’s way and delay informed decision making.

Inability to parse explosion of data

Data is generated in a massive volume. But, there is unstructured data more than ever business can draw immense value by deriving them. But, businesses using conventional systems are not capable of parsing this which can be valuable to tap into insights. In another way, it is tough for businesses to store a massive volume of unstructured data. As we gather data related to critical events, we can’t verify its accuracy because of its inconsistent nature and quality issues. However, by implementing the power of natural language processing or artificial intelligence, we can make findings more valuable for critical event management as they provide risk intelligence.

To build situational awareness, we need accurate data, not inconsistent data.

Sources of data to build situational awareness

To create situational awareness, we need to derive data from disparate sources. One thing is critical that manual data processing can ruin its approach. The comprehensiveness of relevant information related to specific locations or surroundings or assets in connection with the incident can be of immense value. So, we need to work with stakeholders and partners to gather validated information for complete visibility into situations. Demographic breakdown of data can help us make a visual representation of incidents and potential threats to people and assets and thus improve situational awareness. To add to this, data may include an existing emergency plan, a live feed from sensors, weather or traffic feed, or dynamic data like critical events. By integrating these data points into a system, organizations can build a common operating picture, simplifying the process of getting risk intelligence for ever-evolving emergencies and enhance decision-making.

Importance of visualization in critical event management

Leveraging the common operating picture is critical to resolving issues faster and preparing a more robust approach to handling future threats. Situational awareness solidifies the foundation of the common operating picture wherein emergency response teams can use technology to bring context to information and integrate it into a system. Using all datasets, we can visualize data or build an intuitive model that enhances understanding of critical events that change with time and necessitate emergency preparedness. Through comprehensive situational awareness, we can better visualize to allocate emergency help to priority areas well in advance so further damage to life or property can be avoided.

Situational Awareness is key to business resilience

Critical events undoubtedly restrict business operations. The ongoing COVID-19 has its impacts on the global economy as businesses had to pause and shift to new models of doing business. Besides, natural threats, cyberattacks, or any kind of disasters can aggravate supply chain disruptions, putting direct effects on its scalability or resilience. Having situational awareness into the evolving situations can better prepare your emergency response, which comprehensively helps in mitigating risks and encouraging business continuity.

Role of situational awareness in critical event management

As we discussed, situation awareness gives you an idea about what is going on around you, ways to predict things with time, and remain relevant to the changing environment. Critical event management gives your organization the fastest means to unify data by communicating with stakeholders or partners and make more informed decisions specific to emergencies. A CEM system eliminates the necessity of having so many tools to communicate, gather data, map risks, and mitigate risks in real-time. As the unified CEM brings you valuable data, you can easily incorporate them to create situational awareness, therefore making more informed decisions, speeding up the process of handling situations better.

Ways to achieve situational awareness

It is all about getting better ideas to respond to critical events more proactively. Situational awareness makes it easier to get insights into types of incidents and various approaches to deal with them. Since data is key, we need a more comprehensive system that collects data from even disparate sources and gives context too. Zsuite – a powerful CEM tool that enables organizations to gather the right information at the right time from the right source can provide comprehensive data to locate, assess, act, and analyze.

Zsuite features the most advanced tools that include unified communication tools with two-way communication and multichannel capabilities to help keep information consistent. Integrated with geofencing location tracking and sensors, Zsuite can scale with situations, provide contextual information to be relevant to your emergency handling workflows, and finally help react to mitigate critical events. So with the right data in hand, you can gain situational awareness by implementing the right method.

Discover

Data helps you build a common operating picture that helps you assess the threat’s nature. Assessing this data, you can have risk intelligence and know who and what can be at risk.

Locate

Zsuite’s geofencing capability makes it easier to identify people or assets in harm’s way. Location intelligence also helps you reach your employees faster and communicate with them to participate and resolve issues.

Take action

As you know the upcoming threats, you can plan your response. Zsuite gives you the ability to use predefined critical message templates. So, when in danger, auto-escalation can deliver the right message to the right persons and motivate them to act accordingly.

Analyze

Improved situational awareness can help assess bottlenecks, your performance during critical events, and also capabilities of your existing system. So if you miss anything, you can plan dynamically.

Values organizations can derive from situational awareness

Situational awareness enhances the ability to comprehend, react, and decide based on geographic context. Organizations can power up their emergency preparedness plan before any event occurring. This ability helps mitigate the crisis in a much lesser time, improves cost-savings, enhances overall productivity and efficiency while also generating revenues.

Handling critical events depends on situational awareness. And we can bring a more comprehensive approach to this dynamicity using the Zsuite CEM tool. It enhances data gathering, communication, visualization, and emergency response.

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Workspaces

Remote Work Is Here to Stay: How Businesses Can Prepare For Remote Work

In the wake of COVID-19, some companies are ahead of time to adapt to remote work. Remote work being the need for the current scenario, it is logical to assume that more and more people will be working from home in the future.

Companies should establish clear remote-work policies and training for employees on how to act in times of crisis or any other unexpectedly changing circumstances.

To Adjust during the sudden phenomenal shift, businesses have to overcome specific challenges to revive their employee engagement and productivity levels back to normal.

What are the challenges in remote work?

Remote work is here to stay, companies are constantly looking for ways to confront these challenges. Even though many myths are going around about remote work, most businesses have successfully implemented telecommuting and gained exponential advantages throughout the pandemic.

Remote work isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Remote employees are more productive outside a conventional office environment but they’re also more vulnerable to working long hours, work-home interference, more intense workspace, and in some cases, greater stress.

Companies also face significant challenges like collaborating and communicating with employees, working from different locations, managing meetings across varied time zones, tracking productivity, and managing tasks, including finding a reliable network connection for employees to prevent security breaches.

While remote working could save a company some operational costs, it is more about data security and accountability. Businesses may also need to provide more suitable equipment for their employees to work from home.

It can take some time to adapt to managing a decentralized team. Decentralized organizations allow middle and low-level managers to make decisions that affect productivity, efficiency, and performance standards. You not only communicate your vision and expectations to your management team, but you trust them to figure out the best method to achieve company’s desired goals.

It’s essential to address the biggest challenges of remote work and figure out ways to overcome them. Let’s go ahead and learn how to prepare for remote work.

Provide Team Collaboration Tools

Our virtual meetings are now a more lively and dynamic professional space that enables us to work from home more efficiently. Communicating regularly with the remote teams can make the associates feel more engaged and committed to the goals.

Team members establish a personal bond – thanks to the tools like Slack, ProofHub, Trello, Quip, GoToMeeting and more, which makes professional collaboration easier. Regular communications and collaborations via drive, file-sharing, and calendars can help boost productivity. Project management, time management, meeting management, and various other functions can be accomplished with Zapoj Workspaces exclusively for remote team members.

Ensure Data Security

Research indicates that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Keeping your security up to date is therefore essential. This poses a significant challenge since your workers won’t have anyone from your security team on their side.

Additionally, if your job involves accessing the company’s servers remotely, that poses an even higher risk. To enhance security, you can take precautions like setting up a VPN, IDS and use a multi-factor authentication system. Zapoj has such robust security protections with E2EE and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) across web, mobile and desktop apps.

Zapoj Workplaces implemented the easiest and multi authentication methods to secure your remote work environments. By applying these methods to your company’s online safety, you should be able to minimize potential security breaches. Get to know the best security practices businesses can implement for remote work here.

Know your Company’s KPIs

Key Performance Indicators aren’t the same thing as measuring the number of hours worked. What are the factors that impact growth? You need to identify the factors that are an integral part of the overall objectives.

Companies can set up project management software to track the team member’s productivity and effectiveness of the communication. Employee performance can also be affected by monitoring the right/wrong things. Tracking the KPIs of the respective teams can help identify challenges swiftly, and resolve them within the consolidated workflow.

Provide your workers with the necessary equipment

Regardless of whether you hire full-time remote employees or give them some flexibility regarding their workplace, you as the business owner have to provide them with the necessary equipment like laptops, extra monitors, headsets, broadband connection, and secured network to efficiently do their jobs.

Many companies give them all the necessary software or compensation for them to purchase it themselves. Providing them with the necessary gear shouldn’t be a matter of if but when, if you trust your employees enough to allow them to work remotely.

Establish daily check-ins

Successive remote managers set up a daily call with their employees. You can set up a separate channel for employee check-ins and check-outs to track their productivity and working hours. If your employees work independently from each other, team calls can help them stay aligned with company goals and become highly collaborative. Ensure that your employees know that they can consult with you directly and that their concerns and questions are taken seriously.

Emotional support and encouragement

Management has a critical role to play in addressing employee challenges, especially in a sudden shift to remote work. It’s important to obtain information from new remote employees who aren’t communicating stress or anxiety.

Managers could simply ask them “How has your experience been working remotely so far?” can yield valuable insights. Make sure to listen carefully to the employee’s answer, and then briefly reinforce what you heard to ensure that you were understood correctly.

Focus on the remote employee’s well-being, reconcile their accomplishment, and show them your support. Always make their concerns be the biggest part of those conversations.

Conclusion

As remote working has become the future of work, companies get used to new ways of working, they are adapting to more flexible approaches to achieve success. Lessons being learned from the 2020 crisis, remote workforce is more focused on the outcomes rather than just measuring the time.

When your organization is faced with the challenges of remote work for the first time, it might seem insurmountable. Working remotely doesn’t have to be intimidating. Instead, it can be liberating with the right tools, leadership, and willingness to learn and make transformation happen.

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Best Security Practices For the Hybrid Workplace

A workplace transformation is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Since the future of work is becoming increasingly dynamic, data privacy must meet the needs of the distributed workforce. Businesses are rapidly adjusting their cybersecurity policies to support remote working. The hybrid workplace offers a more simplified and effective approach to cybersecurity, which is critical for business resilience.

In most companies, future work will involve a more fragmented, highly engaged, and collaborative workforce. Employees must have access to distributed digital resources and services so that they can effectively complete their jobs and collaborate effectively. Security and agility in a network are more important than ever. Employees need secure access to applications dispersed across multiple clouds and on-premises environments.

Employees are using more unmanaged devices to connect to the corporate network, creating a blind spot for security teams. According to Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report, conducted during COVID-19, over 60% of IT decision-makers think that office laptops/desktops and personal devices pose a challenge to protect in a remote environment. 85% of respondents say cybersecurity is now as important as ever, with two-thirds stating it will result in increased investments.

What are the Benefits?

Several events are encouraging organizations to adopt a hybrid model that merges a safer work from home. Zapoj helps your workforce be protected, productive, and engaged regardless of where they choose to work.

  • Security: Optimize and secure the user experience for applications located anywhere.
  • Workplace safety: Support the health of employees as they return to the workplace.
  • Operating efficiencies: Automate operations and use insights to simplify the user experience.
  • Business resilience: Develop the IT department’s abilities to respond rapidly to demands and disruptions.

Security for Remote Work

Whenever employees use their mobile devices at home, they are more vulnerable to threats than with the traditional working model. Security breaches can only be prevented by deploying multiple layers of security. To lower the risk posed by a hybrid workforce, you should have the following layers of cybersecurity in place,

VPN

With a VPN, you can create an encrypted tunnel of information between your computer at home and your work resources. Without a VPN, hackers can attempt to intercept information being sent between computers, leading to compromised passwords, credit card numbers, and leaks of sensitive data.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is the primary method for many logins, but passwords are stolen all the time. Hackers are unlikely to be able to steal both your password and fingerprint, so use 2FA or MFA whenever possible to maintain the integrity of your security.

Encryption

In encryption, plain human-readable text is converted into an unintelligible format. The data is locked or unlocked by a key. Encrypted data is useless if it cannot be decrypted using the correct key.

Even if a hacker manages to break into your network and get to your sensitive files, the information will be unreadable and unusable.

Firewalls

The use of a firewall will limit or even eliminate unwanted connections to your computer by closing unnecessarily open ports and services. Firewalls can be set up so that certain, wanted connections can pass through while preventing others.

Businesses traditionally built their security infrastructures on-premise, which gives them greater access to physical hardware or internal security policies. However, cloud-based firewalls have gained popularity that more and more companies are extending their remote working policies. Cloud-based firewalls let businesses provide remote access to their digital assets while keeping employees’ Internet connections secure and fast.

Antivirus

One of the most effective security measures for a business that manages remote employees is to invest in a comprehensive antivirus suite. Attacks expose you, your employees, and your company to ransomware, DoS, malware, and other types of breaches. Antivirus suites make it easy to protect computers remotely through automatic detection of threats.

An antivirus program keeps the computer protected from invisible attacks using protection that locates, quarantines, and deletes malicious files. The biggest problem with most computers is when their anti-virus software becomes outdated, leaving data vulnerable. So, always stay protected with an updated version of your antivirus software.

Phishing Training

Phishing is when an attacker poses as someone they are not to get sensitive or valuable information from an unsuspecting person using an email. A hacker’s most effective tool when trying to infiltrate a network is Phishing.

You should train your employees on how to respond correctly when they receive a phishing email. Some of the best ways to protect your organization against ransomware are by being familiar with how it works and how to minimize the number of attacks it gets.

Conclusion

A shift to work-from-home and hybrid models has led to the growth of cyber-attacks because hackers are more likely to steal your personal information as well as the company’s data. With employees moving back and forth between the office and home, having a cloud-based file-sharing system is going to be essential.

Businesses can reduce the risks of a cybercriminal targeting personal and business data with these security practices. Zapoj integrates with many common productivity tools and offers instant messaging and video conferencing solutions to keep your business running smoothly no matter where your employees are.

Sign up today or request a demo. We will help you get started and put Zapoj out for optimal use.

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Workspaces

5 Myths About Remote Work Debunked

There are so many myths about remote work circling across the internet. The remote work numbers are on the rapid rise in the new normal. According to the global workforce, 52% of the employees work from home at least once a week.

Experts and businesses are expecting the number to grow in the coming months.

However, many employers or sometimes even employees are skeptical about working from home.

Employees who are usually under manager surveillance may fear that deviating from that norm will lead to laziness, procrastination, and a host of other concerns.

Thankfully, many of these myths about remote work are unfolded by researchers. Most teams can maintain the existing success after making the switch when some individuals or specific job descriptions are not suited for remote work.

Myth #1: Remote Work isn’t Productive

The general perception of remote workers is that they sit around in their pajamas, watching Netflix all day, and doing as little work as humanly possible. However, the idea that employees out of the office accomplish less work despite dressing differently is completely false. In many cases, it is the opposite.

Research by IWG indicates that 85% of companies report increased productivity as a result of more flexible work schedules. Remote employees working outside of the office to be more productive due to fewer distractions, fewer office politics, and a more personalized environment. We can encourage productivity by adding project management software that enables full task delegation and maintains visibility throughout projects.

Myth #2: Remote Work Ruins Company Culture

Based on the myth, company culture is shaped by individuals spending time in the same space and interacting with each other. However, company culture exists when management and executive teams set the tone that the rest of the company adopts.

You can do this remotely, and many remote companies have extraordinary cultures. Many remote-only teams will meet up regularly, either for work purposes or leisure purposes. Even if you’re not working in the office, small bonding moments or lighthearted conversations can still happen, and video calls especially help foster collaboration between team members.

Myth #3: Remote Workers Need To Be Micromanaged

Companies can feel the need to monitor employees not in the office when they worry that their employees are taking advantage of the remote system. Some companies use time-tracking software and incessant communication to manage their remote employees.

Computer time-tracking software monitors how remote employees spend their time. Most employees don’t need this level of monitoring to be successful remotely. Monitoring your team is helpful and necessary, but excessive supervision may be counterproductive.

On the other hand, constant communication disrupts workflows. More often than not, it detracts from productivity, since employees spend so much time talking to each other they don’t have time left to do actual work.

Consider confronting your preconceived notions about your team’s ability to deliver without your guidance and then giving them a chance to prove you wrong.

Myth #4: Remote Work Threatens Data Security

Some companies are concerned that providing employees with the freedom to work from home would jeopardize vital data, such as passwords, and sensitive company information. There may be some truth to this myth — if you are using free WiFi in your local coffee shop to conduct sensitive work, you might have serious concerns.

You can use many protective tools to keep your information safe and also encourage employees to adopt safe digital habits. If your team worries about this, you can eliminate their worries by educating employees on the security practices, which starts by making their digital actions more secure.

Myth #5: Remote Work Causes Communication Breakdowns

Lastly, communication will suffer in either an in-office or a remote arrangement if employees aren’t interested in engaging and communicating with each other.

It is more important than ever to pay close attention to how your team members communicate. Tech-driven team collaboration platforms like Slack, Trello, Asana and more video conferencing tools are already becoming the norm. Emerging studies show that lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and even paranoia.

A regular, scheduled daily or weekly meeting by video or audio can reduce the use of email, and can also create a more shared sense of identity, values, and purpose. We’d recommend you implement these tips to avoid communication breakdowns.

  • Create a shared plan for the team. Ensure everyone is on the same page as to who will contribute and by when.
  • Create a collaborative team culture. Focus on regular face-to-face interaction and social time.
  • Use the right technologies. Set strict guidelines on email usage and replace it with video and chat tools whenever appropriate.
  • Build a sense of balance in your team. Monitor workloads, watch out for signs of stress or isolation, and create an open culture where employees feel comfortable raising concerns.

Several companies host virtual activities for remote workers that will help them get to know their coworkers and socialize with them. These practices may result in better communication among dispersed team members.

Remote working arrangements do not affect the quality of communication whenever it’s prioritized. There are team collaboration tools available that allow you and your remote team members to stay connected via text, audio, and video chat, so you can work together on documents. It’s just a matter of committing to using them.

Conclusion

We busted the most common myths about Remote work. Studies prove remote employees perform better in their roles, contribute better to their team, and experience greater happiness than their in-office counterparts.

If you’re looking for more information on how you can prepare your organization for remote work, we do a deeper dive in our blog here. Gain the latest insights from experts on remote work and tangible action steps to make the remote work shift more seamless.

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Workspaces

How to Manage Safety and Well-being for Remote Employees

The workplace is rapidly changing, which presents opportunities for a better blend of work and life balance. Increased productivity is often cited as a benefit since the workers do not have to spend long hours commuting. Additionally, companies can save on expenses by not maintaining a large office or spending neither on food. Besides, the employees have the flexibility of working from home.

But, it also has its limitations. Do we clearly understand the problems?

Many people are working from home, without any contact with their coworkers, friends, or family members for the first time. Our routine is disrupted causing additional anxiety, stress, and strain on our physical, mental, and financial health.

Additionally, businesses use remote work models to grow into strategic locations. Studies show that remote workers frequently struggle with loneliness, dissociation from work, and communication. Protecting employees’ health and well-being is another biggest challenge employers face.

Business leaders and human resources understand the importance of maintaining remote team members’ well-being at work. It can potentially be great to boost employee morale, improve retention rates, and help avoid unwanted stress. Here are some of the efficient ways you can support the health and well-being of your remote workers.

Stay Connected

The best thing to do is stay connected and communicate as much as possible regularly. Companies can arrange daily virtual meetings, send weekly updates, and stay connected with the team members via online chat.

This consistent level of communication will instill trust and remote employees will feel more comfortable. It also allows them to be more open and supportive. Managers should be open to discussing issues the remote workers face and resolve them through an audio or video call.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

When working from home, employers still have the responsibility to ensure the well-being of their remote workers. Seek health reports, execute a risk assessment on a workstation, lighting, ventilation, desks and chairs, computers, laptops, and other devices, security of data, insurance, and electrical installations before approving remote work applications. This would make assigning tasks easier and employers can address any health and safety concerns for those working at home.

For employees to fulfill their duties efficiently, employers must provide the equipment necessary for them to do so. The risk assessment should instruct employees to resolve any issue related to their homes.

Provide a Higher Level of Well-being Support

Employees sometimes prefer talking to someone other than their manager or team members. HR can help with both professional and personal issues from a work perspective. Remote employees ‘ well-being and mindset directly impact their productivity.

A plan for employee assistance would be very beneficial at this time. You can provide your employees with wellness support by encouraging them to open up about their problems.

Encourage Taking Breaks

The boundaries between office and personal time are clearly defined when working at an office. You arrive and start your working day, take lunch breaks to run errands with colleagues, take breaks to take coffee and visit your desk for a while, and then pack up and leave your work mindset behind. There are interruptions and interactions during the day.

Working remotely may be challenging for people who feel they have to be contactable at all times. Remote employees should therefore be encouraged to take short breaks during the day, every day.

By changing your attitude and management style, you can ensure remote working works for your employees as well.

Consider Rotating Workloads

The well-being focus has mostly been on the current environment, and how we can adapt to it, but you mustn’t neglect the fact that your employees still have to carry out their task activities, and this can be stressful for them.

Could you help any of your employees struggling with their workload by dividing some of their tasks with other employees? Those who have transferable skills can take advantage of this opportunity to gain experience across other teams by helping out with their colleagues’ duties.

Impact of Isolation and Loneliness

People often feel isolated when working remotely. So, it is essential for managers and HR to check on the team members and find out how they’re doing. As feeling lonely can lead to depression and other mental illnesses. Understand any significant changes you see in your team members’ personalities or their work because it may indicate that they are suffering.

A majority of home-based work involves office-type tasks and is considered low-risk. But employers must still protect their employees’ well-being by law. If you are employing remote workers, be sure to conduct a reasonable risk assessment by your HSE officer. It is advisable to complete a suitable risk management checklist to approve an employee’s request to work at home.

Active team collaborations and encouragement for remote employees experiencing COVID fatigue can make a big difference in their mental and physical health. You should always remember that thoughtful communication is key, no matter the medium.

Zapoj simplifies team collaboration and helps you understand their productivity levels, task progressions, stay on top of activities across departments. Sign up immediately or request a demo. We will help you get started and put Zapoj out for optimal use.

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Workspaces

Importance of Project Management and Team Collaboration Software

Whether your business is a large enterprise or small startup, project management and team collaboration has always been an important aspect of business growth.

Project Management and collaboration tools make sure that every phase of the project is being seamlessly executed and time optimized.

However, project management and team collaboration become more challenging when you don’t have the specific skills or the right software. Many project managers use independent tools to accomplish their daily tasks but in some cases, it also puts a financial burden on the organization. Juggling across multiple tools for various activities is just a waste of valuable time.

Well, we are talking about an all-in-one project management platform that assembles multiple tools under a single roof to help managers keep track of the project and collaborate with the team members.

Zapoj workspaces is one of such incredible project management and team collaboration software that businesses use to organize their team’s projects and communications from the same place. It supports both Kanban and Scrum boards to track projects.

A good project management tool should help you take corrective actions at the earliest if anything seems to go off track and let the managers stay on top of all the activities happening within the project or company.

Besides, a business that invests in such software reaps higher profits by making optimal use of resources. Let’s look into the benefits of project management and team collaboration software.

Increases Productivity

The collaborative project management process distributes and allocates tasks to the members of the team with the requisite skills and time more efficiently than having a handful of team members responsible for all the work. With project management software company experiences increased productivity and engagement among remote workers.

By involving the entire team throughout the project lifecycle, the need for formal documentation associated with project management is eliminated.

Manages Task Better

Task management is a tedious task, occurs at several stages, including the planning of a task and confirming the completion of the task. It also involves setting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, assigning work, etc.

To ensure that everything goes according to the plan, managers must give their best. A project manager has almost anything they need to organize all tasks within a project in project management software.

Manages Risk

If you fail to address a potential risk, severe consequences may occur, and the project may fail. The risk associated with each project needs to be identified and resolved timely.

Zapoj enables the manager to use risk intelligence for project assessments and overcome challenges on the go. Real-time monitoring of deviations enables the taking of appropriate measures at the right time. As a result, the chances of a project getting derailed due to the failure to detect risks are greatly reduced.

Improves Communication

By improving communication between team members and providing a centralized location, collaborative project management can help you and your team improve communication efficiency.

Project managers’ success depends on the performance of their teams and ultimately revolves around the coordination and harmony of the team members. A good team should be able to communicate effectively, operate productively, and feel a sense of belonging. By utilizing a fast and reliable communication tool to facilitate group discussions, it is possible to result in a high level of teamwork.

Centralizes File Management

It can be difficult for teams to retrieve shared files since they use different mediums to share files. Furthermore, managers become frustrated when they cannot access old reports for a project.

Designed to centralize file sharing by bringing file management tools under one roof, Zapoj Workspaces lets you share files through one platform. All files and documents belonging to remote teams can be uploaded, organized, viewed, and reviewed in one place. In addition to storing multiple versions of a file, users can restore prior versions as needed.

Access Projects Anytime, Anywhere

Occasionally, managers need access to files, or other details, after working hours. Until a manager can easily access their workstation, this is not a problem. What if accessing the system isn’t possible right away? Delays in the implementation of the project may result in severe consequences when a response is late.

Virtually all large project management software providers are cloud-based and provide mobile access. You can access Zapoj literally from anywhere and anytime using the internet and a web browser. Sign in and access all the project details and collaborate with your team across multiple devices.

Is Project Management Software Be Reliable?

As the years passed, project management software has evolved from a clumsy procedure into an effective tool for increasing an organization’s efficiency. Feature-rich software makes it easier for team members and even clients to manage and collaborate effectively.

We recommend you to look out for software that gives you the most benefits and makes life easier. A single platform used for all communication, project management, accessing relevant documentation, crisis event management, and more. Which indeed makes it a reliable investment that works for all businesses regardless of their size.

Moreover, an increasingly distributed workforce poses another difficulty. A geographically dispersed team hinders effective collaboration by making it harder for everyone to contribute as expected.

Further, the software will enable an organization to manage multiple tools from a single location, thus saving the companies from the huge overheads and hassles of managing multiple tools separately. A modern business must utilize a project management tool to thrive and remain competitive.

Are you having trouble choosing suitable project management software?

Sign up immediately or request a demo. We will help you get started and put Zapoj out for optimal use.

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Workspaces

10 Ways To Improve Remote Employee’s Productivity

Working from home has become the new norm. Many people love it and some are not so comfortable, regardless of which side you are on, business leaders and HR experts acclaim, Remote work is here to stay.

Before the pandemic, the number of telecommuters was steadily increasing. According to Global Workplace Analytics, Since 2005, remote work has grown 173%, whereas millions now work from home at least part-time.

The global work from the home experiment has accelerated the impact at a fast pace, companies have been forced to adjust their work arrangements.

Some businesses have completely moved their workforce to the remote. And communication was the biggest challenge faced during the crisis, whereas teams were urged to find the right strategy to keep the business running smoothly despite the global crisis.

Beyond typical remote work culture, business leaders are adjusting to the expectations of the employees and themselves to improve productivity. Below are the tips on establishing an efficient, productive, and sustainable remote workforce.

1. Set Communication Channels

Communication is a crucial contributor to team productivity. Without seamless communication, your business can go through losses. Many successful companies thrive on effective communication and set up channels that ensure the effectiveness of the communication prevails within your teams.

Project managers play a big role in helping the team members to understand their responsibilities and bridge the communication gaps. Miscommunication can lead to multiple confusions within the team which will impact the overall productivity of the team.

Communication for a dispersed workforce should be more aligned and a customized channel can make things easier for employees. Consider building an in-house communication channel where employees feel more comfortable rather than tools that won’t work well. These communication channels can help in reducing the communication gap across departments and team members working remotely. It helps the remote employees to feel more empowered and connected with effective communication with the team.

2. Give Your Team Member Ownership

Giving them the power of ownership can directly influence their well-being, morale, and self-esteem. Allow them to make their own decision and make them accountable for their work, which induces a sense of responsibility regarding the work.

Business leaders have recognized that this impacts the performance of the entire remote team and offers the freedom to work differently. It also shows that you trust them in their capabilities to handle a specific job.

3. Incorporate Some Team Activities

Team productivity demands more than just work. understanding their interests, strengths, and weaknesses will help you segment your internal audiences to transform them into happier people. If the team members are happy and feel connected, the team productivity and efficiency will automatically increase.

To beat the Anonymity, add fun elements and incorporate team-building exercises at regular intervals, which also washes away any grudges or miscommunications between team members.

4. Recognize Accomplishments

Remote employees work best when they are given a reason to do so. Like a pat on the shoulders, they wanted to be appreciated with incentive programs. Studies show that 85% of the employees felt more motivated to do the best when an incentive was offered.

Employees feel supported and feel more productive at work when their part is recognized. Ensure you share your team and their accomplishments with the rest of the company. Employees’ motivation has a direct impact on their company engagement and productivity.

5. Personalize Your Messages

Not all team members require the same message. Keep your messages strong and crisp, as they are dealing with too much or irrelevant information.

If you want to make them productive at work, ensure they focus on the right information that is essential to them. Irrelevant information can distract them and make them lose interest. As mentioned before, segment your content and support your team member’s productivity while working from home.

6. Know Your Employees

One of the best ways to ensure that your employee gets the information is by personally recognizing them. So, they can be successful in their job with optimal productivity. It would also help in building a kickass team that works on their own at the same time more approachable, so if someone in your team has a question, they don’t need to think twice to clarify their doubts. Clearly defining their job responsibilities and your expectations help them perform at their best abilities

7. Employ a Project Management Software

Project management software plays a vital role in boosting team productivity. Having the right tool in place, the employee can become efficient at work and increase collaboration between members.

You need all-inclusive software like Zapoj to keep you and team members together well aligned during crisis management and make informed decisions that take your productivity game to a whole new level.

8. Measure The Effectiveness of your Internal Communication

To keep the internal communication strong, learn what works the best and what fails. If you notice any glitches, make sure to rectify them timely so the remote employees get the information they need.

Ensure that your remote workers don’t feel left out, otherwise feel disconnected, or else these productivity levels may go down.

9. Give Feedback

Create and encourage an open culture of dialogue that makes working easier for them. Getting to know about the opportunities to improve will motivate the team members to make some changes in their style of working. It allows room for creativity and could help them improve.

By providing constant support, feedback and encouragement, you can easily increase productivity levels. Ask them or find other ways, you can make it easier for the remote employees. This will let them know you deeply care for them and work stress-free.

10. Engaging Work Environment

Work from home environment and infrastructure are the essential attributes in improving a team’s efficiency and productivity. Try helping your team set up a home office with a good internet connection, devices, and necessary accessories they need to get the job done.

Offer them guidelines to improve their work-life balance. Also consider creating a virtual space, where your employees can share insights, best practices, business trends, or fun facts.

The Bottom Line

The transition of the work environment from the office to home is challenging. Many businesses are aware of the benefits of remote work. By working from home, remote teams can have better work-life balances, increasing the revenue of the company.

Productivity, with a well-defined mission and principles to guide the business, is one way to move to the next level. The most effective way to identify problematic areas and optimize productivity is by measuring productivity. Keep your goals high so you reach new milestones.

Managing productivity across departments and making the best use of resources can result in positive consequences for the company as a whole and its employees. Getting in control of your priorities and managing deadlines will bring you more organization and accountability.

Identify the key performance factors that directly influence the growth of the business by incorporating proactive software like Zapoj Zsuite. Now you can automate most of your project management functions and make informed decisions, with a sophisticated communication plan for all circumstances. Ease your remote work model with Zsuite to drive more meaningful experiences for your remote workforce and increase their productivity 10x times more.

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Workspaces

Top 5 Reasons Why Remote Work Is Here To Stay

The lasting effects of workplace disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic are reflected where millions of employees transitioned from offices to their homes. Most of these employees were adjusting to a new way of working for the first time.

Despite the negative orientation of remote work, companies and employees have now realized the positive impact of working remotely such as reduced costs, employee satisfaction and enhanced productivity.

Many large firms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Nationwide, have changed their workplace policies to allow their employees to work remotely indefinitely. Remote jobs have become a permanent aspect of business operations even post-pandemic.

We are sharing five solid reasons why remote work is here to stay.

1. Global Talent Pool

By tapping into pools of remote workers, organizations offering remote work have a better chance of attracting high-caliber candidates. Many of these untapped talent pools include people living in rural areas; others outside the mainstream workforce, like stay-at-home parents, individuals caring for elderly relatives, and gig workers and retirees.

Companies no longer have to operate within their country’s borders and rely on their geographical location for recruiting the right talent. They can now hire remote workers globally and recruit talents from around the globe.

2. Employers Save Money

The remote work model can drastically reduce rental and utilities and infrastructure costs which makes it a profitable company. Based on the location, employers can acquire and retain the skills as required at less competitive costs. A remote workforce can significantly reduce overheads and benefit from saving monthly expenses for employers. They are likely to take unexpected days off and coordinate appointments because of the work flexibility.

3. Employees’ Save Costs

A remote workspace is also extremely economical for employees. Having to no longer commute to the office means reduced expenses on things like fuel, commuting fares, and dry cleaning, clothes, and grooming.

4. Increased Productivity

The pandemic has broken the misconceptions of remote work. The reality hit way differently. Remote workers are more productive and typically spend long working hours, as they’re no need to commute to work, saving time to work for employees. A Stanford study suggests some employees perform best from home. It is increasingly recognized that productivity standards are most clearly aligned with the company’s overall objectives.

There is a massive improvement of 13% in performance of people working from home. Free from the stress of commuting, office distractions, and complex systems, remote employees are more focused and produce high-quality work. With flexibility, they are also willing to put in extra hours to get the job done. In turn, this leads to higher output, higher employee engagement, and improved efficiency at the company as a whole.

5. Healthier Work-Life Balance

Remote work gives employees the flexibility to adjust their schedules to their work. They’re able to manage day-to-day chores, homeschooling, and exercising without negatively affecting the productivity of their days. Employees feel happier, more relaxed, and more in control of their life; as a result, they are less stressed and productive.

A healthier work-life balance improves retention rate and employee satisfaction. Companies should be flexible as possible, all they need to do is trust your remote workforce and they will deliver great results.

The Future of work

The world is eventually recovering from the pandemic. Progressive organizations are likely to embrace more flexible work models that empower the workforce. Business leaders are retrospect of lessons learned from the pandemic crisis and will be functioning according to foreseeable future demands.

Out-of-the-box approaches and the adoption of technologies have connected employees to deliver another level of agility during the crisis. It is safe to say remote work will continue to expand to acquire new opportunities to remain relevant and to survive.

Zapoj is a critical event management and team collaboration platform engineered for remote teams to enhance productivity and prevent disruptions at the same time. Build and manage highly productive teams anywhere with ease using Zapoj’s Workspace. To know more about how you can strategically plan and execute remote work models, book a demo today!