Big enterprise software and services companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce (Slack) have been innovating since the beginning of the pandemic to create tools for remote workers that help facilitate collaboration and productivity across teams in hybrid work environments.
While each of their stable of products and services work very well for those organizations already invested in those ecosystems, there’s always room for looking outside any platform’s ecosystem for other tools that might optimize operations.
Consider tools that can help address the issue of whether or not to use employee monitoring systems to insure remote workers productivity: Productivity may be better addressed by providing employees with tools that allow them to get an assessment of how their time is being spent and if there are ways to optimize what they’re doing.
One such tool we recently learned about is from a company called Team Huddle and their first product is a tool called ScheduleIQ. ScheduleIQ is Team Huddle’s first product offering and is being provided for free with no restrictions on how many accounts any one organization can create and use. The company currently has no plans to cap use of this product.
Of course, offering your initial product at no cost seems too good to be true, so I asked what the company’s business model is if this product will not cost organizations anything. Additional products designed around solving ineffective meetings – including meeting format templates, role assignments, automated agendas, time and content trackers, and collaborative note-taking tools – will have a fee associated with using them.
According to Rob Smith, the founder at Team Huddle, the right tools for remote workers can help with productivity and work-life balance.
“One way to help employees take back control of their time is leveraging meeting and schedule optimization tools," Smith said. "This technology advocates for workers by creating meetings and schedules around their work preferences, best practices and lifestyles, so that they’re better positioned to work productively within agreed upon work hours, while protecting off-work hours to enhance work-life balance.”
He went on to add that in order to function well within a hybrid work model, employees must embrace flexibility whether they are in the office or working from home. Smith tells me the AI-powered ScheduleIQ can help with that flexibility.
ScheduleIQ is fully compatible with Google and Microsoft calendaring products and facilitates the scheduling of meetings by considering the schedules of all participants and then shares a link that enables participants to pick the time slots that sync up best with their own calendars. Once that time is selected, the meeting is automatically added to the participants' calendars.
A Look at the Team Huddle ScheduleIQ Setup
Setting up ScheduleIQ to work with a Google or Microsoft account calendar requires granting permission for ScheduleIQ to access the calendar being used and then answering a series of questions back on the ScheduleIQ website, including “How do you like to meet?” and “Tell us the time zone, working hours and days in your typical working schedule?” and “What is your job title? In what industry?”
The next step is to grant permissions to the calendar of choice so that ScheduleIQ can handle setting up meetings based on the answers to the series of questions that were provided earlier in the setup process.
Once this step is complete, ScheduleIQ is ready to use.
There is a dashboard that summarizes an algorithm-driven personalized ScheduleScore based on key metrics that measure the following attributes:
- Meeting Quality: Are meetings back-to-back even though they are preferred to be spread evenly?
- Work-Life Balance: Are users in meetings past normal work hours? Are personal events spilling into their scheduled work time?
- Event Metrics: How long are the meetings? Are long meetings the company norm? How many people regularly attend the meetings?
Three additional scoring areas will be coming soon according to Team Huddle:
- A “Burnout Meter” that assesses whether an employee’s meeting schedule is packed and if there’s enough time to actually work between meetings.
- A Job Benchmarking feature, which asks how individual meeting schedules compare for employees who have the same job title.
- A tool that assesses how the meeting schedule compares to similar companies in the same industry.
These scores can then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of an employee’s schedule and allow employees and managers to make adjustments accordingly to improve both the employee’s schedule and their ScheduleIQ score.
Innovative and creative tools for remote workers can result in more productivity for workers whether they are in the office or working remotely. While everyone looks to the big players for these capabilities, it is worthwhile to look for new companies such as Team Huddle and their ScheduleIQ meeting tool to introduce new ways to do the everyday part of work.