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Supporting creativity and productivity from anywhere

How to power collaboration in the hybrid-working world

Creative work has traditionally been thought of as something that takes place in the office. The clichés of the “water cooler moment” and brainstorming sessions in “spaces” filled with beanbags and whiteboards imply that people need to be in the same physical location to come up with new ideas for business. But employees have spent the majority of the last 18 months predominantly working from home and have had to find alternative ways to creatively collaborate. With a high percentage wishing to continue this flexible employment pattern, it’s paramount that their employers provide the tools they need to be creative and productive wherever they are.

This goes much further than just providing business software and equipment at home. The biggest drawback of remote working is finding ways for workers to collaborate effectively. However, productive and creative thinking can arrive anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Having access to the environments and software to express and share that could lead to an improvement, rather than just mitigating for what has been lost by workers spending less time in the office.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to replicate remotely is brainstorming. However, frequently in the office great ideas are formulated and laid out on the whiteboard (or on sheets of flipboard paper), only to be left there rather than captured to be taken towards implementation. But if new plans, projects and processes are expressed through effective visualisation software, this will allow the ideas to persist and continue their development towards implementation. MindManager provides a comprehensive toolset to turn complex ideas into clear structures. Feature-rich integration with Microsoft Teams allows groups to collaborate effectively on projects, compile research and think strategically. Full cross-platform support extends from Windows and Mac to Chromebooks, Web browsers and other environments with Microsoft Teams, so employees can collaborate from any device.

Another area that has traditionally found value from physical meetings is where a team must work with a designer to develop a visual asset – perhaps a new logo or the main layouts for a marketing campaign. This can be replicated via a video meeting with a shared software screen, but it can be a lot more efficient when contributions can be made asynchronously. A problem here is that graphics applications are often resource intensive and those who aren’t the design professionals on the team won’t want the full software installed to collaborate. Fortunately, employees working with graphics-heavy ideas can make use of CorelDRAW’s capable professional collaboration tools. These allow clients and co-workers to view, annotate and comment on designs without needing the application installed on their computer. The designer merely needs to save and share. They will then receive email notifications of input from collaborators.

The compatibility of the computing equipment employees have at home with the software they use in the office can be another major impediment to remote work, even if that software is not as resource intensive as graphics applications. This is particularly true in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment, where the home desktop or notebook has been chosen by the worker for very different personal criteria than corporate business systems. It’s highly likely that an employee will have chosen an Apple product for the home, such as a MacBook or iMac. In contrast, it’s also highly likely that the office systems will be based on Microsoft Windows PCs.

This can lead to issues with providing access to business applications. These issues can be alleviated with Corel’s Parallels, the desktop version of which is available for consumers and businesses. For employees who have Apple Macintosh systems, Corel’s Parallels Desktop allows their computers to run Windows without rebooting, whether their Mac has an Intel or Apple’s new M1 processor. This means they can run their office Windows software on their Mac as if it is a PC.

It may not be feasible to install the full suite of software used by a company on an employee’s home system, however. There could be licensing issues, concerns about security, or you may be worried about having the data held locally on a worker’s machine. These factors have led to a considerable rise in interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), where a business desktop environment hosted remotely is served via a network or the Internet to a client system. VDI allows an employee to get access to their familiar office computer environment potentially from any system that has an Internet connection, including all applications and data.

Corel’s Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) provides a robust and streamlined environment to deliver virtual desktops to any device, anywhere, anytime. This provides facilities to streamline and centralize the management of Windows Remote Desktop Services and Microsoft Azure Virtual desktop, so that users can get a productive experience even via a web browser, smartphone, or tablet. Parallels RAS supports all major hypervisors, including Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, infrastructures such as Nutanix Acropolis, Scale Computing and environments from HPE.

Even with such a well featured VDI implementation, there is likely to come a time when your creative employees must exchange files. Some of these could be quite large and might include a collection of documents that you need to keep together. This is where the industry’s most mature file compression and management utility, WinZip, will be an essential part of a worker’s arsenal. The latest version of WinZip can decompress over 17 different archive formats. Adding on the WinZip Courier application allows employees to send large files with complete privacy, while WinZip Pro can provide peace of mind with crucial backup functionality.

The challenge for the channel in the post-pandemic world of remote work is to ensure customers find the best collection of tools to maintain their creativity and productivity. Corel’s suite of applications can be a central part of that solution. To facilitate the process, Corel has developed a new program, which can help channel partners attract customers and foster their success through delivering what they need such as the applications we have discussed here.

Learn more about the Corel Partner Program

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