Use remote work tools to transform your home into a convenient office
Are you a digital nomad who values the freedom of working and pursuing travel dreams at the same time? Is flexibility on the list of top things you look for in a job? Or maybe your dream job is based in a different city and the commute would take too much time and money? Or else you’re just tired of people and can easily picture yourself working at home from the comfort of your bed, wearing pyjamas? 😉 If so, you’re probably either a remote worker already or you’re planning to go remote in the not-too-distant future.
Remote work has been on the rise for quite a few years already and the trend is only going to get more popular in the future. The possibility to work from home, more and more frequently seen in job offers, is becoming part of the mainstream. And especially now, when the society is faced with the risk of the coronavirus infection, many companies mandate employees to work from home and need reliable remote work tools.
Such model of work is, no doubt about that, very convenient for many people, although it does have its drawbacks, too. But to be able to stay productive and do your work efficiently, you definitely need more sophisticated tools than just comfy pyjamas and a coffee supply! Take a look below and find out what to use to make the most of your remote work opportunity.
Top remote work tools
HeySpace is a task management and communication tool which gives you the basic features necessary for efficient collaboration with your team or customers, at the same time being user-friendly and intuitive. Within one workspace, you can create an unlimited number of spaces, for each project or team, as you prefer. Each space has its own board to plan the team’s workflow, set due dates and give an account of the progress in real time. Thanks to that, everyone can stay on the same page and be aware of what other team members are working on at a given moment.
On top of that, you can benefit from a communication platform, which lets you brainstorm with all space members or talk to your colleagues in a private or group conversation. Thanks to the combination of two most important collaboration features you won’t have to use multiple task management and communication tools. HeySpace can just as well be successfully used to collaborate with your customers, who can be invited to spaces as guests and stay up to date in with the workflow progress. The app also facilitates communication with clients or external contributors, making it quick and easy to send a chat link.
TimeCamp is an efficient time-tracking software that will let you improve your time management and spend your time more productively. With TimeCamp, you can track your activities and see how much time you spend on each of your tasks. Detailed reporting options will let you analyse the results and look for areas where you can improve your efficiency or tasks which take too much of your time at the expense of other, often more important ones.
Time tracking is particularly important for companies in which many employees work remotely. It gives employers a possibility to measure the results against the work effort and time allocated to a given project. TimeCamp allows to monitor employee activity based on different categories, tasks and projects and allocate budget accordingly. It can also be easily integrated with many popular tools for project management, accounting, CRM and productivity.
Google Drive and Dropbox
Google Drive lets you create documents, spreadsheets, slides, and other types of files, and share them with your co-workers in real time. You can share a link or invite someone to collaborate on a document, which is a much better solution than sending an attachment, as it guarantees that everyone has got the latest, most up-to-date version. All collaborators can contribute – either modify the content or add comments and suggestions – and the document owner will get notified immediately. Google Drive provides useful storage space, thanks to which everyone can find whatever they are looking for quickly and easily.
Another similar tool is Dropbox – a file sharing app, which is easy to use and efficient. It provides storage space and facilitates sharing files and collaborating on them, acting as a workspace for content and project work. Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer some of the best cloud storage features available on the market.
Hangouts Meet is a video conferencing tool by Google, available as part of G Suite. Thanks to the app, you can connect with your team from anywhere and easily join in a video call. As it’s integrated with G Suite, you can join meetings directly from a calendar event or an email invite. Thanks to that, you can be sure that you won’t miss out on any important meeting or event held in the company you work for. Some companies have decided to fully switch to online meetings, even if some team members work on site, to give everyone the same perspective and equal opportunities. Hangouts Meet is a perfect tool for that. The app can also be easily used on the go and in some subscription plans, meetings automatically include their own dial-in phone numbers, so that users can dial in quickly, even if there is no internet connection.
Miro is a whiteboarding platform where you and your team can create, discuss and share work using simple tools. It’s a perfect app for brainstorming, giving everyone the possibility to contribute, comment, share their ideas and talk them over with others using a chat. Once done, a project can be exported, shared or presented by moving to another frame.
It’s also a great platform for workshops, providing plenty of space for creative brainstorming. Workshop participants can create mind maps, which is a great way to organise their thoughts and trigger new, innovative ones. The same works perfectly for members of a project team, where everyone can contribute and make changes which are saved in real time. The good old technique of taking a photo of the whiteboard and sending it by email to everyone can safely fade into oblivion! 😊
Another brainstorming technique useful for project teams which you can try out with Miro is an affinity diagram, whereby you first clearly state the problem to be solved at the top and then brainstorm for ideas to solve it using sticky notes. Then you sort them out into common themes and analyse them to come up with a set of priorities. These and many other techniques can be adopted with the help of Miro.
Evernote is a note-taking app that will help you keep everything in order with the use of notes, lists and reminders. With Evernote, you can create notes which will then be automatically saved online and available on all devices on which you use the app. You can add pictures, create checklists and record audio, to capture everything you want to come back to later on.
You can organise everything in notebooks, if you wish, to get an even better organised system. Notes can be tagged with keywords and sorted by category, making it easier for you to find what you’re looking for at any time. Apart from keywords, you can also search by titles, dates, content types, which gives you access to all your stored content when you need it.
The web clipper feature will let you save useful information you have come across online for easy reference, while the feature of spaces will help you collaborate with your team and organise ideas and work seamlessly. With Evernote, you can say goodbye to all your paper notebooks and admit it – you don’t even remember where you’ve put some of them, do you?!
When working remotely, you often have to make special efforts to stay productive, as there may be more distractors than in an office environment. Nowadays, it’s by no means difficult to find apps that are to help you improve productivity, to the point that it’s difficult to decide which ones are actually worth your attention. You can try out different productivity techniques and tools that facilitate putting them into action and find the one (or ones) that work best for yourself. But let’s be honest, the biggest distractors you have to deal with are probably social networking sites and communicators that we’ve all become addicted to.
That’s why, it’s good to find some distraction blocking apps that you can make use of to increase productivity. If you are a Mac user, you can, try out Hyperfocus, which lets you choose apps you want to block notifications from and set the time you want to stay focused for. If you want to block access to social media sites, you can use another tool, available for Windows, Mac and Android – FocusMe, but you can just as well use a distraction blocking add-on to your favourite browser. Whatever works for you and your productivity, of course! Add those to your remote work tools list and you’ll see the difference in your productivity.
Calendly is an app that helps schedule meetings without the need to send multiple emails and struggle to find a date and time to work for all participants. With Calendly, you can set your availability preferences and share a link, letting others know about them. You can also embed the availability on your website, if you prefer. Once they pick a time, the event is added to your calendars automatically. It’s an extremely useful app, especially for those who have many meetings daily or weekly and don’t want to waste time trying to schedule them and discussing possible date and time options. Calendly makes it much easier and helps you focus on your work above all.
Do you have any remote work tools that you particularly like? Share them with us!