Must have remote working tools and why you need them

Working remotely would be a nightmare without the range of wonderful programs, apps and platforms that are available these days. Despite the distance between colleagues and the lack of a traditional office space with shared resources, these remote working tools can help you quickly reach out to a colleague. They enable you to set up a schedule, collaborate on a document or presentation, or even successfully manage a project with the click of a button. We have researched a few of the top remote working tools that are must-haves for a successful, more productive, and happier remote worker.

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Project Management

Trello

Working remotely would be a nightmare without the range of wonderful programs, apps and platforms that are available these days. Despite the distance between colleagues and the lack of a traditional office space with shared resources, these remote working tools can help you quickly reach out to a colleague. They enable you to set up a schedule, collaborate on a document or presentation, or even successfully manage a project with the click of a button. We have researched a few of the top remote working tools that are must-haves for a successful, more productive, and happier remote worker.

Timely

Keep track of all the time you and your team spend on a project and create a timeline of each member’s day, with Timely. Its automatic time tracking features makes this a breeze. Real-time dashboards and synchronized scheduling make it easy to review logged hours, overtime, weekly capacity, and activities for the whole team. Moreover, you can visualize and schedule project resources from one space. For instance, track budgets, pull reports, and see how much time is spent on each client. You can also connect with every app you already use, and log time on-the-go with the mobile app. You can check out the project with a free 14-day trial. If you like it, upgrade to one of the various paid packages that best fit you as an individual or your company.

Basecamp

Basecamp sells themselves as “the all-in-one toolkit for working remotely” and that is just what they help you do. Access the message board, tasks, group chats, schedules, automatic check-ins, and files and documents in one place. This helps improve communication, productivity, and organization. You can break up the work into separate projects. Each project contains everything related to it – from documents and schedules to discussions and people involved. Moreover, Basecamp offers a feature where you can pause notifications during the hours you are not working, for a better work-life balance. Lastly, your team will be able to access Basecamp from the web, iOS, or Android. You can test Basecamp out with a free 30-day trial. Their business package is available at a monthly flat rate which includes all their features and no per user fees.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse makes project management easy and collaborative. Start a story for any task, chore, feature, or bug. After that, you can check the project or tasks both individually and company-wide by using filters to see the info you need. Tasks can be prioritized or tracked, ensuring you keep to deadlines and schedules. Boards are updated live to ensure all team members are on the same page. Discussions and comments can take place in real-time. With this among your arsenal of remote working tools, workflow can be automated and you can build custom reports. Additionally, Clubhouse can be integrated with other applications. Lastly, apps for iOS and Android make it possible to access Clubhouse from anywhere. Sign up for a free account that caters for small companies with less than 10 users. Paid memberships offer more features, access for more than 11 users and even more support.

Communication

Slack

Slack offers an easier way for remote team members to communicate. For instance, instead of emails, it offers easy-to-follow conversations that enable your team to stay organized and focused. Slack makes it easy to follow discussions about specific projects.  With this app among your remote working tools, it’s easy to make voice and video calls, share files and connect with other apps. Additionally, you can even collaborate with teams at other companies. A free account offers access for small teams. The paid options offer a wider range of services like unlimited message storage, group video calls and 24/7 support.

Zoom

Zoom is probably the most well-known video conferencing service and one of the top remote working tools on the market at present. And for good reason. Easy to access with a user-friendly interface, it offers facilities for online meetings, training and technical support and video webinars. Build collaboration-enabled conference rooms that make hosting meetings easier and more secure. For instance, during group video conferences you can record the proceedings (with a paid account) and share your screen with the other viewers. A free account gives you access to unlimited one-on-one meetings and group sessions of 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. On the other hand, paid accounts allow you to record sessions, longer meeting duration and more participants, amongst other nifty features.

Microsoft Teams

Part of the Office 365 software suite, Microsoft Teams is a communication app designed to make remote communication and collaboration easier. Features include chats, video calling, file, and screen sharing. In addition, it integrates with other Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Skype

AA voice and video calling staple for many years, Skype is easy to use. The free account can cater to most of your basic communication needs. Features include instant messaging, audio and video calls, video meetings and file sharing. In addition, you can enable live captions and subtitles during calls. Take out one of the paid subscriptions and you will be able to make unlimited or fixed-minute calls across the world.

Time Management

RescueTime

Become more focused, productive, and motivated as RescueTime helps you to better manage and track your time. It will help you to see how you use your time and “turn off” distractions like social media. Furthermore, it provides real-time focus alerts will and keeps track of the time spent in meetings and calls. The free plan provides you with basic automatic time tracking. The Premium plan includes features like distraction blockers and improvement trackers.

Hubstaff

Hubstaff has a whole host of great features, for instance, online timesheets, employee monitoring, productivity measurement and GPS tracking. Above all, their smart time tracking software will enable you to focus more on completing work than tracking it. The software offers web, desktop, and mobile apps. The Timesheet app records time spent on projects. A feature-rich dashboard makes team management easy. Hubstaff offers a free basic account with access for one user with limited features or enjoy a free 14-day trial of one of the three paid plans.

ManicTime

This time management software is all about privacy and offline work. ManicTime stores data locally on your machine and is not dependent on an internet connection. Firstly, it automatically records your computer usage – which apps were used, websites visited, and documents worked on and for how long. Secondly, the program logs the time you are away from your computer. Thirdly, you can easily create any kind of report. ManicTime can integrate with other task-based systems. Enjoy the basic functions or upgrade to a paid tier for advanced functions like auto tagging, time sheets and password protection.  Certainly, this is an essential addition to your list of remote working tools if you have privacy and security concerns.

User-friendly Collaboration tools

InVision Freehand

This digital whiteboard is one of InVision’s great features and allows your whole team to create together in one place in real-time. For instance, plan, design presentations and give and receive feedback with InVision Freehand. Customizable templates will make it easy to get started on brainstorming, retrospectives, technical diagrams, wireframing and loads more. In addition, it integrates with your toolset, like allowing you to create freehands directly from Slack and Microsoft Teams or sync designs from Sketch and Photoshop. Pricing ranges from a free account for up to 2 active users, a Pro tier for up to 15 active users and an Enterprise account for larger organizations with advanced needs.

Troop Messenger

Troop Messenger is a user-friendly and compact chat app that makes collaboration between remote working individuals and groups much easier. It features one-on-one instant messaging, video and voice calling, audio messaging and team communication. This app is among the remote working tools that allow you to share your real-time desktop screen to other members. Additionally, you can share files with individuals or in groups

All-in-one solution – Zoho One

Replace your patchwork of cloud applications, legacy tools, and paper-based processes with one operating system for your entire business. It will help increase productivity, deliver better customer experiences and so much more. It allows you to collect leads in one place, close deals quickly, create quotes and invoices, digitally sign contracts, get paid and track every key metric along the way. You will be able to manage contracts and projects, track and bill for time and expenses and keep on schedule and budget. Centralize all your customer data, create segments, send targeted campaigns and surveys at the right time, and track performance with executive dashboards. It’s user-friendly and easy to set up.

Staff at Simpson Dean can recommend Zoho, as we use it as our default cloud solution provider. It’s great for small- to medium-sized businesses that have limited IT resources and know-how. For almost each Microsoft Office application, there is a similar Zoho app.

For more information on the benefits of remote working and tips on how to make it more effective, check out the range of articles on our blog.

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