If you’re reading this article in 2020, chances are you are required to work from home (if your job allows you to). With the COVID-19 pandemic having brought the entire world economy to a halt, companies are trying to maintain communication and productivity among remote workers.
Even before the crisis started, telecommuting was widely used, especially in the tech sector. Those who are new to remote working will be pleasantly surprised by the number of things you can do with productivity tools, even if your team is distributed.
Let’s take a look at some of the best tools and software for remote workers, as chosen by our team here at Stasher. It is worth noting that all of them do offer a free version if your team wants to try them out, so don’t worry about the costs.
Trello is a very handy project management tool that stands out due to its performance and simplicity. Inspired by the Kanban boards technique, the tool aids in the visualization of what a team needs to do.
Essentially, the workflow is split between boards, lists, and cards that represent the individual tasks. Each card can be moved, copied, assigned, and deleted as needed. Trello is an excellent tool for companies of all sizes, regardless if they’re remote or not. You can even use it to put some structure into your personal life as well!
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management software that simplifies the way remote teams work. It replaces the many tools that teams use for task management, online collaboration, time tracking, reporting, file sharing, and more with a single app.
There are to-do lists for simple task management or you can switch to kanban boards for agile workflow management. A dedicated space for real-time discussions ensures effortless collaboration while working remotely, and there’s an in-built chat app for quick communication. It also speeds up the review and approval process with its easy-to-use online proofing tool.
For anyone older than 25, the interface of Slack might wake memories of early chat rooms such as mIRC. Thankfully, the app is way more sophisticated than its great-great-grandad, offering a slew of integrations and bots to help remote team productivity. Discussions can be grouped at appropriate channels with different themes, to avoid distractions.
Please bear in mind that if you want to save your old conversations or use screen sharing, you’ll have to opt for the premium version. Smaller teams will be just fine with the free version, but an upgrade is mandatory for teams that rely heavily on inter-departmental communication.
If your job involves complex, repetitive tasks across popular cloud-based apps, Zapier will become your best friend. In their own words, Zapier is “the glue that connects thousands of web apps, so they can work together.”
For example, you may want to be notified in Slack about the messages you receive in a Gmail account. Or you might want to save attachments you get on your email account directly to Google Drive. There are literally thousands of combinations available, and Zapier can integrate with all apps you can think of. If you’ve ever tried to maintain a consistent excel spreadsheet up to date, you are going to love Zapier and all it has to offer.
The free plan is quite limited, but thankfully the company offers some pretty flexible subscription packages. The interface is easy to understand, but you’ll need to play around a bit before you get everything right.
Fun fact: Zapier a remote-first team, meaning they hire employees from all over the world! Goes to show you how well distributed teams can work!
Zoom is an app that provides video conferencing. If this sounds awfully similar to Skype, it’s because they’re almost identical. However, Zoom is more business-oriented, offering more customizability and a less cluttered user environment. However, it is not as handy for office chat, as it doesn’t support direct file transfer.
Also, did we mention you can add a virtual background to hide your messy room during video conferences?
Zoom has grown from 30,000 users to 700,000 users between the years 2014 and 2017 and is still expected to grow further, especially now that remote working is in the spotlight. With the ability to include as many as 100 people for video conferencing, a team of remote workers can share ideas and complete a project faster without hitches.
This is a unique software development tool. Developers working remotely have different ideas; however, it is vital to bring together a quality digital product. GitHub makes this possible through remote team collaboration. The team gets to review code and manage projects used to build software using this tool.
Other options include:
Figma is a cloud-based UX design platform that enables teams to work on designs collaboratively and simultaneously. This removes a lot of friction between departments, as everyone can track the progress of a prototype in real-time and comment on it as it progresses.
The program generates a link for the project, which one can share and invite other team members to join. Everyone can add comments and see what changes were made and by whom. Understandably, Figma does not provide the wide variety of design features as other tools, yet still contains plenty of useful options. Pro versions
When Google announced that it would provide its proprietary email service back in 2004, nobody could predict the explosive growth of the company. Sixteen years later, Gmail has a global market share of 20%, and it is actually one of many applications included in the Google Productivity Suite.
You don’t need us to tell you how important it is to have every aspect of your productivity under one roof. With a professional Google account, you get access to a collection of valuable business tools, like document editing, spreadsheet creation, data visualization, presentations, etc.
Other options include:
These tools remain essential to all companies which have their employees working in remote areas. The progress of business projects today and in the future, rely heavily on the use of these tools.
Companies are saving on resources by using remote workers, and they are not about to give up the Return on Investment offered by these tools. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these remote working tools in case you are a designer or developer.