All hail the countless online tools that make WFH possible! Since the Covid19 outbreak, making remote working productive has become more important than ever.

If you work in a close-knit team this is kind of a big deal; a bombshell if you will. It’ll change the way you communicate and collaborate; where there were once brainstorm meetings with whiteboards, coloured pens and post-it notes (who else misses post-it notes right now?) you’ve got a screen. Thankfully there are heaps of tools designed to make this process virtual and although nothing will replace the efficiency of talking in person, they’re the next best thing!

For a bit of insight, here are some of the biggest things that remote workers struggle with:

  • switching off after work
  • loneliness
  • collaboration and communication
  • distractions at home (fluffy doggos for one!)
  • different timezones
  • motivation
  • taking breaks.

Let’s take a look at the problem areas and the best tools to solve them.

COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION

Slack (free or bespoke plans start at $5.25/mo per user)
Probably the most popular team communication tool, this platform organises your chats into channels, only involving those who are relevant to the conversation. Goodbye useless spam! You can also comment on specific threads to avoid spamming the whole team if you have a specific question… much like commenting on comments on Facebook!

You can also upload files, video call, share screens, set statuses and use their extensive emoji library for giggles. Dead simple and easy to use.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

monday (from $30/month for 2 users)

 Named after the most despised day of the week, monday is a highly advanced project management system that goes beyond the simple ‘to-do list’ and helps teams reach higher goals together.

Tasks can be individually assigned to people and the status of tasks can be updated to statuses like ‘working on it’ and ‘done’, which is visible to all members of the team. That means that work is delegated to people with capacity and everyone’s happy!

You also get a weekly overview that assesses your general progress against your goals. Monday’s just got real awesome!

FILE CREATION AND SHARING

Google Drive (FREEEEEE)
File creation and sharing is cruisy when you have Google Drive. A fluffy, virtual cloud that stores all your important files FOR FREE and saves all changes no probs. Circulating the same doc around a load of different people can get messy, especially if you don’t notify them of edits.

This way, everyone can look at the same doc in the same place.

VIDEO CONFERENCING

Sylo free on Apple Store  and Play Store

Sylo is NZ made private mobile video chat and crypto wallet in one. You can make free amazing-quality video calls, and send your buddies BTC! But if you don’t have any crypto, it works just fine as a stand-alone video chat solution. Definitely the one to watch.

Zoom (free version available, $14.99/month for pro service)

Even the free version of Zoom is pretty advanced and should cater to your needs, unless you’re a huge corporation. You can hold a meeting of up to 100 people before having to pay a cent. Let’s zoom in (sorry) on its key features!

You can hold video meetings, webinars, video conferences as well as share files and instant messages to your teammates. The host can pretty much invite anyone into a video call which takes away the hassle of signing up and yadda yadda yadda. The less admin the better!

InVision (free version available)

Design work only works well when the whole team is working on it at the same time. Real-time collaboration is one of the best parts of this platform and allows you to create prototypes that look and feel like the real thing.

InVision Freehand gives you free reign to plan and design presentations and receive feedback from the important people at the top of the pile. Most importantly, it keeps design teams in sync; no mean feat for those creative types!

SCHEDULING 

Doodle (team packages start at around $24)

As the Doodle site states, it shouldn’t take 30 minutes to set up a 30 minute meeting. With Doodle, you can see people’s availability, take timezones into consideration easily, set reminders, personal events and goals that can only be seen by you. Say goodbye to tiresome email back-and-forths.

Doodle’s a doddle!

TIME TRACKING

Toggl (premium version at $18/mo per user)

If you have trouble managing your time, Toggl is brilliant and requires no input from you! It hums along in the background as you work, tracking your time minute by minute so freelancers can invoice accurately.

Now it’s expanded to include team projects so you can see how long your teammates take to get things done, assess your team’s general efficiency and bill clients.

Serene (FREEEEE)

Essential oils and whale music at the ready, this is Serene. This app helps you focus on single things at a time, taking things step by step and minimising the chance of you becoming overwhelmed.

How does it work? It blocks sites and apps that try and lure you into rabbit holes of procrastination, organises your time into short ‘distraction-free sessions’, plays focus music, silences that pinging phone of yours and sets you achievable goals.

With so many remote working tools available, it’s never been easier. It can never replace annoying your workmates who are sitting approximately a metre away, but it will help you carry on as normal(ish)

And if you need a break from it all, here’s an awesome #isolation playlist to soothe your mind ❤️