10 Must Have Tools For Remote Workers
The ability to work remotely from wherever in the world you wish is an amazing perk, but what makes that possible? Working remotely comes with its own set of unique challenges, I don’t know if you realize this but if you’re based in Europe and your coworker is currently in Southeast Asia you can’t exactly walk up to their desk to ask them a question. So in order for any remote team to find success these particular challenges need to be addressed, and this list of tools is a wonderful place to start.
Perhaps one of the most widely used tools in a remote work environment, Slack is like the miracle offspring of email and text. Slack makes it extremely easy to communicate with team members all over the world and even share files. Slack integrates with just about any other popular remote work tool which makes it easy to make your work life very cohesive. Also what’s not to like about being able to send your coworker any one of a thousand hilarious GIFs?
Team communication though isn’t just about sending each other GIFs. A part of any healthy remote team is some face to face time and when you are scattered all over the world there is no better way to do that than Zoom. Zoom is video chat service that allows up to 500 to be a part of the same meeting (not that we suggest you do that) and also supports screen sharing, chat, a webinar functionality and much more.
Just like the inability to just get up and walk over to a coworker’s desk, being remote means that you can’t just drop off some paperwork at their desk. That’s why DropBox is such an essential tool for any remote team. Their interface is easy to use and makes file sharing between teams a breeze.
As a remote worker you need a way to track the amount of time you have spent on a project in order to charge clients, or to show your boss how long you spent working on a certain task. Toggl makes this very easy with their web platform which allows you to create a client profile and then categorize projects and tasks that you have worked on for said client. Their reports are also an easy way to see just how much time you spent working on what.
When you are working on a large project you need to be able to understand the big picture and your role within it, which is something that Trello is particularly good at. Trello’s design allows you to break up complex goals and projects into smaller and easy to check off tasks that you can then assign people to. You can then attach pertinent files and videos directly to that task’s “card” so you have everything you need to get your work done. Simply put it’s the greatest organization tool since the invention of the folder.
Google Suite Tools
Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and the rest of the Google Suite of tools have become an integral part of most remote teams for good reason. The ability to create a document and know that it’s instantly available for the rest of the team makes it easy for you to focus on your work and not on how you will share it.
World Clock Meeting Planner by TimeAndDate.com
Perhaps one of the hardest things to figure out when working as part of a remote team is when everyone is available for a call. I have literally spent hours trying to coordinate with everyone’s time differences until I found this awesome app. You just plug in everyone’s location and it produces an easy to read graph that color codes the best times for everyone for a call.
If you work remotely as a freelancer then you need some way to invoice your clients. Wave is an awesome free invoicing and accounting software that takes a small percentage of your payments. With Wave you can also set up automatic invoices if you have a client that you bill regularly and if they don’t pay on the due date you can even set up a reminder email to go out automatically.
Probably the most important thing to a remote worker is a reliable fast internet connection. Ookla is a free app that allows you to check the internet upload, download, and ping speeds. This way you can walk into a cafe, connect to the WiFi with your phone, and know within seconds if it’s even worth taking out your laptop.
Focus Keeper App
This simple pomodoro timer app for your phone is a great way to make sure that you are working in a healthy manner. You can easily set up your working time, and small rest time, and create a well oiled work routine with plenty of short breaks. Best of all the large red “bomb like” countdown of the work timer is a great way to keep you focused when in a work mode.