Close

Making it work when remote working

When you think about it, almost any job can be done remotely these days, thanks to online collaboration tools. Laura Buckler goes through some of the best ones.

Remote working isn’t for everyone. It can be difficult to stay focused and to work without distractions in an environment that you’re used to relaxing in, and it can also be difficult to maintain the communication that’s vital to the success of any business.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Remote working is a huge topic at the moment and developers across the world are working hard to create new technologies to make remote working easier than ever.

Here are just a few of the tools you’ll want to use if you’re working remotely.

Communication

  • Google Hangouts: A useful alternative to Skype or Slack video calls which also allows you to record your hangouts and to export the video.
  • Join.me: This tool is useful for creating professional meeting appointments that allow people to dial in with either a computer or a phone. It can also integrate with Slack, which is good news if you want to keep everything in a single place.
  • Skype: Come on, you know what Skype is. It’s super useful for video calls and instant messaging and pretty much everyone already has an account on the site.
  • Slack: A little bit like Skype, but more powerful. Slack facilitates real-time chat between teams in different locations and allows them to share files and set up video calls. Skype is useful for communicating both internally and externally, but Slack is all about doing internal communication well.

Miscellaneous

  • Evernote: This popular note taking app allows you to back up your notes to the cloud and to access them from any device with an internet connection.
  • GitHub: Created specifically for web developers, GitHub acts as a code repository and allows programmers to share code and to work together on new features, bug fixes and other areas of development.

Outsourcing

  • Essay Scholar Advisor: Don’t let the name fool you – this useful service makes it easier than ever to hire a writer or an editor to help you with your written content, whether you’re delivering an essay or whether you’re developing content for your website.
  • Upwork: The popular freelancing portal will help you to find all sorts of talent, from video makers and graphic designers to accountants, business development specialists and more. When you’re working remotely and you need to call for backup, Upwork’s got you covered.

Project Management

  • Asana: This is the leading project tracking and time management dashboard on the market and it comes with a whole heap of useful plugins and third-party extensions which can extend functionality or make Asana work like a native part of other applications.
  • Basecamp: Basecamp is a great tool for setting up projects and tracking their progress. You can easily assign them to different team members and break them up into phases so that you can track individual workloads and overall progress, and you can integrate it with other tools like Asana to add extra functionality.
  • Trello: Trello is notable for its unique design which makes it easier than ever to see what jobs have been completed, which are in progress and which are yet to be started. If you’re managing tasks for a whole team while working remotely, Trello will help you to assign tasks and to track their process without any hassle.

Sharing and Storage

  • Dropbox: Most people think of Dropbox as just a cloud storage platform, but it has all sorts of useful features on top of it that makes it far more powerful than you might realise. It stores all of the different versions of your files so you can revert back to an older version if they become corrupted, and it makes it easier than ever to share files and folders with people in real time.
  • Google Docs: A combination of Dropbox and Microsoft Office, Google Docs allows you to share and work on files with multiple users making changes at the same time, and it’s also easy for you to share them with other people by simply sending them a link.

Conclusion

Tools like the ones on this list are developed specifically to make it easier for you to work remotely, and so you’d be crazy to pass up on them altogether. At the same time, it can be counterproductive to get caught up by using too many tools and failing to keep track of them all.

Instead, the best approach to take is to try out different tools and to find out which ones work for you. Stick with the best and ditch the rest. Remember, the whole point is to be as productive as possible while working remotely, so if the tools you use are actively making you less productive then it’s time to ditch them.

Other than that, you’re good to go. Enjoy reaping the rewards.

As a writer, Laura Buckler is known for her brilliant copywriting and her ability to make a product more desirable. Laura is also a blog writer and she does a fair amount of content writing too. Find her on twitter.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).