One of the bonuses of being a creative freelancer is that you can work with other people from all over the world from your home studio. But, working remotely has its downsides too. Communication and project management can often be difficult to handle. Never fear, we’re here to give you the rundown of the best communication and project management tools for remote working:
If you can’t see your client in person, here’s the next best thing: video calling. If language and time zones don’t pose a barrier, there’s really nothing better than speaking face to face with your client or team. Even on the phone you can misinterpret each other and get the wrong message. Face to face means you can see the other person’s emotion and mood when they’re speaking to you, which gives you an extra level of clarity. As well as video calling, Skype offers regular telephone calls too.
Slack is the hot messaging app of the moment. And you can see why. It’s more than just messaging – Slack claims to reduce the number of emails you and your team send to each other (and that’s got to be a good thing, right?). It’s got a whole host of features, including integrations which make it easy to create polls, add documents, send gifs and much, much more. A great one for remote teams is to type /hangout and everyone in your Slack channel will be in a Google hangout within seconds.
There are a lot of nifty new tools on the market that claim to replace email, but don’t forget this trusty workhorse. You can be guaranteed that most creatives and clients will have an email account whoever they are and wherever in the world they may be. Whereas not everyone will have an account with Skype, Dropbox, Slack etc. Depending on the situation and the purpose, sometimes an email is best.
If you work with people in different time zones, you’ll need to get used to the fact that they might be asleep for a large part of your working day. World Clock shows you all the timezones that your team or clients are working in, and helps you to schedule meetings.
Trello is a simple list and project management tool that’s great for teams too. Just create a card and assign it to a person in your team. It takes next to no time to learn and has a really intuitive interface.
Sometimes when you’re working remotely it can be hard to describe what you mean without drawing it out or visualising it. Skitch helps you do that. Take an image, then annotate, draw or use shapes to help get your point across. Then easily share with your team.
Nearly everyone is familiar with Dropbox now, and that’s because it’s a really useful tool for sharing files. It does what it says on the tin – drop your files into a shared folder (box) and away you go.
Hackpad is a collaborative document where you can write, plan or discuss anything with your team in real time.
Another household name in the project management world, Google Docs is fast, free and really simple to use. Create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more, then share them with your team. Don’t forget file sharing on Google Drive too.
Draft is the perfect tool for writers who need to collaborate. Draft offers version control, real-time collaboration, feedback and critique from professionals, comparisons to see how your draft has changed over time, easy searching and much much more. It even lets you publish straight to your blog.
Want more? Read our list of top project management tools for creatives.