This article is part of the guide Remote Working during COVID-19, How to ride out the coronavirus outbreak.
If you’ve not worked fully remotely before, then riding through this COVID-19 crisis will be particularly scary and challenging time.
To be able to work remotely effectively, you need to the right remote working tools. Over 550 people from 82 countries highlighted that communication, along with project management, are often issues when remote working. Fortunately there are fantastic remote working tools that already exist. Our community have helped to crowd-source some of the best ones.
Communication remote working tools
We all use e-mail. But there are actually alternatives that are more efficient to communicate as a team:
- Slack is a tool to replace internal email within a company. Very powerful, plugs into other software and has video calls built in. Many companies were using this before coronavirus hit, but it’s the perfect remote working tool.
- Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. It’s great for large and small companies.
WhatsApp is the most popular mobile instant messaging tool. Very simple to use and most people who have a mobile are on it. Even my mum uses it! For small teams, or freelancers working with one client, it’s super easy.
Video calls have become easier as bandwidth is cheaper. Slack, Teams and WhatsApp have video calls built-in but there is specific software designed for it:
- Zoom has been the fastest growing over the last year. It’s easy to see why. It just works. It’s a web-based video conferencing tool with a desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. It ties in with your calendars too so people don’t miss meets as often.
- Google Meet for business and Google Hangouts for personal are video conferencing apps from Google. Meet is the business-oriented version of Google’s Hangouts platform and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.
- UberConference gives a simple and pain-free way to schedule and run audio conferences, all without requiring annoying PINs.
Project management and documents for remote working
- Dropbox is a personal cloud storage service or an online backup service. Its frequently used for file sharing and collaboration, and they’ve more recently enabled document collaboration and editing features.
- Google Drive allows users to store files on Google’s servers, but also synchronize your files across different devices, and also share files to other people. Google Docs and Google Sheets also are fantastic for collaborative working on documents (we used Sheets to collate all this information from over 500 people)
- Trello is a very popular digital representation of an online corkboard. You use it to organize “cards” into lists. Those cards can be tasks, notes, projects, shared files, or anything else that helps your team work and communicate together. It’s super simple to use.
- Asana is designed to improve team collaboration and work management. It’s very slick and helps teams manage projects and tasks in one tool. Your team can create projects, assign work to different people, add deadlines, and communicate about tasks directly within Asana.
- Geekbot – If you use Slack, this is a great plugin that helps your team communicate by using the “standup” meeting process of the Scrum methodology. That’s a lot of words that might not make sense. In simple terms, you tell everyone what you worked on yesterday, what you’re working on today and if you have any issues.
- Basecamp is a real-time communication tool that helps teams stay on the same page. Basecamp is less for your traditional project management tasks like resource planning and long-term scheduling, but more for quick communication.
- Wrike is designed around a minimalist multi-pane UI and consists of features in two categories: project management, and team collaboration. It does both of those well, so it’s another option for your remote working tools.
- WeTransfer is a simple tool to send large files where e-mail wouldn’t work. It’s often used by creatives that have large video content to send to people externally (as you don’t know if they have Dropbox, Drive or all those other tools). You just send a link.
- Runrun.it is another project management tool that has AI-enabled widgets and some other smart tools that might be right for your team.
Creative and design tools for remote working
- Figma is a browser-based UI and UX design application, with great collaborative design, prototyping, and code-generation tools.
- InVision is a prototyping, collaboration and workflow tool for designers. It’s a perfect design remote working tool that many people use.
- Frame.io is for the video market to collaborate while working on video content. It’s a great remote working tool for videographers and editors to get feedback from their clients.
Developer remote working tools
- There are a number of code repository services, with the largest being Github and Gitlab. But to be honest, I imagine every developer knows about them?
- Visual Studio Live Share enables developers to collaboratively edit and debug with others in real time, regardless of the programming languages you’re using or app types you’re building. Think of it as a paired programming tool, but as a remote working tool!
- Jira is used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management.
Other remote working tools
- Anydesk is used for remote access to any desktop computer. As in, if you need to connect to that machine back in the quarantined office, you can. It works on Windows, macOS, Linux and FreeBSD, as the host machines and the access can be from any mobile device as well as desktop or laptop.
- Toggl and Harvest are simple time trackers with powerful reports. They both work across all your devices. This is good to help with focus so you know how much work you’ve been doing per day.
- If you find music too distracting, but you want something in the background, then Noize is a good option. I think you can also get your Alexa or Google Home devices to do something similar.
We got this information out as quickly as possible and will be updating it over the coming days and weeks. If you have any other tools you want to add, please comment below or contribute to the cause and give your advice on remote working.