To earn your keep as a remote worker, colleagues and partners need to feel like you’re available even if you’re asleep while they’re doing business. Your co-workers and clients need to feel certain you’re in tune with what’s happening in the organization and that can be a little tiring sometimes.
Especially in these hard times of social distancing and fear of the pandemic, a lot of us are working from home. So let's talk about the top 3 apps to use while working remotely. So your work can be done in the safety of your house.
1. Slack (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & web)
Slack is a massaging platform designed for teams and it’s the ideal communication tool for remote workers. Instant messaging is organized into channels, which team members can join and leave, as needed, so nobody receives messages or notifications irrelevant to them. Team members can also chat outside of main topics in separate threads which prevents these messages from interfering with the most project-centric conversations.
Key features include:
Instant messaging: Live communication between every team member for seamless collaboration. File sharing: Drag-and-drop file sharing for PDFs, images, videos, and other common file types. Voice & video calls: Voice and video call directly from within Slack. Screen sharing: Allows team members to show their work to others in real-time for stronger collaboration.
However, to access all these features and more you will need to get one of the paid versions, which start from £5.25/month per active user.
2. Zoom (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & web)
Zoom offers a full suite of video conferencing and communication tools for businesses. This is a standout product for us (and the majority of other remote teams I’m in contact with) is Zoom Meetings & Chat, which offers video and voice calls for serious teams.
Key features include:
Video meetings: Remote teams can run video meetings and one-to-one video calls.
Voice calls: You can also run a group or one-to-one voice calls when face-to-face meetings aren’t necessary. Messaging: Team members can send messages using Zoom.
File sharing: Share files during and outside of video/voice chats for collaboration between members.
Group video meetings and voice calls are made easy with Zoom. Once again, there’s a free version of Zoom, which will be enough for a large chunk of smaller teams. Crucially, paid versions only require hosts to pay a monthly fee rather than everyone who attends meetings. A host is someone who invites people team members to join meetings but up to 100 participants can join and you (or your company) will only need to upgrade to a paid version if meetings last longer than 40 minutes.
3. Zapier (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & web)
Zapier is a simple automation tool that will save you endless amounts of time on repetitive tasks. Instead of constantly switching between different apps to complete basic functions (e.g.: manually uploading files to Google Drive), you can create Zaps to automate these tasks for you.
Essentially, Zapier sends data between apps like Gmail and Google Drive so email attachments are automatically uploaded for remote access, for example. Or, you can automatically add new time entries to a Google Sheets spreadsheet for accurate timesheets without the manual workload.
Key features of this app include:
Integrate apps: Link your favorite apps so they can share data, allowing you to spend less time switching between apps. Automate tasks: Automate repetitive tasks between apps.
Zaps: Browse Zapier’s library of pre-built automation workflows for your favorite apps.
Custom automation: Build your own automation if you can’t find them in Zapier’s library of “Zaps”.
Automation is the most important tool for maximizing productivity and Zapier is the easiest introduction you’ll get into this crucial, but sometimes complex, technology. Despite being incredibly simple, it’s amazing how much time you can save with Zapier and also how addictive creating/discovering new automation becomes.
Time is money, after all!