It’s no question, remote work is on the rise, and for good reason as studies have shown that it can increase employee happiness and efficiency. While remote working has many benefits, to be as successful as possible, it is great to have some tools by your side that make it even easier. As a 100% remote company, we have a lot of experience trying out these different tools and today we wanted to share some of our favorites with you. We hope that whether you are working at home in your pajamas or on a beach across the world, these help you to be as productive as possible.
We love Slack for quick chats and it really cuts down on clutter in your email inbox. Slack is great because you can easily message one on one or create groups. In addition, you can create channels to keep repeated communication about the same topic organized. Slack is working so well for our team that we even recently decided to cancel our bi-weekly, company-wide meetings because we found that everyone on the team already had the information because of the messaging that goes on all week long. For our remote team, Slack has truly become critical in asynchronous communication.
By now, you have probably heard of Google Drive and along with it Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Our team uses all of these to collaborate on projects in real time. The commenting and suggesting features make it really easy to collaborate and review each other’s work. My absolute favorite part of working with these programs is that everything saves automatically so I do not have to fear losing my work because I forgot to hit save.
We have a backlog that our team uses to create and manage tasks. This allows us to know what work to prioritize, what projects everyone is working on, and what the overall goals for the week are. We have recently made some changes to our backlog process which include self-assignments and no estimations which you can read about in previous blog posts. Overall, the backlog is truly what keeps the team running and on task.
We use Toggl to track work for part-time employees who are paid on an hourly basis. With Toggl you can input what task you are working on and it will time your work for you. Then when you are finished working, you can look back and see how you allocated your time. Every two weeks, our part-time employees export their hours via the reports system and send them over to our director of operations. Some of our full-time employees are also using Toggl for their own reference and they report that tracking their hours has made them more productive, so you may want to give this a try!
This easy to use program is an employee happiness meter. Each week all employees receive an email and have 24 hours to anonymously report how happy they are feeling about work this week. There is also a place to write actionable feedback so you can identify solutions to any problems that pop-up. After the 24-hour period a happiness report goes out to the lead so they can implement next steps. Plus, if your team scores 75% happy all month long the program is free!
We primarily use Hangouts Meet for our meeting because it works well with Google Calendar, makes it easy to join with only a URL and no sign in, and offers a call in option in case employees have a spotty Wi-Fi connection. We have found the Wi-Fi connection to be consistently good for employees from all over the world which is the main reason we like this platform.
Zoom is an alternative to Hangouts Meet that we sometimes use when meeting with external clients. The great thing about Zoom is that you can host up to 100 participants in one meeting, and while none of our meetings have reached this size yet, it’s still a really cool capability. In addition, Zoom allows you to host webinars and also makes it very easy to record calls so that you can review them again later.
World Time Buddy is a convenient world clock, a time zone converter, and an online meeting scheduler. It's one of the best online productivity tools for our team because we are scattered in so many different places across the world. World Time Buddy’s design makes it easy to compare multiple time zones at a glance, to plan conference calls, webinars, and meetings. There are also features that aid with business travel & tracking of market hours.
Evernote is a great tool because it helps me store all of my notes, ideas, lists, and reminders in one place. I take a lot of notes during meetings and while writing and before using this they were all so disorganized and they were no longer as helpful as they could be. Some of my favorite features are the web saving tool, the note templates, and the ability to search for keywords in handwritten notes.
Working remotely means a lot of independence, and as a result, it is important to keep track of everything that you need to do. This is why Todoist, a management program for to-do lists, is here to help ensure than nothing slips through the cracks. The program allows you to see tasks at a glance, sorts tasks, provides to-do list templates, and flags upcoming events and deadlines. It’s everything you need to stay on track even when things are hectic at work.
One of the major positives of remote work is that you are not tied to a traditional 9-5 schedule, however with everyone in different places and working different hours, meeting scheduling can be just a little bit more tricky. Doodle Poll is an easy way to collect information about availability and find a time that works for everyone. Beyond work, I have even begun using Doodle Poll to make plans with my crazy busy friends!
We hope these tips help your remote productivity soar! Do you have a favorite remote work tool? Share it with us on Twitter, @KuvioCreative!
Kuvio Creative is a full-service web design and development company that identifies innovative solutions to solve client problems and exceed expectations. Contact us today.
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