Working remotely can be the most rewarding thing of someone’s career, but it also has its share of challenges for employees and employers alike. Work flexibility has become a critical deciding factor of many job seekers and many companies have started to implement the work-life balance approach that comes with remote work. But in order to make sure that remote workers are able to complete the same volume of work as they would have done if working in a traditional office setting, it is important to have the right tools for remote workers. Let’s take a look at these tools that every new remote worker should be using so they can stay connected with their teams and remain productive. Here’s our list of the most recommended online tools for remote workers:
1. Most Recommended Productivity Tools For Remote Workers
Distraction is everywhere when you’re working remotely full-time or freelancing. From errands, chores, and personal responsibilities,websites and other online activities are also tempting when you’re working without someone supervising you and telling you to get back to work!
You sit down and face your computer, and you swear you’ll be productive and get your to-do-list done. Next thing you know, its six hours later. You may have checked your email, updated your Facebook status, browsed through your Instagram feeds, watched your favourite band on Youtube, read every post in your Twitter feeds, cyber-stalked your crush, blown through 100 pages of work-unrelated websites and voila, potentially loosing you a whole day of productivity. Five minutes on Facebook and ten minutes on Instagram there…it all adds up.
If you catch yourself spending too much time surfing time-wasting websites with little to no self-restraint, then Freedom can provide a valuable service:
- Freedom website blocker blocks an unlimited number of distracting websites so a remote worker can focus on what matters.
- Freedom website blocker also lets you block time-wasting phone and desktop apps—from email clients to addicting games.
- You can even block the entire internet when you need a break or a focus with just a click of a button.
- You can enable Locked Mode to prevent you from ending a block session.
- Compatible with Mac, Windows, iPhone, or iPad with sync blocks features across all of your devices.
Everhour is a team-oriented time tracking software product for accurate employee time tracking for reporting, invoicing and painless payroll.
- Keep track of all your project budgets. Schedule threshold alerts
- Monitor team’s utilization across different projects
- Accurate and simple time tracking. Task-based estimation
- Create tasks, track time and update progress in one place
- Track work-related expenses that incurred on the job
- Highly flexible reports to analyze time the way you want
- Create invoices from time entries and send them to your clients
- Track time inside the most popular project management tools
2. Most Recommended File Sharing Tools For Remote Workers
Dropbox syncs your files with almost everything. Just drag a file into Dropbox on your computer, and you can access it from the web, mobile device, or any other computer linked to your account. This is Dropbox’s killer feature, and no one does it better! Making it one of the best online tools for remote workers.
- A Dropbox Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space.
- Dropbox lets you update your files and documents from your computer, phone, or tablet and your updates will automatically sync across all your devices.
- Send files to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Files you share using Dropbox always stay up-to-date, letting you and your team stay on the same page.
- Dropbox boasts of a feature called Paper, a collaborative work pace for your team. Work with all types of content—from YouTube videos to code to Pinterest boards—in one place.
- Turn your files into a beautifully packaged page with Showcase. Share your showcases with partners and clients and keep track of who’s seen what.
- Organize your company’s files in one central place with Dropbox Business. Admin controls let you track team activity and secure access to shared data.
- Work the way you want—Dropbox integrates seamlessly with the tools you and your team use every day.
- Dropbox security features let you control exactly who gets access to your files, wipe data when you lose a device, and recover files if you need to.
Every remote worker needs a file management and file sharing app, and Google Drive is one of the most popular available tools for remote workers. Google Drive integrates perfectly with other apps in G Suite, and it is an ideal tool for teams that are located in different parts of the world. Any member can access files even if they are unable to reach their team mates anytime of the day.
- Store all of your files alongside your Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
- Keep all your files synced between all of your devices
- View your files online, and edit them in Google Docs or other Drive-compatible web apps
- Embed files in your site, publish them with a link, or share them privately with any Google account
- OCR text from images or PDFs and easily search through all your files
- iOS and Android apps available
More than just notes, Evernote is where you can store everything from personal notes to business projects, and know they’re always safe, always secure, and ready whenever you need them. Your ideas, photos, and clipped pages are always available, no matter where you are. From birthdays to the boardroom, keep friends, family, and team members in on everything. Invite anyone to collaborate on whatever is on your mind.
- Evernote auto-syncs across all your devices, including desktop, smartphones and tablet.
- Clip web pages as you browse using Evernote’s web clipper. Keep them all in Evernote and quickly find anything you’ve collected.
- Save time and effort with easy-to-install note templates to fit every need. Evernote’s templates are fully customizable and endlessly reusable.
- Easily collect, organize, and share everything your team needs to turn inspiration into action using Spaces. Make it as the home for all your team’s ideas and work.
- Evernote Business integrates with your other favourite tools for remote workers like Google Drive, Outlook, Salesforce and Slack so your teams can be more organized and productive from sharing ideas to execution.
3. Most Recommended Communication Tools For Remote Workers
Almost everyone has used Skype at some point, useful for audio calls and most importantly for video calls. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice one-to-one and group calls, send instant messages and share files with other people on Skype. You can use Skype on whatever works best for you – on your mobile, computer or tablet. The best thing about Skype is it is free to download and easy to use.
But if you choose to use their paid features, you can do more – like call phones and send SMS messages. Their paid features can be used on a pay as you go option or by signing up to a subscription, whatever works for you. The cost of calls are often a lot cheaper than other business tariffs which is a great added benefit in the world of business.
- Whether you’re connecting with friends, family, clients or colleagues, you can get more from your conversations with the latest Skype calling features.
- Take your conversations to a new level with Skype video features.
- Send almost anyone a quick message. With voice, text, video and photos, you can connect with those who matter, even when you don’t have time for a call.
- Give your contacts access to files, photos,videos and more. With the ability to share in more ways, you can keep everyone informed, engaged, and up to date.
Slack is one of the most widely recommended tools for remote workers and remote teams. It’s a place where remote workers can get instant feedback and connect with their colleagues, either one-on-one or in groups. One feature that emerges from the rest is the ability to install apps that automatically report on business activity, like new email subscribers or product reviews, and bots that help keep employees engaged.
- Share channels with companies and businesses you regularly work with – like clients, vendors, and partners – to bring all the right people into the same room.
- Talk it out over voice or video calls directly from Slack. And if you need to show your work, you can share your screen, too.
- Drag-and-drop PDFs, images, videos and other files directly into Slack. Get feedback on your work and create an archive of your changes and progress.
Google Hangouts is a singular communications platform developed by Google to help users initiate and engage in various communications, including text, voice or video chats. The platform has proven to be effective in both one-on-one implementation and in a group. Hangouts are integrated into Google+ and Gmail. For added mobility and versatility, mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are also available.
- HD video calls
- Voice Calls
- Instant Messaging
- HD Group Conferencing for up to 15 people
- Auto Screen Focus
- Intelligent Muting
- Compatibility with multiple computing devices
- Built-in screen sharing
- Hangout On Air
- Integration with other Google applications
- Custom Control for Admins
4. Most Recommended Project Management Tool for Remote Workers
Trello is a project management tool that can be used for pretty much anything from product development to content planning and managing freelancers to daily task management.
What makes Trello different from similar tools for remote workers is how easy it is to use. You can drag and drop files and text, and paste images from your clipboard onto cards to collect them together. You can set due dates, labels, team members, and comments to both plan out a strategy and track its progress.
Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything, trusted by millions of people from allover the world. There’s a 10MB limit per attachment on the free plan, but you can just easily attach Google Drive or Dropbox links to your cards to keep both assets and ideas in one place.
- Free or zero pricing for the basic service
- Quick overview on front and back of cards
- Easy organization with tags, labels and categories
- Drag and drop functionality
- In-line editing
- Checklists, with progress meter
- Easy uploading of files and attachments
- Data filtering
- Archiving of card records (e.g. comments and changes)
- Deadline reminders
- Email notifications
- Activity log
- Assign tasks function
- Voting feature
- Information retrieval and back-up
- SSL encryption of data
- Texts and visuals fit any screen size
- Search function
- Mobile functionality to access boards on the go
- Developer API
5. Bonus: Must Have Tool For Remote Workers (specially for those who travel a lot)
For those who travel while working or what many people call digital nomads, reliable internet service is the most important thing. This can be very pricey too and relying on internet connections at your hotel, cafes and restaurants is not always the best choice especially while working.
Thankfully, Skyroam has provided one the most convenient ways to access WiFi when abroad. Skyroam lets you connect up to 5 devices and enjoy unlimited international WiFi in over 130 countries.
- Skyroam makes it easier and a lot cheaper for those longer trips where you will be crossing through multiple countries.
- It is proven to be most cost effective when travelling through many different countries in a short amount of time.
- There is no monthly contract – You pay for what you use, whenever you want to use it, so you don’t waste money on something that you don’t use
- You will no longer have to deal with SIM cards,or the horror of roaming charges. This is especially helpful when your phone is not unlocked as you won’t need to buy a second phone for travelling.
- Skyroam uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe and secure while using WiFi.
- This is also helpful for occasional travellers as it will come in handy as a backup internet service when necessary.
We have asked Skyroam for a discount for our readers and they have given an exclusive promo code to get 10% discount on your Skyroam purchase! So do not forget to quote “WORKHARDANDWANDER” to benefit from your 10% discount!
We understand that the majority of remote workers are employed individuals working for one or a number of companies across the globe. That most are tied to a business somewhere that still operates as office with a team clocking in a standard eight hour work day in whatever time zone. The reason we wrote this article is to help the remote employees and the teams in the office to ensure good communication strategies and systems are in place to survive and thrive. It is hard to ensure that productivity and effective cooperation are not impacted when a team is spread out over multiple locations, and we hope that you will use and implement some of the above available online tools for remote workers, to make it easier for employer and employees to work together despite the geographical distance.
Feeling inspired, feel free to share this with someone you know who works remotely!