Here are the top apps and tools to help your employees stay connected, organized, and productive while working from home.
Coronavirus has changed many things about the way our world works, especially when it comes to the worforce. Even as things begin to open back up across the United States, many businesses are planning to work remotely for the foreseeable future, and perhaps even indefinitely.
Even if you do plan on going back to traditional office work one day, the pandemic has made one thing clear: sudden remote work is now something many businesses have experience with and can be better prepared for in the future. Since collaboration is key in most workplaces, one way to be as prepared as possible for remote work (or even just more accommodating to it after this whole experience) is by outfitting your small business with the right apps and tools for remote collaboration.
Collaboration among coworkers and across teams is essential. Here are some ways to foster remote collaboration by giving your employees the tools and apps they need to stay connected while apart.
The pandemic has made one thing clear: sudden remote work is now something many businesses have experience with and can be better prepared for in the future.
This spreadsheet app has gotten all kinds of attention recently because of its ability to help keep remote teams organized. Airtable blends the best aspects of spreadsheets and databases in its one unique product. It stores information in a visually pleasing way that’s easy to use to boot. But beyond simple spreadsheet functionality, Airtable has enough meat to be able to function as a database for everything — from task management and project management to inventory tracking and planning team webinars.
Asana is a remote project tracker that some swear by. Remote teams use it far and wide to do everything for their tasks, such as project creation, assigning work, setting deadlines, and offering spaces for conversation around the work. With both app and web browser accessibility, it works well for those on the go. One of Asana’s stand-out elements is its ability to visualize all of the work related to a project in a centralized place.
Especially for content heavy teams, Dropbox is key since sending and accessing large files can be a tough task in and of itself. The main draw of Dropbox is its ability to help organize work in an online area that’s easy to access. While it’s exactly as organized as the person who sets it up and maintains its structure, detail-focused project managers will love it. Users can store and access files in one, safe place — from phones to tablets to desktops.
The G Suite
From spreadsheets to word processors and surveys, Google’s G Suite of products offers it all. While so many people use Gmail, that’s only one offering among many in the Google Suite. Hangouts let you host and participate in video-based virtual meetings. The calendar app lets you stay organized and plan meetings that you can invite coworkers to. Google Slides lets you create presentations the same way that PowerPoint does. Admin access lets business owners keep everything managed in one place. The best part? It offers secure file storage and sharing in the Cloud.
Skype for Business
Hey, Zoom isn’t for everyone. Skype for Business is a Microsoft product that offers much of the same functionalities but in a more familiar environment for those who are more accustomed to the Skype days of remote communication. Skype for Business, however, is beefed up a bit. Today it features everything from instant messaging to document collaboration, along with its video conferencing capabilities.
If conversations aren’t happening at the water cooler, they’ve got to be happening somewhere right? Slack lets users create channels for chat conversations that can be between individuals or shared by a larger group. Many companies like to create different Slack channels for their different departments alongside some less formal, more socially-focused ones. By creating and allowing these social channels to co-mingle, Slack is a preferred tool among many remote teams that keeps casual conversation flowing and employees feeling connected — the way it does more organically in office settings.
Ask remote teams which they like better, and they’ll probably be passionately on team Trello or team Asana. Both apps do largely the same thing (visually organize collaborative work), but some have preferences for one over the other. One thing that Trello has though is Butler, an automatic “productivity booster” that can be used to do things like automatically issue due date reminders in order to keep tedious follow ups and the like off the plate of content managers.
Ah, Zoom — the video conferencing software that has taken the pandemic work-from-home situation by storm. Zoom is a popular software and app that makes it easy for users to host and participate in video calls that can help simulate some of the face-to-face interactions people are used to getting in the office. Its functionality also makes it a platform of choice for those hosting webinars and more one-way types of presentation communications.