27 Mar Working From Home Due to Coronavirus? Try These Essential Communication & Productivity Tools
Working from home is today’s new reality. Because of the CoronaVirus or COVID-19, almost every company is asking its employees to work remotely.
Unfortunately, for many, working from home is not the lifestyle they’re accustomed to. This change requires you to make major adjustments to the way you work so you can be productive. This also means that you need not only change the way you work but also find the right tools you use.
As workers become more mobile and increasingly work outside of their office environment, there is a growing number of tools created specifically to help remote workers.
There are so many excellent and free tools that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. To help you we put together a list of the most popular tools you can use while working remotely. These tools and apps will help you communicate better, be more productive and make your transition to a remote work lifestyle much easier.
Note: The products on this list are the ones we use ourselves and only recommend them because of the value they offer. None of the tools listed here are affiliate or promotional links.
Below is the categorized list of the best communication and project management tools for working remotely.
CHAT AND COMMUNICATION TOOLS
Communication plays a huge role when it comes to being productive while you work remotely. Email is still the most popular tool many businesses use to communicate, but when you work remotely you often need to communicate in real-time. Communication done through chat apps is often done in seconds and keeps workers from constantly checking their emails.
These communication tools will improve your collaboration and communication process.
Skype has been around for a long time and for a good reason. It’s a solid communication tool. It’s great not just for making the phone calls, but also for instant messaging and sharing files. You can have a group chat, speak one-on-one, make video calls and share screens.
You can also obtain a phone number and use it for making calls
Skype includes Video conferencing and screen sharing features.
Hangouts Chat makes it easy for teams to be able to get their work done in one place. From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently.
Slack has been growing in popularity it’s a great alternative to email. It’s been called an instant messenger on steroids. You can create different groups and channels, organize and keep track of messages and customize the app to fit your needs. If you want to learn more, check out this post, showing how to use Slack,
The nice thing about Facebook Messenger is that most people already have it or know how to use it. It can be a useful tool for a quick chat. However, it might not be the best for business communication since it lacks more advanced features apps like Slack offers.
WhatsApp Business App
Another useful tool for communicating with others. It allows us to connect and quickly respond to messages from customers and your team members. Keep in touch with the groups of people that matter the most, like your family or coworkers. With group chats, you can share messages, photos, and videos with up to 256 people at once. You can also name your group, mute or customize notifications, and more.
Microsoft Teams is a multi-purpose communication tool for remote teams and small businesses. It comes with text messaging, group chats, channels, file sharing, and video and audio conferencing features.
Much has been said and written about video and its advantage over written form of communication. Video allows businesses to communicate faster and more effectively. Seeing and speaking with others in real-time makes communication more intuitive and natural.
Zoom popularity skyrocketed since Cornavirus or Covid-19 outbreak.
It’s a video conferencing app that allows you to do video calls and as well as screen sharing. A free version gives unlimited call time for one-on-one calls but limits you to 40 minutes for a call for multiple attendees.
Previously Google Meet was limited to people who GSuite subscribers is now can be used by anyone free of charge.
Starting in early May 2020, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features that were previously available only to G-Suite subscribers.
The service can be accessed online at meet.google.com. You can also use iOS and Android apps if you prefer. Currently Google Meet is free and unlimited. However, Google said that in the future, video calls for non-G Suite accounts will be limited to 60 minutes.
Similar to zoom Google. Hangouts allows you to communicate with other users using video. This is especially convenient if you are already using other Google products. You can talk one-on-one or invite friends for a group chat with up to 10 people joining the video call.
UberConference is another excellent free conference call service you can use to communicate with remote teams and customers. It is extremely easy to use. You can simply invite users by sharing a URL
Loom differs slightly from previously mentioned apps on this list. Loom is an app and Chrome extension that allows you to record quick videos instead of emailing. You can use your camera to record yourself and your screen. Rather than wasting time writing a long email, you can quickly record a quick explaining video. After you’re done, Loom uploads the video and provides a link where others can access it on the web.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERVICES
To make sure your projects don’t derail you need proper tools for managing the workflow. These tools allow you to assign different tasks, track time it takes to complete them, collaborate effectively, create groups to tackle specific tasks and help keep the project moving forward.
Below are the most popular and highly rated project management apps and tools
Asana is perfect for organizing and managing your projects it’s also very useful for communicating with other people on your team. You can assign and delegate tasks to everyone to make sure they know what they’re responsible for. For individual users and small teams, the free version will probably be all you need to stay organized.
Trello is another amazing free tool to help you stay on top of your project. It uses boxes/cards and columns to create a virtual sticky board. Each sticky or card represents a specific task. You can drag cards, share it with others, add stickers and labels, attach documents and do many other things. You can also add and cooperate with other users to your board.
Wrike is an all-in-one project management and collaboration software. It enables teams to collaborate and get things done more effectively. The service allows to schedule, prioritize, discuss, and keep track of work and progress in real-time.
Many organizations use Basecamp to keep track of tasks and assign projects to their employees. It’s better suited for larger companies and organizations. There is no free version, so if you’re looking for a free tool to get you started, Asana and Trello might be a better choice.
FILE STORAGE AND SHARING
If you work remotely, you will need to share files. Most companies provide employees with access to a secure network where they can keep their documents. If this is not set up for you, there are several helpful tools available to you for managing and sharing your files.
I’ve been using Dropbox for as long as I remember. This is a great service for sharing files. You can create and share folders, preview documents before downloading them and provide feedback.
By keeping all your files organized, you can minimize the chances of documents getting lost. Dropbox also allows you to send large files that are too big to email.
Many people are already familiar with Google Drive. If you use Gmail or any other Google products you already have Google Drive. It’s similar to Dropbox and allows you to store documents in the cloud. You can store, share, create folders and access your files from any device. The free account gives you 15 GB of storage free.
Of course, there are many more tools available and we’ll continue to add more to this list. If you’re looking for additional recommendations, check out a growing list of freelance tools and graphic design tools on our website.
What is your favorite tool when you work remotely? Please share in the comments below and tell us why.