One of the many positive effects of today’s digitally connected world is that it’s much easier to work remotely than ever before. Now you can work from home, from a café, or from the top of a mountain—as long as you have an internet connection and the right tools, that is.
There are dozens of tools for remote workers which help with everything from communicating with your home office to keeping you organized. Picking the right combination of tools makes you more productive and helps you keep on top of all of your obligations even while working remotely.
So whether you need to collaborate with team members from afar, manage a project from home, or organize your own tasks, here are the best remote work tools that will keep you as productive and successful as you’d be in the office.
It can be hard enough to keep track of roles and assigned tasks when everyone is in the same office. When you’re working remotely on a multi-person project, a project management tool is non-negotiable.
Monday has quickly earned the reputation as being one of the best remote work tools available, and for good reason. Despite its exceptionally simple, visually based interface, it boasts loads of features and capabilities. With Monday, you can create, assign, and track tasks, manage your projects through multiple viewing options such as kanban views or timelines, and communicate with team members through comments, file sharing, and tagging. Though Monday is at the higher end of the price spectrum, its popularity attests to the fact that when it comes to managing teams and projects, few can compare with its ease and functionality.
Asana and Trello are both free for the basic versions – Asana is free for up to 15 users and Trello for unlimited users, but the companies both put limits on the extra features that are included.
Wrike offers a centralized hub for teams to create, organize, and communicate on project management tasks from project creation to completion. Using customizable folders as the main classification mode, Wrike lets you organize projects and campaigns for easy viewing and interaction. The platform features Gantt charts for planning, file-sharing, and real-time reporting.
Known for its marketing software, Hubspot offers project management solutions as well that benefit from its well-developed tools and infrastructure. Hubspot is an especially useful tool for those looking for a birds-eye view of their tasks. It offers timesheets, spreadsheets, collaborative tools, and analytics to let team managers track their progress at any point during a campaign.
Smartsheet uses the spreadsheet model and builds an ecosystem around it that provides team managers access to a wide variety of useful project management tools. These include task and budget tracking, team-wide dashboards, and four different project viewing options. Smartsheet offers a surprisingly versatile platform that never feels overwhelming and accommodates many types of managing and working styles.
Keeping yourself organized when there’s no one around to look over your shoulder can also be a challenge.
Since Project Manager is entirely cloud based, you don’t need to download the platform to use it. This is evidence of its agility, which extends across the platform and results in a lightweight, accessible project management tool that seems less restrictive than others in the market. It features an easy drag-and-drop editor, multiple viewing options, and chat features that extend onto mobile devices.
Communication tools are vital for every type of remote worker. Whether you’re a freelancer, an independent contractor, or an office worker doing the job from home, who you need to be able to keep in touch with your clients, colleagues, employers, and employees.
Zoom is one of the top communication apps around. It has become wildly popular not only with businesses but also with instructors, professional speakers, and even friends and families. This is due to its enormous capabilities: Zoom lets you hold a video conference with as many as 250 people at once, and even has a free option for up to 100 participants for meetings up to 40 minutes. Zoom offers apps that are compatible with Android and iOS as well as plugins and solutions for everything from IBM Notes to Microsoft Outlook.
If you’re working remotely, you need a way to write documents, complete spreadsheets, create PDFs, and edit files from any device. It’s important to be able to save your work in formats that are compatible with most devices and are easily shareable.
Safely encrypted applications such as Google Drive have plenty of space for saving files and project materials and allow you to set permission levels so that you can permit each contact to have just as much access to your work as you want. Google Drive is free and permits you to save, share, and work on documents, videos, photos, PDFs, and other file formats. The easy search options and folder hierarchies help you to always be able to find what you need and sync it for working offline.
DropBox is free for up to 2GB and only $9.99 a month for 1TB of storage. Both tools are also fully collaborative, so more than one person can work on the same file at the same time, and everyone will be instantly updated with all the changes.
When you’re working remotely, you usually need a way to share your current projects and work materials securely and to be able to collaborate on them smoothly and seamlessly.
Asana has the advantage of making it easy to break down projects and assigning each responsibility to a different colleague, but you can all see who is in charge of which tasks. You can add comments and requests, set deadlines, and attach files to make projects easier to follow.
Trello has a different but fun layout that looks like a pin board. You can drag tasks from one board to the next and add images, notes, and files to any project. Trello cards can be tasks, projects, suggestions, or anything, and you can use a board for a project to keep all of the tasks organized, or have a board per employee to make it clear who has which assignments on their plate.
Between communication tools, file-sharing apps, and productivity support, today’s workers can do their jobs remotely and from just about anywhere. The best tools for remote workers will not only keep you organized but also connect you with the rest of your team through project management, communication, and collaboration. With the proper remote-working tools, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving your desk behind.