Advances in technology have paved the way for an increase in remote workers throughout the world. Upwork’s Future Workforce Report noted that hiring managers expect up to 38 percent of their full-time staff to be working remotely within the next decade. As of 2016, 4.3 million employees worked from home at least half the time.
As remote workers and virtual teams are on the rise, so is the number of tools and software that cater to remote workers. Working remotely — whether as a digital nomad on a beautiful beach every day or a permanent employee from the comfort of your own home twice a week — requires planning and preparation. As we close out 2018 and jump into 2019, it’s the perfect time to start setting yourself up for success.
An important part of planning for success includes arming yourself with a toolbox of software that can help you reach your goals. Here’s our list of five essential software tools for remote work.
Described as a place “Where Work Happens,” Slack is an instant messaging platform for work. It offers critical features like real-time messaging, file sharing, voice calls, a searchable archive, and screen sharing. These capabilities make it a perfect software solution for remote workers because it’s easy to collaborate with team members wherever you are.
Essentially, it serves as a hub, providing
- Channels organized by project, topic, or team
- Searchable messages and files so you can find information when you need it
- Integration with other tools and services you already use
- Security that ensures the safety of your conversations and files
Managing a team is no easy feat. Managing a remote team can be even trickier, especially without the right tools. Trello is an easy-to-use web-based tool for managing projects that can be used for individual task management or project management for an entire team. It lets you assign tasks to individual team members or a group of team members, and it tracks deadlines. Trello’s mobile app is simple to use, making it perfect for the remote worker on the go.
Remote work isn’t exclusive to a single job title. If you’re a designer or you work closely with a design team, InVision might be a good tool for your remote work. InVision takes the hassle out of building interactive prototypes and sharing them with your team.
The best part of InVision might be the commenting and feedback capability, though. When you share digital design mock-ups with your team, collecting feedback and iterating quickly is refreshingly simple.
Google Drive needs no introduction.
You don’t want remote work to stifle your ability to store and share important documents. Google Drive gives you that and more. It lets you store and organize documents; collaborate with team members in real time regardless of geographic location; and share documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with whoever you choose.
Arguably the best part? You take your documents wherever you go because you can access your Google Drive account from anywhere.
The days of version control nightmares and searching your computer for a Word document to attach to an email are a thing of the past when you use Google Drive.
JotForm is the online form builder for everyone. You don’t have to be a developer to use it because it’s as easy as clicking and dragging. Select a template, add questions, publish, and watch the responses come in.
But it’s JotForm’s unmatched collaboration functionality that makes it the preferred online form tool. Collaboration is as easy as sharing a link with coworkers so multiple team members can work on the same form at the same time. There’s no need to worry about whether you’re working on the most recent version, because any changes are automatically saved in real time.
JotForm’s revision history lets you view changes and revert to a previous version of a form if needed. You won’t have any panicky moments, fearing your previous version is lost forever.
If you work remotely or with a distributed team, what are your essential tools to ensure productivity? Let us know in the comments!