Working from home wearing your favourite jumper and sipping from an absurdly large cup of coffee was once the dream. Today, it’s the reality for millions of people.
We are in the era of the remote working revolution, in which employees would rather switch to a new job because of its flexibility in terms of working hours and location. Employers now understand that a home office may actually boost productivity, and because of advances in technology, setting up a professional working environment at home that promotes efficiency has never been easier.
With this in mind, it’s critical to evaluate the challenges of completing work tasks from the comfort of your own home, as well as the ramifications for the rest of your home life.
Fortunately, there has been an increase in the number of tools for the ever-increasing number of remote-first or totally remote organizations in recent years. Even if you’re only remote a few days a week, these tools will help you be as productive as possible and boost remote team collaboration.
Here are some of the best apps for remote work in 2021 and beyond.
Slack is a team chat application that is great for communicating with your team. Instant messaging is organised into various channels that team members can join and leave as needed. This way, no one receives messages or notifications that are irrelevant to them. Team members can also speak in different threads outside of primary topics, preventing these messages from interfering with project-centric conversations.
Small teams inside a company can use the app to improve their workflow. This can increase cooperation within office contexts, but the main value of Slack is for remote employees who need to collaborate with team members in other places, which is one of the most common challenges reported by remote workers.
- Instant messaging: Real-time communication between all team members to ensure smooth collaboration.
- Voice and video calls: You can make voice and video calls right from Slack.
- Statuses: Users can configure availability statuses to focus on certain tasks as needed.
- Screen sharing: Allows team members to present their work to others in real time, resulting in more effective cooperation.
- Drag-and-drop file sharing for PDFs, pictures, videos, and other commonly used file types.
Asana is an excellent project management and communication platform for small enterprises. It will assist you in keeping track of all that needs to be done and staying ahead of the game. It’s packed with functionality, but it only takes a few minutes to get started and onboard your staff.
Asana’s user interface and user experience are practically unrivalled in terms of usability and navigation. Its features focus on empowering the entire team, not just the project manager.
- Project management: Work can be grouped into shared projects in lists or boards, and teams can create tasks inside those projects with assignees and due dates for each step and task that needs to be completed.
- Communication is seamless because important documents are grouped within tasks, projects, and teams, allowing discussions to take place in context and files to stay tied to the work they’re for.
- Templates: Create templates for common projects and processes that the entire team can use to ensure that essential steps are not skipped, work does not fall through the cracks, and everything runs well every time. Project managers can save planning time and get to work faster by starting new projects from a template.
- Portfolios: With Portfolios, managers can track the status of all critical initiatives and projects in real time.
- Mobile app: Asana’s mobile app allows all team members to keep on top of their work from anywhere. They can use it to capture tasks and ideas on the go, organise chores and projects, receive updates from peers, or manage your daily to-do list.
Toggl is a time monitoring tool that displays exactly how much time you spend on tasks. The software was created for remote workers with the goal of assisting freelancers in billing effectively for tasks and receiving payment for the exact amount of time spent on projects.
Toggl is a worthwhile investment if you are a remote freelancer, and its reports can also help you quote more accurately on future contracts.
- Time tracking: Determine how long it takes you (or others) to complete tasks.
- Reports: Toggl reports allow you to see how productive you are and how profitable your time is.
- Boost profits: Make sure you’re charging a reasonable rate for the time it takes to complete assignments.
- Cross-platform: Toggl’s beautifully designed apps run on almost every operating system and online, allowing you to access it anywhere and whenever you need it.
Serene is a free app that can help you maximise your productivity every day. The app is based on two key assumptions, both of which are supported by a number of scientific studies.
First, Serene advises you to create a single daily objective and focus on attaining it throughout the day. This is based on research showing that multitasking affects productivity significantly, while some claim that continual distractions and/or multitasking might even harm your brain.
Serene’s second role is to prevent access to distracting apps and websites during work while also silencing your phone. Multiple studies show that getting back on track after being distracted takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds. This gives you an idea of how much time those email notifications might take up during the day.
- Website blocker — Serene can block distracting websites, such as social media and news websites.
- App blocker — You can also ban apps that divert your focus away from work, such as social media apps, email apps, and anything else that gets in the way.
- Plan your day: Define your day’s goal, assign tasks, and get things done.
- Distraction-free sessions — To maximise productivity, work in 20 to 60-minute increments with regular breaks.
- Session timer: Displays how much time you have remaining to finish activities, providing a motivation boost near the end of each session.
Zoom provides a comprehensive set of video conferencing and communication tools for organisations of all sizes. Zoom Meetings & Chat is probably the most used feature by remote teams.
Zoom makes group video meetings and voice calls simple. There is a free version of Zoom that should be enough for most small teams. Paid versions require only hosts to pay a fee rather than billing everyone who attends meetings, but you’ll only need to upgrade to a paid version if meetings take more than 40 minutes.
- Video meetings: Video meetings and one-on-one video chats are available for remote teams.
- When face-to-face meetings are not required, you can conduct group or one-on-one voice calls.
- Webinars: Zoom may be used to host webinars as well.
- Messaging: Team members can use Zoom to send messages to one another.
- File sharing: Members can collaborate by sharing files during and outside of video/voice chats.
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