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Remote Work Tools - Boosting Productivity And Connectivity

It is critical to ensure that remote and hybrid workers can stay connected and productive in the current situation. Luckily, many remote work tools may help team members collaborate easily and get things done quickly, even if they're in different places.

Camilo Wood
Jan 08, 2024217 Shares30991 Views
Many workers today do their jobs from the comfort of their own homes, rather than in a conventional office setting. Remote work has become more common in recent years, which has many benefits for businesses and their workers but also some unique difficulties. It is critical to ensure that remote and hybrid workers can stay connected and productive in the current situation. Luckily, many remote work toolsmay help team members collaborate easily and get things done quickly, even if they're in different places.

What Is Remote Work?

Remote work is a modern working approach that enables professionals to carry out their tasks beyond the confines of a traditional office setting. This concept is grounded in the idea that successful work execution doesn't necessitate a specific physical location.
In contrast to the daily commute to a centralized office and working from an assigned desk, remote employees have the flexibility to accomplish their projects and meet their objectives from any location of their choosing. This flexibility allows individuals to structure their days in a way that maximizes both their professional and personal experiences, fostering a harmonious coexistence.
A significant cultural shift has occurred in society's perception of what constitutes a suitable workplace, and remote work has embraced and thrived on this newfound sense of liberation.

Types Of Remote Jobs

Many remote positions heavily rely on technology to complete projects, making fields such as marketing, web design, and data analysis particularly conducive to remote work. Common types of remote jobs include:

Web Designer

In this role, web designers create visually appealing and user-friendly websites for businesses, utilizing coding languages to construct web pages and enhance design elements. Their responsibilities also include assessing clients' website goals, testing final products to ensure they meet client needs, and launching websites.

Recruiter

Recruiters, often part of the human resources team, focus on finding high-quality candidates to fill open roles. Tasks include screening and interviewing applicants, researching and reaching out to candidates with the desired skill set, extending job offers, and negotiating salary and benefits.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers specialize in creating visual graphics for a company's digital or print marketing materials. Their duties encompass building promotional videos, using graphic design software to create illustrations for advertisements, crafting compelling infographics from company data, and designing business logos.

Social Media Manager

Working within a business's marketing team, social media managers are responsible for overseeing the organization's social media accounts and online presence. Their tasks include budgeting for publishing social media advertisements, monitoring customer engagement and conversion trends, creating engaging social media posts, and staying informed about industry trends.

Copywriter

Copywriters generate unique content for businesses, writing copy for advertisements, webpages, blog posts, social media, or video scripts. Their responsibilities extend to brainstorming and pitching new content ideas, drafting press releases and other media materials, organizing and scheduling content production, and crafting promotional marketing emails.

Customer Service Representative

In this role, customer service representatives engage directly with clients, typically through phone calls or chat systems, to provide answers to customer inquiries. Additional responsibilities may involve processing product orders and managing returns, addressing and resolving customer complaints, and sharing pricing or product details.

Accountant

Accountants contribute to organizational efficiency by utilizing and analyzing financial records. Responsibilities include conducting monthly or quarterly audits on the company's bank accounts and budget, documenting financial transactions, proposing solutions for better financial management, and ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

Copy Editor

Working within an editorial team, copy editors focus on proofreading and enhancing the quality of written content. Tasks include structuring copy for smooth flow, correcting grammar or spelling errors, collaborating with writers to improve their content creation skills, and ensuring adherence to style guide requirements set by the client.
A woman having a work meeting at home via her PC
A woman having a work meeting at home via her PC

Sales Representative

Sales representatives collaborate closely with potential customers to promote and sell products or services. They may travel to various businesses or meet with potential clients to educate them about their offerings. Additional responsibilities include negotiating sales contracts, demonstrating product features, and meeting specific sales goals.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants operate remotely, performing administrative duties for their supervisors. Common tasks include scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, proofreading company documents, creating basic marketing materials, and entering data into databases.

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager develops campaigns and strategies to promote an organization. Key responsibilities involve identifying target audiences, creating advertising budgets, analyzing market trends, and evaluating data from recent campaigns to gain insights for future initiatives.

Data Analyst

Data analysts play a crucial role in collecting and interpreting company data to enhance understanding among employees and leadership. Key responsibilities include translating complex data sets into comprehensible charts and reports, identifying significant trends to support informed business decisions, and constructing effective statistical testing procedures.

Project Manager

Project managers oversee the planning and execution of vital company projects from inception to completion. Their duties include leading teams and assigning projects to members, developing and monitoring project schedules, creating budgets, and communicating project needs to clients or supervisors.

User Experience Designer

User experience designers adapt digital products to meet consumer needs. Responsibilities also include troubleshooting and identifying software issues, proposing improvement plans, creating prototypes, and researching competitor products and customer requirements to develop user-friendly and effective programs.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are responsible for developing business applications, operating systems, or network control systems for companies. Common tasks include creating models for developers to generate code, designing and testing applications to meet user requirements, and recommending system upgrades for existing software.

Remote Work Challenges And Solutions

Navigating the shift to remote work can present substantial challenges for individuals, whether they are seasoned remote workers or new to the concept. Tackle these challenges directly with the following tips:

Maximizing Productivity

The absence of a daily commute and the absence of direct supervision can occasionally diminish the productivity of remote employees. Without proper time tracking, a task that should take 30 minutes might extend to over an hour.
These time-consuming activities have the potential to significantly undermine your team's productivity and adversely affect the balance between work and personal life. To optimize remote work productivity, consider this solution:
Solution - Engaging in multitasking can be detrimental to your productivity. Optimal efficiency is achieved by planning your daily tasks in advance and diligently executing the plan the next day, taking note of any unfinished items or additional time available. Leverage Wrike to create a personalized work dashboard, ensuring you stay organized and on top of your day, even in non-traditional office settings.

Work Prioritization And Time Management

It can be challenging to feel overburdened by a long list of tasks, communicate poorly with your team, and maintain a constant focus on your work. The absence of team members or a supervisor may result in diminished pressure to accomplish tasks. Working in isolation can also dampen morale when the collective achievement of team goals becomes less evident.
Solution -Enhance your daily task prioritization by using shared calendars, Gantt charts, and Kanban boards to organize tasks based on priority and progress. Alternatively, craft a personalized dashboard that highlights crucial functions at the forefront. Take charge of your agile team's success by proactively overseeing all aspects of your project. Explore the essential project management principles, resources, and carefully curated best practices in this comprehensive guide.

Isolation And Reduced Human Interaction

As social beings, the absence of regular interactions can impact remote workers' well-being. According to a survey, 21% of remote workers reported feeling isolated when working independently. The diminished human connection can contribute to a sense of loneliness, especially when diligently working alone on a laptop, devoid of casual watercooler conversations.
Solution - Establish regular check-ins with your team that go beyond work-related discussions and project updates. Cultivate a management approach that enables remote workers to thrive by nurturing strong relationships and fostering trust through effective communication.
Additionally, consider incorporating recorded video messages. These messages, accessible on-demand, carry the richness of non-verbal cues such as tone and body language, making them highly effective in building trust among team members.

Work Interruptions And Distractions

Work interruptions at home are a major productivity challenge. Distractions like a ringing doorbell, a barking dog, a spouse inquiring about lunch, or a child watching television can be particularly disruptive, especially during crucial client meetings. Finding effective solutions is crucial.
Solution - Avoiding setbacks in our weekly goals and sustaining team progress is a priority. Leveraging available resources, it's crucial to devise a straightforward work plan to effectively manage interruptions.
An effective approach involves designating a dedicated, quiet workspace. Choose a room solely for work, equipped with a table, ergonomic chair, or standing desk. Once real-world distractions are addressed, tackle digital interruptions by blocking or minimizing access to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram during work hours - or disabling notifications.
Recognizing the enduring nature of remote work, it's essential to establish a sustainable setup for your team, preventing future challenges. Prioritize the essentials, foster seamless collaborations, and deliver high-quality work by utilizing the available solutions at your disposal.
A set up for a remote worker
A set up for a remote worker

Benefits Of Remote Work

Flexible Lifestyle

The primary allure of remote work lies in the freedom it provides, allowing individuals to cultivate a more flexible lifestyle. Without the constraints of a fixed office schedule, remote employees can prioritize personal matters that hold significance outside of work.
For instance, a remote worker who is also a parent can choose to commence work early, ensuring availability when children return from school or taking breaks for appointments. Also, those seeking further education have the flexibility to pursue advanced degrees or continuing education courses during the day, balancing their work commitments in the evening, or vice versa, unhindered by rigid office hours.

Better Health And Wellness

Remote employees exhibit lower stress levels and higher morale compared to their in-office counterparts. A report by the Royal Society for Public Healthin the UK highlighted that 55% of participants experienced increased stress due to their commute. Eliminating this commute and allowing remote work in a comfortable environment contribute to a less stressed workforce.
Supporting this, a 2014 study by PGi revealed that 69% of remote workers reported lower absenteeism than non-remote employees. Engaged and focused within their roles, remote workers are less inclined to skip work without valid reasons, fostering happier and healthier employees who, in turn, deliver better work and display increased commitment to their organizations. From a business perspective, remote work emerges as a positive and beneficial practice.

Renewed Passion For Their Job

Remote employees often excel in environments outside the traditional office setting. They can filter out certain distractions based on their surroundings. Working remotely provides a fresh perspective, with many remote workers viewing it as motivation or a reward for their outstanding performance. This dynamic catalyzes surpassing goals as they strive to maintain the lifestyle they have grown to cherish.

Best Remote Work Tools

Top-notch free and paid remote working tools play a pivotal role in ensuring your team remains productive, accountable, and connected. These tools are essential for businesses making the shift to remote or hybrid work environments.
Beyond equipping employees with the necessary resources for effective work outside the office, these tools are cost-free, making them particularly valuable for small businesses focused on managing their finances. Below are the most effective free remote working tools, complemented by paid options, organized by software type.

Remote Communication Tools

These tools facilitate team connectivity through instant messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls, recognizing the challenges of managing conversations in email inboxes. Modern communication platforms streamline discussions, allowing teams to easily follow threads and involve others in conversations, ensuring relevance and topic alignment.

Slack

Slack serves as an instant messaging platform that organizes conversations into shared channels, enabling global team communication. The free tier provides unlimited usage and includes access to 10,000 of the team's most recent messages, one-on-one voice and video calls, and up to 10 app integrations, such as Google Drive and Office 365. The paid option, recommended for regular online meetings, enhances security, integrates seamlessly with Slack tools, and retains message history without time restrictions.

Zoom

Zoom, a remote video conferencing service, fosters team connectivity through video chat, conference rooms, and phone calls. The basic plan, free of charge, accommodates up to 100 participants and offers unlimited one-on-one meetings. Groups of three or more can meet for up to 40 minutes at a time.
The free plan also includes high-definition video and voice, full-screen and gallery views, simultaneous screen sharing, and plugins for Chrome and Outlook. Many remote workers choose Zoom's paid version because it removes time constraints, supports cloud storage of meetings, and allows streaming on social media sites.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams, a communication hub within Office 365, seamlessly integrates workplace chat, video conferencing, cloud storage, and app collaboration. Available for free download until January 2021, the free version offers unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calls, 10GB of team file storage, and 2GB of personal file storage per user. Businesses already licensed for Office 365 have automatic access to Microsoft Teams.

Convene

Convene enhances virtual meetings with features like interactive Q&As and polling options. Meetings, lasting up to two to four hours per day, can include breakout rooms for added versatility. The highest tier of Convene provides detailed analytics, enabling assessment of attendee engagement during virtual meetings.

Remote Scheduling Tools

Teams can use these tools to schedule meetings and share calendars, facilitating easy visibility of everyone's availability for regular check-ins. Many of these tools seamlessly sync with calendars, automating the process of sending out meeting reminders and invites, thereby reducing reliance on unnecessary emails.

HubSpot Meetings

HubSpot Meetings offers calendar synchronization with Google Calendar or Office 365, allowing users to set availability for customers or employees to schedule meetings. The tool includes form fields for meeting pages to capture contact information, and these pages can be shared via email links or embedded on websites. HubSpot Meetings is available for free with an unlimited number of meetings.

Setmore

Setmore serves as an appointment scheduling tool, organizing calendars, customer lists, booking pages, and staff profiles. This tool allows easy access to all appointments from any location, enabling team members and customers to reschedule directly from their inboxes, eliminating the need for time-consuming phone calls.
Setmore's free basic plan includes up to four staff logins and calendars, with automated alerts and notifications. Additionally, the service supports online appointment booking with customers and integrates seamlessly with third-party apps and platforms like Facebook, Mailchimp, Zendesk, and Zapier.
A woman having a work meeting at home on her PC while a laptop sits beside her
A woman having a work meeting at home on her PC while a laptop sits beside her

Remote Project Management Tools

These tools enable teams to create and share various tasks and assignments from a centralized location, simplifying collaboration for team members and providing managers with a means to track progress and project completion.
Project management tools typically operate as cloud-based, multiuser platforms with a range of features, including mobile apps for real-time updates on the go and task views for monitoring multiple projects simultaneously.

Basecamp

Basecamp consolidates all essential elements for team collaboration in one platform. Each project within Basecamp encompasses message boards, to-do lists, file storage, real-time group chat, and automated check-in questions. The tool integrates seamlessly with third-party mobile and desktop apps like TaskClone, Zapier, Project Buddy, and Zoho Flow.
Basecamp Personal offers a free plan suitable for individual projects and small teams, providing 16GB of cloud storage, allowing three separate projects, and accommodating up to 20 users. With the paid option, Basecamp Business, users gain unlimited features and storage, ensuring seamless workflow and access to saved projects.

Asana

Asana serves as a project and task management tool designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work from any location. Automation features streamline processes, reduce bottlenecks, facilitate approvals, convert standard projects into custom templates, and automate updates when deadlines change.
Asana's basic plan is free for up to 15 team members, offering calendar and list views, task assignments, and due date capabilities. The free plan integrates with third-party apps such as Jira Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Gmail, and Slack.

Remote File-Sharing And Cloud Storage Tools

These tools enable teams to securely share and store files in the cloud, enhancing collaboration efforts by providing easy access to interactive files for edits, comments, and content collaboration from anywhere in the world.

Dropbox

Dropbox, a file-sharing service, offers cloud storage and file synchronization in a centralized workspace. It facilitates the creation, storage, and sharing of cloud content from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Microsoft Office files, and Dropbox Paper.
Dropbox Basic, a free account with 2GB of storage, allows access and sharing of photos and documents from any device, along with easy backup and recovery of shared files. Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android operating systems, Dropbox Basic ensures seamless cross-platform accessibility.

Google Drive

Google Drive, a cloud storage service, enables users to store, sync, share, and access files across any device. As part of the G Suite, Google Drive integrates with other Google applications, including Google Forms, Drawings, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Google Drive’s plan provides 15GB of free cloud storage, utilized by Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. This integration allows users to store files, save email attachments, and back up photos or videos in one workspace. Google Drive supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android operating systems.

Time Tracking

Time-tracking applications and software are crucial for maintaining accountability and effective project budget planning. Here are free and paid options for time tracking:

Clockify

Clockify stands out as a free and user-friendly time-tracking tool supporting an unlimited number of users and projects. It features tracked hours with virtual timers, prefilled timesheets, project categorization, and the ability to mark timesheets as billable or paid. Customizable reporting features provide a visual breakdown.

Toggl

Toggl offers a free sign-up with paid options for advanced features like billable rates, time audits, calendar integrations, and project templates. This application, available as both a standalone tool and a browser extension, supports offline functionality.

Remote Work Tools - FAQ

What Equipment Do You Need To Work Remotely From Home?

The essential pieces of remote office equipment are a computer, a phone, and a dependable internet connection. These three elements are vital to any work-from-home setup. Reliability is critical for office equipment, and it's important to consider this in every aspect of your home office.

What Type Of Software Is Remote?

Remote access software is software that allows a user to connect to or control a computer that's in another location. This enables the user to interact with the computer as if it's directly in front of them, enabling access to files or programs from their work or home computer, even when away from it.

What Do Remote Workers Want?

Nearly three out of four remote workers surveyed stated that the ability to take a nap or work out during the workday was one of the reasons they wanted to stay home. Though these activities may very well increase worker productivity, there's no doubt that a nap on the kitchen couch would be frowned upon in the office.

Wrapping Up

Modern businesses can save money on commercial real estate by allowing employees to do many tasks remotely, which boosts morale and work-life balance for employees and makes the company more competitive. However, picking the right remote work tools is critical for a remote or hybrid work arrangement to be successful. These tools should be seriously considered, whether your team is already working remotely or you are thinking about switching to a remote work paradigm.
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