Remote work has become a regular part of life for many of us, especially if you run your own business. There are many things to learn and get used to, but it’s much easier if you use the right tools.
So, what tools do you need to be productive while working remotely?
To start with, you need a modern computer with a reliable internet connection. A desktop computer gives you a bigger screen and more power, but a laptop gives you the option of working on the go. I prefer two screens because it makes me more productive.
Your regular household wi-fi is probably enough for remote working, but you may also want to look at your usage and consider adding more bandwidth. I wasn’t very pleased with my wi-fi speed, so I increased to the next plan level. It costs a little more but reduces my frustration level.
Remote work requires communication tools beyond email to interact with your colleagues, customers, and clients. Email gets unwieldy and hard to manage as volume increases. It’s especially inconvenient when you have a team of people working together. A platform like Slack, Skype, or Teams can be a much better option. You can collaborate throughout the day as if you were in the same workspace.
Speaking of Skype and Teams, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to attend meetings. For this, you’ll need a video conferencing platform. With a platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you can have virtual meetings where you can see everyone. You’ll be able to take advantage of features like screen sharing, chat, and viewing participants.
For those of you who collaborate on projects with other people, you’ll need a project management platform like Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Planner. These programs allow you to see and edit the progress of projects, share and edit documents, and communicate together as you work. I’ve not personally used these platforms, but people who do use them (like my husband!) tell me they work very well.
Here’s another area where I needed to take my plan to the next level. Because I’m doing more virtual work for my consulting practice, I increased my cloud storage plan. If you’re not familiar with cloud storage, it allows you to store files in a remote location rather than on the hard drive of your computer. The advantage is increased storage capacity, and you can access your data anywhere from any device. Some of the more common cloud storage services are Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
If you do a lot of traveling and take your work on the road, you may want to buy a hotspot. This tool will allow you to use wi-fi anywhere and not have to rely on expensive hotels or unsecured public networks. You can also use it as a backup at home if your wi-fi goes out. Another option may be to use your phone as a hotspot. Compare the two and determine which has the bandwidth you need as well as it’s cost-effectiveness.
When working remotely without a boss or office mates, we can all use a little help getting organized and staying on top of things. Those tools include online calendars, automated to-do lists, and time trackers that help you monitor how you spend your time working. In a future post, I’ll discuss tools to help you manage your time and get more done.
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”-Steve Jobs
Many of the tools useful for remote work have free plans and are very easy to use. They make work more accessible and more efficient for remote workers.
Are you using the right tools to effectively perform remote work?
Want to learn more about remote work? Check out my free webinar, Success Overcoming Remote Challenges, by clicking HERE.