Swapping the office for your living room or home office can be quite the adjustment. With no physical team to lean on in your time of need, and no face-to-face interactions to give you that much needed screen break, remote working can be isolating at times.
Luckily, there are a whole host of tools out there which can make your life a lot easier while you get used to your new working environment. With these at your disposal, you’ll be able to settle into working from home with ease – leaving more room to enjoy the benefits of your new workspace.
Many of the tools listed below will need to be implemented by your employer company-wide, so try and make your case! There are a couple you can download for free for personal use.
I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you about the joys of Zoom, I think we all have that one under our belts!
Team collaboration is often the key to success, and this is true across a range of sectors. This collaboration is important, even on an informal level. For instance, you wouldn’t want the marketing team working independently from your product team.
Remo Virtual Office
Working from home can get lonely, especially when you’re used to a social and collaborative office life. These feelings of isolation can lead to reduced productivity and poorer mental health in the long-run, which is obviously worrying for both employers and employees alike.
Remo Virtual Office can help with this. The tool aims to act as a replacement of a physical team dynamic, providing that all-important interaction with your teammates, line manager etc. This tool allows a company culture to live on at a time when remote working is the only option. You can sit in virtual meeting rooms, and see when your colleagues are available for a brainstorm or a quick catch-up.
Once you’ve used Krisp, you’ll never go back to irritating background noises interrupting your Zoom calls. This simple (yet powerful) tool plugs into your internet browser and can be turned on and off to block out any background noise on the call. Whether that be a yappy dog or roadworks outside, you’ll be able to actually hear what’s going on in your Monday briefing call.
Krisp noise cancelling technology to allow your virtual meetings to be more efficient, cutting out the “can you hear me?” and ‘what’s that noise?” over and over again. You’ll be so grateful for this app, allowing minimal stress and interruptions for those unavoidable chats over the video calls.
We’ve all been there, nominated to make notes for a long meeting with lots of ideas thrown all over the place, and lots of people adding to the conversation. This can make it tricky to keep up and be present, which can be especially problematic if you are expected to contribute to the discussion.
This is where Voicea comes in. This tool will automatically transcribe your meeting and understand any action points, summarising the key follow-up actions of any meeting. This means you won’t need to manually go through pages and pages of meeting notes after it’s done. You can even use it to make note of client feedback, while being present with the client and not spending too much energy making detailed notes. This will leave more time to focus on the next steps and output of important projects.
If you manage or work as part of a team with many stakeholders and contributors, you may find yourself in endless progress meetings, often with little ‘progress’ made. If this is you, Nifty may be able to help. You can track time, see profitability on projects, you can brief your team and delegate tasks to other members of your team. You can even upload docs, create knowledge bases and more, which means all the important things for the day to day running of your team are in one central place.
If you’re used to daily stand-up meetings and a lot of face to face catch ups for big projects, remote working might mean endless email threads discussing every minute detail. Proofhub, is another excellent project management tool which might be able to save the day. There are organised discussion boards directly linked to projects which will organise notes for you. You can assign specific tasks to other members of your team, and even prioritise so it’s super clear how important the task is. The tool also has built in Gantt charts to visualise each step of a project.
Here’s a fun one. Donut is a tool which really champions team-building and interactions with colleagues across different departments of a company. It integrates with chat platforms like Slack and Zoom and automatically links different team members to encourage conversation. It can also be useful for internal training, allowing you to match mentors to mentees.
This tool can be especially useful for new hires during Covid-19 who have not had the opportunity to meet their colleagues properly.
Giving and receiving feedback is a little harder for remote workers, when you take away visual cues suggesting a job well done, and your day consists of meeting after meeting, usually with a very tight agenda. This is where Lattice can come in handy. It allows managers to show employees how well they are performing and how they measure up against their targets. It can even be synced with the platforms you use the most (Gmail and Slack for instance) encouraging specific and frequent feedback.
There are also options for both private and public feedback, meaning you can celebrate wins as a team or as a whole company.
Working with a team in multiple time zones can be a lot trickier when you’re working remotely. It’s easier to settle into your own environment and slipping up in terms of other peoples’ time zone can become a common occurrence. Timee.io shows time zones across any locations you tell it to, so you can create your own custom dashboard of all the time zones which matter to your team.
We’ve all been there, we all have those days where you just can’t concentrate no matter what you try. Sometimes, this can be even more apparent at home, where you have your TV and other family members there to distract you. Phones can be the worst for distraction, scrolling through social media, and catching up on group chats can become all too easy when you’re in your home setting.
The Forest app can put a stop to all of this. You can easily set timers for how long you want to focus for, and put a price against this. This is your ‘forfeit’ so to speak. If you cave and unlock your phone, the app will know you have broken your concentration and charge you for this, the app will also tell you that you have ‘killed a tree’. This money will go towards planting a real life tree!
The real incentive here is that if you complete the cycle of focus, you will actually be able to start planting real trees- so it’s a win-win.
Tomighty desktop timer
If you get distracted easily, you may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique. This time management technique breaks down the working day into intervals which are 25 minutes in length. These intervals can be broken up by short breaks, and trains the brain to properly focus. Splitting up the working day like this can make endless to-do lists seem more manageable too. Give it a go, it really works!
This free desktop timer lets you get into the Pomodoro way of time in no time.