It looks like remote work is truly going to be the new normal for many of us, especially as employers are noticing the numerous benefits to this kind of arrangement. Indeed, a survey by employee directory Names & Faces notes that a whopping 98 percent of respondents mentioned that they would like remote work to be an option for the rest of their careers.
4 Best Tools to Streamline Your Remote Work Setup
While remote work promises flexibility and an increase in productivity, the amount of remote work applications out there can also make it difficult to streamline your setup and decide what exactly you need. To help cut through all the noise, below are four top tools to help you structure your workflow.
There are tons of project management tools out there, but Trello takes the cake for being visually appealing and deceptively simple to use. Trello’s boards work by organizing information according to lists, and users can fill up these lists with “cards” containing all kinds of information: task notes, deadlines, notes, and much more.
The most basic board template consists of three lists — to-do, doing, and done — which easily organizes your tasks. You can also take advantage of Butler, a no-coding-required extension that allows you to automate certain tasks (like create a new card once another has been completed).
Remote work relies a lot on being able to send and share files with your co-workers. As such, it’s important to have a platform that allows you to share these files securely while also keeping all of them in one place. Box allows you to send large files with just one click, no matter the type.
From there, you can customize viewer settings depending on who you want to view and/or edit the file; these settings can be updated as project teams shift or new members come in. Data encryption and password protection also add another layer of security for teams.
As far as messaging services go, Slack remains the top choice for both remote and in-house teams. Although there are tons of app integrations that you can use with Slack, it works equally well as a standalone chat platform.
Web conferencing is supported on the platform, with the user’s status changing immediately to reflect when they’re in a call. It also helps that Slack’s colorful interface is extremely appealing: users have the option to customize their own themes to give their experience a personal touch. Having a dedicated work messaging app helps maintain work-life balance, as members can reserve places like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger for personal chats.
One of the biggest hurdles to remote work is that it’s easy to end up wasting your time: think about all the times you’ve mindlessly switched to YouTube or Facebook in the middle of a task.
In order to help bypass this problem, RescueTime is the tool you need to manage your computer time. Unlike traditional time-saving apps that simply block websites or send out timed alerts, RescueTime works by monitoring your computer usage and showing you where exactly you spend most of your time.
This data can then be used to help you set concrete goals, such as checking your e-mails every morning or spending no more than 15 minutes refreshing your Twitter feed.
All in all, it just takes a bit of planning and preparation to create your ideal remote work scenario. The tools above can help streamline your remote work processes, allowing you to stay on track without burning yourself out.