Tools for Working Remotely – 30 Day Challenge – Day 9

30 Day Challenge Random

The 40 hour work week is largely attributed to Henry Ford as a way to boost employee morale and the economy as well. There

working remotely
Image courtesy of JD Hancock

were others before Ford who worked to reduce the work day during the Industrial Revolution but the American Industrialist still gets the credit.

Fast forward a century (Ford Motor Company reduced the work day on Jan 5, 1914) and many people are working remotely from the comfort of their own homes. This can be attributed to technological advances made in computing.

In this day and age we are a multi-device society that are connected 24/7. Our phones are hooked up to our work emails and we are accessible by no less than four social platforms at all times.

With each technological advance there are opportunities to increase convenience; this can be applied to more that just work however.

For the sake of brevity and staying on the topic of work, there are many tools that both exist and that I personally use, that make working remotely very easy. Here are the main ones I touch on a daily basis.

Tools Used to Streamline Remote Work Access

People tend to be productive at different times throughout the day. For example, I am at my best and most alert in the early morning. I usually start my day by getting to the office at 7:30am since I know I will get more accomplished then.

On days that I work from home I have the luxury of starting when I wake up (around 5am) since there is now travel involved that day.

There are many different tools on the market to make remote communication easy but I only have experience working with the following:

Asana:

Cost: Free (up to 15 members)
An excellent task management system that allows us to assign tasks for multiple accounts. Individual tasks can be assigned to different team members and comments can be added along the way to annotate progress. Sub-tasks can be set up to be used as milestones to track/manage progress throughout the project.

A newly added feature is the ability to check progress via a gantt chart. This chart will shows the proposed schedule of a each task and can be used to show overall progress, by completion, of each task as well. Very handy when you showing deliverables to a client.

LiquidPlanner:

Cost: Starts at $29/month
A very robust & heavy tool that is great for time tracking. This program lets you build out & asin tasks but it goes deeper than that. You can assign a specific set of hours per each task and liquid planner will alert you when you go over. This is great when reporting to clients on time spent per each facet of their account.

If that pricepoint is too hight there is another great time tracking alternative called Basecamp that offers a few less expensive plans. They also offer a free 60 day trial of their software and have a cool plugin available called Harvest. This is a timer used to monitor the exact amount of time spent on each task.

Google Drive:

Cost: Free
Let’s be honest, without this we would all be  lost. There have been many times a thought has come to me when I’m away from my desk that is pertinent to something I’m working on.

Having a central place for ideas and data that we can access from any place or device is incredibly convenient. For example, 1/2 of this blog post was written on my phone while waiting for a train in the morning. The file was save to Google Docs then copied into WordPress; how’s that for convenience!

Google Drive is also a great way to store files that can be shared with co-workers and clients; an alternative to Dropbox.

Being able to update spreadsheets and collaborate while on the go increases efficiency exponentially. Many times I’ll remote in or start a project while on my way back from picking up lunch. And speaking about remoting in…

TeamViewer:

Cost: They offer a free version; pricing on paid versions vary depending on plan.
Remote access to a work computer is key to effectively working remotely. TeamViewer allows us to log into or computer at work, provided the program is installed there as well, and access files as though we were sitting there. This is incredibly useful since I save a lot files locally on my work PC and need to access a shared drive, only accessible from my work IP.

They offer a phone app as well (Android/Apple) that works great. If I need to work on something or polish up a report before I send it out I can quickly log in, email myself the file and have it completed rather than having to wait until the next time I am at my desk.

GoTo Meeting:

Cost: They have a free version but their paid versions offer a lot more.
An excellent way to set up client and conference calls with a dedicated line. The screen sharing feature is very useful when working with a client or pitching a new one. You can grant them access to your computer or vice-versa for better communication when demoing something.

Trello:

Cost: Free
Trello is quickly becoming one of my new favorite programs. I work on a lot of projects at once so it’s important to stay focused. Trello makes this incredibly easy to do.

Like other task management programs, Trello allows you to upload files and comment on each task to eliminate back & forth emails that often distract us from the same task we’re working on. Unlike other task management programs, Trello has this unique visual layout that makes it easy and inviting to use.

HipChat:

Cost: Free, with paid versions as well.
Let’s face it, there is still a stigma on working remotely otherwise we would all be doing this daily and this blog post would be pointless.

Constant communication is key to proving you’re on top of the tasks assigned to you. HipChat is a great way to stay in contact with your co-workers when you are, or not in the office.

One of the best features is the ability to share files through an instant message. This expedites things and makes it easy to talk projects with one or a group of people. Specific chat rooms can be set up for each team you work with and for each project you’re working on. This way everyone in that chat room is on the same page.

There are many more programs and apps that make working remotely effortless and HubSpot covers many of them here.

About the Author:

An SEO in NYC with a penchant for the technical side of things. Father, Husband, Novice Photographer and Music Lover.

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