The internet changed everything, but it took awhile for the collective working world to see it. It’s only been in recent years that business leaders en masse have fully experienced the ability to run massive operations from a living room. The physical office will likely never be as pervasive as it once was as managers and solopreneurs alike realize they don’t need to pay money for the brick-and-mortar location nor time for the commute.
Whatever benefits did come from the office, namely collaboration, can now be recreated through remote collaboration tools that rebuild the office in digital form.
In this article, we’ll take you through some tools our business relies on to run remotely.
Collaborative Software To Consider For Your Business
Here are some resources to help you and your team increase productivity and collaboration:
If you’re working from home, it may be difficult to feel connected and included. Keeping everyone linked via communication software like Slack can help. Slack is faster and easier to use than email, thanks to easy-to-use instant messaging, a call function that’s useful for conference calls, and screen sharing. Slack also has video and voice recording functionality.
You can establish channels for different people or departments to ensure that communication and document handoffs are well organized. This configuration makes everyone on the team accessible to everyone else.
Slack also has a status feature, which allows you to set your status so that others know what you’re up to (including if you’re out of the office). Slack has multiple affordable pricing tiers — including a free tier you can use if you run a small business.
Nifty is an award-winning platform to keep projects, people, and due dates easily trackable, in one place. This tool allows you to set up projects, project milestones, workflows, and keep communications about tasks, projects, and project timelines together to facilitate clarity and on-time delivery.
Working from home requires easy ways to access and store data. With Google Drive, you can create, modify, and store files. You can control access permissions, collaborate, and view version histories of your files. (You can even restore a version of a file if plans change or document changes happen accidentally.) All this in one place leads to increased productivity.
Google Drive and Docs are regularly updated with new features and enhancements, and they offer easy collaboration, similar to offline word processing software. Users can post and assign comments, and those comments can be resolved in a single click. And plugins available in the Chrome Web Store provide additional functionality.
Launched back in 2011, Trello is well-known project management software that is intuitive and easy to use. Trello can be used to arrange projects into different stages, and to assign tasks to specific members. You can arrange tasks and projects into columns, and when a specific project or task reaches the next stage, all you have to do is click and drag the respective “card” to the next assigned column. (With automation features, clicking on the “Move” option will automatically move the card to the right column for you.)
Trello integrates with tools such as Slack andDropbox, Salesforce, and a wide range of other useful apps. You can also utilize Trello time tracking integration from TimeCamp when time tracking is necessary.
When you’re working from home — and especially when your work involves customer service — it’s critical to have a solid VoIP solution in place to ensure clear and hiccup-free communication.
Ringblaze is so popular because it’s such a breeze to use, and it’s really simple to set up. You can begin taking calls in just 15 minutes after installing Ringblaze, which is significantly faster than other similar software (hence the name). Plus, you don’t need to install any mobile or desktop application to make it work. Ringblaze’s smart dashboard takes ease of use to a new level. (It’s really helpful if you work with people in different locations.) And to top it off, it’s affordable (just $19 per user, per month as of this writing).
Fyle is expense management software that allows you to work more efficiently in regard to expense reporting. It lets employees submit reports on work-related expenses in real time and reconcile credit card transactions, bills, and receipts to cut down on manual effort, making end-of-the-month tasks easier. Fyle is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making it a great option as a spend management tool for your remote business.
Fyle can also help businesses uphold corporate rules. It may also identify possible fraud. The expense reimbursement portion of the tool reconciles credit card transactions, bills, and receipts to cut down on the extra time and effort usually needed to keep track of paper documents, letting you focus on running your core business.
TrackingTime is simple project tracker software for freelancers and teams, letting you keep track of your progress and billable hours on all your projects, organize and assign tasks for your team, and manage their access with user permissions. It also lets you monitor employee attendance, breaks, overtime and time off with time cards.
You can also create custom online timesheets for productivity, payroll, invoicing, budgeting, billing, and more. You can also export and share professional business reports with your clients. The software lets you track time anywhere you work, from any device, or directly within your favorite project management apps — like Asana, Trello, Slack, and more than 30 other online services.
Select your remote software toolkit
All of the software mentioned in this article should help you with your productivity goals and each offers at least a minimum week-long free trial to help you see if they’re right for you. One last tip: If the software mentioned here isn’t ideal or you aren’t quite ready to make the jump for some other reason, you could consider dual-purposing webinar software to help you communicate with coworkers and clients.
Working from home can be easier and more productive when you have the right tools for remote work and the best methods in place for your business’s needs.
Danielle H is a writer for Fyle and understands how overwhelming the process of tracking cost operations can be. It’s just one reason why she is passionate about sharing tips, news, and information that make working from home easier.
This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. If you’d like to share some insights about how you run your remote company, learn more here.