11 Work From Home Tools You Cannot Afford to Ignore
Want to bring your work from home teams together and work productively? Check out this list of fantastic work from home tools that can solve all your problems.
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I’m sure by now you must be sick and tired of listening to conversations and reading to blogs stating that work from home is the new normal and so on. So, I’m not going to waste even a single second on repeating those things.
What I would like to talk about, however, is how you can now adapt to this new normal. Which technology is available out there to make your working from home experience smooth, streamlined, and as-close-to working from an office premise as possible.
In order to do that we need to first discuss the common challenges that we have to face while working remotely (and, I’m not talking about your labrador chewing your MacBook’s charging cable or your 2-year old peeing on your computer).
I’m going to talk about problems that are related more to the way teams have to work. Let us take a look at those problems first:
Of course, this is one of the biggest challenges associated with working from home. You cannot keep juggling between work and personal life and expect to be productive. This is the reason that having access to the right technology and tools becomes imperative to the productivity of an employee when working from home.
Clarity of Tasks
Of course, clarity of tasks matters when you are working from home. Since you no longer can get up and visit the manager’s desk to ask questions or clarify doubts, you need to have a streamlined system for task management. Having a place where you can assign tasks, with all the details is a must. In fact, a kanban system where you can even create a custom workflow according to your team’s work processes is the best option.
Another obvious challenge associated with working from home is the inability to carry out smooth collaboration. There are a number of different factors that contribute to this problem. Time-zone difference, not having a centralized communication system, and so on. All these problems lead to poor collaboration, which in turn leads to a sharp decline in productivity.
Time Management and Switching Off
Another critical factor that comes into the picture while working from home is time management. Compared to working in an office, it is quite difficult to keep track of time when working from your home’s comfort for obvious reasons. Maintaining a routine, following a fixed schedule, and having a workflow in place is, therefore, the most important thing that you need to do.
Although this varies from person to person and team to team, it is one of the biggest problems associated with remote work. You never know how serious an employee is about the responsibility assigned to him or her.
As you can see, beyond the comfort and flexibility of working from home, there are a number of challenges that make it difficult for businesses to transition. The good thing is that technology has the solution to all these challenges. Wondering how? Well, here’s how
How technology can help?
Here’s the list of some amazing tools that were useful before the biggest work from experience that the entire world is going through, but have gained more prominence during this time:
1. ProofHub for Task Management
ProofHub is a robust tool that helps remote teams to stay connected to their work. Bringing together all the features you need under one roof, ProofHub streamlines how you can manage your tasks, teams, projects, and communications. Its powerful team collaboration capabilities are its strongest point.
Another great thing about ProofHub is that its simple, easy-to-use interface with little to no learning curve. This means that the team members don’t have to face any struggle in onboarding and learning how to use the tool.
2. Zoom for Team Engagement
I don’t think there’s anyone who’s working anywhere and who has not heard the name of Zoom during this entire COVID-19 situation. Zoom is a tool that has become synonymous with engagement and remote working during this time.
With some fantastic features like screen sharing, video conferencing, chat messaging and screen recording, Zoom has proven to be the perfect tool for carrying our virtual team engagement efforts. It has made life easy for teams by giving them a unified way to stay connected.
3. Chanty for Communication
To solve the major challenges associated with Team Communication, Chanty is the perfect solution. Chanty has some fantastic features as a communication tool that makes it such a loved option for teams.
From voice and video calling to workflows and task management - you get it all in this powerful team communication app. Third-party integrations are the strongest point in Chanty since it integrates with a long list of popular apps and software.
4. Dropbox for File Storage
Dropbox is like your personal storage box, where you can gather all your files, documents, and necessary stuff to organize your work life. Instead of having files scattered all over the place, you can use this cloud app.
Dropbox brings sanity to your work from home routine by giving you a central place to store and access all your files and documents at one central place. Since everything gets stored in the cloud, you can easily access it from anywhere.
5. Evernote for note-taking
Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking apps in the market. With this online note-taking app you get a place to store all your ideas securely. It even has Web Clipper - a button that lets you save websites screenshots directly to your Evernote account.
Document scanning, advanced search for PDFs and Notes, Templates, and Spaces for collaboration - Evernote synchronizes all your efforts and brings them in one place. And this acts as a blessing for teams that are working from home.
6. Time Doctor for Time Management
Time Doctor makes teams more productive while working from home. By giving them a powerful tool to track how they are spending their time, Time Doctor ensures that there’s never an unproductive moment that goes unaccounted for.
Features like time tracking, screenshots, reporting, and payroll & billing make it a perfect tool to bring a sense of responsibility to the team. It even lets you track the web/program/app time so you can always get to know where the team is spending those extra, unproductive minutes.
7. I Done This for Progress Management
‘I Done This’ is a productivity tracker that comes in handy for people who are working from home. Using this app, you can set goals for team members, get daily status updates about their progress, and get their progress reports.
The app is pretty simple, easy-to-use, and neat - and this is what makes it such a popular app for progress management. One of the strongest points of I Done This.
8. Google Calendar for Time Table and Scheduling
We all know that working from home makes you vulnerable to laziness. You can lose track of time and miss important team events and meetings.
However, Google Calendar is the perfect tool to organize your routine, manage your schedule, and never miss important office events, and meetings. It works like your personal scheduling app that lets you always stay on top of all your important work-related dates, meetings, and events.
9. Soapbox for Accountability
To make teams accountable for their work while working from home is an uphill battle. Soapbox is the perfect tool you need to win this battle. It lets you create shared agendas that ultimately helps in running team meetings better.
Since every employee can contribute to these meetings, even when they work remotely, it brings a sense of accountability and team bonding. Soapbox integrates with apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more popular apps, making it a highly beneficial tool for remote teams.
10. Krisp for Productivity
Krisp is a unique app that lets you cancel all the background noise while working from home and using communication apps. With Krisp, you can get rid of the constant muting and unmuting, that can be quite distracting and irritating at times.
This AI-powered application works equally well on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Chrome. With Krisp, carrying out team meetings from home, without any interruptions is just one download away.
11. Confluence for Team-Building and Knowledge-Sharing
True to its name, Confluence is a team-building and knowledge sharing tool that brings scattered teams together. With its dynamic pages, you can get together to collaborate on ideas until they turn into a concrete plan.
The in-built templates work great to get the teams started. If you are looking for a tool that can bring your team together and get them to stick together as they work, Confluence should be your go-to option.
I’ve compiled this list of tools after giving due consideration to the circumstances that remote teams have to face while working from home. Based on the experience that I’ve had while handling my team remotely, especially during this lockdown, I can say it with confidence that these tools work wonders to keep teams insanely productive, no matter where they are working from.
If you are serious about making your work from home teams more productive, you need to choose the right mix of these tools, paired with a clear strategy to follow. And that can lead to the perfect combination to make working from homework for you and your team!
Published at DZone with permission of Vartika Kashyap. See the original article here.
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