As more and more people are self-isolating due to Coronavirus and some companies now encouraging their workers to work from home instead of in their busy offices, just what tools and systems currently exist to help people work from home?

We have compiled a list below of the kinds of tools and systems which currently exist which may be useful.

Project Management Systems

There are a vast number of project management systems out there, they vary in price and functionality. In many cases, it’s a good idea to check out the free or trial version and play around with them.

Below are just a handful of the project management systems out there. A simple Google search will present you with a great deal of them.

ClickUp

ClickUp allows you to manage processes, tasks and time in one user-friendly system. You can sync the platform with various other tools and allow for multiple users to work on the same project.

The core section of ClickUp is free for unlimited users and projects. There are a few elements which can be found in the paid-for version but you would need to be a large company using various points of data to really require the paid-for version of the application.

Trello

Trello allows for a Kanban method of working. Very much like a series of post-it sticky notes which you move around in to suit your priorities. Very good if you tend to work on one main project at a time.

Trello is currently free for up to 10 boards, you can treat boards like clients or departments within your business. Then they have two paid-for levels which depend on the level of control you require over the account.

Monday.com

You may have seen the adverts for Monday.com. It's very much like ClickUp, good for large teams.

Monday.com is priced based on the number of users on the system and then the level of features needed by the company. It can get expensive fast if you have a large number of employees but it also gives a great number of features.

Milanote

Milanote has been brought to our attention and after applying it to some of the relevant projects that we are working on it has proven to be quite a useful addition to the arsenal. 

It's similar to Trello but allows you to get a more visual idea of the tasks you have to do, suitable for those that deal with a lot of imagery as part of their work. Fitting as a quote on their website calls it 'Evernote for Creatives'. So if you are a photographer, social media manager, video editor or simply find word-heavy lists unhelpful then Milanote could be the answer to your prayers.

Communication Tools

Whilst working from home it's important to stay in touch with everyone else on the team. There are a series of tools which can be utilised to help keep communication fuss-free and on point. After all, emails pinging back and forth can often be a hindrance than a help.

Skype

Skype is something that most people have used before. Simply because it’s a familiar tool that makes it perfect for keeping communication flowing whilst the team is working from home.

Skype is free for Skype users calling other Skype users, there is a charge if it's used like a telephone to call people not using Skype.

Flock

Flock is an app which allows for groups to be set up, very much like WhatsApp. Although unlike WhatsApp it tends to be used by the business for business communication and therefore keeps business conversations out of personal WhatsApp conversations and keeps the distractions down.

Flock is free for small teams with limited chats but then goes up in stages depending on whether you want to introduce video chats etc.

Slack

Slack is a popular communication tool for many in the business world. It allows for various channels to be set up e.g. a channel per project, you can also integrate various other applications into Slack to allow notifications to be seen all in one place.

Slack is free, however there are more advance features that can be brought in for an extra monthly fee.

Screen Sharing Tools

There are times where no amount of words cut it, sharing screens to allow others to see exactly what you are referring to quite often saves the day.

Skype

As mentioned above, Skype is a platform that most people have used before and therefore that familiarity can assist.

Screen sharing via Skype is free but there can often be a lag with a poor internet connection.

Join.Me

Join.me allows you to create a virtual meeting point via a unique URL. You send this URL out to those that you want to join the virtual meeting, those individuals can then either join via their computer or call a special number and join the meeting via phone. This is particularly useful if the internet connection is not strong but you have a landline.

Their packages start from £9 but they do have a separate pricing tier for not-for-profits.

TeamViewer

Teamviewer allows for screen sharing but also remote access. This is particularly useful if you have a remote worker who needs help setting up a particular system on their laptop.

Pricing for Teamviewer is expensive when compared to other software but it is one of the few that allow for remote access which can save you money in the long term.

Nachos' Rules for Tools and Systems

Whatever tools and systems you and your company use to help assist with remote working the following rules are key to ensure that the use of these tools and systems remains effective and efficient.

Rule #1: Use company email addresses, not personal email addresses, to set up accounts.

Too many times have we seen personal email addresses use which then causes problems when employees come and go.

Rule #2: Decide on what tool/system to use and stick with it.

If your company is using a tool or system, then ensure that only one of each type is used and used by all. The last thing you want is half the project on one project management system and the rest on another project management system. Or even worse, one portion of the team using one system with the rest using a different system.

Rule #3: Keep communication down to what’s necessary.

Having a Skype chat open about a particular project is great, but ensure that only that project is discussed there. Another project should be discussed on a different Skype chat to avoid confusion and ensure that only those that need to be involved are involved in the conversation.

Rule #4: Don’t be afraid of the paid-for versions of tools/systems

Budgets are always a concern and if you can make a free version of a tool or system work for you and your company then fantastic. However, if there is the perfect tool or system out there for your company but there is a monthly fee then don’t instantly write it off because of the fee. Consider how much it will cost your company in terms of extra resources and wasted time if you didn’t use the paid-for tool or system.

Published: 9th Mar 2020

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