This time last year no-one would have predicted that working from home would become the norm. However, 12 months later the UK is entering its third lockdown and remote working has become a necessity for many SME’s and larger businesses.
While remote working and freelancing may mean benefits such as flexible scheduling and no more long commutes, for many, operating outside of a traditional office space can present additional challenges such as maintaining regular contact with your employees and customers.
Below are 8 remote working tools for small businesses that are either free or have affordable options.
GOOGLE DRIVE for team collaboration
Google Drive is great for sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with your team whilst allowing you control over who can see your files and what they can do with them.
Team members can leave comments or activate the suggestion mode to proofread and edit the text. Google Drive also makes it easy to simultaneously work on a document in real-time.
CALENDLY for scheduling
Calendly helps you plan your day and organise meetings. The calendar tool makes it easy to find a time that works for everyone, without wasting time emailing back and forth. After connecting your schedule and creating a new appointment, Calendly checks for free spots and creates an invitation link. Participants can visit this link and pick from different time slots. You can also embed your availability on your website and let people schedule appointments —great for freelancers, online businesses, and more.
SLACK for chats and written communication
Slack is a communication tool for teams where you can talk in groups or privately, share files and automate messages using integrations. Great for teams, it is extremely easy to share, store and search for information. You can set up multiple teams from one account – great for creating different channels for different projects/topics.
TRELLO for project management
Trello helps you to manage projects, keep track of progress and collaborate with your team. Its visual drag and drop interface makes it simple to organise and prioritise projects.
It can be used in many different ways such as social media planning, workflow, managing client projects…. its uses are endless both in and out of work.
GRAMMARLY for writing
Remote work is all about written communication, and Grammarly ensures you always sound professional. The tool highlights spelling mistakes, helps with punctuation, recommends substitutes, detects the tone of your message, and even autocorrects as you type.
TOGGLE for time tracking
Open offices can be a distraction, but try working from home and having your Instagram notifications, your WhatsApp friends, and your fridge all begging for your attention.
Toggle is a free time tracking software that tracks your web browser and phone app usage and then reports back. It lets you know exactly how much time you spend on what and reveals which websites and apps keep you from completing important tasks
SERENE for productivity
If Toggle is showing you spend too much time scrolling through your social network feed the Serene app for Mac helps you to focus on 1 task and cuts all the distractions.
Organise your day in the planner by creating to-do lists, then set the session timer and prevent yourself from losing focus by using its built-in phone silencer and app and website blocker. If you work better with background music, the app makers even provide focus music suggestions.
BITWARDEN for security
To many of us still use the same password or variations thereof. With so much personal information stored in different accounts, it’s important to protect yourself from intruders.
Bitwarden is an open source password manager, that helps you to generate and store unique passwords for any browser or device.
This has 3 main benefits:
- By using the generator, your passwords are always strong
- You’ll have a different password for every account you create
- You don’t need to remember any of these passwords, as you can easily save your logins in the app