Modern technology has spearheaded the evolution of traditional office jobs.
Before coronavirus, the possibility of remote working was already expanding the horizons of the workplace; now, as we lie in the wake of the virus’s impact, the switch has been rushed forward. Suddenly, the office is out of bounds and dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms have become our workspace.
However, for many of us, our homes were never really set up to be an office, and the transition hasn’t been easy for a lot of workers.
If it looks like you’re working from home for the long haul, there are a number of digital considerations you need to make while you’re bedding in. Read on to discover some of the must-have digital tools every remote worker will need.
Project management software like Asana
Remote working means that you are physically separated from your team, which means that efficient communication between tasks and teams becomes much more important. Otherwise, reminders will fall on deaf ears and deadlines may be missed.
Project management software has been the solution for many businesses trying to acclimatize to a new working model. Being able to develop a digital structure around your schedule is vital in transforming the home into a place of work.
Gone are the days of tapping a colleague on the shoulder to jog your memory or ask a question but thankfully, project management tools like Asana, GitHub, Basecamp, and Trello can fill the void and link your daily tasks to the big picture.
These online tools allow you to map out your work outline with minimal stress. We no longer have to worry about tasks falling by the wayside, forgotten until an inevitable problem occurs; using such platforms can help to set clear goals and unambiguous reminders.
They also break large projects down into smaller individual bites — perfect for when group work isn’t an easy accomplishment.
And for you managers out there, this software can also collect a ton of data about your day-to-day operations, meaning you can monitor productivity levels much more accurately than if you were in the office.
Video conferencing software like Zoom
Remote working — with all its potential upsides — can be isolating, so finding new and modern ways to interact with colleagues is crucial.
As luck would have it, affordable video software has found real prominence throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Google Hangouts, Skype UberConference, and Zoom have been the saving graces of lockdown; not only do they bring families together, but they’re also a vital tool for ensuring businesses can interact internally and externally.
Project management tools give us a clear sense of where our assignments lie on a particular project, but video conferencing is special because most of our best work is done through collaboration. Being able to interact with one another simply by jumping on a call is incredibly useful, and tapping into the hive mind of your team can be an invaluable route to inspiration.
Time management tools like Hourstack
Time management tools are equally important for improving personal organisation as they are for keeping an eye on performance levels.
While your manager may love to look at data, it’s important to not get bogged down in all the numbers. Remember, the home is a chaotic environment, ripe for distraction and external responsibilities — whether it’s your housemates making noise downstairs or the kids need a lift to school. Your manager should trust you are doing your best and are committed to putting the hours in, and if not, you probably need to have a chat.
Where these tools help workers shine is by providing the ability to plan out your day. Similar to not having a gym plan, if you start the day proverbially winging it, then there will be a lot of wasted time. But by planning with these tools, you can be more efficient and manoeuvre around distraction.
Our absolute favourite time management tool is Hourstack. This platform allows for time capturing alongside external app integration. But best of all it’s a useful day planner without feeling like spy software.
Online security plans like True Key
Imagine if you left the office without locking up after yourself. That’s a scary thought right?
Looking after your business online is no different. In truth, it can be far more worrying because remote workers store everything online. Many connections can leave your business vulnerable to cyber attack and other forms of online breaches.
But like a strong lock and key, investing in good online security plans can keep your business safe. For one, the 2020s latest craze, VPNs — virtual private networks — are carrying the burden of lockdown. These networks protect all information shared between your business and its key internal servers using secured tunnels.
When it comes to VPNs you are spoilt for choice. Nord VPN is probably the most famous and cost-effective option, providing you buy a tailored business plan. But if you want a truly reliable connection then Perimeter 81 might be the choice for you.
You will also need a reliable password manager like LastPass, True Key, and Dashlane (there are a few to choose from). These will come in handy especially when juggling passwords for all of your other tools. Almost everything online will require a password, so storing them in one place for quick access makes a lot of sense.
Many sceptics will be quick to point out that sharing all your passwords under one roof might not seem like the safest option on paper. But I’d be inclined to disagree. Password managers are encrypted and notoriously tricky to hack, plus they encourage the use of random passwords which tend to be a mystery even to yourself.
Cloud storage like Google Drive
For many people, the idea of a data cloud is straight out of a sci-fi movie. But back in reality, they are pivotal in helping everyone work from home.
With cloud storage services like Google Drive, you can access save files via the internet, which means there is no need to lug around filing cabinets or track down missing hard drives. Everything you need is at your fingertips, so long as your boss grants you access.
Seamless accessibility gives managers control and makes life easier for the wider workforce. Furthermore, there are some significant security benefits when it comes to cloud storage. The safety of the cloud is guaranteed by its owners, and in many cases, these are maintained by big corporations who are bound by tight laws.
There are loads of fantastic tools on the market which aim to make remote working life much more streamlined. These are five key considerations you’ll need to keep your WFH day productive and positive.