The current state of affairs around the world is uncertain to say the least. As we try to fervently reduce cases and diminish the potential harm to the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19, it’s been mandated that people in the United States shelter-in-place and self-quarantine in an effort to “flatten the curve.”
The result of these orders? The biggest stock market single-day crash since 2008, absolutely insane hand sanitizer prices, and sweeping work-from-home mandates. In the wake of COVID-19, trendsetting companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Hive and more have enacted official work from home policies for employees across the United States. Large popular events, like Coachella, South by Southwest, and Premier League matches have been cancelled.
While lockdown and quarantine measures for those exposed are not ideal, we’re in the best place in technological history to enable successful work from home experiences. Leading up to our current global health crisis, the number of Americans working exclusively remote has doubled over the last eight years, and currently about 50% of Americans say they spend at least some time working from home (at least 3 hours per day).
If you need any other momentum indicators, look no further than venture capital spending over the last decade — over a billion dollars in VC funding has gone into collaboration platforms. Additionally, company spending on collaboration software is slated to reach $45 billion in 2020. These are numbers you can’t ignore.
The challenge here is that there are a bevy of tools to choose from, and the it’s hard to distinguish which tools are absolutely essential. While working from home, you need a few things: a place to collaborate with your team, video chatting software, tech that lets you virtually connect to your work computer, and a tool to chat. Ahead, we’ve outlined our must-have picks in those categories.
The Best Technology for Working Remotely
Hive is the flexible project management tool that powers fast moving teams at places like Google, Starbucks and Toyota. We’re an all-in-one solution that has everything you need to work together remotely: projects, action cards, an email integration, file sharing, and meeting notes. With Hive, you can open up the app in the morning and get everything done in one window. You can even start a Zoom meeting from Hive.
Imagine this: someone can start a video meeting in California, someone can simultaneously take meeting notes in NYC, and next steps can be assigned to someone in Austin. Does it get any easier than that?
Zoom has become one of the most popular video and audio-conferencing tools, for good reason. With Zoom, you can create a recurring digital meeting room, host up to 100 participants for free, and enjoy collaborative features like screen-sharing, a whiteboard, and the opportunity to call in via phone (or just utilize Zoom’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices).
Zoom provides HD voice and video for free, as well as private messages and breakout rooms for periods of individual collaboration among team members. Zoom also easily integrates with Hive — just type “/zoom” in a Hive chat and automatically launch a video meeting in-app.
TeamViewer is an application that introduces users to the world of remote desktop access. Employees can use TeamViewer to access their own office computer while they work remote, while attending a meeting from afar, utilize it during meetings to demonstrate technical details to other attendees, and even navigate a presentation while dictating via video and audio.
Plus, TeamViewer caters specifically to those using the program for meetings by providing both a whiteboard and text chat feature.
Ah, the chat application we all know and love. Slack is real-time messaging, file sharing and collaboration that can be used across an organization for simplified communication. Slack can be broken out into channels for team work, or utilized to send individual messages where you can chat with specific co-workers. Voice and video calls are also easily enabled from Slack itself, which makes face-to-face collaboration a breeze.
Using Slack but want more integrated collaboration abilities? Check out Hive’s Slack integration.
The Extras for Virtual Office Collaboration
Google Drive is a centralized location where teams can share, edit and collaborate on Word Documents, slideshows, Excel spreadsheets, and more. The beauty of Google Drive is that it can be accessed from anywhere, including a mobile phone, which makes collaboration seamless.
There’s also a specialized Business version of Google Drive specifically made for organizations storing large volumes of materials and files. Plus, privacy settings ensure that only the people you’ve invited to edit the document can actually see them. Google Drive can also be easily integrated with Hive for seamless file-sharing.
Are you working with teams across the globe and want a better handle on everyone’s working hours? Look no further than Every Time Zone. This tool gives you perfect visibility into current times around the world, and you can set specific time zones you’d like to view based on team members.
You can also set your team up in the app to view by time zone, so you know exactly who is working in which areas. Every Time Zone also allows you to select individuals by time zone and add them to meetings with ease via email or iCal file.
If you want a mixture of Google Drive’s capabilities with the benefits of a project management tool, you should check out DropBox and DropBox Paper. DropBox can be used to store files, images, etc in the same way that Google Drive does. However, DropBox Paper is a real-time collaborative document that lets you plan projects, collaborate on ideas, and take meeting notes in real-time with assigned next steps. DropBox can also seamlessly be connected to Hive.
As remote work becomes more popular and Coronavirus concerns increase, we’re definitely going to see a bevy of new tools and strategies emerge on the market. And one other thing is for sure — we’re going to see which meetings could’ve been emails all along.
Xtensio is a collaborative workspace where teams can easily create and share beautiful living documents — everything from PDFs, presentations, and web pages. This is an ideal app for remote work because it’s often hard to collaborate on creative documents when you’re not in the same room. With Xtensio, you don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting a colleagues changes or any other potential collaboration issues.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, Xtensio also has a great library of templates you can use to create these interactive documents.
Working Remotely Tips and Tools
Here’s a breakdown of some resources with additional tips and tools for working remote:
- Working From Home 101
- Fresh Ways to Engage With Remote Workers
- Working From Home: Life Kit
- Don’t Make These 6 Mistakes While Working From Home
Are you using and loving any of the tools we’ve mentioned above? Leave us a comment below.