The future of work around the world is uncertain to say the least. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many businesses in the United States have implemented remote work policies at some point this year. While some employees are now returning to their offices, others are working in a hybrid team model, where time is split between working from home and working at the office. This is why remote work tools are more important than ever.
And luckily, 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 to push you towards remote work tools, look no further than venture capital spending over the last decade — over a billion dollars in VC funding has gone into remote work tools. 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 remote work 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 remote work tools in those categories.
Best Remote Work Tools
Hive is the flexible project management and remote work 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?
For more information: Request a free Hive demo
Zoom has become one of the most popular video, audio-conferencing, and remote work 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 as a remote work tool 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. This could be one of the most critical remote work tools of them all.
Plus, TeamViewer caters specifically to those using the program for meetings by providing both a whiteboard and text chat feature.
Slack is the chat application we all know and love and one of the top remote work tools by user volume. 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 and add it to your remote work toolkit.
5. Google Drive
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 — this is what makes it one of the most essential remote work tools on the market.
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.
6. Every Time Zone
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.
7. DropBox & DropBox Paper
Dropbox is a great option if you want a mixture of Google Drive’s capabilities with the benefits of a project management tool. 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 and remote work tool 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.
Trello is a great option for small teams or individuals looking to utilize a simple project management tool. One of the simplest remote work tools on the market, the tool is Kanban board-based, which is a project management methodology started by an industrial engineer in the 40s. Cards are the basics of Trello, which you can organize into different phases on the board.
You can also color-code and attach images or files to the cards, and invite team members to collaborate on a board with you for a more interactive experience.
Asana is a visually appealing project management tool created by one of Facebook’s founders, and easily ranks among the best remote work tools. Used by creatives and teams all over the world, Asana’s dynamic format and design keeps users engaged and active in the platform. Asana helps people and teams increase overall accountability and improve communication.
Okta is a great tool for remote work as it stores passwords and authentication for different apps. With Okta’s powerful capabilities, you can protect and enable employees, contractors and partners. One of their most popular features is their single sign-on feature, that integrates with mobile and web apps and allows you to sign on with one password to all of your tools — this is ideal if you’re working from a remote location with a laptop, as you’ll be able to access all content and apps.
Best Jobs For Remote Work
If you have not been able to work remotely in the wake of COVID-19 and are looking for a new job that will allow for remote work, here are some of the most popular remote work jobs:
- Freelance Writer – Writing in this day and age can largely be done remote and there are a variety of jobs in this field.
- Project Manager – People who manage projects or full campaign lifecycles can often work remote.
- Customer Service Representative – Managing customer experience or providing customer service is easier than ever over the phone or internet.
- Recruiter – Virtual recruiters have risen in popularity over recent months and there are many opportunities in this field.
As working remote becomes more and more popular due to the current global health crisis, a variety of remote work tools have made it easier than ever to communicate and get work done. The ever-present ability to connect is both a blessing and a curse though, as it can become harder to log off or disconnect from your work.
What do you think about the recent shift to remote work? Are there any remote work tools you’ve been loving? Let us know in the comments below.