As nearly the entire globe heads into varying degrees of lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, corporate business units and small businesses are forced to adopt a new working lifestyle—at least for the time being. If you own a small business or manage a team, you might be scrambling to identify and purchase the right tools to pick up the pieces. Luckily, freelancers and teammates who are already accustomed to working remotely have done some of the hard work for you. In this article, we share 12 tools to work at home more productively.
Calling & Video Conferencing Tools
This powerful, free video conferencing service is a huge hit right now. Zoom boasts excellent call quality, high reliability, and is refreshingly simple to use in comparison to other video call tools. Make sure to adjust your screen sharing options to “host only” and enjoy!
Though Hangouts is well liked as a video conferencing tool, they’ve unlocked the big-ticket enterprise features for G Suite Basic users in order to soften the impact on teams suddenly working from home.
Despite being so well-known, Skype isn’t always the first tool that comes to mind for working teams. However, Skype possesses certain features that other video calling services don’t. Whether or not Skype is a fit for your team will depends on whether those features matter to you. Skype for Business, which is a separate service, has been bundled into Microsoft Teams (see below),
Work-Related Chat Tools
Slack is definitely the grown-man version of Whatsapp chats. You can set up your organization in Slack, create threads for different topics, and then invite teammates to the relevant threads. You can even make threads private or invite-only to keep your teams focused. Slack offers a powerful free tier, with paid tiers also available.
Workplace is Facebook’s answer to Slack. Since nearly everyone on the planet has a Facebook account and is familiar with their interface, Workplace capitalizes off that familiarity to keep your team’s conversations in a work-appropriate environment. Workplace offers a 30-day free trial.
Microsoft Teams is their answer to Slack and is a powerful enough tool to provoke Slack’s reaction on a full page of the New York Times. As you’d might have expected, Microsoft Teams seamlessly integrates with the rest of Microsoft’s Office product suite, allowing you to keep your software stack consolidated.
To-Do Lists & Task Management
Microsoft To Do
Formerly known as Wunderlist, Microsoft To Do is a simplistic yet wonderfully made to-do list and task management tool. Though the UI has been slightly reworked as a result of joining the Microsoft family, the original Wunderlist team has been retained and is at the helm, and with more resources to boot.
Extremely basic task management is done beautifully through Google Keep. If you choose to do anything more with it, you’ll see the gaping holes in functionality. Again, it all depends on how simple or (potentially) complex you need your to-do list tool to be.
Time Tracking & Productivity Enhancers
At its core, Toggl is a simple time tracking tool, but with tons of powerful features layered behind a beautifully designed UI. You can use the live timer for your sessions or do manual time entries. Besides being able to add descriptions to your sessions, you can then assign sessions to different projects and clients. Toggl is free, incredibly easy to use, and is an absolute dream come true for freelancers & small teams.
And.CO by Fiverr
Take a deep breath for this next one: And.CO is a time tracker, CRM, invoicing tool, accounting software, task manager, and proposal tool all wrapped into one hot mess of an app. Though And.CO is incredibly feature-rich and sports a clean, minimalist UI, it couldn’t be more different than Toggl. That said, it is definitely worthy of a try-you might just be glad you did.
Time Doctor is a more thorough time tracker designed for team leaders and managers. Time Doctor must be installed on the PC or Mac of each individual team member and monitors everything the user has running in the background while the timer is rolling. Time Doctor is a useful remedy for eliminating time fraud or diagnosing sub-par teammate performance. Reports are useful in sharing corrective feedback to your team so they work at home more productively. Time Doctor is not a fit for freelancers or self-managing folks.
Forest: Stay Focused
If you aren’t always on your phone, chances are you’re an exception to reality and need to divide yourself by zero. This is where Forest: Stay Focused comes helps you work at home more productively. Forest is a breathtakingly simple time tracking app which helps you spend less time on your phone through gamification. Forest is available on Google Play and the App Store.