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If you’ve started working from home in line with Covid-19 guidelines, you might have already found a few things in your job challenging. Well, hopefully there’s an app for that. We round up the most useful apps to solve your daily remote working challenges.
It’s one thing to be advised to take up flexible working, but another to adopt it full time. Many of us don’t have that much experience of how to work from home.
If you work for a large company, chances are that you have a few remote working tools already like Skype. But even these don’t solve every working challenge. The following apps are very popular with small businesses and freelancers – see how they might help you.
Zoom is a videoconferencing app for video calls, chat, online meetings and webinars. It’s free to download and use and offers some good features like screen sharing and a virtual whiteboard for brainstorming. It will also integrate with other apps like Slack. You can host up to 100 participants for free and record your meeting or webinar for sharing later. More features are available with a monthly subscription.
Slack is the online equivalent of turning to the person at the desk next to you and asking a quick question. It’s a messaging platform that enables you to have a group chat with your colleagues to share updates, files and information, grouped by topic. It’s faster and easier than email, as you can separate your different work topics into channels and everyone can see what’s being said. You can also send direct messages to individuals on the team.
G Suite is the collective name for Google’s cloud tools that include Gmail, Doc, Drive and Calendar. Most of us have used at least one of these before, and we’re all familiar with the Google look and feel.
As a result, G Suite is easy to use and, because it’s cloud based, can be accessed anywhere, anytime, by any member of the team. It’s a great way to share documents: they’re auto-updated so there are none of the file-saving conflicts that occur when you work from a document on an internal server. Plus, the tools are free to use, unlike the Microsoft platform.
Microsoft remains the market leader when it comes to company systems, and it has worked hard to maintain its position as remote working becomes the norm. The main products to get to grips with now that you’re working from home are Teams and OneDrive.
Teams works much like Slack in enabling you to have ‘threaded’ conversations with your colleagues, sharing documents and media. It also integrates voice and video calling so that you can swiftly move from a typed conversation to face to face, with screen sharing and all the usual features.
OneDrive is similar to Google Drive as a cloud storage system so that everyone can access files in real time.
Monday is an alternative to Teams and is particularly useful for managing projects remotely. You can create workflows fast, tailored to your specific project and drive collaboration between your colleagues. Time tracking, automation and dashboards help you make sure you achieve your goals.
Monday is a paid-for tool that integrates with many other well-established apps.
These five are the most useful apps we’ve come across in our own homeworking, although there are plenty more out there. The key thing is to agree on a tool with your team and set ground rules about how and when to use it.