How to Work From Home: Transformative co-founder Katie Te Nahu Owen’s handy tech-based tools.
If you haven’t already, sign up the entire team/company to an asynchronous communication tool such as Slack. At Transformative, we’ve used Slack for years and love it, but there are many alternatives a quick search away. Whatever you use, it’s ideal if you can set up different channels (or rooms) for different teams/groups/projects, be able to message the entire team at once as well be able to message a specific person directly. We use Slackbot to remind us of recurring video calls and integrated our calendars with Slack so we receive notifications before other scheduled events.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to sign up to a video tool such as Google Hangouts (it’s free!) or Skype, Zoom or Whereby. Your aim is to set up your team with something that’s easy to use, allows multiple people to join, and has screen sharing functionality. Ideally you want something that allows you to mute whoever inevitably has weird noises coming from their end. Once you’ve settled on a tool, send out clear instructions on what your team will need to do in terms of signing up or downloading apps well before the first call so everyone has a chance to get set up and have a test run. If you have a larger team, it would be a good idea to have someone available to help talk people through the set up process and the basics of using the tool.
You’ll need a way to share files easily – think Dropbox and Google Drive, both of which have free options. There are tons of alternatives such as OneDrive, Box, etc. If you’ll need to collaborate on documents together, use something such as Google Docs, or to whip up a database, AirTable.
An online whiteboard tool is handy, and there are plenty of options that suit various needs. Workflowy is great for making nested lists, MindMup is good for mapping out diagrams, Invision is useful for drawing. Since there are a lot of tools out there, it could be beneficial to sign up for some trials and see what will work best for your team.
Online project management tools such as Trello or Asana are great for keeping track of tasks as you can assign tasks to each other and mark them as “in progress”, “done”, etc. which means you don’t need to be constantly asking each other where you’re at with certain things.
If your work is project based, a simple Google Sheet or other shared spreadsheet should be sufficient for keeping track of who is working on what, but we use a service called Float for our scheduling.
Lately I’ve been using an app called Notion to keep track of everything around home as my wife and I prepare for the arrival of our first pēpi. Though we mainly use it for creating checklists and keeping track of articles and books to read, it’s incredibly flexible and I can see it being a valuable tool for teams.
If you’re not already using a password manager, now is a great time to implement one, especially since people will be signing up to more websites and services. We use LastPass, but there are plenty of other options available.
And there's more!
For more info, browse through https://www.remote.tools/ and see what else may be useful for you and your team, it has a much more comprehensive list than what I’ve compiled. Signing up for a free trial will help ensure that you’ve made the right decision for your team.