By domcushnan On

In Working

I promise not to have one of my rants about how we all can be more effective around communication whilst working remotely. I am going to list tools that I use with others that work well and some that are worth exploring. Maybe you can find tools that work for you and your team. If you have anything more to add let me know in the comments.

Okay. I get it. You love Microsoft Outlook and Word and but even Microsoft knows its all in the cloud and has Office365. Esp when sharing multiple versions and iterations filename & tracking conventions only work so far.

Also to note this might not work for all jobs but definitely more typical office based jobs.

  1. Communication
    • Sqwiggle: Team members are visible on-screen all day via webcam—simply click on someone’s picture to start a discussion with them. Useful features include the ability to set up different “workrooms” for different teams, and a live stream for sharing pictures, links, and video.
    • Google+ Hangouts: There’s a range of integrated apps, allowing members of a call to watch Youtube videos, work on a Google Document, or create diagrams with Cacoo together. Documents can also be shared by combining Google+ Hangouts with Google Drive.
    • HipChat: A team chat tool which lets you create different chat rooms (for instance, one for design, one for support, one for announcements) as well as having 1-on–1 conversations.
    • Skype: Instant messaging allows you to fire off quick questions and ideas to your colleagues, while video or voice calls are great for longer discussions and meetings. Plus, users aren’t confined to their desks, as Skype is available in mobile and tablet forms.
    • Campfire: A web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms in just seconds.
    • Slack: This has become a favorite for remote teams and integrates nicely into task management tools like Asana.
  2. Project & Task Management
    • Asana: Allows teams to organize tasks, assign responsibilities, and maintain goals all in one place. This is a great way to eliminate the use of e-mail while working on projects with a team.
    • Trello: Organizes projects onto boards. In one glance, you can tell who is working on what, where the project stands, and what is currently being worked on. It’s a great visual way to organize tasks of a project.
    • Basecamp: The program enables you to start message threads, assign tasks to people, view work schedules on a company calendar, and store all of a project’s documents and files. Once a project has been completed, it can be safely archived. Another great feature is the ability to message both colleagues and clients, eliminating the need for emails and CCs.
    • Pivotal Tracker: A bug tracker tool for clients with a focus on Agile methodologies. This is great if you are doing formal Agile iterations or have a project size measured in developer/years.
  3. File Management & Sharing
    • Dropbox: Real-time file syncing and accessibility from desktop, web, or mobile.
    • Google Docs/Drive: You can work on one document together with your coworkers or quickly access your document on different computers (or even your smartphone).
    • Hackpad: A collaborative document-editing tool, which lets you create and save documents that you and your team members can all view and work on together. When you collaborate on a document, our names get added so that it’s clear to see who wrote which parts.
  4. Email Management
    • AwayFind: Good for urgent emails, particularly last minute messages from an attendee of a meeting, as it forwards their messages to you via SMS.
    • Boomerang: A Gmail plug-in that allows you to decide when to send and receive emails in Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
  5. Time Tracking
    • Toggl: Whether by web, desktop widget or mobile app (Android or iOS), this digital solution offers one-click start and stop tracking in real-time, or manual entry, which keeps this daunting task from being a hassle. Toggl offers time breakdowns so you can see how your time is really spent. Tagging and flagging options help you organize specific projects and designate billable vs. non-billable time.
  6. Screen Sharing
    • TeamViewer: A browser-based remote access solution, which relies on HTML and Flash and can be used by virtually any operating system. One of the great things about TeamViewer is that it works behind firewalls, so even if the computer you’re trying to access is protected by a firewall, TeamViewer can find a way of accessing it.
    • ScreenHero: A collaborative screen sharing tool that allows you to work on any document with your team.
    • Skype: A screen-sharing feature that allows you to share your desktop with a Skype contact. This is a handy feature when something goes wrong—you can remotely troubleshoot someone’s PC.
  7. Password Management
    • LastPass: An excellent password manager that lets your team access your accounts without threatening your security.
  8. Customer Support
    • Help Scout: Allows you to collaborate with your team on support tickets. You could add notes, assign to a teammate, and automate actions, to name a few. You also get great actionable reports to see how your support responses are performing.



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