Although remote work has steadily been on the rise in recent years, in 2019, just 5% of the UK’s workforce operated mainly from their home.
Yet, by April of 2020, a staggering 46.6% of people in employment had worked from home at some stage, with 86% of these doing so because of Coronavirus.
As such, it’s clear that the pandemic has accelerated remote working in a big way. Plus, many companies are planning on keeping their roles remote even once the virus is back under control.
This means that lots of professionals have had to quickly adapt to working remotely, often from home, and many have had to find new ways to stay productive and avoid distractions.
Luckily, the digital world was on hand to make this possible. Hundreds of new tools emerged during the pandemic to help those who were now having to work remotely. Similarly, some existing platforms sky-rocketed in popularity.
So whether you’ve had to adapt to work remotely over the last year or whether you’re planning on looking for remote jobs in the future, Irish Parcels has looked at seven of the best tools to help you stay productive.
Serene is one of the newer tools in the productivity game and is an affordable way for professionals to monitor and boost their productivity. This single tool has a range of helpful features, including:
- The ability to block distracting websites (like social media)
- Power sessions that help to ensure you’re taking regular breaks
- Day planners
- To-do lists
- Focus music
- An automatic phone silencer
And so much more!
And best of all, you can try out their 14-day trial to see how you get on and to help you decide whether it’s worth investing in the platform. Though with prices starting from as little as $4 a month, it’s unlikely to break the bank.
Slack has become a hugely important tool to help teams collaborate and communicate effectively. In fact, it is used by professionals at major brands such as Airbnb, Starbucks and BBC.
Slack was actually built by remote workers, for remote workers. It helps them to stay in contact whilst avoiding long and cumbersome email chains or multiple phone and video calls.
Essentially, it is an organised instant messaging platform for teams that need to work closely together. It also has video calling features, file exchange, and it integrates with over 2000 productivity apps to keep you working and collaborating from any location.
You’re probably already familiar with the Zoom video conferencing platform, whether you’ve used it yourself or not. This is because the popularity of this tool was one of the first to soar during the pandemic.
In fact, it playfully became known as the Zoom boom.
Zoom allows you to run video chats with your co-workers and teams or to run other important meetings and events.
Though there were initially some security concerns when the platform took off last year, the company has since stepped up its game to ensure all users are as safe and secure as possible.
So why waste time emailing back and forth when you can set up a quick Zoom call to chat to your colleagues, clients or vendors face-to-face. This can make getting your work done a lot easier, even if you’re talking to someone on the other side of the world.
4. Google Docs
Another platform that you’re probably pretty familiar with is Google Docs. This has a huge number of features that allows you to work on documents remotely and with others and to increase your productivity. Some of these key features include:
- Editing text documents straight from your web browser
- Cloud-based storage allows you to access your work from anywhere you need as long as you have an internet connection
- The ability to work on documents simultaneously with others
- Users can track word counts and paragraphs
- Keeping track of comments on documents and reply to other’s comments
- Using templates for recurring projects
- Adding your signature to documents
All of these make working individually or with others much easier and more effective. They can also help to boost productivity as professionals can collaborate in real-time on documents.
Trello is a project management tool that helps you to stay on top of your workload and complete work on time. But more than this, you can set up different boards for different projects, colleagues or clients.
Users can also invite others to join their boards so they can collaborate with one another and keep an eye on the progress of a project. Users can also add notes, links, attachment and due dates to help keep them on track.
Best of all, the basic Trello package is free to use and has enough features to keep most remote workers managing their time effectively and feeling productive without spending any money.
One Drive is Microsoft’s equivalent to Google Drive, and it is a cloud-based platform that integrates the whole of the Microsoft Suite. This gives you access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint and all your Microsoft favourites. It also makes it possible to access all the documents you need from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
It also makes file sharing and management much easier and allows remote workers to collaborate with their teams and gain access to documents that others have worked on. This can be a lot more effective than trying to send files via email or talk through them over the phone. It also allows users to work and collaborate in real-time.
And last on our list is Doodle, a free scheduling tool that makes organising meetings so much simpler. Rather than going back and forth trying to find a time that suits everyone involved, members can set availability times for everyone to see. Users can also set up polls where participants can vote on the best time to meet, so that everyone can share a few dates that they are available.
Essentially, this is a budget-friendly way to take back control of your time and cut out hours of back and forth between colleagues, clients or anyone for that matter, whilst trying to find a time you’re all free to talk.