Remote work has become the norm for many of us over the last year. Working from home has its advantages—you probably don’t miss that commute!—but it’s certainly not smooth sailing 24/7. Transitioning to full-time remote work requires equipping yourself with the tools you need to do your job successfully from home. And if you manage remote employees, it’s on you to ensure that everyone on your team has the best work from home tools in the game!
Check out these work from home essential tools and get ready for your job to get a whole lot easier.
21 Tools Every Remote Worker Needs
No matter where your team members are located geographically, you can use Trello to keep all of your projects organized. Tasks can be organized on virtual “boards,” assigned to collaborators, and moved through your collective workflow as they get closer to completion. Trello makes it easy to communicate the specific questions you have about every project on your plate to your colleagues.
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is quick communication with team members. Gone are the days of yelling to your colleague across your cubicle or stopping by your boss’s office for a quick chat. As a result, some of the most important, best tools for remote work are communication tools like Slack. On Slack, you can loop all of your teammates into a communication workspace that can then be split into project- and subject-specific channels. You can also direct message individuals, integrate with Google Drive, and so much more.
3. Google Drive
Google Drive streamlines the process of sharing what you’re working on by making documents of all kinds more accessible to teams. You can create word processing documents, spreadsheets, slides, and forms, then tag your colleagues into them so they can check your work and make their own contributions. Plus, it saves storage on your computer’s local drive, since everything is saved to the magical Google cloud.
Toggl’s suite of products gives you easy access to tools that can assist with project planning across teams, time tracking, and even candidate-screening for potential new hires! Toggl track—an easy-to-use interface that can make accounting for your hours a little less of a drag—is one of those work from home essential tools that you’ll wonder how you ever WFH-ed without!
Like Trello, Asana works as a project and task management tool. It allows you to view your assignments in different interfaces and to easily pass things off to your colleagues for next steps and review. Checking things off your boards in Asana will give you that satisfying feeling of accomplishing everything on your to-do list.
Does working remotely have you feeling isolated? Enter Chanty. Chanty has a simple interface that still manages to combine multiple communication, organization, and collaboration functions—and you can use it across all of your devices! Chanty also includes features intended to help you focus, by giving you lots of control over when and how often you receive notifications.
Wrike was founded to “help you do the best work of your life” and prides itself on having more than 20,000 customers worldwide. The platform has earned awards from a wide range of industries who applaud it for its versatility and all-in-one capabilities, especially in a year like 2020!
Zoom’s video conferencing and communication software has become fairly ubiquitous over the last year. Thanks to Zoom, being physically separate from your teammates doesn’t mean that you can’t be practically face to face. You can use Zoom on any device to have video meetings that are as large or small as you’d like. Use the software’s chat function to upload documents and share your thoughts in writing as well.
Still not sure you’ve found the project planning, organization and delivery software that’s the best fit for you and your co-workers? Consider giving ProofHub a try! ProofHub offers everything from multiple project views and discussion boards to project templates and timesheets.
No one wants to feel like their time is being micromanaged, but when you’re working remotely, you and your teammates might need to work just a little harder to ensure that everyone understands how working hours are being spent. Hubstaff can help you do this. It’s an all-in-one work time tracker that gives you multiple options for categorizing your hours and reporting them to your team, clients, or anyone else who needs them.
Todoist is exactly what you would assume based on its name—a digital platform for building to-do lists! While there’s a basic version that you might already be using for your personal tasks, the software also has premium and team functionality that makes it well-suited for remote work too.
Now that you’ve been briefed on a slew of remote accessing tools to work from home effectively, let’s talk about something a little less serious: background noise! If you’re missing the low hum of an office environment, check out Coffitivity, which recreates ambient sounds to help you be more productive.
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13. Evernote Web Clipper
Picture this: you’re cruising through your remote workday, knocking tasks off your to-do list, staying in touch with your colleagues, and generally doing all the things. You stumble upon a little nugget of info that you think might come in handy later—and you don’t want to forget it! If you have the Evernote Web Clipper extension, you won’t. This extension makes it super easy to save just about anything you find online with a single click.
Is social media part of your job description? If so, it’s time to explore Buffer. The extension streamlines the process of sharing content to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn down to the push of a button. Find something you want to pass along to your followers and simply—click!
If there’s a flipside to the comforts of working from home, it’s definitely the distractions that can come with working from home. Without colleagues to help you stay on track, you might find yourself tempted to fall down the rabbit hole of apps and sites that aren’t actually related to your job. The Freedom extension lets you program which online destinations you’d like to keep off-limits during your workday. Once you set those boundaries, you’ll be blocked from accessing them!
16. Zoom Scheduler
Now that we’re clear on the ubiquitous nature of Zoom conferencing software for the remote work crowd, you might as well make it as easy to access as possible! Install the Zoom Schedule extension for on-the-spot meeting scheduling that integrates with your Google Calendar.
If you’re still attached to the idea of keeping informal notes, the Papier extension can help you bring it into the digital age of remote work.
18. Tomato Clock
If you’re familiar with the Pomodoro Method, you may already know that some experts claim that we’re most productive when we break down our time into focused portions of time that are 25 minutes in length. The Tomato Clock extension applies that logic by helping you pace out your 25-minute intervals and incentivizing you with breaks! You can also customize the length of your timer.
In the rush of your busy workdays, you might never have the opportunity to slow down and check your work—which doesn’t bode well when you’re communicating with other people via email or messaging with them in a project management app. Give LanguageTool a try! When you install this web extension, you’ll receive real-time notifications of spelling and grammar errors as you make them, along with suggested corrections.
It may seem like a small thing, but having a personalized online dashboard can go a long way toward improving your experience working from home. The Momentum extension allows you to customize a Chrome tab with a daily photo, a quote, a to-do list and more. When in doubt, visit your Momentum tab and reset before jumping back into your workday.
21. The Great Suspender
Working remotely often requires you to juggle what might feel like a million online tabs. It gets a little overwhelming! The Great Suspender extension consolidates and streamlines those tabs to make things run more smoothly—both for your computer and your brain.
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