Tools To Effectively Work Offsite
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
Working from home is a challenge many of us didn't think we'd be facing at the start of 2020. Now, the home office is an all too familiar sight, and programs such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and thousands of others shape the way we work, and are commonplace in many organisations.
Further to our last article which highlighted the processes and outlooks you can take to enhance your working from home experience, we have identified a few programs and web tools which we believe can also save you time, keep you on track and help you produce the results you need when working offsite.
Asana is a project management tool that will keep you and anyone else in your team on track, staying productive and working in conjunction with one another. Everything that you can think of wanting in an online task management tool, Asana has - seamless task creation, assigning tasks, assigning tasks to different projects and clients, due time, comments sections, ability to add sub-tasks, image upload sections - all of it and so much more.
This is all done in a sleek design so that you can see all the information that you need right off the bat, and as long as you treat Asana like the bible, you can do away with those daily 9am team check-in's, or long phone calls trying to keep track of everyone's tasks. Even when just used personally, I've found that there is no better way to organise my days (it certainly beats writing things down on post-it notes)!
The best bit? You can use plenty of Asana's features on the free version - no maximum task, project, or message limits - and the Premium version that opens up most of the features you'd need for a bigger team comes in at only AUS$15/month if billed annually (or $18.40/month if billed monthly).
Pipedrive is a sales management tool, CRM, and planner that is ideal for those working in Media, Sales, Advertising, or any other step-based customer interaction industry. It's biggest draw is how easy and intuitive it is to use, as users can move elements of a project, sale, or customer interaction along a 'pipeline' simply by dragging and dropping. It has many integrations with other popular tools such as MailChimp, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Slack, as well as your email inbox, and it offers some really great sales reporting tools.
In terms of pricing, Pipedrive is attractive as it is cheaper than its counterparts, such as Salesforce and Hubspot, at around AUS$16/month for its essentials pack.
LeadBooster is another feature that Pipedrive offers, which is a really great way to tap into databases that you wouldn't otherwise be able to and generate fresh leads. This comes at an additional cost of $42/month however, and thus is a feature you should only buy if needed, or use for shorter periods of time.
Slack is an incredibly intuitive and effective communication tool both for internal and external comms. Organise your conversations into different channels, video call, share files, and create different teams within the site to be able to optimise the efficiency of your day to day work. You can also link to other organisations that use Slack and communicate in shared spaces.
Featuring integrations with G Suite, Outlook, Miro, Asana and many more, Slack is well-renowned in many industries as the 'go-to' communications app in business.
Slack's free package includes all of the basics you need to get started, and it's 'Standard' package for "small and medium sized businesses" comes to only AU$8.50/user/month (when paid for annually, or $10/user/month if paid monthly).
G Suite/Google Drive
If you're new to remote working, you might not have gone fully paperless as of yet. Our recommendation? Definitely start.
Google Drive is a file management system which is cloud-based, meaning you can access it from anywhere on any of your devices. Utilising the G Suite - Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and Gmail - allow you to run your entire business from anywhere, which is incredibly valuable when working at home or remotely.
Google Drive is just as secure, if not more, than any internal servers or hard copy documents, so long as you maintain good web-security etiquette, as updating your passwords often, using strong passwords, as well as two factor authentication.
Google's business plan pricing varies greatly, however a huge draw of Google is that the vast majority of it's tools are able to be accessed for free, even through a personal account. As such, if you're just starting off work as a contractor or a sole trader, there is no need to have unnecessary expenses on your general day-to-day document tools.
Speaking of passwords and safety, LastPass is an excellent tool for making sure that your many various accounts are secure, well organised, and easy to access. LastPass is the most renowned password manager on the market - install it's plugin into your browser, and every time you put in a password you will be able to save it to LastPass. Once saved, you can then organise your passwords into some categories (e.g. have a personal folder for your passwords, and then a shared folder for company passwords). These are then easily accessible whenever you go to the login screen of that site, allowing you to not have to remember any of your many passwords.
LastPass also has the capability to auto-generate, and auto-renew incredibly secure passwords at certain intervals of time, so that your passwords are always being updated. And since you don't need to remember those passwords anymore, the auto-generated passwords are often very complicated strings of letters and numbers that will not be hackable.
You can additionally utilise this tool to save other important information like credit card details, addresses, bank accounts, and the like.
The basic password manager package is free to use, with the premium pack costing only AU$4.50/month per user, or $6/user/month for teams of under 50. Even for personal use, we could not recommend this software enough, and it has been endorsed by several high-status figures in the tech, data safety and innovation industries.
Without recommending any product in particular, if you are only recently getting into full-swing in working offsite, it's incredibly important that you sync up all of your main apps to your phone or mobile device. Often times you may be moving around as you go from one meeting to another, taking the kids to school, chatting to the neighbours, walking around the house doing chores - whatever it may be, you definitely don't want to miss anything important happening on your computer screen.
Programs such as your calendar, email, communication apps (such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom), payroll and expenses are all crucial to sync up on your mobile app, and the best way to benefit from having these on your phone is to turn on notifications, so that you wont miss a beat. You'll want to make yourself with turning those notification settings on and off, as they may get quite invasive in your personal time or over the weekend, so switching them on and off at certain times is definitely recommended.