Coronavirus, n-COV or COVID-19 has been in the news ever since the first outbreak in Wuhan in China in December last year. While it seemed serious, not many were able to fathom its far-reaching implications. Almost three months later, it's evident that "prevention is better than cure" is the best strategy. While many tech conferences have been cancelled, workplaces are also adopting the work from home policies. So if you are an organization who's thinking of how to ensure remote work remains productive or an individual who wants to make sure that work and collaboration goes smoothly, then you're at the right place. In case you’re looking an in-depth guide as to how to go about remote work, then Twist has one that’s a must read. In this piece however, we'll be taking a look at the best SaaS software for making remote work a possibility.
While Slack, Microsoft Teams and other unified communication tools are already being used by hundreds of thousands of organizations, in the case of remote work, they become quintessential. Not only they ensure that team members remain in touch, but also make it easier for the exchange of ideas. Moreover, it also gets rid of loneliness feeling as employees stay connected with each other, albeit virtually. The use of such software also reduces the reliance on emails. The best part? Many of these software let you automate a few things and offer integrations with several other software. Slack and Microsoft Teams are the most popular products, though there are many options such as Flock.
While chat tools are great, what about having a discussion with a prospective client or having an all-hands meeting with your team? Well, that's where video conferencing software comes in. While Zoom has become really popular for its simplistic video-conferencing software that can work on laptop or mobile devices equally well. Logmein's GoToWebinar is one of the oldest web conferencing solutions, and there are also options like Hangouts Meet and Cisco Webex. Interestingly, both the latter companies have also made the usage free for limited participants due to the coronavirus outbreak to accelerate remote work.
And while you're using video conferencing tools, do keep in mind that people might be in different time zones, so websites like TimeandDate.com and Every Time Zone are handy to know the ideal time to schedule the call.
With everyone working remotely, it's important that everyone is aligned on the same page and the status of everyone's work is updated. And that's what project management tools help with. Such products offer an at-a-glance view of various projects that are ongoing, and let team leaders / managers assign projects and tasks to their teams. You can go for a Kanban board-style Trello, slick Asana, or from several other project management software such as Monday.com, Basecamp, and more.
Since we’re discussing project management, it’s also important to know how much time a particular project might take. And that’s what time tracking software does as it helps people create their schedules, and offer timesheets. This helps managers rationing for people who should work on a project to meet deadlines and so on. These tools also provide the ability to track leaves schedule, let people mark virtual attendance and more. Some of the popular services in this category are When I Work, and Hubstaff.
Collaboration and documentation of everything also become quite important in such a scenario, and tools like Google Docs, Dropbox Paper and Notion come to the rescue for that. These software let you collaborate on the documents in real-time, which is time-efficient along with ensuring that things are fully updated all the time. Depending upon the tool you go for, you could also make presentations, spreadsheets, and more.
While we’re at the topic of document management tools, it’s also important for the team members to have a cloud storage solution such as Box, so that everyone has access to the updated files.
With employees accessing the company's documents, and more remotely, it's paramount that the communication channel is secure. Enter VPN or virtual private networks that make sure that the connection between the company’s server and user’s device, whether at home or using public Wi-Fi, can remain safe from prying eyes. While you could opt for free VPN, we’d urge you to go for paid options such as ExpressVPN and PureVPN.
When it comes to security, VPN software isn’t the only thing that matters. You should also opt for password management software, since everyone in the team will be accessing a variety of tools. While it’s easy to simply share passwords with everyone, it’s certainly not the wise decision and that’s where password management tools such as 1Password and Dashlane help. They allow you to share the access to a particular service to others, without revealing the actual password.
Worth noting that we’ve talked about generic software here that should help all kinds of companies to go remote, but there are several tools out there that could help with your special needs. For example, designers could look for UX software like Figma.