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What are the best remote work tools?

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In this era of laptops, smart phones and tablets, remote working has become more popular.  But what remote work tools can help?

It is not just hardware that has created the change, but software and applications have too.

Tools such as Google Hangouts, Appear.In and good old fashioned Skype have helped transform the process.

Skype and Google Hangouts both promote meetings but at a long distance – with Google Hangouts most suitable for larger meetings.

Appear.In enables you to work closely together with colleagues, as if you are sitting next to them, even if you are many miles apart.  The idea is simple, two or more people call up a specific URL, and they can view each other via their computer cameras. You can work on your computer, but whenever you click on the URL, you can see and interact with colleagues.

But what has truly transformed remote work is the Cloud.

In the years BC – before Cloud – a remote access tool involved a brief case and a telephone. Later, but still in the BC era, there was a fax, then the laptop and roughly at that stage email began to take off.

But the Cloud changed everything.

Remote work in the era of the Cloud or AD – after digital – means that not only can you work on the same document, at the office, at home, on a train, or at a conference – even on holiday – but others can work on it too.

For example, Google.doc can be updated by multiple people, with their changes showing up immediately for all to see.

Some remote working tools support brainstorming, such as Google Keep, allowing people to share their thoughts and ideas. Or for remote design, Mural may come in useful, while MindMeister is a mind mapping tool, which enables users to capture, develop and share ideas visually – even when they are far apart.

Trello can be a useful tool when multiple people are working on a project, and various tasks are listed on cards – that way you can see who is working on a certain task and when it has been completed.

Some organisations specialise in employing remote workers, for example:

  • Toptal, which is geared towards working with freelancers.
  • Upworthy, a content distribution system; they encourage remote working to take time off.
  • Buffer, which provides tools ‘to make people’s lives easier’ geared around staff working remotely.
  • GitHub, builds tools ‘that make collaborating and writing software easier for everyone’ but encourages those it calls ‘Hubbers’ to ‘build amazing things with a high level of autonomy and self-direction.’
  • Basecamp is a well-known project management tool, designed to support remote working or collaboration at a distance, but it practices what it preaches employing people across 26 different cities.
  •  WordPress, the famous blogging platform, employs people from 36 different countries.

Remote work is not all a bed of roses.

As David Lynes, director of Unique IQ said, “There are many positive benefits of allowing staff more flexibility in their working role including reducing overhead costs, increasing loyalty and greatly improving productivity. But that doesn’t mean that this is the ‘perfect’ workforce solution and that it doesn’t present its own challenges. Home working must be strategically implemented with the correct procedures in place to ensure the happiness and wellness of staff is maintained.”




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Tags: Business, Workforce Transformation