Written by Natalia Szczucka, Consultant at ConQuest Consulting
Over the past year, entrepreneurs and corporations operating worldwide have changed their daily business model by implementing remote working. Although such a working model is well known, it has never been used on such a scale before. This, in turn, may be associated with a drop-in inefficiency. To prevent this, it is worth using proven tools that will help to optimize the team's activities' effects. This article will learn about several applications and tools that facilitate both remote and office work.
Timepot is a system whose main task is to monitor working time in projects. This is done using a stopwatch or manual entry of time spent on a given job. Besides, all information about the assignments is saved and available for analysis. The program provides the possibility to generate time reports for individual users as well as for entire projects. An exciting and great advantage is an advanced financial module allowing for efficient tracking of costs and revenues, which will enable you to measure the profitability of projects. The use of the application is not free of charge. Each user must pay USD$4 per month. However, the system is available in its entirety and has no premium version.
A well-known survey tool can also enable the recording of working time. The main advantage is its availability and a whole package of other services, such as Google Sheets, which allows for comprehensive data collection processing in the form. This tool is very flexible and will enable you to adjust the condition to your needs. In controlling the working time, it allows for manual completion of information, e.g., what activity was performed. This tool is free of charge, and it only requires a Google email account, i.e., Gmail.
Slack is an Internet communicator based on the cloud. It enables efficient communication between team members. Thanks to this, it is possible to connect with other services through so-called integrations. Slack significantly reduces the need to use emails as the primary means of communication. It allows storing all communication channels in one place. This service is available for free, as well as in a paid version. The paid version will enable you to search back messages indefinitely, while the free version limits us to the last 10,000 messages.
Asana is a service adapted to project management. It allows you to adjust the system to your assumptions, making the service intensely personalized for the user. In Asana, we can create project teams that meet our expectations. Then, within the project, we can assign tasks to its members and within the sub-tasks. Each ribbon can be set a completion date and can be marked with tags or colours. Within a given task, it is possible to conduct conversations with people assigned to it and exchange files/documents sent in attachments. It is also a great convenience to send email notifications to the person associated with a given task or comment. The application is available only in English. In the basic version, it is free of charge. However, extending it with further functionalities requires a fee.
Another application that allows optimizing remote work is Trello. This service enables creating so-called arrays, which can e.g. correspond to the company's projects or departments. In their interior, we can add lists, i.e. tasks, define deadlines, and assign them to specific team members. It is also possible to add attachments. All this allows for the precise division of tasks and planning of project implementation time, which can significantly facilitate co-workers' remote work. This tool, in its basic version, is free of charge. However, to use the Class or Enterprise package, you need to pay USD$9.99 per user and USD$20.83 per month for every 100 users, respectively. The extensions described above offer, among others, regulation of co-worker privileges, the export of all data and team history, information encryption option and many others.
Evernote is an application that allows you to create, store, and organize notes and make lists and archive them. It allows you to automatically create notes from text files, websites, photos, and recordings. You can also create your handwritten notes there. The resulting files can be sorted, tagged, edited, and exported to other programs. This tool can significantly increase the efficiency of remote work. It acts as a personal organizer, so we don't have to worry that we will miss something important by accident. It is a free tool with a monthly data transfer limit or in a paid, unlimited subscription.
Simplysign (mobile qualified electronic signature)
It is a tool that allows any document to be signed anywhere and anytime as if it were signed by hand. This greatly facilitates the signing of numerous contracts, especially when physical presence is not possible at the moment. It is a paid tool. When paying in advance for a license for three years, you have to pay about USD$225.
MeisterTask is a slightly different tool. You can create a project, set the main goals, define time limits for their implementation, and invite the team. Everything is transparent and well structured. When a colleague wants to send a file to another person, he loads it in his task and redirects it to the right user. If you have an application on your phone, you are immediately notified that someone has given you the document. This way you know in real-time what is going on in the project and how fast the process is going. All functionalities of up to 3 projects are free of charge - you can add an unlimited number of tasks and upload many files. Paid options are 3: Pro, Business, and Enterprise. They give access to new possibilities, such as creating more projects or combining them. In the most expensive version, you will also get help in implementing MeisterTask in your company.
There are options, and what should be done about it?
You have to choose! Today's digital world offers many solutions that help you plan your remote work. The examples that have been approximated are a few of many currently available on the Internet, which we have chosen based on our experience in operating such systems. Their implementation enables the project teams to maintain efficiency at a level similar to that which was expected.
This article is part of an exchange series of articles started in collaboration between WBC UK and its Polish partner ConQuest Consulting. It has been written and produced by ConQuest.
References & Bibliography
Brooks, A., 2020. 10 Best Remote Work Tools For Working From Home & Distributed Teams. [online] Ventureharbour.com. Available at: https://www.ventureharbour.com/remote-tools-distributed-teams/
DeMeré, N., 2021. Working Remotely? Try These 36 Tools For Better Communication, Collaboration & Organization. [online] Blog.hubspot.com. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/remote-work-tools
Kashyap, V., 2021. 26 Remote Work Tools For Happy And Productive Employees. [online] Proofhub.com. Available at: https://www.proofhub.com/articles/remote-work-tools-for-team
Pinola, M., 2020. The Remote Worker's Toolkit: The 15 Tools You Need To Work Remotely. [online] Zapier. Available at: https://zapier.com/learn/remote-work/productivity-apps-remote-work/