Given the spread of the coronavirus, companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are taking to remote work to keep their employees safe, lessening the possibility of their workers catching an illness.
Starting a work-from-home system for your own organization might be a bit difficult if you’ve never tried it, so here are some tools and apps that may be of use if you want to set up your own system.
The first thing you’ll likely need will be a robust communications application that will allow the people in your organization to coordinate, possibly even share documents and other resources securely. Here are some suggestions:
Slack – Slack is a popular app for organizations to use, though the free version does have limitations. You can consult with them on how to set up a workspace for your office set-up, share links and files through the workspace you’ve created, and generally keep things organized by sorting employee access through channels. Slack is available here.
Microsoft Teams – Microsoft’s Teams app is much like Slack, but has one big plus right now in that some of its premium functions will be available for free to help people moving into remote work. More information on how to take advantage of their offer can be found here.
You may want to pick one communications application for your organization and see if it works for you. It may take a week or two to get accustomed to it, however, so factor that into your planning.
For those companies which need to handle different assignments or multiple projects, there are also online apps tailor-made for that purpose.
Asana – For small groups of about 15 people, the free version of Asana may be just the ticket for handling multiple projects. It also works as a communications app, which may be ideal for some smaller groups handling complicated assignments versus using Slack or Teams.
Trello –Trello is a task management system focusing on creating workflows and to-do lists. The free version only allows for up to 10 team boards, though pricing is scalable for business or enterprise users for up to about 5,000 people, with more likely by special request.
Basecamp – Basecamp allows project managers to share their work and progress with their clients or guests. Basecamp’s free tier supports up to 3 projects, 20 users, and 1 GB of storage space, but the Business version pricing is set at $99, allowing for unlimited projects and unlimited users, without having per user fees.
Taskworld – While Taskworld only has a 15-day free trial, and asks for a fee per user, the app does project management and time tracking, as well as files management and real-time chat for those that need it.
Other apps you might need
Depending on your company’s objectives, you may need a bunch of other apps to get the remote work system going. Here are some of my recommendations.
A note-taking application – Whether it’s Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Bear, or some other online-capable note-taking and writing app, you may want one for your virtual office to store your writing or jot down bits of wisdom.
Time management apps – There are a number of well-known time management apps out there for those who want to keep track of what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. There’s the iPhone/Web application Hours. There’s also Toggl and Everhour which can be integrated into your project management or chat software.
Google’s suite of apps – For those who don’t want to spend too much on maintaining your work, there’s always Google Drive and Hangouts, and the host of app equivalents it has for an office working suite. Granted, Google use may not always be recommended, especially for large organizations where security is paramount, but it’s still an option if you don’t have a bunch of sensitive information lying around.
Just make sure you have your permissions set accordingly. – Rappler.com
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