Whether you’re new to remote work or just need some help sifting through the zillions of options, we’ve put together a solid list of remote working tools that will help you and your team be more productive, more effective and even more awesome! Remote work has its own set of challenges and arming your team with the best technology should be at the top of your priority list when thinking about the long-term success of your remote team.
Why does it matter what we say? Great question. As a fully remote company from the get-go, Proofpoint is well versed in the trials and tribulations of remote tech tools. We’re a small team, but we work all over the country and need seamless cohesion on all fronts. We are the user. And, the tools we’ve landed on help our team kick out some amazing work, on point and on time. We’re happy to share our discoveries with you.
Just kick back with your cup of Golden Dawn Oolong (fave tea) and benefit from the experiences of our Proofpointers.
This article will break it down so that you can quickly find the best tools to:
🟠 1. Streamline Communications
🟠 2. Store and Share Company Files
🟠 3. Organize Browser Tabs
🟠 4. Manage Projects
🟠 5. Track Time & Invoicing
🟠 6. Conduct Meetings & Video Calls
1. Communicate Better, Faster, Smarter
Slack (Free & Paid Plans)
We. Are. In. Love. With. This. One. Slack gives new meaning to the word collaboration and makes email a dirty word. Communications get buried in email. Slack neatly organizes communications in channels and messages are sent in real-time. It is sooo much faster than email, and we use this exclusively for internal team communication. Create a channel for a specific project, team or client. Invite your entire team or part of the team to any particular channel. Team members can join or leave a channel as needed. You can also use it to message a team member directly and create a little bit of remote “office” fun with non-work channels (i.e. Music, Dog Pics, Schitts Creek GIFs etc.).
Drag and drop files right into your conversation; use it for video calls– the list goes on… Integrations is key when selecting tech tools and Slack integrates with 2,000+ apps. Make sure to install the native app for super-fast access from your dock. We LOVE Slack as much as chocolate and puppies and know you will too.
Not Slack, but might be your cup of oolong tea:
Twist (Free plan available)
Microsoft Teams (Free plan available)
Basecamp (Free 30 day trial)
2. File Storing and Sharing with Ease
Google Drive for Business (Multiple Plans starting at $6 per user per month)
There are SO many files!! It’s 2020 and I’m not sure how anyone gets by without cloud-based file storage and sharing. Google Drive is super intuitive and does the thinking for you. You can easily store, share and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet or computer. It’s as easy to use as a carrot peeler ?!
AI is integrated to help you find files almost before you look. Drive also integrates with all the tools you’re currently using including Slack, DocuSign, Adobe, Salesforce and more.
BONUS: With Google Drive for Business, you get free access to the entire Google Suite of tools, which we use and couldn’t operate without!
Not Google Drive, but still worth a mention:
Dropbox (Free up to 2GB)
Sharepoint (Paid Plans)
3. Organize Browser Tabs
Toby (Free & Paid Plans)
If you’re anything like us, you likely have a gazillion tabs open, and at least three different windows going on in the background. Bandwidth much? If you hear you’re computer wheezing and slowing down because of your poor browser habits, you need to get Toby!
By downloading the Toby Chrome extension, it will seamlessly integrate in your browser. Every time you open a new window or tab, the Toby interface will appear and allow you to create collections of the various tabs you may have open. Just drag and drop the tabs you don’t need now but want to access at a later point into a collection. When you’re ready to pick-up where you left off, you can select an entire collection or just a single tab to open.
We’re probably overcomplicating just how easy it is to use this tool, so just download the free version and give it a try. If you love it, you can even create a team version for your department or company, and have multiple users access approved/important collections and tabs. One thing’s for sure: this handy little tool has made sorting, organizing, saving and accessing the multitude of tabs we use on a daily basis super streamlined and our laptops are much happier for it!
Not a fan? How about this one instead:
Toast (Fee & Paid Plans)
4. Project & Task Management
Asana (Free & Paid Plans)
Did we say Slack was our most favorite remote work tool? Umm, it’s Asana. Errr, it’s a tie… you’ll see what we mean! Asana makes it ridiculously easy to manage all of your projects and tasks across the entire organization in one place. It can be used as a workflow management tool, for simple to-do lists, project management, communication and more.
It is highly customizable and how you choose to implement Asana is up to you. Track work that needs to get done, see what everyone on the team is assigned to do, view the project status, or ongoing work at a glance. The best part? We haven’t found an app it doesn’t integrate with yet! At Proofpoint we have Asana connected to Everhour to track time on individual tasks and projects.
Not Asana, but maybe worth a look-see:
Trello (Free & Paid Plans)
Monday (Free Trial, Paid Plans)
5. Time Tracking & Invoicing
Everhour (Free & Paid Plans)
Everhour for everyone! This super slick time management system has strong game when it comes to integration! If you’re managing all your tasks in a project management app such as Asana (for example), there is no native time tracking functionality (or it’s limited). Everhour injects the controls directly into the web interface of your favored environment – Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira and more – so that you and your employees don’t need to switch between your project management system and your time tracker. Everhour also offers budgeting, resource planning, team management and invoicing and it is super easy to use. Count how many times we use easy in this article, GO*!
Not Everhour, but if the shoe fits:
Harvest (Free & Paid Plans)
HourStack (Free Trial, Paid Plans)
6. Meetings & Video Calls:
It’s a tie! We love Google Meet & Zoom for video conferencing! Proofpoint uses Google Meet as meetings can conveniently be scheduled any day of the week directly on our google calendar. The recipient is notified by email as well as through an invite that populates right to their google calendar. And, with one click of either “join google meet” or “join by phone,” it’s game on. No need for accounts or plug-ins! Mute audio, present/share your screen through a clear connection!
BUT, if you want those fancy virtual backgrounds, you’ll have to head over to Zoom, which is a very strong 2nd in our book. One of the coolest features in Zoom is the breakout rooms feature. It allows the host or co-host to split your Zoom meeting into breakout groups and then give the meeting members a one-minute timer to (auto-magically) rejoin the larger group meeting. Getting set up with Zoom is very easy. Download the app and get set up in just a few minutes, then Zoom off to your meeting!
Not Google Meet or Zoom, but whatever floats your remote boat:
Microsoft Teams (Free & Paid Plans)
Let’s get to the Point 🟠:
Remote work tools are not one size fits all. The biggest feature you should be looking for when selecting remote working tools is integrations. Look to tech tools that will integrate with the apps you currently have in place. Is your team using Google Drive? If so, all of the apps above are stellar. Is your team using Microsoft Office 365? If so, you may want to look into Microsoft Teams for communications and SharePoint for file sharing. Tech tools are now more inexpensive than ever– look to tools that shave off a bit of the cost when you pay for the year (rather than by the month).
Want more great tips on working remotely or working from home? Head over to our blog and see how our team makes the magic happen.