There are some common features to designing a fully functioning home office that everyone should know, but what about designing the tools you use when you’re working from home or on the road? For starters, it’s important to know that the options for distance learning tools are continuing to grow and discerning the difference between them all is getting increasingly difficult. Fortunately, we love to try new software and we’ve been known to work with several different platforms concurrently just to see which works best for our teams. It is with that experience that we’ve put together these 5 essential tools for teams with distributed workforces.
Trello is probably the most feature-rich project management platform available. I say probably because there’s still a fair-to-midland chance we’ll demo a few more by the time this publishes, but the fact is that Trello has everything you could possibly need to keep projects on track. Multiple users can edit, different benchmark alarms can be sent, and most importantly it’s totally transparent so nobody is left off the back, no matter where they’re located.
It seems we’ve been bitten by the love bug with Slack. We’ve written in the past about how well the company runs itself from an operations standpoint, but that isn’t a surprise when you consider how well it helps employees communicate and stay productive. Often times conversations on one side of the building don’t migrate to all of the offices, much less to those folks working from home, this isn’t a problem with Slack. Plus they keep widening their array of Bots that help execute various tasks that makes an adequate summation of their total benefit a moving target. PLUS, they now have a Taco Bell Bot that will order tacos for you which makes working lunches easier than ever. Score.
For teams that are dispersed over a large area, sharing files isn’t quite as easy as just printing out a file and walking it over to their desk, and Dropbox solves that. Dropbox is admittedly just one in a growing sea of options for file sharing on a large scale, but the storage veteran has added a variety of neat features that make it unique. But with file upload/download being a breeze, plenty of integrations into a variety of other software, and the ability to save various web content for later use, Dropbox is definitely a contender for the invaluable file-sharing member of this list.
Newer to the market than these other list members but still vitally important, Dash is the latest in hosted business communications technology from VirtualPBX. The intuitive unified communications software allows total replication of an in-office presence for anyone through their existing office phone number, whether they are permanently displaced or simply business traveling, all without compromising the privacy of the employee’s personal contact information. Furthermore, the user-friendly interface makes it so that anyone will be able to use it without having Nick the IT guy come by and walk them through it. Nick is busy anyway, give him a break.
And seeing as how you are able to contact people so easily with these other great platforms, as a courtesy it would be a good idea to always consider the time change from location to location. EveryTimeZone is your one-glance solution for this. Ideal for traveling members of the team (if for nothing else just to stay on top of what day/time it is!) and for those back at the office who may forget that Stephanie probably hasn’t seen the doc you shared an hour ago because it’s 4:00 AM in London. Let the poor girl sleep.