With the ongoing disruption due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines issued by the Government, the number of people working from home has increased more than we have ever seen.
With working from home new to many people, it is important to ensure that everyone is working as efficiently as possible and that we are able to communicate as effectively as we did in our workplaces.
There are many apps and software solutions that can help you stay connected to your team, collaborate and keep you working together.
Collaboration and Communication
Slack allows you to collaborate easily with your colleagues. Channels can be set up for different purposes and you can instant message colleagues as well as engage in group discussions. With many integrations to other applications, Slack makes it easy to share and edit documents and work together remotely.
Slack is available as both a free application and on a subscription model.
One of the most well-known chat and video calling applications, Skype allows you to send files, create group chats, and have video calls with numerous participants. There is also a business version available called Skype for Businesses, which integrates with Microsoft Office 365 with a higher limit on participants in a call.
Zoom has become one of the most widely used platforms for video and voice conference calls, both one to one and for groups or presentations. With excellent screensharing facilities, instant messaging and the ability to share files easily.
Zoom is available as a free application, but it is worth noting the limit of 40 minutes per call on the free plan for group calls. There is no limit on the number of calls you can make however, and (as several of our colleagues discovered) you can even change the background to your video call!
Productivity and Efficiency
Trello is a web based and downloadable app that acts as a real-time bulletin board, enabling you to organise your working day as well as your team. It’s a project management tool that organises all your projects into what’s being worked on, who is working on what and when something is in a process.
Individual tasks can be customised with their own name, description and coloured label or category. Other Trello users can be manually assigned to specific tasks too, so you can cut down on lengthy email chains and have a clear view of what you and your team are working on.
Trello is available on a free plan, with additional features available on a monthly subscription.
Clockify is a time tracking application, offering a simple to use time tracker and timesheet function that lets you keep tabs on how long you are spending on various tasks as well as your team.
With working from home it can be useful to keep a log of how long you are spending on specific tasks to allow you to efficiently structure your days.
It can be hard to concentrate sometimes in an office environment when you’re surrounded by colleagues and phone calls, but with working at home it can be even harder.
Daywise is free to download from the Google Play Store and allows you to have your phone deliver notifications to you in batches at specific times, helping you to focus for specific periods on work.
Don’t worry about missing anything important though, as you can set specific apps or notification to come through as they normally would.
If you haven’t worked from home before there can be a lot to adjust to, like keeping the cat off the keyboard or getting used to a different environment than your usual workspace.
Once you have settled into a rhythm with your new method of working, we’d suggest taking the time to review the apps and tools you are using to help drive productivity and efficiency, as well as crucially communication with your colleagues.
You can check out our tips on getting set up properly for working from home here.