Coronavirus cases around the world are still on the rise and have exceeded 2 million. The stock market has taken a hit and the economy is expected to shrink by 3% this year. Businesses are losing customers and employees are losing jobs. It is indeed a dangerous, uncertain and frustrating time for most.
However, the world never really comes to a full halt and humans adapt to changes faster than they anticipate. Hundreds of thousands of companies around the world have asked their employees to work remotely, and many have been working from home for over a month now. Not just offices, but also schools and other institutions have gone remote.
Boston university is considering keeping the campus closed till 2021 and many may follow suit. Michigan also suspended the remainder of its school year for K-12 students and the governor asked schools to switch to a hybrid online education.
Not only this, many companies are considering permanently going semi-remote even after the lockdown is lifted.
If you’re one of the many companies trying to work remotely amid all this, here’s our list of top 11 tools you can use to keep your remote team together and keep efficiency levels high - most of them are offering free access during these trying times:
Slack is another great team collaboration tool. It helps you organise your conversations, make your office space truly virtual and replace emails with instant messaging. Moreover, slack now offers free upgrades to paid plans for teams working on coronavirus pandemic research, response, or mitigation. Interested teams can email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get this set up, and a consultation on how best to get started with remote collaboration!
Fleep is a great way to keep your remote team together. It brings all your written conversations into one place. You can use Fleep to chat with your team, partners and clients.
If some of the people you want to include in your conversations are not Fleep users yet, you can add them in the conversation with just their email address and they will receive all the messages and files as normal emails. It is a great way for combining messaging with file sharing and tasks. Fleep has everything you need to coordinate your team’s work from idea to execution.
Clanbeat is a great tool for employee engagement, onboarding, goal management and keeping track of culture. While working remotely, it is extremely important to keep the company culture intact. Clanbeat is a great tool that can help automate a lot of HR processes.
Even though it is an HR tool focused for schools, and is even offering completely free membership for all schools amid COVID-19, it can be a very helpful tool for offices operating remotely. Some of the key features for companies to use would be building relationships between managers and team members through 1-on-1s, goal management via this app, keeping a centralised record of team skills and sharing everyday achievements and challenges within the platform.
4. Brandpad - for your marketing and design team
Brandpad is a cloud-based platform for companies which helps store and share brand assets in one place. It helps to deliver professional, functional, and beautiful brand guidelines easily. You can organize your digital brand assets on this custom branded platform in the cloud to make the job of your marketing team, design team and other teams dealing with content. The platform recently launched its free starter plan for brand managers!
5. Pipedrive - for your sales team
Pipedrive is a sales CRM that helps you manage leads and deal from a single interface. It is an excellent platform to increase your sales productivity and track all external communication for full visibility and control.
6. Atlassian - for your development team
Atlassian offers multiple tools like trello and confluence for file sharing and team collaboration. However, Jira software, bitbucket, and sourcetree are particularly great tools for collaboration on code, test and deploy products. Atlassian is offering free access to Cloud products for issue-tracking and project-tracking software including Jira and Confluence to help remote teams.
Dropbox is another great tool for organizing your team content and workspace in one place. It can easily be integrated with other collaboration tools like slack, making file sharing and organising cloud content easier. Dropbox Business is now offering free subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19.
Google offers a bundle of collaboration and productivity apps such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar and Meet. In the times of coronavirus, Google offers a free, premium version of its workplace video chat tool until July, to help businesses working remotely due to coronavirus. Those features include having up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive!
Microsoft Office is also one essential tool used by many companies, and the usage has only increased during current times where keeping teams together remotely has become a necessity. Microsoft is offering a free six-month Office 365 E1 Trial, including Microsoft Teams.
Back and forth email communication to organise one meeting can be very inefficient. Calendly helps you schedule and organise calls seamlessly. Currently, they are offering free Zoom And GoToMeeting integrations for their online appointment scheduling software to help remote workers stay connected. These were previously Premium tier features and will be available till June 30th. Calendly is also offering free premium plan access to teams working directly on COVID-19.
Bonus Tool: Milanote
Milanote is a tool for organizing your creative projects into beautiful visual boards. Created to replicate the feeling of working on a wall in a creative studio - visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy - Milanote is a great fit for freelancers in both the marketing and design spaces. Milanote has heaps of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a moodboard to set out the visual direction for a project, to writing that perfect creative brief. Its sharing features make it a great option for those who regularly provide work to clients for feedback.
Milanote's basic plan is available for free with no time-limit.
11. Build your own tool
If your line of business or specific operations require customization for your workspace and office procedures, you might want to consider building your own tool. Custom development allows you endless personalisation options with no need for compromises, as well as constant customisation and scaling so your business keeps running with high efficiency. This does require a larger upfront investment and time that goes into planning, but the solution’s effectiveness will most likely result in better ROI and team productivity. A custom-built software to keep your company remote and efficient is a great option for established businesses with complex workflows and strategies.
A lot of different industries would need industry specific tools that would suit their businesses. For instance, Krah pipes is a manufacturing company and Thorgate built them a single software interface to control all live factory processes.
Similarly, we built Waybiller, an advanced e-waybill software making freights paperless - a tool which is increasing in demand in the logistics industry amid the coronavirus.
All these tools that helped automate manual processes to increase efficiency prior to the crisis, are now the need of the hour for both remote and non-remote workers. This digitalisation is making work contactless, automated and hence, safer - which is why we believe digitalization is key now.
Are you in a different industry that requires a custom tool built for themselves? Thorgate can help.