Tools For Small Businesses Going Remote
We transitioned our company to work remotely back in June of 2019, and we’ve been loving it ever since. We are total geeks and love finding tech tools that help us work better together as a remote team, and we thought in this Twilight Zone Work-From-Home World we should share our faves:
Free tools we can’t live without:
This delightful tool has completely replaced email for our internal communications. Their interface is fabulous and organized, has lots of productivity and ‘just for fun’ features, and your inbox loves it. The free version is plenty robust as long as you don’t run into an issue with their 10,000 message history limit. Did we mention it integrates with everything?!
A squeaky clean task management tool. The free version is basically a to-do list on steroids. I’ve never taken steroids, but I imagine it’s like a to-do list, only Asana. What I’m really trying to say is, try Asana, and only take drugs that are legally prescribed by your physician. Like most things, it integrates beautifully with Slack.
A baller free time tracking tool (yes even for teams!) with tons of options and great reporting.
We’ve used this tool FOREVERRRRR. It’s how we never forget about an email we’ve sent that needs a follow-up. You simply copy or blind copy an email address that specifies when you want to be reminded of the email (ex: [email protected] or [email protected]) and hit send. Then, the email pops back up in your inbox when you’ve told it to! There are other tools that allow you to snooze emails too, we just happen to like this workflow the best.
Worth The Money (IOO):
Google’s email service for businesses is our fave, plus your G Suite account includes loads of stuff like cloud storage in Google Drive and Google Calendar. The price changes occasionally but right now it’s like $6/user and up per month. Kind of a no brainer if you ask us.
Ok so Evernote is totally free, and it’s amazing. We pay for an Evernote Premium account so we can have a central super-searchable bucket of information that needs to be secure. We plop almost everything in there (plugin license keys, client notes and passwords, articles we want to refer to later, the list goes on). And yes, that big mess of stuff isn’t actually messy, because no matter what you’re looking for you can find it with a quick search. MAGICCCCC.
I mean who doesn’t use Dropbox? Yes we have Google Drive storage included with our G Suite accounts, but if you start storing videos or larger media files in there, it fills up fast… so we have a 1TB storage account @ Dropbox to keep all our training videos and course videos organized and accessible. Plus, we set up new clients with a Dropbox folder they can dump content into for their projects. We’ve found more people are familiar with using Dropbox (even if they’re technology-illiterate) than Google Drive, so it’s what we use for client file interactions.
The easiest ding-dang screen capture tool out there. You can take screenshots and quickly add arrows or circles or text, easily take screen videos with or without your webcam on, and easily export your captures to loads of places online. We use it like 4000 times daily to quickly communicate visually with clients and our team.
A relatively new, women owned tech startup we are all about supporting, Walkabout Workplace is a digital office place that lets you see who is in their office working, or in the virtual nap room (aka taking a break to rest), or cafe (aka eating), or even on the balcony enjoying the view of the Pacific (if you get creative enough with your office design). It’s funny how something that’s ‘made up’ if you want to put it that way helps our team feel like we are actually all working together instead of separately. If you’ve heard of Sococo, which has been around for a bit, this is the same idea but with gorgeous personalized design.
We constantly use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat DC, Adobe Sign, and occasionally Adobe Stock Photos & Adobe Illustrator. While there are alternative programs, we really like the suite and have found the membership cost compares closely to that of other required paid tools we’d need if we jumped off of the Adobe bandwagon.
Guys we can’t even put into words how valuable this low cost monthly subscription has been for us since we enrolled late in 2019. In short, you get to call a lawyer when you have a legal question (we’ve used it for contract reviews, HR/hiring questions, and more) with no additional cost to you. They’re prompt and experienced and courteous. We can’t think of a faster way to get legal questions answered at a low predictable cost. Plus, as a LegalShield business member (the mid-level tier) if you do ever get sued, they represent you in court up to a certain number of hours. WORTH IT. We believe you have to sign up through a rep, ours is Pam Widom: http://pwidom.wearelegalshield.com/
We use TypeForm for our Project Inquiry Questionnaire, Project Feedback Form, Monthly Care Plan Customer Satisfaction Form, Vacation Request Form, and sooo much more. These forms can be super complex or super simple, but regardless they’re SUPER fun to fill in. While TypeForm does have a free level, it’s rather limited (to just one form) so we consider this a paid tool.
We’ve been a fan of this tool for a while – it adds various features to your mail program, like really sexy signatures, ‘send later’ to mail programs that don’t come with that built-in, tasks, snooze, templates, and more.
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