"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
Choosing the right tools for remote work is essential to do your best work.
First, there is your physical set-up, which we covered in Your (Virtual) Office. This includes all hardware that needed to get the job done, included but not limited to:
- Computer (laptop, desktop, keyboard, mouse)
- Ergonomic chair
- Microphone and headset
- Lighting to improve video chat visibility (they're not just for instagram celebrities)
If you're in leadership, consider creating a "toolkit" that is sent to each remote team member or use a service like Firstbase to send employees the gear they need without the hassle of finding and shipping it all yourself. If you're not, suggest this to your boss — most companies who operate fully remote give an allowance per quarter or month to help offset the costs of their employee's at home office needs.
Your company probably already uses a variety of software applications, but as you shift to a fully distributed environment, you'll probably need to add a few more tools that allow your team to collaborate while out of the office.
Thanks to Elaine Zelby, Principle at SignalFire VC , who created this thorough list of remote software tools here. We'll briefly cover some of the most popular and easy-to-use applications to support your remote team.
👁️Video conferencing: Zoom, or Google Hangouts are both free(ish) and simple to set up
📬Instant messaging: Slack, Microsoft Teams (for our enterprise friends) or Telegram
📆Scheduling meetings: this will become major PAIN, very fast, trust us—automate this by using Calendly
🧠Virtual HQ/Knowledge base: to succeed in a distributed work environment it's crucial to have one "point of truth" where everyone goes for information. We use Notion, others use Basecamp or Microsoft's OneNote. The tool matters far less than the rigor you put into making sure everything points back to one spot (and it's updated regularly)
📊Project management: we dive into best practices around this in Managing a Remote Team, some of the tools we've used and enjoyed are Asana, Trello or Airtable (but there are endless products out there designed for different purposes—just google [project management] + [your industry] to get a sense)
📎Documents: Google Drive, Dropbox / Dropbox Paper, Notion
Misc apps we love 💖
- Grammarly: for the love of all things spell check
- Flux App: combat that blue light yo'
- Loom: great for quickly recording a video or screen grab
- Zapier: quickly and easily integrate all your web apps (life changing, it saves HOURS!)
- Sharing and saving passwords: LOVE is a strong word here, Lastpass is our security equivalent of Mr. Right Now vs. Mr. Right, but it gets the job done 🤷
Are there products or online tools you couldn't live without? Share your suggestions with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.