How to Communicate Remotely

{ 📄 } – Tips and tools to become a successful remote worker

Photo by Courtney Corlew

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest danger for people in 2020. That’s why all company employees started to work remotely recently.

Remote work is not a new way of collaboration between people though, but it has its own features, which specialists should know. I have collected the best tools for each aspect of remote work that will be helpful for people with little or no remote work experience.

Communication

Communication is a crucial part of any type of work. It is extremely important for remote workers to discuss the working process, talk to a client/team about progress, ask questions or provide feedback.

1. Slack

Slack provides a wide range of communication. It includes standard messaging, audio and video calls. What is really unique and improves the agile process are channels. People can create a channel according to a feature or theme topic.

Let’s say your team is working on sign up, user account and payment pages simultaneously. That means you can create a separate channel for each of these features.

Slack also has a lot of useful integrations for workers including tools that will be discussed in this article. It is possible to notify the team immediately when you made an update on a particular task.

2. Discord

Discord is a free voice and text chat for gamers who work on both desktop and phone. This app is not only for gamers, but it is also their main direction though.

Why did Discord become so popular? Fast work speed and chat options. There is an option for channel creation, which allows professionals to maintain the information effectively.

Discord works similarly to Slack. You need to create a room (which is called “server”), and then invite people. Each server can be broken down further into “channels”, small spaces for discussions on specific topics, as opposed to one giant live forum.

3. Rocket.Chat

Rocket.Chat is a free app for teams. It allows professionals to create and manage their own chat service similar to Slack app. Besides chat functionality, it has some other great features. It is really simple to migrate to Rocket.Chat from Slack: all professionals need to do is export files from Slack.

This tool offers real-time automatic translation from more than 50 languages. If a brand is important, Rocket.Chat allows you to manage logos and colors. It provides more personality for company communication.

Communication

When the team worked closely each day in the office they used to see each other. With the remote type of work, professionals have no such opportunity. But it is possible with tools that give such options. With these tools, remote workers are more involved in product creation and comfortable with 1–1 meeting.

1. Hangout Meets

Google Hangouts is a perfect tool for video, audio conferences. Remote professionals love it because of the possibility to present their work via share option. Hangouts Meet is free and can be used for an unlimited amount of people.

All G Suite integrations are supported by this tool. This is the easiest tool to work with Google Calendar. If professional uses Hangouts Meet, then he/she needs to do a few clicks to arrange a conference for the team.

This is a very simple free tool that does not require specific knowledge. Plan the meeting, create it in Google Calendar, and share the link to people you’d like to be invited.

2. Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based video consultation platform that can be used for video conferencing meetings, audio conferences, web sites, conference recordings, and live chat.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is estimated that the number of Zoom users will be over 2 million.

Zoom is the most popular video conferencing solution for companies with 500 employees or less, and the second most popular solution for companies with more than 500 employees

3. Bluejeans

Another video conference tool is Bluejeans. This tool is monthly-payment based and can include all your team.

What is new here, it’s the possibility to record your session, which will be saved in the cloud for 90 days.

Bluejeans can be accessed from Android, iOS or computer. It is important that specialists can share screens and show work in real-time and get instant feedback.

Remote mouse/keyboard control gives more options for collaboration during the call. This is important when some parts of the project should be highlighted and discussed in more detail.

Time Management

Being productive is a golden key in any type of work. That’s why it is super important to plan your time according to goals. Time tracking software helps professionals use their time properly and make plans for tasks according to priority. It is also a good way to stay consistent in the work process and improve self-discipline.

1. Toggl

The best way to save time is to use tracking software like Toggl. It allows professionals to manage time for each task.

Toggl will automatically start tracking time with 1-click. You can stop tracking a particular task and after some time start tracking it again. If you forget to stop your tracker, it will be automatically stopped after 10min of inactivity and there are reminders if you forget to start tracking time during your work.

Integrations with other software and services make Toggl one of the leading platforms for time tracking. A report feature allows users to manage, upload or send time to a client within a few clicks.

2. Harvest

Harvest is another tracking software. It has a list of features, which are different from Toggl. It includes start, finish, idle times, reporting. What makes Harvest different is control over the budget.

You can adjust your hourly rate and the budget will be calculated in real-time according to it. It saves a lot of time in project calculations. The forecast app (Harvest sister app) is another possibility to control the budget for the future.

Professionals can manage a project according to micro-tasks inside Harvest. They also can control access to each team member by providing particular tasks only.

3. TopTracker

If you are looking for a totally free tool, then TopTracker is for you. It has all the tracking features mentioned above absolutely for free. This is a Toptal product, which is popular in companies of all sizes.

This tool is multi-platform. It works on computers, tablets, and phones. There are hotkeys that allow professionals to quickly start, stop and manage time tracking.

Time tracking is grouped into useful projects with easy managing functions. Detailed productivity reports make TopTracker one of the strongest tools for measuring team effectiveness. It also provides a screenshot report. Each 30min worker`s monitor gets a shot and saved into a reporting system.

Access to Team Member’s Device

When people work remotely they need to have an option to help team members with software or any other type of issues. To decide this, they need access to a professional laptop. These tools help people coordinate the work, decide ongoing issues, send files, navigate in projects faster, make instructions and many more.

1. Team Viewer

Team Viewer is needed for laptop control. It is a totally free tool for personal usage. When you want to give access to your device to a team member, this is easy — you need to enter an ID and password for the connection

This tool is the best software that provides laptop connection to multiple workstations at different locations. Professionals can also share files fast and organize conferences in Team Viewer.

The interface is user-friendly and easy to use. When you need to discuss a project, this tool can be used for video and audio calls for the whole team.

2. Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop extension helps professionals to access their own computer from another device. To use this tool, you need to download software and make a few easy settings.

3. AnyDesk

AnyDesk is another tool to connect a computer and share files remotely. It ensures secure and reliable remote desktop connections for professionals and on-the-go individuals alike.

From Office to Home Office

Switching from office to remote work should be easy for employees. These tools will help you maximize effectiveness and communication in your team.


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Olha Bahaieva Avatar

Olha Bahaieva / UI/UX Designer, Medium Author, Public Speaker @ Toptal

Olha Bahaieva is a senior UI/UX designer, Medium author and public speaker at Toptal.

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