The Top 5 Online Tools You Need to Work from Anywhere
In the past 14 years, I have been working remotely on a variety of projects for international clients. Here is an overview of which online tools I found most efficient for working from home. *This article includes affiliate links.
Photo: Death to Stock / Design: tomorrow stories
1. Tools for Online Meetings
Before getting the job/project, I was usually invited to an online interview. In most cases this is done via video call, because even if it´s only an online job, clients still want to get to know you personally and find out what you are about. The most commonly used tools to set up such a video call are Skype, Hangouts Meet - Google Meet and Zoom. If the person you are doing the interview with does not specify which plattform the video call will take place on, make sure you ask well in advance of the meeting, because you might have to download the software and set up a user account. I always make sure I test the camera and microphone settings before the actual call as well. Once you are working on projects with a team, it´s also recommended that you acquaint yourself with the advanced features of the particular tool, e.g. how to add other callers and how to split the screen or how to do a presentation.
2. Tools for communicating during the project
Almost any client I have worked with on larger scale projects uses Slack for communication amongst team members. This tool is comm in companies without home offices as well, so you might already know it. If not, imagine Slack being set up like a tree: Slack channels are like branches, threads like twigs sprouting from the channels. Make sure you keep on top and regularly check updates in the channels that are important for you project. Slack can become quite overwhelming if there are hundreds of people posting updates, so make sure you directly tag people if you need something to be read.
3. Tools for setting up project workflows
As a content writer and editor, the tool I am mostly asked to work with on the actual project is Trello: Trello works like a large virtual board where you have lists and cards that you can move along the workflow. The editor-in-chief/content lead will assign cards to you with specific articles: The card contains the brief with all the relevant information you need. You attached your text and pass it on to the editor. Once he/she is finished with the feedback, you get the card back. Depending on the scale of the project, the editor might pass on your finished article on to the SEO check, translator, etc. It´s a very straight-forward tool that can manage large volumes of content in a very clear and easy to follow way.
4. Tools for getting the actual job done
When it comes to actually writing articles or setting up Excel-sheet or working together on presentations, I have been mainly asked to use Google Docs. I create my texts or my translations and attach the link to the Trello cards. Editors make correction and add feedback directly online in the Google document. If you are working with multiple team members and want to go one step further you can turn the Google Doc into a template including word count for headlines or SEO information (keywords, Meta descriptions, etc. including number of characters allowed, etc.). Like this you can make sure everyone works along your brief and each article ist written following a set style guide.
5. Tools for managing your team
If you are working on a complex project, Slack and Trello might not be enough to organise your workflow: With a project management tool like monday, you can add even more dimensions to your activities like timelines and milestones. It´s worked very well for us recently setting up our tomorrow designfestival with 12 separate events: With each one of us working from our home office, we kept track of the to-dos for the separate events via the project management tool. The structure is very clear and user-friendly. You can follow the progress of your colleagues and team at one glance.
If you want to know about working from home and get personal advice on how to set up your project remotely, do not hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org I am happy to share my experience.