Updated October 21, 2017
In order to effectively and efficiently manage remote work, my team and I use online tools that are readily available to us. Before I list these down, please note that this post is not sponsored or connected in any way to the websites mentioned here. Let’s get started.
Tools We Use To Manage Remote Work
1. Outlook.com – What we like about this email platform is that it is owned by Microsoft. There have been instances when MS Word or MS Excel desktop apps on our other computers crashed. But because we were using Outlook, we easily switched to the online Word and Excel version and were able to use the same fonts and styles as that of the desktop versions. Aside from that, once we’re logged in to our Outlook emails, we are automatically connected on Skype, which allows us to not miss important emails or chat messages.
Outlook.com also has OneDrive, a cloud storage with free 5GB space where we can save and share files. It is also easy to link other email accounts through this email platform, which redirects all emails from other platforms to one inbox.
2. Gmail.com – Yes, we also use Gmail platform. Like the first one, it has Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations. It has 15GB free storage for files for each user and sharing is easier. For chats, Gmail is equipped with Google Hangouts. You cannot connect other email accounts to it, though, without paying a fee.
These two email platforms are, by far, great tools for managing our remote work.
Time Tracking Tools
3. Hubstaff.com – We’ve been using the free version called Solo Lite Plan. It can only be used by one user. They also have a 14-day trial version, but after that, you’ll have to upgrade. This time tracker takes screenshots of the actual work your VA is doing. It logs time spent doing the work and shows whether at certain point in time, the VA went idle. For the free version and the Solo Lite Plan, though, you’ll need to login individually to each of your assistant’s account to see screenshots. If you don’t want to do that, you have the option to upgrade for $5 per user per month or $9 per user per month.
You can also generate PDF and CSV file reports of work hours on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This makes remote work more manageable.
4. Screenmeter.com – This is the most recent one we’ve used. The first month is free then $1 per user every month. Very cheap and easy to use so we haven’t switched back to Hubstaff since we found this. If you are managing a team, you have complete control of the main account. You just simply send an invite to your employees or VAs by email. They will receive a link that will redirect them to creating their username and password without accessing your main account. You can also generate file reports daily, weekly, and monthly. It takes care of screenshots and you get all those captures saved in your main account without having to log in to each of your remote worker’s accounts.
5. TimeDoctor.com – Some freelancers use Time Doctor for their time tracking needs. If you want to try this, too, you can get a solo plan for only $5 per month. But if you want to test the app first, then go for the free version; remember, though, that the free version only offers very limited features. For businesses managing 10 or more people and wish to use the app for productivity tracking, Time Doctor offers discounts for you. All you got to do is sign up and get in touch with their customer service department to get your business plan set up.
6. WordPress CMS – We’ve found WordPress to be a really great content management platform. Almost all of our clients use WordPress for publishing content on their websites. Not only is it easy to use but it has HTML coding option. You can also easily add plugins you need to optimize your content or your website. You can easily install WordPress from your cPanel.
7. Yoast SEO – This is a plugin on WordPress that we use to optimize our content for SEO ranking. It makes SEO analysis easier.
These blogging tools help us manage our remote work, especially in relation to SEO ranking and blog management.
Image Editing Tools
8. Canva – We use this for simple image editing. It comes with templates for each platform you wish to publish on. It has free and paid layouts. You can easily download your design to your computer. You can also use the ‘Custom” layout, which allows you to choose your canvas size.
9. Picmonkey – We use this for simple crop and resize work. The free version comes with a few text fonts, if you want to use this to add texts. Upgrading to the Premium version will unlock more fonts, layouts, and effects.
10. Photoshop – For advanced image editing and graphics design, we use the famous Photoshop.
Remote work can be fun when you have these smart and fun art tools available! We use this for remote work when we have graphics design projects and image editing tasks.
11. Bitly – Sometimes, a post to be shared has very long URL. We use bit.ly to shorten them. It gives the option to change the generic characters that comes after the site URL. Bitly links look like this: “bit.ly/[random characters]”.
So how is this tool related to managing remote work? Well, this is one of the URL shorteners we use to track our clients’ website clicks.
12. Dropbox – Aside from the 5GB that OneDrive of Outlook.com and 15GB of Google Drive by Gmail.com offer, we also use Dropbox. We’re currently using the Dropbox Plus plan that has 1TB storage for $9.99 per month. We’ve found that cloud storage is very useful in place of external storage devices. This is an important tool in remote work because it allows for easy sharing and backing up of files.
13. Express Scribe – It allows for hands-free transcription. Using the shortcuts on the keyboard, you can easily stop, rewind, fast forward, play, or play very slow even when the software’s window is minimized.
I hope that you’ll find these tools helpful in managing your remote work, too, as they have been very useful to our business.