My 5 Favorite Free Tools for Working Remotely

My 5 Favorite Free Tools for Working Remotely

As our lives get more and more busy, time seems to become a lot shorter. Hours in the day seem to evaporate. The standardised office routines of getting up early, sitting in rush hour traffic, grabbing your morning coffee, and spending more time in meetings than actually working are reaching a fast expiry date. The latest generation of young professionals, innovated entrepreneurs and savvy tech guru’s are becoming more and more aware of just how unnecessary it all is.

free tools for working remotely

A few weeks ago I sat in at a Meetup that was hosting Automattic CEO, Matt Mullenweg. I was surprised, if not shocked to hear that 90% of his employees that contributed to his 300+ million dollar company resided in different countries all around the world. In fact, one particularly corporate individual, a lawyer of all types, stood up and challenged Matt on this topic. He was shocked (in a different way to what I was) – that such a successful businessman could run such a powerful and impactful company with the vast majority of his workforce in 40 different countries. It was so inspiring to hear Matt’s answer to this clearly uninformed individual. Matt said that he simply didn’t believe in keeping people in window-less rooms staring at their computers, or forcing people to leave their families or even uproot their families.

Yes, he made working from home or remotely a positive. A caring approach to business. How many times have you been in the situation where you’ve asked your boss or line manager if you could work from home a few days a week only to be met with a “That’s not how you do business”. Conservative managers’ facial expressions are priceless in retort. It’s almost as if you’ve sucked away their air.

Are you a front-end developer or a web designer? This is the tool that will make your work a lot easier in 2016

In this post, I’d like to mention 5 tools that I find make the entire process of working remotely, be it permanently or on a freelance basis, a whole lot better than sitting by your office cubicle. Furthermore, I will even go as far as to justify why they are better and why you can get more work done because of them. Here it goes.

Skype

I’m sure you knew this one was coming. After trying out a lot of VoiP based services, Skype, if anything from a Microsoft service offering, in my opinion, is one of their strongest products around. It’s a solid tool for communication. The main purpose being for voice or video. I’ve found in development, it’s great to have screen sharing to show clients work done, or even video calling to get face to face with them. It’s a must have tool, that will be hard to replace in the foreseeable future.

Why is Skype better for remote work?

Simply put, its simple and easy. Call, video call, share, communicate, message, transfer files, whatever you like. There’s no complicated interface, no rushing to find parking to get to meetings. Skypes mobile apps and call forwarding are just as useful, so whether you are at a coffee shop or your home office, you’ll always be able to make a plan.

If you don’t have it yet, go download it now. Download Skype

Slack

This one is a modern day standard for any development based team or teams in general. Slack is fast, easy to understand and very customizable with slack commands, plugins, integrations and more. In fact, the other day, we were saying: “We never get emails when person x pushes to Git, is there an integration for Slack that will notify us?” Well, there was – instead of asking our teammates if they have pushed to the repository, Slack now sends us a notification, we can see what they merged, the time they pushed and if they have pushed up any more commits. This example only hits the tip of the iceberg. I’ve also found power in Slack using code snippets, and its great power to render links from Google, Soundcloud, Facebook and more in a really nice looking way. Slacks messaging is far superior to that of Skypes. Most of my time is spent on Slack than it is Skype unless I have a meeting. Our team fixes problems easier, faster, with multiple inputs from other team members, it’s all archived and easy to integrate into our other remote working software.

Why is Slack better for remote work?

Instead of splurging dollars on team collaboration software, Slack is free, lightweight has mobile applications. It’s a totally open platform which developers love. The Slack team is constantly innovating, providing more integrations and optimizing the platform. From a team perspective, you have a clear idea of what other team members have discussed, in other words: NO MORE EMAIL. It’s fantastic. If you don’t have it yet, go download it now. Download Slack

Asana

I was originally a fan of Asana when it first came out, and I have tried a good few many project management apps in the interim. Few compare to Asana. Their recent revamp has really done a full 180 for the brand. Asana basically rules my life. If you have the discipline to manage your projects or have the privilege of having a project manager work with you, it becomes the biggest asset to getting things done. Be it personal, professional or both, it just works. It has some great built-in features, a well-documnented API, easy templating for AGILE or Waterfall Methodologies and more.

What’s always important to me is that PM apps sync to calendars. Asana does a painless job of this however, it doesn’t seem to pick up exact times yet and tasks are scheduled as  all-day events which can be a bit irritating.

Why is Asana better for remote work?

Much like Slack, Asana is geared towards teams. It’s based around communication, clarity and responsibility. What’s more, is that you can encourage your team members by commenting on tasks well done or “hearting” them. Asana also gives you a really great overview of your priorities and efficiency in the use of chart metrics. Its delivered as a mobile app / web app which is great for syncing across devices. It does take a bit of time to really get the swing of it, but with a great looking UI and over-all experience, I don’t think I’d ever move away from it. Also, for teams up to 10 or so, it’s free!  If you don’t have it yet, go download it now. Download Asana

Get the most out of your remote team We’ll show you how

Wave Accounting

I’ve been using Wave for a good few years now. Much like project management, I was on a mission to find a great web app or service that would aid me in accounting and bookkeeping. Wave is free and it offers so much more freedom and innovation than its competitors. For one, it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get your accounting in order. Invoices, estimates, recurring statements, payroll, transactions, CRM and more. It links with most bank accounts to pull in your incomes and expenses and offers some nifty ways for clients to pay you, view invoices, and more. They too also went through a great UI overhaul, so flat design prevails!

Why is Wave better for remote work?

The best thing about Wave, and this obviously is more focused at freelancers, is that you don’t have to be an accountant. Create invoices, send to clients, get paid and most importantly – know how much money you’ve earned so you can give what’s due to the tax man. Your actual accountant, you know, the guy that does your tax returns for you because it’s either too much of an effort or you just don’t understand it (or don’t want to understand it) will love you as it exports all data types to a clean CSV or Excel format. If you don’t have it yet, go download it now. Wave Accounting

MoleSkine Notebook

When I was studying advertising, I came to the conclusion that online cannot live without offline. You need people who are offline to go online and interact with your campaign or whatever online marketing plan you had set to become live. I’ve found it’s very much the same with using online tools. My thoughts and what I need to do, manage, achieve etc, are all kept in my notebook. Moleskine has always had a great feel to them, and it makes me feel more “authentic” – whatever that means. Everything goes in the notebook, which I carry pretty much everywhere, and then I transfer all notes to whatever app it needs to go in.

Why is a notebook better for remote work?

Well, by thinking, then writing, then re-writing, your brain actually starts to get a better idea of what and why you need to do the things you need to do. You can also look back on a year of scribbling (depending on your handwriting) and feel good that you have accomplished a lot in your life (if you actually managed to accomplish it all). Looking for a Moleskine? Grab one here.

This is a repost of this article with the permission of the blogger. Daine Mawer is a Web Developer, Blogger, WordPresser who likes to make cool stuffs for a living.

You are reading the DebugMe blog. We are developing a visual feedback, bug tracking & project management tool which saves time and frustration for remotely working web developers, project managers & designers. Give it a try, it’s free forever!

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