Tools to make remote work less remote

Now that you’ve been working remotely for several months, how are you feeling about your shared office apps? If you’re still scrambling to put together a set of tools that meet your virtual needs, here are some applications that will go a long way toward making everyone feel like they’re working together as a team…even when you’re not in the same office.Video meetings

  • Zoom—The most popular way to meet virtually, Zoom offers several levels of service. One of those is a free option that lets you meet with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes.
  • Google Meet—With a Google account, you can create a video meeting, invite up to 100 participants and meet for 60 minutes free. Paid plans offer more options.
  • GoToMeeting—No free plan, but since it’s made for business, you’ll find hi-def video and other features for smaller teams that you’d normally see in enterprise-level plans.

Instant chat/messaging

  • Slack—In addition to direct messaging, Slack makes it easy to share files; access archives; and create channels, groups and reminders. There is a free option, but it’s limited.
  • Microsoft Teams—Close connectivity with Office 365 and lots of features makes Teams the perfect messaging app for your company if you already use Microsoft tools.
  • Google Chat—If you already use Google’s paid G Suite, Google Chat can help your team connect with each other by direct message or group conversations.

Calendar management

  • Outlook—One of the most common calendar apps, Outlook’s familiarity is a major strength. If you know how to use Office 365, you know how to use Outlook. 
  • Calendly—This scalable software works with your calendar to automatically check your availability, cutting down on the amount of back-and-forth when scheduling meetings.
  • Google Calendar—If you use Gmail or any other Google app, Google Calendar can sync your calendar across all of your devices as long as you’re logged in with your Google account.

A final option to consider that doesn’t really fit into any of the categories above is Google Drive, which contains Google Docs, Google Sheets and other apps. It’s more of a file storage system, but it’s free and a great way to create, circulate, and review documents and spreadsheets. With any of these applications, you’ll take significant strides toward creating an efficient remote office that feels much less remote.