By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder
You can’t make it through the work day without utilizing at least two productivity focused apps (as well as mobile employee apps) on your phone or computer. When you’re working in-house, there’s a few luxuries you take for granted, like printers and scanners, FaceTime with colleagues, and conference rooms with audio and video equipment. If you’re a remote worker, all of this lives on their phone, tablet, and laptop. But designers have developed apps to meet every remote worker’s needs and making them more productive.
It’s rare to work for a company these days that doesn’t rely on Slack for office wide communication. Group chats and private channels keep everyone on the team connected and on task. Single channels can be created to discuss a project and members can be tagged when their attention is required, keeping everyone focused and on task. It also integrates with apps like Drive so you can easily drop in documents for group access.
Like Slack, Trello allows you to make and organize single cards for projects or organize each according to its stage in the process, add collaborators where needed, and include links to articles or drafts. For the single user, it serves as a well-oiled to-do list. You can map the cards according to your work and easily drag them to a new spot as timelines change. Managers can also create a Trello board for their team to sign up for new projects without having to send around an email.
Whether you’re working in a coffee shop, co-working space, or in your home office, distractions happen. Brain.fm creates soundtracks specific to your work or relaxation needs. You can choose the length of the soundtrack—30 minutes, an hour or two—and the rhythm and beat hold your focus and propel you forward into work. If your life were an action movie, this would be the music taking you into the climax. When you need to unwind, you can switch to one of the relaxation soundtracks.
Many companies use DeskTime for it’s high level productivity tracking. It monitors working hours and breaks it down into percentages of time that is productive, effective, or wasted. While it was design to help managers monitor their team’s progress, it’s also helpful on the individual level. You can look at your work day and see how much time you may waste jumping from task to task, how much of your time is spent online versus off, and overall how long a single project took to complete so, in the future, you have a realistic expectation project inputs.
While more work is completed online these days, there is still the odd document that needs a real signature or receipts that need to be included in expense reports. Grizzly Labs created Genius Scan (as well as Genius Sign and Genius Fax) to handle your offline needs. It’s basically a camera, but it flattens documents and enhances color and clarity automatically, without taking up valuable desk space or requiring any monetary outlay.
Skype or FaceTime are great if you just need to see and speak to the person you’re meeting with, but Zoom enhances these meetings with other options like screen sharing and webinars. You can also choose to record the meetings as well as receive transcriptions of each meeting that you can include in follow up notes.
It’s not uncommon for companies to be spread out across multiple timezones. World Clock Meeting Planner allows you to include multiple timezones in your meeting requests so that, before sending it around to participants, you don’t accidentally suggest a teammate in China call you at three in the morning. Planners or participants add in their timezone and it will automatically update for each individual when they select their availability.
Now that offices include yoga, meditation, and quiet rooms, it’s only fair that the remote workforce also get some zen time. Like Brain.fm, Headspace allows you to select the length of time you’d like to meditate or relax for but unlike it, this app wants you to stop working while tuning in. You can listen anywhere and offline, so rather than cursing traffic or malfunctioning public transit on a particularly messy commute, you can start your mindfulness practice and leave that space feeling a little clearer.