I’ve been remote working for 2 years now, and it took me a while to realise what software makes that process easier and what ones don’t. Without certain software working remote would be impossible. In this post I’ll run you through what I use.
You cannot talk about remote working and software without giving Slack a mention. Slack has changed the game when it comes to team communication. If you’re not aware of Slack, it works a bit like a forum where you have rooms (in Slack world they’re called Channels) and you join the ones that are relevant to you. Once you’ve joined one you’re able to chat away with other people in that channel. You’re also able to upload and share files, share code snippets, set channel reminders, DM people/several people and make calls.
One feature of Slack that I particularly like is being able to set a timezone in your profile so that other members of your Slack group can see the time where you are. Following on from that you can mute notifications during a time of day. So if you had a strict rule of no work between 6pm and 9am you tell Slack not to notify you during that time.
There is soooo much video calling software out there; Skype, Google Hangouts, appear.in but for me the one that I’ve had the best experience with is Zoom. I hate the UI of Skype, Google Hangouts uses up all of my laptop’s CPU to the point where the fan starts going and it sounds like my laptop is going to take off. I do actually really like appear.in, it’s super easy to give people access to your room, and sharing screens is easy. But, on the free tier you can only have 4 people talking and sometimes that just isn’t enough. Zoom for me is the best when working remote with a team. It let’s you add up to 100 people to the call, doesn’t use up all your laptops CPU, sharing screens is easy and you can record the video if you need. The free tier does however have a 40 minute meeting limit, but this has never been a problem for me.
Like video calling software there are sooo many options for to-do lists. I know a lot of people who use Notion and really like it, I however have not been able to get into it. Most companies who follow Agile methodologies use Jira, but my favourite is Trello. It’s essentially a Kanban board. I’ve used Trello in work situations, I use it for the charity I run and also in my personal life. With Trello you’re able to set the columns to suit your project, assign tasks to people, set a deadline for a task and upload images and files to tasks.
Status Clock is one of those super simple bits of software that has changed my life. It’s a mac app that adds a clock to your OS X Status Bar for a timezone you want to keep an eye on. For me I always have the time of the UK, as that is where my work, family and friends are. It’s simple but it removes that tiny bit of cognitive load and makes my day that little bit easier.
If there are any bits of software that you think I should try please do let me know.
P.S If you found this interesting and you’re considering a remote job, be sure to take a read of my remote teams post.