Also: Employees under 35 prefer office life to remote working TechRepublic. No plugins, no apps. A cool feature called whiteboarding enables teams to chalk up ideas on a shared document during chats, which is helpful when brainstorming or trying to stick to an agenda. As a company, Basecamp is a refreshing anomaly in a tech world predicated on major funding rounds and big market plays.
The web-based project management platform evolved out of an in-house communications suite designed by a web design company named 37Signals. The spinoff company has taken very little funding, but it remains the best known project management solution out there. Basecamp's core functions include task management, messaging, collaboration, file sharing, scheduling, reporting, and a universal search function that makes everything easily and quickly retrievable.
Also: How to become a project manager: A cheat sheet TechRepublic. Monday has been advertising aggressively in hopes of positioning itself as a viable Basecamp alternative. Kanban-based and visually stunning, the cloud-based project management platforms is aimed at small and mid-sized teams and uses labels to clearly identify who is working on what when. The big drawback is the price. Also: The best password managers for and how to use them. Asana's big strength is workflow management, though it does a nice job with task management as well.
Its new timeline feature puts it more firmly in the camp of Project Management tools, as opposed to being more strictly a task management and collaboration tool. In its simplest form, Asana allows different teams to track projects and assign tasks and sub-tasks. The strength and for some applications, weakness is in the flexibility.
Managers can set up Asana pretty much however they want, using it as a task assignment tool, for example, a project map, or an ongoing log of company activities. The flexibility comes with a learning curve, and it also means someone needs to take point on setting the system up the right way from the beginning. Trello is about as simple as it gets when it comes to project management, but that simplicity belies incredible organizational and task management power.
Trello is built around the notion of bulletin boards. Each board can represent a project, for example. Within each board, teams create lists, which they then populate with cards. The cards can be assigned to specific team members, labeled, stamped with a deadline, and crammed with comments or attachments. The hierarchical nature of the system makes it flexible while still preserving a baseline simplicity. If you use a calendar to carve out chunks of time to work on dedicated projects, Timely is a great time tracking app to check out.
Unlike some time tracking systems, which only track time while you work, Timely allows you to schedule tasks and track the time spent on projects in real time. It works with a calendar interface. For hourly employees, it also tracks earnings. If you want a free time tracker that allows you to label how you've spent every minute of every day, Toggl is for you.
It's a great tool for personal productivity measuring, although it may not be appropriate for managers hoping to get an accurate picture of how employees are allocating time resources across projects. The reports are useful, although the company has a reputation for emailing users a lot, which can become annoying.
Also: How remote work can make your small company global. This web-based service is the best at tracking team members' availablity. Everhour synchs with a lot of the productivity apps people already use and allows some lightweight scheduling functionality, as well. It has a timer function, which allows contractors to track billable hours or teams to keep track of how much time different projects and tasks are taking. Newsflash: Password or no, that coffee shop WiFi probably isn't too secure.
One of the problems with distributed workforces is that remote workers make prime targets for those wishing to exploit vulnerabilities. That's a huge concern if your employees are dealing with sensitive data, proprietary information, and client contracts. Here are some things to keep in mind. This one is obvious but can't be repeated enough. Strong, frequently updated passwords protect businesses.
Check out my colleague's excellent roundup of the best password managers of Cyber security Protect your privacy from hackers, spies, and the government. Simple steps can make the difference between losing your online accounts or maintaining what is now a precious commodity: Your privacy. It's good to have a set policy in place for how remote workers manage their physical devices.
A basic rule of thumb is for employees to keep laptops and devices in sight at all times meaning no leaving them in hotel rooms or checked luggage. If the company owns the device, the company should be ensuring that the device is properly protected with up-to-date antivirus , device encryption, and firewalls.
Cybersecurity policies should designate which devices organization-owned vs. Also: Best identity theft protection and monitoring services. Email is a gateway for potential threats, and email encryption is a must for distributed workforces. So is a strict email policy outlining what constitutes suspicious messages and how employees should handle them.
Mimecast is the most popular choice for Microsoft Exchange email management and protection. A firm policy here could avert disaster, and abstinence, at least in this arena, is the best policy. Organizations should prohibit remote workers from using public Wi-Fi and shared computers for work-related activities.
Also: No telecommuting allowed: Why is Google investing billions of dollars in office buildings? IT pros need to play an even bigger role in security when dealing with a remote workforce. Coronavirus and its impact on the enterprise. This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry.
One of the main reasons employees may desire a remote work situation is to escape the office pressure of always seeming busy. Remote work, by its nature, lends itself to goal-oriented, not activity-oriented management. As a manager, focus less on how much time employees are spending on tasks and more on their deliverables. With distance, it's harder to synchronize expectations. It's also easier to let dissatisfactions fester -- and that's true for both managers and employees.
Therefore, it's important teams are communicating often. It's also clear everyone knows what's expected of them and by what standards their work is being judged. Setting deadlines and scheduling standing check-ins is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals.
Also: Flexible working: How to help your company make the shift. It's difficult, but not impossible, to instill a company culture in a virtual environment. Team members should be encouraged to interact online in ways that engender community and camaraderie. Little observances, like birthdays or sales goals met, can be opportunities for celebratory digital interactions.
Special Feature Inside this Special Feature. Remote work: The right tools to stay productive and connected. Watch Now. Special Feature. View Now at TeamViewer. SplashTop A good alternative to TeamViewer. View Now at SplashTop. Double Double 3 is essentially an iPad on a teleoperated Segway. View Now at Double Robotics. Meeting Owl Meeting Owl is video conferencing done right, a degree video conferencing camera that automatically focuses on the people speaking in the room.
View Now at Amazon. Slack Whether you're down the hall or halfway around the world, Slack is the clear frontrunner in real-time team chat. The research team spends roughly combined hours every day searching for, screening and posting remote and flexible jobs to its site. The team recently analyzed its database to pinpoint the 20 job titles that most often have remote work options.
See also: A reminder as schools reopen — federal law now gives some parents paid time off to help their kids with remote learning. You might interact with your own accountant once a year around tax time. But accountants are the financial backbone of businesses, preparing, maintaining and interpreting important records. In general, engineers use science, technology and math to design everything from machines to computer software to equipment.
Engineering contains a lot of different specialties, including aerospace, chemical, civil, computer, petroleum, mechanical, software and more. If you have years of experience in fields like education, health care, government services, IT, engineering or other fields, you may be able to work as a consultant to companies that are looking for areas where they can improve or problem-solve. Some of their responsibilities might include leading planning meetings, reviewing project plans and coordinating with other departments.
Project managers are responsible for guiding a project from start to finish. They keep tabs on deadlines, budgets and delegate taste and track results. Several fields including construction, finance, IT and health care need project managers. As e-commerce has skyrocketed amid COVID, many companies are in need of customer service representatives.
In this common WFH job, you assist customers, place orders or reservations and problem solve over the phone, email or chat. Account managers and executives are in charge of maintaining and growing relationships with clients and customers.
In this job, you help companies find top-notch, qualified candidates for open roles. You might be in charge of writing the job postings, conducting interviews and helping companies onboard new employees. As a sales representative, you sell products and services and have a solid understanding of what customers want. Those who excel in this role are often finding new sales leads and make work in a B2B role which requires building relationships for long-term contracts.
Web developers design and create websites. Not only are they responsible for the look of the site, but also its technical aspects. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the job outlook is strong as this industry is projected to grow by 8 percent between and This is a popular remote job that often requires travel in a specific region the manager oversees. Telehealth platforms are booming, which has created a demand for nurses to visit with patients over the phone, videoconferencing, messaging and email, answering questions and providing advice.
By collecting data, analyzing it and spotting patterns, data analysts can help companies make decisions. Data analysts work in a variety of fields, including the health-care industry, marketing, insurance, with credit bureaus, and at tech firms. Every writer needs an editor. The scope of editor roles has grown and often includes writing headlines, selecting images to go along with content, promoting content on social media and understanding SEO strategies.
Often found in health care and legal fields, case managers work to understand patient or client needs and help connect them with resources. This might include providing education and guidance or advocating for them. Designers in this growing field focus on how users interact with a product.
Whether they are creating apps, websites, or software programs, the goal is to make their products intuitive for users.
Start your day by reviewing priorities for the day. When you make your task list, stick to it. It's tempting to just leap into your email, but with a little extra focus, you can move the needle while working from home. Set goals and time limits for each task. After you complete each task, cross it off the list. This simple technique is both effective and fulfilling. Stay on task by quickly writing down all the things that need to get done at the start of each day.
In addition to making to-do lists, get into the habit of using a calendar or planner. For example, if you work from home some days but you are on the road others, get in the habit of using a planner to write down and keep track of deadlines, appointments, and meetings.
Many different task management tools make telecommuting a breeze. By organizing tasks into projects, you can attack them one bite at a time. Use a planner to log all tasks and activities, no matter if you work remotely or in the office.
Plan the work and work the plan. These are great if you are WFH. Most of these apps offer both web-based and mobile versions so that you can use them on your phone. Some can even be integrated with other apps, such as Cospace , for team collaboration. And the best part? Most of these apps offer a free version. Move your mountain of tasks into a project management app and break meaty projects into a series of tasks and assign them to your remote team.
We know — this is one reason why people love working from home. If you enjoy working in your PJs, then you are killing your productivity. Beyond psychologically getting you in the right mindset for work, you'll be ready to handle any kind of video chat or check-in with a teammate. This is another productivity killer. It might be fine to indulge in this vice once , but it will catch up to you if you're not careful.
It's wise to take to heart why working at home works. It's not just about avoiding meetings and conference calls. In fact, quite the opposite. Remote workers know the responsibility that comes with working in their quarters. Avoid the TV and other digital distractions so you can focus on your work and getting things done.
However, if used just for background noise, it's probably okay. Avoid watching TV while working; it sucks up your focus from the purpose of working at home. Instead, stream music that complements your work style. Another enjoyable perk of working from home is not having to get up, rush out of the house, and commute to an office. Since you'll likely be cooped up indoors, take a brief walk around the block to take in the fresh air.
Get up early , take a shower, make your coffee and breakfast, and prepare your lunch, just like you have to leave the house. This will prevent you from sleeping in too late and will keep you on a healthy sleep schedule. Human beings are creatures of habit. We are incredibly dependent on routines, schedules, and structure. Alarms aren't just for waking up. Consider adding an alarm for lunch and wrap-up since working from home tends to blur these lines.
Follow a strict routine and set specific work hours to be more focused, more alert, and more productive. Exercise naturally boosts endorphins, which increases happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels, all of which are important for productivity. Regularly stretching helps you maintain great posture.
You can also leave yourself motivational sticky notes by your bed, so they are the first thing you see and read in the morning. We recommend exercising in the morning when you have fewer objections and a longer payoff throughout the day. If your day allows, take a lunch break and go for a walk, go to the gym, or stretch. Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen.
When we work in an office, we are at the mercy of whatever is available in the cafeteria or whatever lunch we brought from home. However, research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link on overall productivity levels. You can also avoid buying unhealthy snacks altogether. With extra planning, you can purchase more nutritional snacks on Amazon rather than buying on impulse.
If you are an avid snacker, then make it a point to make yourself a healthy lunch, just as you would if you had to go into an office. Although we have focused most of this article on how to stay productive while working from home, sometimes the opposite can happen. We think that by working from home, we will be able to get more done because there will be fewer distractions. Therefore, sometimes we end up over-committing and working too much, which also kills productivity. Although taking breaks might seem counterproductive, research has shown that taking short breaks can actually increase productivity and creativity levels.
If you don't have a work-life balance, then you won't last too long working at home. You can easily avoid this by working short, five-minute breaks into your daily schedule, or even make them a part of your rewards system. We mentioned using a rewards system in the point above. This is an easy way to help you get things done — even the things you have been procrastinating or putting off. For example, take a five-minute break to go for a stroll through your neighborhood, grab a healthy snack, take your dog to the park down the street.
Once you finish a necessary business call, switch over the laundry. Although it seems simple, using a basic rewards system will help you get things done and also feel fulfilled. If you struggle with staying on task while working from home, then you may need to kick things up a notch and use a time management app. For example, some productivity apps will track the amount of time you spend on each task and even minimize distractions.
Some examples of these types of apps include the following:. Using a time tracker app will help you see your productivity levels each day and week. This will not only provide you with insight as to when you are most productive during the day, but it will also show you how much time you spend on each task.
If you take calls at home for a call center , pay attention to your metrics. Call center metrics might tell a different story if you don't manage your time effectively. If you spend too much time than what is necessary on repetitive tasks, it may be time to look into some automation solutions for even more productivity!
I think we can agree that we are all guilty of this one from time to time. That is more time than most people spend sleeping or working! Furthermore, many mobile apps now reveal to users how much time they spend in each one. This is eye-opening, especially for casual social media users. Get familiar with your company's social media guidelines. They might even want you to engage in their approved channels like LinkedIn. Minimizing mindless use of social media helps avoid distractions, so you can focus on getting more done.
If you love using social media, then make it a habit to shut off social media notifications during the day. Consider muting your notifications on your phone. Depending on the nature of your work, it helps to turn on some background music. Spotify is a great streaming service that lets you pick moods for focus and productivity. Since you're working at home, you don't want it too loud or distracting — ensure you can quickly mute it to take a business call. Listen to music throughout the day at a modest volume to give you the focus you need.
Check out the different "moods" offered by Spotify to achieve peak productivity while working from home. Since you'll be cooped up indoors to work, many of us often forget that there's an outside world out there. Open some windows to let sunlight in and take some time throughout your day to go outside - at least to your patio or backyard. Boost creativity and productivity by stepping outside a few times throughout the day. Even just for a few minutes, it's better than being stuck indoors.
Yes, the video conference—the hallmark of remote work. Working from home can get pretty lonely, especially if you are single or live alone. Make it a point to chat with colleagues, team members, or clients each day. It matters. You're not just a cog in a machine. You don't even have to talk about work, but just to connect as co-workers and people. Humanity must not be lost in working remotely. Depending on the nature of your work, you could end up spending almost all of your day on video conferences chatting with your team.
We recommend working in a well-lit room; it brings out your best features. Video chat is a great way to stay connected with your team. Meet regularly, and don't forget to relax and have a little fun. If you're working from home each day, you'll often find that you have some additional flexibility in your time. Even then, you might feel tethered to your home. Structuring your day is important. To run an errand, or schedule a quick doctor's visit, try to schedule them for your lunch break just as you would if you worked in an office.
The best part is, you won't need to bother with small talk on the way out the door. Leverage your lunchtime to take care of personal tasks. While you're out, use your business phone app on the go to never miss a beat. This can be difficult, especially if you have young children at home, or have multiple pets, all of whom want your attention. If you are home all day, every day, then family and friends might interrupt you without knowing better. It's best to set some clear boundaries with your family while you work.
It's not being mean if it results in better performance at work. The counterpoint to this work from home tip is you must be present for your family and friends when away from work. Set and stick to specific work hours and communicate those hours clearly with your family and friends. If you have been working from home for several years, it might eventually become boring and uninspiring.
You might struggle with enjoying your work. A vision board can help. A vision board is just that: a board that you can use to write notes and post pictures of your dreams and aspirations. The visualization aspect of a vision board is a great and powerful mind exercise. It can help you feel the way you want to feel. In fact, when Giugliano works remotely, he says it adds three hours of stress-free productivity to his day. You may forget to clock out. While people might think working from home means doing less, the opposite might be true for diligent employees.
You can feel out of the loop. You might not have full access to technology platforms. For the most part, cloud technology has made it easier than ever for remote workers to work from anywhere. However, Fay notes that there are situations in which data security or consumer protection concerns might prevent telecommuters from having full access.
Co-workers might accuse you of slacking. Be more communicative than usual, if only to boost camaraderie. The next best thing? Pick up the phone to congratulate someone after a job well done, or the completion of a project rather than sending an impersonal email or IM, he adds. Keep it professional. Be responsive. Set specific touchpoints with your team. By entering into a sudden work-from-home situation with the right mindset—knowing you may actually be putting in more effort than before—you can do a great job and enjoy the benefits that go along with it.
Could you use some help achieving that balance? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can get career advice, job search tips, and communication tips to help you be an awesome team member from afar. Thank you! You are now a Monster member—and you'll receive more content in your inbox soon.
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