Working from Home? Here are 5 Websites and Apps to Stay Connected With Your Remote Team

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you’re in quarantine and working from home, along with the rest of your newly remote team. It’s a difficult shift for most companies navigating COVID-19, which is why we’re sharing the websites and apps you need to connect with your team.

Just Digital is a team that consists of people living in entirely different continents. We have only seen each other from the shoulders up, kinda like those old school 90’s cartoons you only see from the waist down.

working from home as a remote team

You’d think this would be a huge disadvantage, never personally meeting. It can seem like a big challenge, trying to manage people who live in different time zones, but let me be the first to tell you it isn’t as bad as it seems!

We want to help you make the best of the situation. Let’s take a look inside our magical tool box and see which apps, websites, and resources we have that you can use!

1. Podio: A Project Management App for the Remote Team, or Any Team

Podio is where most of the Just Digital magic happens.

This project management and collaboration software helps teams organize and communicate tasks and projects. It’s easy to use and makes sharing and looking for information quick and simple. Remote team or not, Podio is an important piece of managing our work.

podio

It has tools for social collaboration, task management, file sharing, automated workflows, calendar, meeting scheduling, and integrated chat. All these tools can be found in one platform to make workflow run smoothly and efficiently.

Features:

  • The consolidated processes allow teams to work in sync.
  • You have full control over managing, assigning, guiding, and automating workflows for team members.
  • Provides visualized reports to show a clear overview of your team’s work progress.
  • Admin capabilities that will let you control who has access to your Podio workspaces. This makes for quick and easy adjustments to tasks and processes at hand.

Every team is unique, and for your purposes, Podio might not be the best way to organize projects. However, overall, it’s a robust tool for managing a company’s work and worth checking out.

2. G Suite: Making Working from Home Seamless

If you run or are part of a company, you are hopefully already accustomed to Google’s all-in-one package for businesses.

G Suite for business

If not, now is the time to get familiar. Even if you don’t have a remote team, G Suite is what you need!

G Suite includes Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Chat, and Meet, among others. If it weren’t for these applications, Just Digital would not function nearly as smoothly and efficiently as it does. Because of G Suite, we can all share files seamlessly; work on presentations, spreadsheets, and documents together, as well as with our clients; chat with each other over video and instant messaging; and integrate our calendars and email accounts. It is an essential part of operations, and could make your processes smoother too!

One feature worth singling out is Google Meet. Whereas other video chatting apps require passwords, meeting IDs, downloading their app, or adding people as contacts, getting on a call with someone via Google Meet is as simple as starting a new meeting and sending the other person a link. Our team uses this to have quick one-on-one or group chats internally, and we also love how simple it is for our clients to join a call.

Features:

  • Shared calendars and automatic email invites that make scheduling meetings easy.
  • Collaborate in real time on spreadsheets, documents, and slides across your devices. Every change is saved instantly.
  • Secure storage: Your data, devices and users are protected and all your files are automatically backed up in the cloud.
  • Simple video calls – no passwords or meeting ID numbers. Just click the link and you’re in!
  • Easy sharing: Quickly invite others to view, download, and collaborate on any file – no email attachment needed.

3. Loom: A Communicative Remote Team’s Dream

Loom is a screen and video recording software that allows its users to make or shoot quick videos fast. It can record your screen, you can use your webcam, or both at once.

Since Just Digital is a team composed of people living in different time zones, we use Loom to explain tasks, projects, or concepts to other members of our team. It has been extremely helpful because we can’t always answer questions in real-time. It’s made task distribution and communication amongst remote team members much easier!

We also use Loom to communicate with our clients. One example is at the end of a website project, when we hand off the finished site to the client. Since we want to set them up for success, rather than showing them once how to add a blog post or make content changes on the site, we create a video via Loom that shows them how to do just that. Then, they can refer to it whenever they need a refresher or add someone else to the team.

Features:

  • Fast and easy recording options
  • Notifies the person if the video they sent has been viewed
  • Chrome extension to make recording even easier

Loom is definitely an essential tool for the remote team!

4. Harvest: No Fuss Accountability and Data via Time Tracking

100% transparency: this one is new to us, but we’re loving it so far!

Just Digital hasn’t always been a time-tracking team, but we’re getting started with Harvest now to help keep us accountable and get some data on where our time is spent. Some other benefits of time tracking are that it helps us stay focused on one task, rather than jumping from project to project as emails or messages come in. It’s definitely been a productivity boost for us, partly thanks to how simple Harvest is to use.

There are many time tracking apps out there, but we chose Harvest because it integrates with Podio, it offers a ton of data if you want to access it, but at the base level, it’s extremely simple. We also just liked using it more than the other time tracking apps. This was a personal preference, but an important factor. Your team has to like the apps you use, otherwise they might not use them!

Features:

  • Tracks your team’s time on individual projects under a broader “Client” umbrella.
  • Start and stop timers as you work or enter hours into a timesheet.
  • Track time from your devices with desktop and mobile apps.
  • Integrate Harvest timers into the tools you already use.
  • View insights and add budgets/cost per hour so you can keep projects under budget.
  • Create invoices based on billable hours, send them to clients, and get paid online.

5. Serene: Making Working from Home Actually Productive

Serene is a free app for Mac users that aims to help you finish your goals and tasks for that day. The principles behind the app are backed by a series of scientific studies to help people achieve maximum productivity.

The app will ask you to set a single daily goal, and will encourage you to stay focused in order to achieve it. It will then block any apps or websites that would normally distract you and interfere with your work.

Features:

  • Blocks websites and apps that can distract you while working from home, like social media and blog sites.
  • Allows you to work within 20-60 minute sessions with breaks to help your productivity.
  • It times your sessions so you know how much work you put into a particular task. You’ll also see how much time you have left to finish a task.
  • You can create to-do lists and day planners to help you arrange and sort your day.
  • You have the option to listen to background music that can help you focus.
  • It can automatically silence your phone while working.

Serene is basically founded and developed around the Pomodoro Technique. This is why Serene asks you to set daily goals that can be broken down into multiple tasks. These sessions can run for 20-60 minutes.

It’s an extremely helpful tool to keep you on top of your productivity game without overworking you.

The rest is up to you…

We’ve been working remotely for years, and we can say that these websites and apps have been extra helpful in keeping our team productive and functional. However, these tools are just tools unless someone maximizes them to produce great results. The rest is up to the individual team members to develop working habits that will benefit the entire team. Use these tools to give your remote team an advantage, and you might find working from home more productive than ever.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us what websites and apps you’ve discovered that are helpful for teams working remotely!