The coronavirus (COVID-19) has fundamentally changed the way that businesses around the world are operating. As the global pandemic sank its teeth into nations far and wide, businesses scrambled to prepare their employees to work from home.
While millions of employees are being introduced to working from home in a sudden trial by fire, the industry has been steadily gaining traction for many years. According to the team at Regus, people who work remotely at least 2.5 days per week comprise more than 50% of the business workforce. Whether you are new to working from home or a steadfast and experienced professional, you will want to keep on reading.
Today, we are going to be highlighting a selection of productivity, mental health, and business-related tools that you can implement today to improve your business tomorrow!
9 MUST HAVE Tool Options When Working From Home
According to a report compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, more than 5 million employees work at home for at least half of their scheduled hours. This study was completed in 2018 after undergoing an analysis of American Community Service data. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting nearly 30 million Americans out of their regular line of work in 2020 alone, it stands to reason that these numbers are going to surge in the coming weeks and months.
With the potential for long-lasting change in the traditional workplace, we felt that it was necessary to highlight some of the most important tools for future work-from-home professionals.
Listed below, you will find a collection of tools that can help you organize your work, improve your productivity, and connect with your clients.
For Online Calls and Virtual Meetings & Communicating Instantly
- Krisp AI Noise Canceling App – Krisp is the simple tool that every self-employed individual needs to have, and one that most working parents probably want to know about during this pandemic – with quiet calls a rarity. Creative for noise-canceling, you can use Krisp to better the clarity of your microphone/headphones/speakers and block out kids crying, dogs barking, and more. Perfect for remote teams and simple to use, keep Krisp close by while working!
- Zoom Video Conferencing – One of the most popular pieces of software on the internet right now is Zoom Video Conferencing. This application is the cornerstone of every home office where webinars, team meetings, and video-based conferencing is heralded. Zoom Rooms are great for collaborating among large teams and the built-in recording interface is perfect for later playback.
- Teamviewer Screen Sharing – A cornerstone for industries of all types, Teamviewer is the top screen sharing tool on the planet. Whether you are working in a technical field or merely need to interface directly with a client’s screen, Teamviewer will give you the tools that you need. organize, manage, and save your sharing sessions while enjoying the bundled audio/video meeting tools.
- Slack Communication App – Slack is another great communication management tool that is revered by remote workers. Create team channels for every department under your umbrella. Seamlessly share files, messages, and documents from one hub while clearing out your need for time-sensitive email chains. Slack is also a great place for employees to bond remotely while maintaining productivity.
For Legally Signing Documents, Remotely
- ApproveMe WPESign – Working remotely means filing paperwork remotely. If you need to instantly have a document legally signed and documented, ApproveMe WPESign might be the perfect tool for you. Ideal for contracts and e-signatures, WPESign seamlessly interfaces with your WordPress website. ApproveMe WPESign is ideal for small business owners, entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals.
- DocuSign – Similar to WPESign by ApproveMe, DocuSign is a reputable online digital transaction and management platform. From preparing and sending invoices to signing documents and managing them, DocuSign is the Big Business solution to our new digital world.
For Remotely Collaborating & Managing Projects
- Trello Task Management – One of our favorite collaborative tools on the internet is Trello. This collaborative task manager is ideal for visual organization, real-time communication, and project collaborations. Simply create your own Kanban board before filling it with organized notes, images, and collaborative posts.
- Monday – Another cloud-based project management and team collaboration tool that works well, pandemic or no pandemic. Optimize projects, processes, and success wherever you’re doing your daily work from now.
- GitHub – If you weren’t already using GitHub, now’s your chance! Highly popular in the dev community, GitHub is one of the most important tools for remote workers in the software development field. GitHub allows remote workers to quickly showcase, share, and critique their work. Markdown tools keep edits organized and documents clean while the impressive code tracking features allow you to chronicle your work problems as they arise.
Having the right tools by your side is one thing, understanding how to maintain your productivity level is another. Let’s see how you can maintain your productivity in your new office environment.
3 Simple Productivity Tips For Home Office Success
According to a survey performed by Fundera, nearly 86% of workers found themselves most productive when they work completely alone. Among the myriad of distractions that caused dysfunction in a traditional workday, the aforementioned survey participants pointed to inefficient meetings, loud office distractions, and communal gossip as being particularly problematic.
As you get comfortable working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, consider the following tips to maintain productivity throughout your workday.
- Schedule Your Day – If you want to be productive while working from home, you will need to get used to scheduling and outlining your day. One of the easiest ways to stay on task is to outline your work the night before. Keep your list of objectives on a physical piece of paper and cross them off as they are accomplished. The physical act of writing and crossing off objectives will increase your mood while subtly encouraging positive scheduling behaviors.
- Work In Different Locations – When you work from home, it can be easy to fall into a routine. Sometimes routines can be damaging to your business productivity. If you want to give a jolt to your workday, try taking your office somewhere new. If you have a laptop, consider writing on your deck or in your living room. When the COVID-19 pandemic ends, going to coffee shops and book stores are also great options.
- Install a Social Media Blocker – Social media was built to distract you while simultaneously forcing you to engage with others. It is pretty easy to see how social media can become a massive time sink during your day-to-day operations. Consider installing a social media blocker into your browser during your office hours. Apps like Offtime and Flipd are great for timed social media breaks.
Staying productive is one thing but staying mentally healthy is a different concept entirely. Working from home can make it easy to quit taking care of yourself. Let’s look at a few ways you can keep your mind healthy and your work focused.
3 Mental Health Tips For Staying Sane While Working From Home
In 2019, the team at State of Remote Work released a survey in cooperation with Buffer. The survey revealed that thousands of workers enjoyed working from home thanks to their flexible schedules and increased work-life balance. The same survey found out that there was one marked concern: mental wellness. The report by State of Remote Work revealed that nearly 50% of individuals working from home were struggling with their mental health.
Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can maintain mental wellness while crushing your home office tasks.
- Schedule Screen Breaks – Taking breaks from your computer screen will become an important part of your work-from-home routine. According to research compiled by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, a 17-minute screen break roughly every hour can dramatically improve your productivity and your mental health.
- Stay Physically Active – Extensive studies have shown that prolonged periods of sitting can lead to complications with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Staying physically active for at least a period of your day can lead to improved health, both physically and mentally. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine in your body which in turn leads to an elevated and more positive mood. You don’t have to lift heavy weights to stay active, just go for a walk if nothing else!
- Make Time For Yourself – Studies have shown that remote workers tend to work more than their office contemporaries. While this is a benefit of working from home, it is also a hidden trap. To maintain your mental health and work-life balance, make sure to schedule a time for yourself throughout the week. This can manifest as a half-hour reading your favorite book or even a session with your favorite video game.
Over the past decade, remote work has risen dramatically. In fact, the United States has seen a 159% increase in remote work among the population of U.S. workers from 2005 to 2017. Working from home as a remote employee is a concept that is here to stay. Whether you are breaking into the industry or looking to optimize your current performance, we hope that these tools, tips, and tricks will lead you to continued success.