15 tools that make remote work easy

Elizabeth Schlager

For many people across the US, the Covid-19 shutdown means having to work from home for the very first time. While remote work throws new challenges into the mix, especially with schools and childcare also closed, it also brings a whole host of new opportunities too with loads of online tools to explore and make use of. We asked our Agile team, here at kununu for their top 15 tools for connecting, collaborating and planning – here are there best-rated tools. 

Tools for connecting: 

Whereby

Founded in Norway, Whereby – offers a video conferencing service which doesn’t require downloads or logins. This means that if you, or a team leader creates an account and a ‘room’ for your team everyone can simply join by clicking the link. It’s free for chats of up to 4 people. 

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communications platform which facilitates messaging and video chatting (or phone calls for that matter), from, you guessed it, Google. This tool is really great if you’re already using Google accounts in your company as you can quickly and easily add team members to chats and calls. 

Skype

Skype is so famous that the verb ‘to skype’ is now in the dictionary! Easy to use to set up group calls and chats, you can also add credit and call your employees in other countries. 

Jitsi

Jitsi is a collection of free and open-source multiplatform voice, videoconferencing and instant messaging applications. You can use it online or download on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Android.

Discord

Discord was originally created to bring gamers together, but now it can be used by teams to host chats, calls and even online events or more social occasions like after-work drinks. 

Google Meet

Google Meet is a video-conference-calling platform which has been specifically designed for professional use. It’s great for larger meetings as on a basic call, up to 25 people can speak and share video with each other at once! 

Tools for collaborating:

Visual Studio Live Share

Microsoft’s Visual Studio is an integrated development environment. It can be used by teams of developers and programmers to develop computer programs, as well as websites, web apps, web services and mobile apps.

Google Jamboard

Need to share notes on a whiteboard? Google Jamboard can do just that. You can pull images from google searches, save your work to the cloud and work together in real-time. 

Parabol

Parabol is a retrospective meeting app for agile teams or anyone interested in creating continuous improvement. It’s perfect for scrum masters, and for leaders who want to track progress and build strong teams. 

Mural

Mural facilitates remote teamwork with its range of different interactive workspaces. You can draw diagrams, create sticky notes, organize in lists, flowcharts, frameworks, methods and more! 

Miro

Miro is an online collaborative whiteboarding platform that enables remote teams to work effectively together. With Miro you can brainstorm with digital sticky notes and plan and manage agile workflows.

FunRetro

FunRetro is a fun retrospective (‘retro’ for short) tool you can use for your regular sprint session to discuss what went well and what didn’t.

Tools for planning: 

Kanban Tool

A kanban board is an agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize efficiency (or flow). Kanban Tool enables you to build these boards and manage your team’s tasks and keep track of progress.

Trello 

Trello is an easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything in kanban-style lists. All of the lists and cards are fully customizable and movable so you can keep track of everything that’s going on within your team. 

 If you are wondering how to make the best use of these tools, here at kununu we live by the following rules:

 

  • Create a shared calendar for your team to be connected via VC, to sync, share updates, share your thoughts, and align with each other on a day-to-day basis:
  • Communicate as much as possible in your messenger app of choice (we use Slack).
  • Remember that your teammates don’t have access to everything you are doing, so keep them up to date in your team chat and communicate whenever you need something or could help someone else in your team. 
  • For example, you can use the status feature (emoji & custom text) in Slack while everyone is at home. So, you should change your status whenever you: 
    • take a break and won’t respond for a while
    • need to take care of you kids and won’t respond for a bit 
    • times when you’re only available during specific hours
  • If you are away from your computer for a considerable time, let your team and other people know so they can get in touch when you’re back. 
  • Emoticons are a great way to show your feelings especially if you’re not meeting face-to-face so use these whenever you feel like it! 
  • Before inviting everyone to a video call, ask yourself if you really need to ‘meet’ or if there are other ways you can ask for input. 

 

Just remember, you won’t be working from home forever, unless you want to! Yes, we’re living in a weird time, but you may just find that remote work really suits you, so take the time to get used to new tools and new ways of working. 

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How is your employer facilitating remote work? Let us know in a review on kununu and help others find the perfect employers for them! 

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