During the coronavirus scare, many offices are having their employees work from home. For those not used to working from home, it can be quite a shock to your system. If you are used to working from home, hopefully there will be some tech in here you haven’t heard of before that will prove helpful for you as well.
PhoneSoap is a little box that has a UV light in it. You put your cell phone inside the box for about 10 minutes and it sanitizes your phone, which is awesome. I know phones are hard to spray with Lysol and I definitely would not recommend that. If you wipe it with a Lysol wipe you can discolor it. PhoneSoap is one of the safest ways to make your phone sanitary. I don’t know if you’ve seen the stats about what is living on your phone but ew. Think about it. You’ve probably taken your phone to the bathroom with you in the last week or 24 hours. Imagine all those germs that fly up in the bathroom. PhoneSoap is an awesome thing.
Trello is a free project management tool There are others like it such as Slack and Asana. Trello allows you to communicate with your team remotely. You can add tasks or remove tasks as needed. It’s a handy tool to have when you’re isolated or working remotely. If you have a thought at 2 in the morning, you can add it to Trello instead of sending a late night text or email. You can make a “to do” quickly in Trello and tag the person it’s for. Then, when it’s done, they can push it back to your board so you can see that it’s finished. You can assign deadlines for tasks as well. It’s just a neat tool to have.
Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension of Chrome that allows you to access your work computer safely from a distance on your personal computer. This allows you to work from home. You can access work from wherever you are. Because it’s Chrome and because it’s Google, it’s super easy to use. The extension itself is free and you can log in no matter what.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m working from home I can get distracted by things that are not work-related. Crazy, right? Conversely, I can get so focused on what I’m doing that I forget that it’s time to stop. There is a cool time-tracking tool called RescueTime, and another called Toggl, which allows you to see how long you’re spending on any given task on your computer or mobile device. This is super useful, especially if you are billing clients. You can tell how long you are spending on each particular project so you bill your clients accurately.
As the name suggests, this program allows you to conference call with your team, clients, or anyone for free. If you want to record the call and use the audio later, you can. If you are someone that doesn’t want to put your face in front of a camera, but you still want to educate your client base, you can use this tool for that. There are all kinds of ways to change that audio into something visual so it doesn’t just have to be an audio file. This program is great to help you work remotely if you don’t have to see the person you’re talking to. You can only add in so many people on a call with your phone. For those big conference calls, use this program instead.
GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Zoom
Let’s say you do need to see the person you’re talking to. Webinars are amazing for training and client communication. Not only can you see the person you’re talking to, but you can also share your screen. It’s helpful to be able to share your screen with someone so you can walk them through how to perform a specific task or so you can do an audit of materials together. Zoom is the only one of these options that has a free version. The professional plans for each start around $12-14 per month and give you more options. One of the best options available on these plans is the ability to record your webinar. Recording allows people to be free from taking notes during the actual interaction. If you’re trying to teach a client how to do something or you’re reviewing their materials with them, you want their full attention. If they’re trying to take notes the whole time you won’t have that. With the recording, they know they can go back later and rewatch anything they need. You just go in after the webinar and download the file. Then you can put it on YouTube as a private video and send them the link to review at their leisure. No one else will be able to access it.
Facebook Live, or live video on any social media platform, is a great way to stay in communication with your audience and show them what’s going on if they can’t shop in the store. If you are a retailer and you’re on lockdown right now, why not allow people to order online and ship? If you have awesome merchandise in your store and there’s a holiday coming up, like Easter or Mother’s Day, do a live and talk about the top 10 best items you have for the holidays. Since you won’t be having the foot traffic you’re used to, you will have the time. We are in the middle of a national crisis and you probably won’t be seeing many shoppers. This leaves you with an opportunity you may not have had a week ago to go through the store on a live video showcasing what all you have to offer. It’s a great way to reach your end-user and still maintain your business. You can also sell gift cards. Gift cards are a great way to support your local business during this crazy time. You can go live on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube- really just about anywhere. You can also go live on LinkedIn but you have to get permission to do it. Facebook Live is even a great way to talk to your team. If you don’t want it to be public on your page, you can do it in a private group.
Serene and Forest
Serene basically creates a bubble in your computer that will not allow outside distractions. It’s a free download for Mac users that prevents you from having pop-ups or email notifications or Facebook notifications. It keeps you super focused on what you’re doing right now.
Forest is an app you download on your phone that allows you to control distractions externally. It’s a one-time purchase of $1.99. You set a timer in the app, say an hour to finish a project, and if you don’t touch your phone during that hour a virtual tree will grow. It’s very satisfying to see your tree grow. If you touch your phone before the timer goes off, you kill your tree. I know it’s a cartoon and it’s not real, but it’s the saddest thing ever when your tree dies. This makes it very motivating to stay true to your allotted time. It may seem silly, but it totally works. Also, when you purchase the Forest app, part of the money goes to plant trees in a real forest. I think that is a really cool idea.
Stay Safe Out There
Hopefully, there are some tools here you haven’t heard of or tried yet that you can add to your work-from-home toolkit. It can be frustrating to work remotely when you are accustomed to going into the office every day but you can make it work.