After the year we’ve all shared in 2020, what with experiencing a global pandemic, businesses had to shift their work models, with many going fully remote. Now, in 2021, the remote work model and hybrid work system have solidly established their places in the business world and are here to stay. Your business is not alone in its new remote work model, as there now exist a whole host of remote tools available to companies. Here is a compiled list of what business founders consider the best remote working tools of 2021.
After this last year of remote work and distanced communication with loved ones, I doubt there are many people who haven’t used the video communication platform Zoom. It is an essential program for businesses in particular because it offers high quality video conferencing as close as you can get to engaging face to face. Zoom is easy to use and set up, and offers advantageous features for professionalism, like break-out rooms and meeting access codes. The fact that Zoom is a free platform is an added benefit for small businesses who have found their budgets need to be allocated in new ways due to Covid-19.
Justin Chan, Growth Manager JuneShine
I love the platform Trello for comprehensive assignment tracking within your business. Trello is a system that allows you to assign tasks to individual or groups of employees in a flashcard-like design. Tasks are arranged by headings that once clicked on open up to show task details, timelines, and a chat feature. If you use Trello to assign tasks to all employees in one space, co-workers can easily communicate under each tab, as well as move assignments from category to category, such as handing on a completed step to the next person. Trello’s best feature is the way it offers easily-accessible communication about collaboration and lets each employee see what others are working on.
Dylan Trussell, Co-Founder Culprit Underwear
It’s been around forever, but the Google Suite of programs is extremely helpful for those working remotely. Gmail is an easy to use mailbox with many organizational features such as creating folders to sort communication, and email forwarding between your professional and personal accounts. It also allows you to set up a company email address under the guise of Google to be sent to your Gmail address. Google Drive is perfect for creating shared documents and granting access to specific folders while still keeping privacy locks on others. Another favorite feature within the Google Suite is the shared Calendar app where each employee’s schedule can show. I love Google Suite as a remote tool for businesses due to its highly accessible interfacing and collaboration options. Plus, it is completely free!
Kelli Lane, Chief Marketing Officer Genexa
Your team absolutely cannot avoid downloading Grammarly in order to hold communication to the highest standards of excellence. With remote work preventing in-person meetings, much communication has been limited to written correspondence and documentation. Writing is not going to be every employee’s strong suit, which is where Grammarly comes in handy. The app corrects spelling, improper punctuation, and confusing grammar; it also offers sentence fixes to make your writing more succinct. Grammarly has downloadable browser extensions and once downloaded, the app works on all platforms including Microsoft. Grammarly offers a condensed free version or you can purchase the premium version for everyone in the “office.”
Courtney Buhler, CEO & Founder LashPRO Academy
When it comes to remote working, anything that can save you even 10 minutes is of great importance, as well as apps that help you stay organized and on top of your deadlines. You’ve heard it before: time is money — and opportunity cost is real. One way to really explain a concept or accurately express your thoughts is to use Loom. If they say that a picture speaks a thousand words, creating a short video has to amplify that number! With a simple interface, you can easily show a new process to another team member, or even add something to your SOPs — video-style!
Marc Atiyeh, CEO Pawp
During the remote work day, it is imperative that employees have easy ways to communicate with one another. I recommend all businesses open multiple messaging platforms so that communication can occur in various ways. Slack is a messaging and scheduling platform for businesses that I enjoy using. You can message through “channels” or “connections” between multiple people or through direct messages. Furthermore, Slack offers video communication, file and screen sharing, and connections to other apps so that it’s essentially a one-stop-shop for small businesses. If your company prefers to limit the number of platforms employees need to be connected on, Slack is a great option for a single sign-up.
Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder The Quality Edit
Microsoft Teams has been essential to our business since going remote. Not only internally to stay connected with each other, but also externally with our customers. We’ve been able to see customers more frequently and have developed great relationships with continuous face-to-face contact.
Daniel Seehoff, CEO Sophistiplate, LLC
By far one of the best remote working tools is Asana. For companies that are project-intensive and have simultaneous deadlines, it can be difficult and time intensive to maintain alignment and organization. However, Asana makes it simple by allowing leaders and executives to assign projects, provide specific roles to each team member, create deadlines, and track progress along the way. Plus, as remote work can create employee burnout quickly, Asana allows leaders to have a macro view of ongoing projects to ensure each and every team member is not overburdened with too much work.
Inesa Ponomariovaite, Founder Nesa’s Hemp
Time Doctor is my favorite time tracking app because rather than place the focus on those higher up micromanaging their employees based on the amount of time they’re spending on tasks, the app is designed to help workers understand how they are structuring their work day. It offers insight into how much time particular tasks take and suggestions on how time can be managed more optimally. Because it’s designed with the benefit of employees in mind, the platform does not feel restrictive, but rather informative. One feature I find particularly beneficial is having the option of being sent gentle reminders to be more productive when I find myself straying off task for too long.
Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO Hightouch
Every business should incorporate the free app Canva into their work routine, especially those with creative intentions. Canva is extremely easy to use and accessible; you can find your way around the website’s offerings in a matter of minutes. Canva offers free template sizes or the choice to design your own custom sized template, and also provides free pre-made templates you can work off of. Canva is perfect for designing all creative content, from social media and website posts to emails and newsletters to promotional materials like flyers, stickers, or merch. Even if your business is not based in sales, you still need to market yourself, and Canva is the perfect way to do so.
Daniel Patrick, Founder DANIEL PATRICK INC
Time Tracking Apps
Remote work has definitely taught us all a lot about how to accomplish numerous tasks in new, more efficient ways. That’s why, for 2021, you just can’t beat the options that are now available when it comes to tools and other resources. One type of app that has really come into play is time-tracking. Now, don’t immediately see this as a way for companies to “keep track” of their team. In fact, this can be used in many other scenarios. For example, when you’re managing multiple clients, with one swipe, you can see how much time you’ve allotted for each one for the week. This can also help you more effectively manage your time, and look for ways to be even more efficient, when needed.
Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO OSDB
The global pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to develop the necessary tools to meet the growing needs of our modern work cultures. In order to help make remote work “work”, we’ve invested in online collaboration platforms such as monday.com for project management and Zoom for video conferencing. Slack has continued to be an ideal tool for remote working, not only within our internal teams, but between our external partners, as well. Streamlining those methods of communication to come together and easily discuss day-to-day management topics through their channels feature has been a vital component of our remote work.
Dr. Kathrin Hamm, Founder and CEO Bearaby
Dropbox is a single program with many outlets so you and your team can have everything you need in one place. It includes file sharing similar to the Google Suite with the inclusion of team management and linking to other platforms like Zoom or Slack. But Dropbox is also a place for team communication and collaboration due to its own messaging features. At the very least, I like to use Dropbox for sharing large files without reducing quality in the transfer. But once you delve into all Dropbox has to offer businesses, you’ll find you can get everything you need in one place.
William Resides, Founder and CEO Nulifebeauty
I use Fluvid as a communication platform for reaching out to my employees through video messages. One of the biggest struggles of remote work is conveying large amounts of information to employees in a non face-to-face format. Video meetings are one great solution, but video messages are equally helpful for when you need to pass on information to be viewed at a convenient time for others. It’s not always possible or easy to schedule meetings and typing out emails can be quite tedious. I also like how Fluvid works with video communication apps like Zoom or Skype to screen record the encounters. This is useful for keeping a record of meetings, as well as to send to employees who were unavailable for the call–such as remote workers in other time zones.
Manish Joneja, CEO BarkBox