Last updated: July 7, 2020. I’ll update this as I find more tools that solve additional use cases that I haven’t addressed below. If you would like to take let your team work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic but do not know how to get stared, please email me. I am happy to help you get started.
For most of my career so far, I’ve had the opportunity to work remotely or from home. With the exception of a few months here or there, most of my work has been done from my home, a coffeeshop, or a hotel. In that time, I’ve learned that working from home and being productive are way easier than most traditional managers and employees think.
Here’s the tools I’ve come to use and have seen other teams use to productively work from home:
My Personal Remote Work Stack
- Email: Gmail. Nothing fancy here. I run most of my workflow through my gmail inbox, with updates, promotions, and social categories turned on. Most everything sent from a real person goes to my Primary inbox, which I keep at zero by the end of every day. I use a few other tools in my Gmail inbox:
- Video Calls and Conferencing:
ZoomWhereby & Remotion
- Feedback on ideas & collaboration: Loom
- Tracking data and spreadsheet work: Airtable
- Document collaboration: Quip & Google Drive (Roam for Personal note-taking)
- Messaging: Email & iMessage.
- Meeting scheduling: Calendly
For a small team of independent and collaborative individuals, this is enough to get by. It’s what I use day-to-day right now. The biggest game-changers for organizations are
Zoom Whereby and Loom. I tend to find that those are the scariest things for managers (especially old-fashioned ones who emphasize “collaboration”) to let go of. Zoom is more reliable than Skype or Hangouts and has a good calendar integration tool, so it makes scheduling calls and meetings easy. It also allows you to easily record calls or meetings and save them to an organization’s cloud or to your own machine. Upgraded team accounts can support very large organizations and webinars.
(I am no longer using or recommending Zoom due to their repeated security issues and their clampdowns on Chinese Communist Party dissident groups.)
Whereby is an in-browser video call tool that supports calls of up to 4 people for free, many more on a paid account. You can also create your own user-friendly “room” to make your default video call link.
Loom saves you time for feedback given over email or that you would normally give in the office. With a commenting feature that lets people leave time-stamped comments, it’s great for feedback and project management.
These two alone will solve 50% of the pain points of moving remote or WFH.
Other Tools (Not in my Personal Stack)
These are other tools that I’ve seen teams use that I do not personally use. They are all recommended to me by people I personally trust or are tools I have used before but just no longer have any use for:
- Messaging: Slack is the big-dog here. Lots of integrations and functionality. It is a good option if your organization currently uses email for inter-office communication but you are unsure of what you’ll do when people move to WFH.
- Design: Figma.
- Collaboration: Tandem for video collaboration, Notion for note-taking.
- Project Tracking: Trello for scrum boards (I use this a little personally), as well as Basecamp for project management, Toggl for time tracking.