Online tools and mobile business apps make it easier than ever to communicate, collaborate and manage complex projects away from the office
The Government is currently urging all businesses to allow staff to work from home because of the Coronavirus pandemic, so we’ve chosen the best mobile business apps and online platforms for remote working.
Staying in touch is crucial while working at home. It also plays a vital role in ensuring staff feel part of a team, reducing the feelings of isolation that could develop while working remotely for long periods. As a business owner, mobile apps can help you stay in communication and in control.
Reduce email with this popular online business communication tool. You can create channels for conversations, focusing on specific topics or projects. It can integrate with existing cloud programmes, like GDrive, DropBox and Asana to securely share documents.
Owned by Facebook and beloved by teenagers, WhatsApp offers high-levels of encryption which makes it a secure platform for business communication. It’s less sophisticated than Slack but perfect for group chats about work (and leisure).
Microsoft Teams (free)
Microsoft Teams allows your team to chat, meet, call and collaborate in one place. You can also hold conference calls or video calls with external guests. It’s become indispensable to businesses during lockdown and is likely to stay that way as the ways we work change for good.
An upgraded version of Microsoft Teams is also available as part of Microsoft 365.
Flock is a sophisticated communication tool that includes some innovative tools to improve workflow and collaboration. As well as text chats, video conferences and voice calls, you can create To-do lists, write notes and collaborate on documents.
This popular video conferencing platform enables users to share content like presentations and documents while on calls. As well as voice and video, you can use text chat at the same time to collaborate. It works on desktop, laptop, tablet and phone. There are questions about its security, so use it wisely and protect essential information.
Project Management Apps
As a business owner, you need to focus on the completion of projects, ensuring that every person plays their part. Online project management tools can help ensure that everyone is pulling in the right direction, giving you a complete view of a project.
monday.com (paid for)
A simple, visual project management tool that lets you quickly and easily see what everyone in your team is working on. You can use it to manage to-do lists, tasks and projects across your business. Monday.com helps you take charge of your business every day of the week.
HubStaff (free and paid for plans)
Manage remote teams with detailed and accurate time tracking, GPS tracking to assist fleet management, proof of work and timesheet management. You can also automate payments with payment integrations.
Trello (paid for)
Trello aims to make project management fun and flexible, by organising projects into the boards, lists and cards. It’s a simple and intuitive system that offers a great deal of control and visibility for small business owners.
If you need a more comprehensive and traditional project management solution, Jira is a workflow-based system that allows you to visualise your project – from creation to delivery. It’s backed up by some serious processing power, with customisable dashboards and performance management metrics.
Keep track of the time spent – and resource invested – in your projects. Toggl can be synced across devices, giving you a breakdown of time spent on projects and for customers. It’s particularly useful at crunching the numbers on complex projects, giving you a realistic time estimate for budgeting or billing.
A task-based project management system, Asana is excellent for managing workflow and projects across teams of all sizes. Create teams, assign projects and manage deadlines from the desktop version or app.
File Sharing Apps
It’s essential that staff have access to the files they need to complete their work, but they must be safe and secure while doing so.
It’s simple to store, share and access files with Google Drive. However, you will need a business subscription to work with Microsoft Office documents. Available with 2-step verification and detailed document controls, it’s a robust system for small businesses.
A simple drag and drop storage system, DropBox allows you to store all types of document, synchronising across devices when there’s a network connection. As well as storage, DropBox business has expanded its services, offering a smarter workspace for communication and collaboration.
This nifty tool enables you to seamlessly transfer information, zapping data between common platforms like Gmail, DropBox and Slack. It allows you to create workflows, intelligently sharing files immediately with the staff that need them.
Creative Collaboration Apps
Working remotely shouldn’t inhibit inspiration. Creative collaboration across networks is entirely possible, as these tools demonstrate.
Essentially an interactive whiteboard, Jamboard lets you sketch your ideas virtually, with any user able to get involved. You can drag and drop images from the web, add notes or use the pens to create your drawings – whatever you need to get the creative juices flowing.
Google Doc and Google Sheets are the big hitters in the G Suite family. They can be used to create and collaborate on text documents and spreadsheets, with various users able to log in to provide real-time document changes and edits.
What started as a simple online DTP tool is now a powerful platform for creative design and communication. Multiple users can edit documents, with a suite of pre-built templates making elegant design simple.
If you need to create sales presentations or proposals, Xtensio allows you to collaborate with your sales team to create appealing and effective one-pagers and landing pages. This user-friendly platform can help you create compelling sales documents with minimal effort.