Self-management is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of remote working. After years of acclimatising to the structure and routine provided by a bustling office, working alone at home can leave even the most disciplined of workers feeling distracted and unfocused.
Before the CV-19 outbreak, remote working was already diffusing into mainstream work culture. But in the post-pandemic landscape of 2021, 58.6% of the US workforce is now comprised of remote workers. By 2025, that percentage is estimated to reach 70%.
Interestingly enough, despite the fact that remote working often results in happier and more relaxed employees, managing their own time and productivity levels continues to be something remote workers struggle with.
The distraction of working and living in the same environment can be difficult. Especially if you live with family or housemates that lead their own lives and activities throughout the day. Fortunately, a wide variety of valuable tools and software supports remote workers with this very issue.
Whether your main struggles with remote working involve time management, communication, or collaboration with a team, there are solutions. These five tools will set you up for success, improve productivity levels and allow for a more streamlined work day in general.
1. Asana – collaboration and project management
Any team of remote workers will know the difficulties of trying to manage a project without working together in the same environment. This is where Asana comes in. It’s an organisational tool for remote working teams that’s accessible to everyone, no matter where they are in the world.
Asana allows users to easily create, view, and adjust as needed all plans and tasks surrounding a particular project. This ensures that everyone on the team has a clear picture of where each member is in a project timeline, and it keeps tabs on task completion.
The simple yet thorough mapping of project status provided by Asana helps remote teams see clearly what’s required of each individual and it tracks all progressions made in real-time format. Other features include calendars, customizable workflow processes, and Kanban boards for prioritizing and managing projects.
2. Trello—organization and project management
Organisation is at the core of effective self-management when it comes to remote working. Without a tool to help you gain clear insights on what you are currently doing, what’s already done, and what still needs doing, successful remote working is so much harder than it needs to be.
Trello is an intuitive, fun-to-use tool used for organising, tracking, and coordinating projects. Its functionality allows it to apply to both teams or individual projects, which makes it a little more flexible than Asana.
Trello is targeted more at people who struggle with overly technical or cryptic layout. The structure is simplistic and playful, much more accommodating to those who function better with clearly spaced out designs and visual aids.
3. Toggl—time management
According to Forbes, time management is one of the most difficult parts of remote working. Structuring your daily routine becomes much easier when you have clear boundaries between time spent on projects, tasks, and of course, well-timed breaks.
Tools like Toggl enable users to easily perceive how much time they are spending on each task, and how much that time is worth. It even has an idle-detection feature that highlights areas of poorly used time. This tool is particularly useful for freelancers or workers paid per hour.
Toggl features a smart-looking dashboard that separates project from project and an independent timer for each one. This allows you to manage time on multiple projects at once without misplacing a single precious minute.
4. Slack—team communication
Efficient communication between teams is definitely one of the biggest challenges remote workers face on a day-to-day basis. Online communication just doesn’t always cut it when you are used to seeing your co-workers face-to-face. But with a tool like Slack, that can change.
Slack is one of the most popular go-to communication tools for professional teams of any size or scale. Because all channels are kept separate, distractions are minimised and workers can quickly and easily communicate with one another on the same page.
The easy file-upload features provided by Slack make it easy to share information and view folders together in real-time. Any team of remote workers can benefit from a tool like Slack.
5. Zapier—secure integrations
Even though the use of all these tools can make productivity a much smoother process, securing connection between all of them can be another challenge all on its own.
Zapier is a tool designed for syncing information between multiple tools to make sure everything is up-to-date and you can go back to concentrating on the task at hand. With Zapier (pronounced like “happier”), you can connect all the apps you already use and create interlinked functions across each of their services.
Zapier allows users to create chain commands (“if X occurs, activate Y”) that have a ripple effect across the apps of their choosing, giving the user a level of control over their tools they would never ordinarily possess.
CV-19 has affected businesses around the world in different ways. But when it comes down to it, remote working really does start and end with a certain level of personal discipline and self-management. However, with the support of tools like these, working remotely can quickly turn even the most stubbornly unfocused individuals into effortlessly productive machines.
Besides software and application tools, there are also many other physical tools available to assist remote workers who struggle to get their heads down. Simple things like a more comfortable office chair, separate workspace, or a divider between your work desk and bedroom all contribute to the structure and comfortability that so many people crave.
With the number of remote workers consistently rising over time, it is clear to see that working from home is changing the way we perceive professionalism and effective labor. Inside the right environment and with tools like these on hand, anyone working remotely will find themselves adjusting in no time.
Author: Kelly Lowe