The Best Apps to Run Your Business Remotely
More and more businesses are switching to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has shaken the world. If you’re looking for the best apps to help you run your business remotely (to enable yourself and your workers to stay safe and stay home), this article is for you!
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans at a wet-market in Wuhan, China. In a mere matter of months, it has changed the way we work and live, causing (at the time of writing) one quarter of the world’s population to live in lockdown. As of April, there are 1 million recorded cases and the World Health Organisation has declared the virus a pandemic and public health emergency.
As the United States and many countries in the world prepare for several weeks in quarantine, working remotely is crucial for enabling businesses to continue running. Whilst the whole situation feels rather dystopian, the reality is that most people do recover from the virus, and things will go back to normal. In the meantime, staying home will save lives; social distancing to combat the spread of COVID-19 really does work, and that means working remotely from home.
This doesn’t mean work stops – on the contrary, there might be more to do than ever, as businesses adapt to online models and learn how to have their employees work remotely. Thankfully, there are several ways to help your employees complete their work from home, and keep your business running throughout the coming months. Read on for the best apps that will minimise the impact social distancing has on your company!
G suite is a great all-rounder than allows your office to communicate via video conferencing, emails, spreadsheets, documents and shared calendars. In fact, it’s so effective, you might opt to keep using many of its features when you do move back into the office!
Some of the best features are collaborating on documents together in real time. This means you don’t need to email attachments of edited documents to each other but can edit them together on one doc – you can also leave comments and suggestions and see what changes others have made. These features are all available on Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. You can also, of course, view older versions of documents.
Google Drive is also already used by many businesses for storing data and sharing files. Again, it’s a lot easier than emailing attachments, particularly for large files like photographs and videos. Gone are the days of USBs and hard drives, and we should all be thankful for that!
Meanwhile, Google Calendar lets you create multiple calendars for meetings, trainings and holiday leave. Google Hangouts is a good tool for sending messages and video calling.
If Google isn’t your thing, Microsoft 365 offer the same tools in their Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel and PowerPoint software. Check out Microsoft Teams for more information!
“To collaborate on work projects, there are a number of great apps out there. Teamwork is one such app which breaks down projects into task lists, tasks and subtasks, allowing a detailed plan of action to emerge,” says Fay Nairn, an app blogger at Writinity and Lastminutewriting.
“Managers can set milestones and calendars to see where everyone is at on the project and ensure team members stay on track.”
Trello is another great option with a range of project management enhancing features from boards, lists and cards. Asana and Basecamp work similarly: they organise everything you need for a project into one place.
“Even back in the days of office work, Slack was a popular app for instant messaging amongst teams,” says Amy Rowland, a tech writer at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk. “Slack is a downloadable app that does away with emails between co-workers – instead, there are private messaging functions and ‘channels’ that allow teams and multiple teams to communicate based on the project or topic. This way all conversations are neatly organised!”
Slack also integrates well with other tools like Google Drive, Asana, Trello, Zoom and more. It’s also mobile compatible!
As noted, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams are also good ways to communicate with your team. Discord, Workplace (Facebook) and Skype are also popular options.
It seems there are billions of video conferencing options out there – it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one! So, we’ve simplified the process for you. Zoom is fast becoming the most popular solution to video conferencing and online lessons, as it’s affordable and reliable, mobile compatible and allows you to record and store calls in the cloud. You can share screens and use a whiteboard.
Google Meet is another great option, as is Microsoft Team’s video chat, and WebEx.
Communicating with your team is one thing – you also need to think about communicating with your customers! There are a lot of apps out there, each useful for different things. For example, Intercom allows you to connect with people on your website and address customer inquiries.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is also very useful for responding to large customer bases. Zendesk Support manages all customer inquiries into one place, making it much easier for your CS team to respond. CRM stands out over live chats like Intercom because it gathers customer inquiries from websites, emails and text messages.
Smaller businesses might want to check out Facebook’s business hub and use social media tools to communicate with their clients.