In 2021 smart businesses are embracing more flexible working arrangements to support their growing teams and to retain great talent. Gone are the days where your employee has to be sitting at a desk in a leased office space in order to perform their duties.
Thankfully, there are some fantastic free (if not, very budget friendly) apps out there that can make working virtually a smooth process.
These are my top recommendations to get you started if you need to work remotely for any period of time.
1. Password Security
There are several secure systems out there now that everyone should be tapping into to keep their user names and passwords secure.
If you have team members who need to work on your behalf (e.g. a Personal Assistant), then you can share your details (without them seeing your passwords).
I use LastPass for my business, and I encourage all my clients to do the same. The paid version is only $3 a month and it allows you to share your passwords securely with team members.
2. Project Management software
If you aren’t already using a project management system (and there are so many to choose from), but something FREE might be a good starting point during the current climate.
Trello is a cloud-based system that you can share with your team members and keep a track of ongoing projects. You can assign ‘cards’ to team members with to-do-lists, and comment with actions that need to occur. Team members can write their updates back, so it keeps it all tidy and out of busy inboxes. You can have team meetings and share the Trello screen so that live updates can be done between the project team.
3. Video Conferencing
Being familiar with a trusted video communication system is vital when it comes to keeping in ‘face to face’ contact with your team members, clients or colleagues.
There are some great tools out there these days, Zoom being one of them that also lets you record your meetings for distribution later to those that might not be able to dial in. You can do a lot with the free plan including unlimited 1:1 meetings.
4. Screen Recording
I can’t live without is Loom. It’s an online app that lets you record your screen (either with you on screen too, or just your desktop).
Fantastic for instructional videos for your team members or clients to show them how to do something online. I use it a lot when I need to show a client how to do something, or how I’ve set something up. So much easier than writing out a hundred instructions!
The videos can be downloaded, or it can be added to an online library of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that can be accessed by all team members.
5. Cloud based file management
G-Suite, OneDrive or Dropbox – you won’t be able to manage without a well managed cloud-based filing system. Both Google and Microsoft have their own cloud-based systems that are part of their subscribed plans.
Ensuring that you ‘lock down’ certain folders will be important though if you are sharing your files with team members and/or clients.
Dropbox is free up to a certain point, but if you have a lot of information to share, it’s not overly budget friendly as you pay by user for the space you need.
Running an online business can be overwhelming at times due to the high volume of different apps and systems out there too choose from.
Try and make use of as many of the free ones as possible when you're starting out, to keep your budget in check. You can always upgrade when you know what works well for you.
About the author
Melanie Cosford juggles being a mum to her 5 year old daughter with running her own small business Melanco Consulting in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Passionate about designing beautiful and affordable websites, she loves to embrace the latest technology to make you stand out online. She also gets a real kick out of implementing a new system or app into a business to help her clients be more productive.