5 Tools for Working Remotely

5 Tools for Working Remotely

NASA Space Communication (https://nasa.tumblr.com)

More companies are now offering the opportunity to work remotely than ever before. From a consultant traveling to client office on a weekly basis to a digital nomad working at a cafe on a freelance project in New York City, the need for work remote tools is now in higher demand.

In the past year, I joined companies that had given me the opportunities teaching abroad while working remotely part-time in San Francisco and traveling from places to places while working on both small or large-scale projects. There are limits to what digital tools can do to help maintain the physical collaborative experience, but a few essential tools and space can make a huge difference.

I find the tools below very useful. On a day-to-day basis, I also work with Project Managers who make distance working way easier with their effective communication and management skills. In this article, I will cover on tools that have helped me work with teams while striking a balance working alone.

#1: Realtimeboard

Yes, the name says it all. Those who love brainstorming, planning and organizing thoughts on whiteboards loves this. In almost every part of the creative process, it is great to have visibility and transparency to a living board amongst the team. It is very simple to use with basic features of a whiteboard. If participants are working in multiple locations, you can all collaborate in real-time.

#2: Papers for Mac

For those who travel light and keep an iPad in their bag, Paper for Mac is best for writing out thoughts on-the-go and digitally sending quick sketches to teams through email or slack. It is an excellent way to jog down ideas, rough sketches and layouts to illustrate your thoughts for your team. I find this tool when you need to communicate on the fly. But when using a laptop or desktop, my favorite is still a snapping a quick (cmd+shift+4) screenshot, then uploading work-in-progress images.

#3: Everytimezone

When you are 5 to 15 hours away from your team, it’s great to know their time zones for scheduling meetings. Sometimes that require waking up at 5:30 am or working at 11 pm. Everytimezone is best when you are working with people from London, Germany, Australia to New York City at the same time on a project. A quick check on their timezone comes in very handy.

#4: Workfrom

Discover coffee shops, cafes or co-working spaces where you can connect with other independent professionals. When working remotely, we may forget that we physically away from the like-minded group of people to socialize and discuss latest designs, news or social events. The greatest thing is that there are co-working spaces like WeWork or Galvanize available in many cities. These are places are heavily equipped with amenities, not to mention whiteboarding desks, and shared open areas. The shared open areas cause a collision that allows you to meet people from different background.

#5: Harvest

Harvest is a great tool not only to record your hours and tasks, but it also reminds you how long you’ve been working on your project. When working in a physical space together with your team, the ad-hoc conversations give you moments to pause and look away from your computer. It is very easy to forget how long you’ve been working on the computer when no one is around. Harvest is also an effective way to time box myself, estimating how much time I need in the future for certain tasks.

A few more things that I’ve learned in my past experiences working remotely:

NASA Space Communication (https://nasa.tumblr.com)

Be flexible and be ready to travel

As luxurious as it sounds working remotely, depending on the project, it also comes with the will to go to another location at a given time. For freelancers, sometimes a 3-months project might be in New York, and your home office might be in Los Angeles. When there is an immediate need to collaborate in-person during phrases like research, interviews, and workshops, at times it might be necessary to be in the same room with your teammates. It’s good to be mindful of your team’s preferences in how to collaborate from the gecko.

Be fearless with communications

From Skype, FaceTime, Slack or a simple phone call, be 1000% flexible and respond sooner on all channels. Set the ringtone to loud, make sure you have the notifications on speakers. Give quick pings, emoji icons to response to your team. Those are always helpful to know that you are still there with the team. When you are in a physical space together, you are available for a quick tap on the shoulder. Giving the virtual space for your team to “tap” you, it’s just as good to have the same quick response.

Letting go of some FOMO

There are moments where you are likely to feel left out on after work events, group lunches, and gatherings. Getting started on remote work life will be difficult in the beginning when you are a social, collaborative people-person. But under some life circumstances, there might be times where working from home is necessary or preferred. Great work can happen anywhere. Keeping an open mind, reminding yourself to read articles and keeping up with design news through joining various slack channels helped me stay connected to the design community.

Source: Medium:Remote Working
5 Tools for Working Remotely

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