Due to the current coronavirus crisis many people will have to work from home. I have been working remotely for 12 years and I thought about making a list of the applications and tools I use every day to communicate and organize my work. I will not go too far and give a few basic strokes of what they are for. Let’s go:
Meetings, calls and videocalls
- Whereby: allows to create a meeting room for videocalls with two or more people. Best of all, it requires no account or application installation. You create the room, give the URL to the attendees, and you’re done. Works well on desktops and mobile phones. My favorite for client and team meetings. You can share your screen too.
- Jitsi: like Whereby, it works from the web without installing anything and requires no registration. It’s open source and 100% free.
- Google Hangouts: good quality group videocalls. No application needs to be installed on the computer, but it does need to be installed on the mobile phone. A Google account is required. You can share your screen too.
- Skype: Everybody knows it. The main inconvenience is that you need to install and configure the application, and you need a Microsoft account.
Management and organization of work
- Trello: allows you to create cards and attach files, documentation, checklists, and team members to them. Very useful to follow a Kanban methodology and organize tasks according to their status, since cards can be dragged from one column to another. It is totally collaborative, and the changes made by your colleagues in the dashboards will be immediately reflected in real time. It also has some extensions called Power-ups that can be useful to link actions with other applications.
- Toggl: time management application. It basically counts the time you spend on each task and gives you statistics. Very useful for creating work reports so that your clients or bosses can see what you have been spending your time on. You can use a Trello Power-up to start counting automatically on the card you have active.
- Slack: it’s a group chat application. It is organized into workspaces, and each workspace can have several channels with members. For example, I have the Alt17 workspace, with channels like “project-one” and “project-two” with all members involved in it. We can chat with each other, pass documentation and even make voice calls. It has a mobile app as well.
- Telegram: good messaging option far superior to whatsapp. Allows for larger groups and channels, which are one-way. Channels are very useful for broadcasting announcements to a large number of users. It is mainly a mobile application, but it also has a very decent desktop application.
Documents and collaboration
- Google docs: editing documents in the cloud in a collaborative way. The beauty of it is that several users can edit the same document or spreadsheet at the same time. You need a Google account, but no installation is required.
- Microsoft Office 365: The de facto office package “standard”. Microsoft has made a great gesture by giving its use free of charge for six months to companies and institutions that need to set up a teleworking infrastructure quickly.
- Microsoft Teams: I’ve never used it, but it seems to have everything you need to work online: chat, collaborative calendar, meetings, calls, etc. I include it in this list because I think it is a great free option during the crisis.
- Dropbox: also has a solution for document editing, but I only use the scanner. It’s super useful to take a picture of a document and send it to you or anyone else as a retouched and cropped PDF.
- Google Drive: it works very well in conjunction with Google Docs. You can store any type of file and some even edit them. For me the sharing system is a bit confusing. As a storage solution I think there are better ones, but in conjunction with Google Docs it is a great collaboration tool.
- Dropbox: great for accessing file and folder sharing between computers and devices, although your free plan only supports 2Gb.
- One Drive: just like Dropbox, but their free plan is 5Gb.
- iCloud Drive: at the moment it doesn’t allow to share folders, so it wouldn’t be an option to work in a collaborative way, but it would allow us to store your files in the cloud and work with them from any place or device. Useful for iOS and MacOS users.
Desarrollo y programación
- Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket: code version control. If you are a programmer you probably already know them, but they are tools that I use daily in my work as a programmer.
- MS Live Share: is an extension for VS Code that allows you to edit and debug code collaboratively with your peers.
- Zapier: very useful for creating “shortcuts” between applications.
There are many tools that facilitate remote working, but these are the ones I use in my day-to-day work as a developer, and I think they can help all these people who, fortunately or unfortunately, have to adapt to remote work as soon as possible.
Good luck to you all!