The best online tools to use when working from home
The new coronavirus will have a huge impact on many layers of our society. In the coming weeks, if not months, many people will have to work from home if they can.
I have been a small business owner for more than 10 years and I currently do 100% of my work online. Here are my most frequently used and favourite platforms to help you with this transition from working offline to online.
The biggest change many of us will experience is the way we communicate with each other. Most of us are used to meeting face-to-face with our clients, colleagues, suppliers etc. Here are some tools to help you with your communication:
Zoom is a great video conference platform for holding one-on-one and multi-person meetings. It offers the possibility to video conference, record your meetings, have webinars, share your screen, etc. They have both free and paid plans, depending on your needs.
For one-on-one calls and sessions, I often use good old Skype, as most of my clients are familiar with it.
This platform is meant for sharing written communication. I use it to send newsletters to my clients.
Here are some great tools to make sharing documents with your clients or coworkers easier:
I often work with different people on various projects and I use Google Drive to share and work on common documents without having to send them back and forth.
For sending large documents like videos, audio and big files, I always use WeTransfer. This platform has free and paid options, depending on the number and size of the files you are sending.
Working from home comes with some challenges. Planning your time efficiently is one of them. Here are some great tools to help you plan:
I love Asana for planning my work. It is very simple and easy to use. It allows me to have a clear overview of the various projects I am working on. It has an extended paid version, but, so far, the free one has worked fine for all my needs.
As I am in the coaching business, I spend a lot of time on booking and rebooking meetings with my clients. However, it cost me so much time that I said “stop”. Calendly basically gives others the possibility to book a meeting with you directly in your calendar, just like your secretary would do for you. Of course, I am in control of the available time slots. You can also integrate it with other platforms, like Google Calendar, PayPal, Mailchimp, Zoom and more. In the case of this app, I use the paid version.
If your work features an element of design, here are some great tools to consider:
I use Canva for all the creative projects that I can handle myself, like social media posts for Facebook, LinkedIn etc. It has tons of free templates and is very easy to use for people with limited creative talents, like me.
This is an amazing platform where you can find beautiful free pictures of great quality. I use them a lot on my website, for PowerPoint presentations, workshops, etc.
Working with third parties
Do you work with third parties? These tools are handy to use!
I started to use Upwork a few years ago. It is a wonderful platform connecting you to millions of professionals around the world. I worked with people from India and the Philippines, who helped me with my website and book illustrations, and created a Kindle version of my book. It was always a great, risk-free experience.
In times when it is not advised to meet face-to-face with other professionals, it is a great tool to have to get your work done. You can use it for the design of your website, translations, managing social media campaigns and many more things.
Another great platform where you can find talented people is 99designs. Similar to Upwork, it connects you to many creative people whose work mainly focuses on creative projects like logos, books, business branding, art and illustrations. I used it to create my book cover. I highly recommend it.
I am not going to mention the typical platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but this one might be of interest:
I only started to use this app recently, but it has already saved me a couple of hours of work. What does it do? It allows you to schedule your whole social media campaign for weeks to come. The only downside is that it doesn’t include the ability to schedule LinkedIn posts.
Finance and administration
Especially useful for freelancers and the like:
I use Jortt to manage all my invoices, finances, BTW etc. I really like it, but it is in Dutch.
This is a great app to collect your payments. Easy to use and I have it connected to the Jortt app.
If you are a coach, this tool will come in handy:
This is a new app I have been testing, which transfers your whole coaching business online, from signing a contract and sending offers, to sharing documents tracking your clients’ progress etc. It is pretty heavy on content and takes some time to get used to, but I believe it will save me lots of time in the future and my clients will love it.
Want to gain more knowledge? Check out these tools:
I have been using this platform for years now. It is a great way to collect all sorts of information from various sources. I mainly use it to save interesting articles I might need for my work or want to share with my clients, and also for saving interesting quotes and passages from the books I have read on Kindle. Which brings me to the following platform…
In times when it may be better not to receive physical packages, ebooks are a great alternative. I am a huge printed book fan and for some books, I order physical copies, however, for many, I just buy the ebook version, which, as mentioned above, allows me to collect all my favourite passages in Evernote.
LinkedIn has just announced that they will offer many of their paid courses for free, but I also use this one for online learning:
This is an amazing platform offering free online courses on so many topics, such as artificial intelligence, mathematics, coaching, business and more.
So, I have now shared all the operational ins and outs of my business with you. I hope you will find the list useful. Feel free to let me know which ones you are using yourself. Let’s share more knowledge with each other in these troubling times. Love & health, Dorota