By Adam Ferraresi
Long gone are the days where you’d have to build or rent an office for your workers and be in the same room with them in order to get any serious work done. We’re well into the 21st century and technology has developed so much that people can be just as efficient (if not arguably even more) no matter where they’re working from. Nowadays it’s perfectly normal for teams to be scattered across different cities, different countries and even different continents; and it’s all thanks to information technology for developing a wide variety of tools that have basically made physical obstacles obsolete.
If you’re interested in running your business remotely and hiring people from different locations into your team, we highly recommend that you check out some of these collaboration tools, as they’re guaranteed to make your work so much easier.
Dropbox is an amazing Cloud service that’s being used by thousands of companies worldwide, simply because it is one of the best out there. It’s so easy to share files, folders and documents via Dropbox, as it literally creates a shared folder on your PC that everyone in your team can manipulate, add revisions and much more. There’s even an option to make a shared folder that different Dropbox accounts can access at the same time, and needless to say that connecting them is a breeze. Alternatively, you can use a browser to access your Dropbox folder, but we find the desktop app superior in every manner as it perfectly integrates into the default file explorer of your operating system.
For anyone that has to send out dozens of e-mails a day, Boomerang is the tool for you. Boomerang is an extension that you can use with either Google Chrome or Firefox, and it spices up your e-mail with a few additional, highly useful features. One of them is the “Send later” button, which pretty much does what it says; it schedules an e-mail to automatically be sent to the recipient at a later time. Additionally, you can use it to temporarily remove certain messages from your inbox and prevent unnecessary clutter, returning them at a later time of your choosing. And perhaps one of the most useful features that Boomerang possesses is its reminder, which informs you if there are e-mails you haven’t replied to in a certain period of time.
From LogMeIn, the same company that brought you the early zero-configuration virtual private network Hamachi, comes another fantastic piece of software that you’ll fall in love with as a remote business owner. Join.me is a video-conferencing app that allows you to create fully immersive online meetings with a group of people, as if you were all in the same room. You can share your webcam as well as your screen, send files to your coworkers and so on, which makes it easier than ever to demonstrate whatever the team needs to work on and relay your plans to one another. It’s a big time and money saver and eliminates the need for long, pointless meetings and conferences.
Evernote is essentially a notepad app that allows you to write down stuff that needs to be done, but in reality it’s so much more than that. The app is capable of syncing across all of your devices and it’s highly multi-platform; there’s a web version, a version for Mac, iPhone and even Android, so whatever type of device you have, you can almost certainly use it. It can be a bit difficult to understand at first because of the sheer number of features it possesses, but once you get around to it you’ll realize that every single one of those features is indispensable. There’s no limit to the ways that you can organize your notes, and the best part about it is that since they’re all kept on the Cloud, you never have to worry about losing an important document ever again.
Being subscribed to a good VPN provider is essential if you want your business to go worldwide. Many places in the world such as China are employing strict geo-blocking policies that can be a real bother for potential employees who happen to live in said places. Not being able to access websites such as Facebook or Twitter can be a real setback, and a good VPN is one of the best ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.
6. Skype Number
Skype is without a doubt the single most popular chat and VoIP application in the world today, but I bet you didn’t know that you can also use it to significantly cut down on costs when you’re traveling abroad and need to keep in touch with people. Instead of suffering preposterous roaming charges, you can simply set up a Skype Number – essentially a phone number that redirects the caller to your Skype account, instead of you having to answer on your mobile. This means that anyone can call you from their cell phone or landline and you can just pick up the call on Skype, and apart from the monthly fee that you have to pay there are no additional charges for the calls themselves.
Remote desktop access is something that everyone running a business remotely should invest in, and LogMeIn is one of the best pieces of software out there for the purpose. No matter where in the world you are, you can access your home computer and get any files that you’ll potentially need with LogMeIn. A life-saver when you’ve forgotten to upload that one infinitely important document to your chosen Cloud service.