As Internet connections speed up, and the disdain for commuting gets greater, the desire to work remotely from home becomes more desirable. Remote working is great — everyone here at MakeUseOf are remote workers, and we’re all happy campers. But in order to become as efficient as possible, you need to have the right work tools behind you.
TransparentBusiness is a web app which gives remote teams an easy way to maintain an overview of their colleagues and what they are working on. This includes the number of hours each employee is working, their projects, their clients, invoices, reports and much more.
If your business is 5 users or less, then TransparentBusiness is free of charge. When it starts going from 6 users and up, the paid option is $39 per user per month. So don’t hire anymore than 5 employees and you have a cracking service on your hands.
Continuing the theme of time tracking, Harvest enables workers to keep a record of their work hours, and submit timesheets to the company. You can start and stop timers for each project, and each employee will receive an automated reminder to turn in their timesheet in time to get paid.
You can export those hours to create client invoices, and also create reports showing billable, non-billable, employee or contractor hours. As a nice touch, you can then export your reports to CSV, Excel, Google Drive and more.
Harvest is free for one user who has 4 or less clients. After that, you get a 30 day free trial, and then $12 a month for up to 3 users. The paid levels go up from there.
TeamGum is a browser extension (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera), which advertises itself as “the quickest and easiest way to share anything on the web with your team”. With your team in the sidebar, you can have discussions, and drag and drop images and files. There’s no need to switch tabs to communicate — everything stays on the same page.
Up to 10 members is free of charge. After that, paid plans start at $30 a month, with some extra features thrown in.
When working with a rem0te team, using Google Docs is a great way to work on documents together, as well as send documents which will need regular edits done. But security can be paramount if you are working on something sensitive to the company. DocSecrets can help in this regard.
After creating a passphrase to encrypt and unencrypt documents, you can then highlight text which can be hidden, much like redacted documents. Only the passphrase will be able to unlock the redactions.
DocSecrets is a free add-on from Google Docs themselves. This page explains how to set it up.
If you’re a nomad traveller out on the road, then you will have worked in a variety of places — cafes, trains, hostels, the beach…but what about a complete stranger’s home? That is the concept behind Hoffice, which aims to bring together someone who is looking for a free workspace with homeowners willing to throw open their doors. Yes, that’s right, I said free. Just register and see what’s available.
If you are working remotely, what are your favourite tools? Any unique ones that deserve some publicity?
Image Credit: Happy businessman with laptop via Shutterstock