Our favourite online productivity tools to keep things moving when working from home

April 2020

The majority of the UK will be working from home for the foreseeable future, and as many of us sit down for what might be our first real stint of remote-working, we should all focus on how to stay positive and productive in these unfamiliar times. 

Given that productivity is Fora’s specialist subject, we’ve pulled together a handy guide to outline our favourite tools that will make things a little easier for you and your team:

 

Make sure you have the right tools for the job

Productivity software and tools are everywhere, but they’re not created equal. You’re going to have the usual suspects downloaded and ready to go (Asana, Slack, Trello and pals) but the following lesser-known apps will save you time and help you stay on top of everything while in-person meetings are a no-go:

Otter.Ai: This clever programme will transcribe your conversations, whether they’re off the cuff, on a call or while you’re reading something aloud to create a document. Otter.Ai is a godsend for tired fingers and minds, and the handy Zoom integration means meetings on this popular platform can be easily captured too.

Shift: A digital workstation that consolidates multiple windows into one simple vision panel, Shift is smart and easy to use. It’s also not a drain on computer power. Thanks to extensions, Shift makes app integrations and moving between different accounts or documents a breeze. 

StayFocusd: A Chrome extension that limits your time on your favourite (and most distracting) websites. You can block entire sites, subdomains, unique pages or even specific page content. Once your time is up, you won’t be able to access them until the next day. Perfect for keeping you on task.

 

Make sure your team does too

Collaboration whilst working remotely can be difficult. Tool functionality, access to folders, internet connectivity and of course needing a little patience all play a huge role in how well your team can work effectively whilst away from each other. Here are our favourite tools for staying connected:

Google Docs: Although an obvious choice, it’s clear why Google Docs is a firm favourite – it’s by far one of the best collaborative tools available. Creating, editing and sharing files is as liberating as it is easy. Google Docs works extremely well for daily tasks, collective reviewing and brainstorming. Remember, breaking down large tasks can make it seem easier and more achievable while keeping spirits high.

Zoom: It’s clear why Zoom is fast becoming the de facto choice for businesses. Thanks to its intuitive user-interface and funky add-ons like the virtual backgrounds (the tropical beach is our favourite); Zoom is proving to be a hit – better still, the software is also gentle on the budget.

Flipboard: A great tool for teams looking to group content on just about anything. You’ll find news stories and social posts all in one place, meaning you’ll always have your finger on the pulse. You can add your own brand’s content to the conversation too, and the easy-to-use app means your company newsletter and social channels just got a massive upgrade.

Last but certainly not least: Remember that sometimes a two minute call can save you an hour’s work.

 

Tools will only get you so far. Let’s talk about you. 

If you’re working, work. If you’re relaxing, relax. Don’t sacrifice good habits. Take breaks and give yourself time to do something creative. Check out the hashtag #brainbodybusiness every morning at 8:30am for a new activity that will help get those creative juices flowing. LinkedIn’s Remote Working Learning also has plenty of other tips for nailing remote working, and they’ve opened it up for free.

Exercise is also important, clear a space and fire up some Yoga on Fora’s YouTube. Make sure you stand up and move around every hour to give your energy a boost and get your blood pumping.

Keep up to date with what’s happening across the Fora network. We’ll be sharing all of our best tips, videos, blogs and virtual events via our newsletter and social channels. Most importantly… eat the frog. Do the hardest thing you have to do all day in the morning and the rest of the day is enjoyable. Use the Eisenhower Box to sift through your workload, and prioritise the order you’re going to get through it.

Finally, a second pair of eyes is always a good thing. Buzzbar, the world’s first digital media and production service, is offering you and your team 30-minutes with a Marketing Specialist to help businesses and individuals through this period. Buzzbar can help with strategy, graphics, social media, digital copy, front/back-end development and even have procedures for remote photography and video too. Think of them like Apple’s Genius Bar™ but for Marketing. You can book your consultation here.

 

We’ve also put together an article all about managing stress and anxiety during times of uncertainty. We’ve included all of our favourite tried and tested resources and you can find it here.