5 must have tools to run your business remotely

Not so long ago the office was a place where everyone went to work, usually 9am to 5pm if you were lucky and included a long commute on either end. Today however, things have changed and continue to do so. The office is wherever you want it to be and there’s no longer a need for everyone to be in the same one.

There is an ever growing workforce that now works from home as companies recognise the benefits of this arrangement.  You can literally work from anywhere in the world and the flexibility and cost savings are vast. As long as you have an internet connection and a computer, tablet or phone, you’re in business.

There are so many apps that you can use, but which ones should you use, what do they do, how much do they cost?  You could spend all the time you are about to save, just trawling through one after the other trying to work out which is best.  There are however some basic apps which will suit pretty much all businesses and are a must for your day to day collaboration.

Instant messaging
Slack is a great instant messaging app that allows you to communicate with your team by creating channels for such things as projects, topics or groups, and can be private or public. You can share files, connect with other apps, have one-to-one voice and video calls, and have personalised notifications.  There is a free version which does have limits however we think it should meet your needs without moving up to the paid plans.

Video conferencing
Zoom meetings and chat is video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing.  This is our choice for online meetings with clients. It’s easy to use, allows screen sharing, recording, integrates with other apps and is a secure meeting place.  The free version allows you unlimited one to one meeting time, however when there are three people or more, free meetings are limited to 40 minutes.

Cloud accounting software
Xero is in our opinion the best cloud accounting software available.  Built specifically to run in the cloud, rather than being a desktop version which has been adapted, it is easy to use and works on PC, tablet or phone.  You have 24/7 access to your accounts and the Xero Marketplace with over 700 add-on apps means you can customise your accounting software to your business’s specific requirements.

A virtual landline
There are a number of companies offering virtual landlines.  A virtual number is a telephone number without a directly associated telephone line. Usually these numbers are programmed to forward incoming calls, so when someone calls your virtual number the call goes through a data centre and then out to whichever phone you’ve directed it to, whether that’s a landline or mobile. This all happens in an instant so your caller has no idea they’re calling a virtual number. 

Email
This one goes without saying with the two main contenders being G Suite for gmail and Office 365 for Outlook.  Both of these offer much more than email, including cloud storage, spreadsheets, documents and presentations.  This one is really down to preference but for us, G Suite wins due to the fact that when working in docs or spreadsheets, you are editing in real time which means when someone is editing your document, you can see their cursor as they make changes or highlight text.

There is a never ending list of apps you can look at using but the above will give you a good framework on which to build.  You might also find our blog A Guide to Controlling Business Costs useful.

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