For years I worked in a hybrid model, a model where I had to go to the office but also manage remote subordinates. Since 2015, I’m working in a 100% remote environment. In this post, I’m going to unveil what tools you need in order to be successful in a remote work environment.
Some quick learnings:
- There’s no room for unproductive meetings and company gossips in a remote work environment
- Remote work can only succeed if the financial motivation is there. If you can’t pay well and pay on time, you will face increasing latency in response from your peers and eventually, the breakup
- Remote working is way more productive than classic office environment if you are carrying the knowledge of mandatory software products under your belt
- Remote working is enabling a massive pool of talent. Yes, the bigger denominator is better but this requires a heavier emphasis on testing and evaluation
- You need to start evaluating business outcomes more frequently. Aim for daily follow-ups and check-in chats
- Friendships you built through remote working are real
There is a clear reason why mankind could not apply enterprise level remote working 20 years ago. Some of them are the speed of hardware, lack of fast internet infrastructure, lack of feature-rich applications to enable it and so on.
It is 2019, let’s take advantage.
The Basic Package of Software for Remote Work
Modern browsers and the vision of W3C made today’s web possible. My personal favorite is Google Chrome on both my MacOS and Windows computers with all the rich extension library which can save you from hours of manual labor. There are plenty of other alternatives of course: Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer. (yes IE comes last, my little revenge for giving me a lot of pain in the early 2000s while I was coding HTML and CSS 🤨 )
Collaborative Office Work & Documentation
My personal favorite is the Google Suite, a SaaS package containing Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Presentations, and Google Calendar which is all you need for a good start. I love the rich integration and API services Google is offering which is saving me from hours of manual work on a daily basis.
My recent discovery in early-2019 for this category is Airtable. A new approach to document, discussions and media management. You should definitely take a look.
Analytics & Data Visualization
Your analysis will be much more valuable if you combine the data from Hotjar with Google Analytics. Hotjar is one of the best heatmap analysis tools out there.
I’ve used GoToMeeting and Zoom for team video calls. I must say Zoom is far more usable than GoToMeeting, especially for video calls.
Skype has a free option but it has a terrible audio and video quality for the personal account. I’m usually using it for instant messaging.
I think Discord has great potential to be used for business purposes especially for the roles which require a high frequency of communication. I believe the remote work environment has a lot to learn from the online gaming industry.
Asynchronous Video Communication (Bonus)
We recently started testing this concept. It’s optimal for remote work since most of the team members are living in different timezones. Useful for daily, weekly, monthly standups and internal communication. No push messages, no instant calls. All the peers are receiving the messages when they should.
I’m very much interested in hearing your discoveries of remote working tools and learnings.