March 11, 2020 in
Coronavirus Just Made You A Remote Employee! 5 Remote Work Tools
Fears of the coronavirus seem to have reached a zenith, and now a lot of major companies are telling their employees to work from home. DNSFilter is primarily a work from home company, though we do have offices in D.C. and Denver. Until further notice, we’ve closed our offices as well and we’re all working from home. Since we’ve got the work-from-home setup standardized, we thought it might be helpful if we highlight some of our favorite remote work tools.
If you’re new to working from home, these tools will help you manage your days effectively and stay in touch with the co-workers you’re accustomed to chatting with (in person!) every morning.
Of all the remote work tools out there, Slack will likely be the one you find yourself using the most
If you’re used to getting up and going to a co-worker’s desk every time you have a question about something, working from home is going to be a struggle for you. You can call your co-worker, but you also don’t want to distract them if they’re heads-down working on something.
In an office, it’s easy to avoid interrupting someone when they’re clearly busy. You can just walk back to your desk and come see them later. Or, you can leave them a note.
Slack is an instant messaging tool that makes it easy to talk to co-workers when you need to without feeling like you’re bothering them.
Slack is comprised of different channels that you can set up for different purposes. So, your DevOps team might have a channel to talk about DevOps. Meanwhile, your Sales team will likely have a channel to talk about sales. You can also directly message co-workers when discussing a topic that really doesn’t affect anyone else on the team.
When you can’t meet face-to-face, what’s the next best thing? Meeting face-to-face…only digitally.
There are a few different web conferencing tools out there that you can use, but our preference is Zoom. It can handle a lot of people on a single conference call, which makes it great for large team meetings or even all-hands. I can personally confirm that Zoom can handle over 40 people on a single call.
While Slack is great for discussing things that need to be handled quickly, or reminding team members about something, Zoom provides a space where co-workers can hammer out the details. Feel free to get into the weeds! Zoom is for your working sessions, your product demos, and your one-on-one meetings.
While you and your co-workers are holed up in your home offices (or, let’s be honest, on your couch), don’t cancel your usual meetings just because you’re not in the same room.
Monday is our team’s project management tool of choice.
While you should definitely be using project management software whether you work from home or from a traditional office, you really need it for remote work. In order to keep everyone on task and understand where people are spending their time, Monday is your best friend.
With Monday, different teams can create different “boards” for different projects. For instance, you might create a new board for a major product launch. Your sales and marketing team might have a permanent board that highlights all of the trade shows they have coming up this year.
Monday allows you to customize each board, set up automations, and integrations. You can tag co-workers if they need to be aware of a project change, and you can assign people directly to certain tasks.
Monday is a great way for remote management teams to understand employee priorities without setting a bunch of unnecessary meetings or sending repeat messages in Slack.
Arguably, a password manager like LastPass is the most important remote work tool.
Working from home changes more than just your work location. The way employees share passwords has to completely change. You don’t want to send it via insecure methods like email or Slack. And it’s a bit much to get on a web conference call just to have someone take down a series of numbers, letters, and symbols that they may not even write down correctly.
And what about credit card numbers? You can’t pass that back and forth between cubicles anymore.
That’s where LastPass is a lifesaver. It automatically saves passwords and securely stores credit card information. You can even “hide” your passwords so someone can access an application without knowing the password.
When you share a password, you also have the ability to easily revoke access if someone no longer needs it.
Google Drive: Docs, Sheets, Presentations
Google Drive is the king of remote work tools. This is probably a no-brainer, but we want to cover it anyway. After all, some offices are still stuck in Microsoft Office mode: saving documents to your desktop and printing them out when you want to share your work.
That doesn’t cut it for remote work.
Opening email attachments—especially when you’re creating multiple iterations of a document—is a pain. And things can easily get lost in translation.
When you’re working in a tool like Google Drive, not only can you see all of the revision history, but you can leave comments for co-workers to let them know why you made a change.
It’s a lot easier to work out of a living document as opposed to exporting a file repeatedly.
Additional security tips
While it’s important to have the right remote work tools when you don’t have access to a traditional office, you should also have the right security measures in place. Some of these are up to management to employ, and some are on each individual employee. Here are the big ones:
- Do not allow roommates or families members to use a work computer
- Limit program and file access to only the necessary parties
- Enforce session timeouts on software that has any sensitive information
- Enable DNS threat protection through roaming clients on all remote devices
Good luck on your work-from-home adventure. We hope you enjoy remote work as much as the DNSFilter team does, and you’re able to get some valuable work done with our recommended remote work tools.
Interested in a remote career? Check out our open positions.