In recent weeks, the COVID-19 crisis, aka Corona virus, has sent many home. But how can you build a functioning home office? Many companies have to rethink at short notice and provide their employees with the right tools so that they can continue working normally and remain productive.
But this list is not only valuable for short-term use for companies. In the longer term, these tools and software solutions can also be helpful in increasing productivity and making the company more efficient.
Inventory and needs assessment
Many start to buy wild software and also introduce it uncontrolled. But one of the most important points before this software purchase is a clean inventory so here are some inspirations for questions for the inventory
- Which processes are important?
- Which topics are important for the company?
- Which other tools are often used (e.g. whiteboards, post-its, Kanban board etc.)?
- Which meetings are important?
- How do we communicate with customers, employees and suppliers?
We also recommend to start small and not to introduce a whole list of tools. Important are topics like communication, data storage and maybe a well working project management tool. Here you will find a list of the most important categories, as well as the best and most popular software solutions for these categories. Have fun browsing and finding!
Tools for enterprise, home office and remote work
All tools, software packages and also solutions in a list, which are important to manage teams, to enable home office and also to make remote work efficient.
One of the most important and most used tools for home office and remote teams is of course communication. Here you have to differentiate between different ways like chat, video, voice etc.
Group- and Team-Chats
Discuss topics together and use a chat software to discuss and exchange all internal company matters. With one of these tools every company should start to organize the remote team.
- Chanty – A simple and quick to set up chat app that combines all necessary functions.
- Glip – This tool connects various functions. From chat to data transfer to video communication, everything is included.
- Mattermost – A flexible open-source chat program which is secure and offers extensive functionality.
- Slack – Is one of the most popular chat programs in the business environment. It is rich in functionalities and integrations.
Video and Audio Conferencing
Probably one of the most useful tools are video conferences. With them you can exchange information not only internally but also with customers etc. We show which video conferencing tools are best suited.
- Amazon Chime – Amazon has created its own video conferencing tools with many functionalities, excellent video and audio quality as well as easy handling.
- BlueJeans – A video conference tool that also works with collaboration tools.
- Discord – Especially known from the gaming scene, this comprehensive tool is a top candidate for internal company communication. All devices can access it through apps or the web.
- Freebird – Like Discord and Teamspeak, channels can be made where you can easily exchange audio.
- GoToMeeting – One of the larger providers of video conferences including HD support.
- Google Hangouts – A Real-Time Meeting Tool from Google with top video and audio quality, which is also suitable for larger groups. Nice feature – You don’t have to install anything, it all works in the browser. Available free of charge.
- Join.me – A free tool with which you can quickly set up video conferences, screen sharing etc.
- Microsoft Teams – Simple tool from Microsoft which allows chat, video conferencing etc. Extensive functions and is free of charge.
- Portal von Facebook – Also Facebook has developed its own video conference tool which combines great quality and features
- Zoom – One of the most used video and web conference tools for companies.
Cloud and Online Storage
Many teams often have to work with the same data. There are some services that automatically save these files and distribute them to the other systems.
- Amazon Web Services – Amazon’s S3 service is a highly redundant system of cloud services that allows you to store files online and make them available anywhere in your company.
- Box – Box was developed especially for companies. You can feel this in the way it is structured and is therefore also one of the leading providers apart from Google, Microsoft and Amazon.
- DropBox Business – Is also a very well known provider to exchange files easily. With the help of integration, files can be synchronized directly on the computer.
- Google Drive / Google GSuite – Either you have the free version of Google Drive or you get the GSuite package for businesses. Simple data exchange as well as online editing is possible via GSuite.
- Microsoft OneDrive – There is also a free private version and otherwise you get with the Office 365 package additional business features and more storage space
Cooperation and collaboration
Every team has to find solutions for issues together at some point. In meetings this is usually done with whiteboards, a few pieces of paper or other possibilities. What online tools are available for collaboration, we show here.
Especially for brainstorming it is important to use a few basic tools that support various methods for brainstorming.
- A Web Whiteboard – An app that makes it easy to draw together, brainstorm and find ideas on a shared whiteboard. All designed for touch devices.
- Cardboard – Collect maps, such as Post-Its, and organize them into so-called Story maps. In this way, customer journeys can easily be shown or workflows can be organized.
- Dropbox Paper – The online storage provider Dropbox has also developed an exciting tool with which teams can let off steam together in a workspace. Definitely exciting for all who already use Dropbox.
- GroupMap – This brainstorming tool is particularly well suited to quickly collect ideas, prioritize them and then use them to generate ideas.
- Miro – It is a comprehensive tool which offers many possibilities to collect ideas, to work on them together and also to prioritize them. Due to the many integration possibilities it is one of the more comprehensive tools.
- Web Whiteboard – No installation, no login – so the tool is one of the easiest to work out ideas together – just share a link and everyone can share and discuss ideas.
Mind Maps – Tools for Mind Mapping
Everyone has to organize more complex topics into so-called “mind maps” every now and then. This popular method of generating ideas together should not be missing for Home Office.
- Canva – Although Canva is more known as “Online Photoshop”, you can also create collaborative mind maps.
- MindMeister – Is probably one of the leading providers and offers accordingly many functionalities.
- MindMup – Is a free tool that allows to save all data on Google Drive. Simple mind mapping without additional cost.
- Scapple – With this tool it feels more like a piece of paper on which you create the mind maps one by one and connect them accordingly. Exciting approach.
When you have developed ideas, it is usually difficult to make the right decisions without personal exchange. Also here some tools have been developed which support this process better and also bring in new approaches.
- Conteneo – This tool has been specifically designed to better solve group decisions by getting to the root of the problem.
- The Decider – A tool to answer some simple questions to help you make better group decisions.
- Mingle – Originating from the agile project management universe Mingle is a great tool to make rea-time decisions on real-time data.
- WE THINQ – Originally developed as an idea management and feedback management software, this tool also offers great features for making decisions.
- Yabbu – A tool designed specifically for remote teams that tracks ideas, helps make decisions, measures progress, and allows for sharing even when you’re not seeing each other.
Edit documents together
Important are also tools with which you can work on the same document. This includes business documents as well as offers, contracts, etc. which have to be coordinated by the team.
- Confluence – Is one of the biggest players in the content collaboration market. It is used by various large corporations and offers many features.
- Draft – The tool goes a different way. All editors have their own version at first, only if you accept or ignore these changes, the original document will be changed.
- Etherpad – Is an open source online editor that offers many possibilities to jointly edit documents in real-time.
- Google Docs / Google Sheets etc. – The Google Suite is probably the most popular of the tools on the list. With Google Docs you can manage documents together, with Sheets you can manage spreadsheets, with Notes you can manage notes and much more.
- Quip – Whether documents, tables, checklists or even a team chat. Quip combines it in one tool.
- Xtensio – Online collaborative document editing made easy with professional tools for presentations etc.
Especially if the documentation and also the knowledge must be written down in the company, it is recommended to create a company-internal Wiki.
- Confluence Wiki – Atlassian has also built a wiki. The company behind JIRA, HipChat etc. has set up an extensive Wiki-Tool.
- MediaWiki – An Open Source Wiki which companies can also use internally. Very large amounts of knowledge can be managed – the software is also used for Wikipedia.
- Nuclino – A simple way to create a knowledge base or wiki in the company.
- Tettra – A wiki for companies which also has a great slack integration to quickly gather knowledge.
Task and Project Management
- Aha! – Especially suitable for roadmaps. Especially for products and strategies to manage them and execute roadmaps.
- Asana – Extensive project management tool, which offers various integrations and functionalities. One of the current market leaders.
- Basecamp – A comprehensive tool that organizes teams, projects, work with customers and communication within the company.
- Cage – Project Management but also collaboration software which is especially designed for agencies, designers and creative teams.
- Eylean – A tool which can be integrated super with Office Tools. Also Scrum and Kanban can be integrated so easily.
- Jira – One of the best known tools for project management. Planning, tracking, administration and agile project management are all combined in one tool.
- nTask – Smart platform to manage and also distribute tasks. The best – it’s free!
- ProofHub – An all-in-one project management tool that offers a wide range of functionalities.
- Smartsheet – One of the best tools to implement ideas quickly. From planning to tracking including reporting.
- Teamwork – Online project management, help desk, team messaging software with extensive functionalities.
- Trello – One of the most famous on this list. With lists and kanban lists, tasks can be tracked, shared in a team and so on.
- Workplace von Facebook – Share ideas, brainstorming and other tools for collaboration. Facebook’s comprehensive tool offers a variety of functionalities to manage companies and projects.
- ZenHub – This agile project management tool is especially suited for programmers who use GitHub.
Also other tools should be set up, which bring security, simplicity and also more comfort in the working day for home office.
Especially when working with remote teams or home office staff, the security of passwords is crucial. Here are the best tools for password management.
- 1Password – A simple and comprehensive tool which offers various functionalities to increase security and passwords.
- Dashlane – Manage passwords automatically and intelligently and make them accessible in one place.
- LastPass – As the name suggests, it manages all other passwords with just one password.
- RoboForm – Password Manager, which manages all passwords centrally.
- Zoho Vault – The password management tool from Zoho Suite which is specially designed for teams.
If you are dependent on time recording such as agencies or if you work together with external service providers, then it is advisable to introduce time recording software.
- Clockify – Free tool which helps to track times with a simple time tracking tool and an app. Unlimited users are free.
- Harvest – One of the best known tools for the time recording of employees including evaluations and insights.
- Pendolum – Simple and free time recording tool which also allows evaluations and insights.
Process Automation and Workflow Management
If you want to automate certain processes, because otherwise it would be too exhausting, then there are great possibilities from various software manufacturers.
- KiSSFLOW – A workflow and especially business process management tool that helps to automate and map processes.
- IFTTT – With this service, various services can be combined and processes automated.
- Integrify – Increase productivity and also improve the customer experience by automating certain processes.
- Pipefy – Simple platform with which the teams can quickly and efficiently map the processes.
- ProcessMaker – Drag-and-drop functionality helps to map and optimize business processes quickly and easily.
- Zapier – Connect and automate apps and programs in one platform
- Zoho Creator – Zoho’s Creator Tool can also be used to automate workflows and improve routine tasks.
People who work in the home office usually do not give feedback as directly as if they were in the office. Various software services help to obtain feedback online and anonymously.
- 15Five – Simple and fast employee feedback request.
- Officevibe – Obtain feedback from employees and quickly identify problem areas
- Perflo – Improve performance in teams and also identify opportunities for improvement
- Selleo Merit Money Service – Peer-to-peer feedback management software which allows employees to provide each other with kudos, feedback etc.
- Videoask – A simple but efficient tool to ask for feedback.
Other usefull Tools
For the remaining tools there is no clear category but they are good and above all simple tools that make the home office workday easier.
- Apple Sidecar – Simply turn the iPad into a second screen
- LibreOffice – Open Source Microsoft Office alternative to NULL costs
- Google Drive – Organize and share files online
- Skitch by Evernote – Simply scan notes directly
- Teamviewer – Very important especially for IT support. So you can easily remote control computers.
- Todoist – Simple smart to-do list
- Timezone.io – Simply view and manage time zones internationally
I hope you were able to find all the tools for your business. We also hope that some solutions will help you to make home office and remote work easier and more efficient.