Top 10 Free Cloud-based Apps So Your Team Can Work From Home
Coronavirus has disrupted social and economic systems, creating both risks and opportunities. Opportunity? Working in the cloud is much more efficient than working on local systems that don’t talk to each other.
The Coronavirus wake-up call is an opportunity to shift your company workflow and mindset and get yourself ready for the upcoming “fourth industrial revolution”.
Is your company up to the challenge?
For some, digitizing will be a massive learning curve and for others, a digital world is already the preference. With the threat of #coronavirus forcing companies to send employees home and work remotely, we realize the need to be able to adapt for our own health and safety. Below are useful tools that will help with this transformation.
Firstly, what software is required for you to telecommute?
Software that enables you to work from home includes video or messaging communication apps, cloud storage, project management software and financial control software.
Software is vital when you are not in the same office as the rest of your team and can be useful in other scenarios too, such as having teams in different offices or sites.
Your browser is quite a powerful tool. Did you know that you can run an entire company from your browser?
At ProcurementExpress.com we are uniquely qualified to create a top 10 list, because we are a successful international company with departments scattered all over the world. So we rely on simple and efficient software to make our team efforts successful.
Here is a summary of the top 10 free apps to use:
- Google Apps
- Google Calendar
- Google Meet
- Hubspot CRM
- Online editors
- Chrome Remote Desktop
Working remotely relies on strong communication with your team. Calling your colleague for each question is not practical and can sky-rocket your telephone bill. Slack is an effective tool to message colleagues, send them files to work on and to stay in the loop with what is happening in the rest of the company by chatting on topic-based channels.
Along with communication comes collaboration. For some companies, it is an adjustment to manage their team remotely. Sending emails for each task is the least practical way for effective collaboration, yet 70% of companies rely on emails for their main communication. Plan ahead with due dates, strategize and set tasks for company-wide projects – from anywhere in the world.
Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides are all Integrated into Google – for FREE. This is a massive enhancement from using offline office tools because everyone can work on a Google doc simultaneously in real-time and all collateral are stored online – so no more backups and worries about losing data. You can edit sharing settings to allow Paul to only make suggestions, Eric to only comment on the contents and John to help you to edit your document. Working online doesn’t just refer to creating a digital document (not on paper), it requires a digital document that is specifically hosted on the cloud and gets updated in real-time while users can access it online at any time. File management with Google Drive enables you to share data with your team – with a click of a button.
Another Google-based app is Google Calendar. Using a paper-based calendar on your desk does not give you reminders of upcoming meetings and you don’t know what your colleague’s schedule looks like. This can sometimes make it frustrating to arrange a meeting, or can be very time consuming, because it relies on verbal communication to get in touch with your colleague and find out what their diary looks like. There are a few online calendars out there, such as an Outlook calendar, or Windows 10 comes with a built-in calendar. Google Calendar is already integrated into the entire Google app suite(free or paid) so after setting up your account, you will have a free, all inclusive suite with this feature included. With Google Calendar, organizing your day, based upon your team’s schedule is a breeze, even from a different timezone, as Google does all the hard work for you.
Meet (formerly called Hangouts), also integrated into Google, enables you to do video conferencing with team members and customers – without installing any software. You can add a “Meet” link to your Google calendar, so that when you get your reminder that you have an upcoming meeting, just click on the link while you wait for your colleagues to jump on the call.
Where do you find these Google apps? Simple. Open your chrome browser -> visit www.google.com and sign into your Google account on the top right (or create an account if you have not already). Click on the apps square drop down, then choose the app you want to use.
Need a way to manage purchasing without everyone laying hands on the same piece of paper? No problem. Create POs and get approval from anywhere with this simple purchase order software. This is especially helpful because it eliminates the need to physically go to the office and hand the purchase request to the approver. The app also allows you to upload invoices, delivery notes and collaborate on purchases all in one place. Managers can approve or reject directly from their email and it’s very user-friendly so it’s the perfect solution to manage company spend for the less tech-savvy employees.
Everything you and your team need to organize, track, and build better relationships with leads and customers. Hubspot is like having a file for customer, with all their information available digitally – and it’s free!
Need to edit a PDF? Crop a picture? Compress a massive video or PDF file? Just search for it on Google. Most small tasks like these are available online for free and Google makes them easy to find. For instance, type in, “Edit PDF online”. A few cloud-based apps will pop up which allow you to upload your file and do your edits. Gone are the days that you need to buy and install software for these types of edits.
Need to sign a document? You know the drill – print, sign, scan and email right? Nope. Simply upload your file to docusign and sign it digitally with your mouse cursor, without requiring a single printed paper or a scanner.
Frustrated with your computer at home and need some technical support from the IT team at the office? Use Chrome Remote Desktop. Your IT person can view your PC from their remote location by simply sharing your unique pass-code. They will log in to your PC, analyze and fix the problem while you watch him on your own screen. Check it out.