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by Melissa Bethany | June 22, 2020


Remote work has long been the preferred way of working for people looking for a better work-life balance. The Covid-19 pandemic has also forced millions of workers to transition from the traditional office to working from home. Whichever remote worker category you fall into, you can only be successful with the right tools. However, most people, especially those new to remote work, don’t have the essential tools for the job. They might have a dedicated video conferencing tool (like Zoom or Skype) and a real-time communication tool (like Slack or Microsoft Teams) but they probably don’t know they need other tools as well—like the five below.

1. Wi-Fi extender

Every remote worker needs an internet connection strong enough to support complex remote collaboration activities, especially video conferencing apps. If you don’t trust the strength of your home Wi-Fi, check with your employer to see if it would cover the cost of a quality Wi-Fi router and the best internet package your region has to offer.

Also, ensure that your workstation is as close to the Wi-Fi router as possible—that’s where your connection will be strongest. However, if the router is located in a high-traffic, distraction-filled area (like your kitchen or living room), you might be forced to set up a temporary home office far from the router, perhaps in a backroom or a basement. The Wi-Fi signal trickling into such an office can be extremely weak, or there might be no signal at all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to boost it using a Wi-Fi extender. If your budget is tight, you can make your own DIY extender using Raspberry Pi 4 and a USB Wi-Fi adapter.

2. Remote desktop app

At times, you’ll need to access information from your office computer, or a colleague’s computer. You might also need to help colleagues troubleshoot something on their computers. You can only make this possible using a remote desktop app. Thankfully, there are many good apps to choose from such as Apple Remote Desktop, Microsoft Remote Desktop, TeamViewer, and Chrome Remote Desktop among others.

3. Whiteboarding and file-sharing tools

Brainstorming on a project has always been an effective way of finding solutions when teams run into problems. In a traditional office, there's usually a whiteboard to script ideas. If the need arises to share screens, it becomes easy since you’re sitting together in the conference room. When working from home, however, whiteboarding and screen sharing can only happen remotely. You’ll need reliable tools for this.

The good news is most video conferencing tools offer these options. If you have Zoom, Slack, TeamViewerMicrosoft Teams, or Skype, you’ll be able to share your screens and whiteboard. Being able to use these tools will enable your team to jointly view the screen of one user and collaborate. This boosts teamwork and fosters new ideas even when located far from each other.

4. Time and project management tools

Working from home is never free of distractions. If you’re not careful, you can easily be dragged off work, which can derail your productivity. Excellent time management is critical if you want to stay productive working from home. The same goes for project management; if you intend to work on a project effectively, it’s important that you’re able to move from one step to the next seamlessly. You’ll need to have dedicated time and project management tools to achieve this.

Great examples include Asana, Basecamp, Toggl, and Everhour, among others. These tools have a lot of features that allow you to list projects and share them with your team. In this way, you can assign tasks to each team member and keep track of what ‘s being completed and what needs to be done. The tools have multiple functionalities that allow you to navigate depending on your project and what you need. Apart from that, most of them have to-do lists and reminders with deadlines which help you keep track of every task.

5. Cybersecurity software

Last but not least, you definitely need to have some security tools that keep you safe from the numerous scams that are out there. While you might be quite aware of what a phishing email looks like, it’s still advisable to have some tools that simply safeguard against malware attacks. Some possible tools you could use are McAfee, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Webroot. Make sure to get one of these as soon as possible, and keep your computer protected.

Melissa Bethany enjoys exercising and taking care of her body. Her hobbies include biking and cycling, and her favorite things to do are reading and writing.