You might be tempted to call 2020 the year of remote work. But I’d go ahead and make the bet that 2020 is the year of the start of remote work. It’s not going away any time soon. Not even after the pandemic ends.
Working remotely means leveraging game-changing and innovative tools to get our work done for our clients. Many freelancers are digital nomads, meaning that they work from different parts of the world – and in different time zones – than many of their clients. Their travels are typically funded by their freelance work.
Of course, most people aren’t working from home right now. But the tools that digital nomads use while traveling can currently be leveraged by all remote workers to be successful. We’ve put together a list of the eight most important tools that all remote workers and freelancers need today.
Video Conference Software
Zoom exhaustion, anyone? Yes, I had to get the most obvious one out of the way first.
Video meetings are now the norm—everyone from schoolchildren to business executives are using a variety of video conferencing platforms to get work done and have discussions. Though most of us can’t currently meet with our clients in person (and often don’t, regardless), having access to software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams is the closest thing we can get and a must in today’s working environment.
Time Tracking Software
Toggl is a free service that freelancers can use to keep track of the time they spend working on projects. Knowing how much time you spend working is critical for both accurately billing your clients and increasing productivity.
Google Drive is a great tool for freelancers and remote workers to organize all of their documents for free and without fear of losing them due to any sort of desktop crash or malfunction. It’s an effective form of cloud-based file management and even enables you to share Google Docs (and sheets, slides, etc.) with remote team members and/or clients to work collaboratively.
One of the most – if not the most – important parts of working freelance is ensuring you get paid. This requires invoicing.
Indy is an all-in-one productivity suite that helps you better manage your projects from start to finish—all while working from home. That suite includes invoicing software, so you never miss a beat when it comes to getting paid by your clients.
Kanban-Style Workflow System
It’s an easy way for me to visually see the work I’ve finished, have in progress, and still need to start. It’s great for effective task management and easily tracking projects in real time so I can provide accurate and timely updates to my clients.
We no longer need to study graphic design to create high-quality designs. Canva is an intuitive graphic design tool that anyone can use to make beautiful designs quickly. This works for resumes, social media posts, presentations, ads, and just about anything you can think of.
Writing Assistance Tool
I’m a writer. But I still make mistakes and sometimes find myself writing in overly convoluted language when simple is better. Or I fail to ensure that my emails are well-written before sending.
Grammarly is a lifesaver here. Grammarly is an AI-based writing assistance tool that catches mistakes and helps you improve language across a variety of platforms, like Gmail, Salesforce, and even social media, like Twitter. Keep this tool in your back pocket. It’ll ensure that you don’t make avoidable writing mistakes.
Team Communication Platform (If You Have One)
This one might not apply to all freelancers, but if you work in any sort of virtual team capacity, a team communication tool like Slack can keep everyone on the same page even while everyone works from home.
Slack is a software that enables you to share files, join team chatrooms, private message, and more. It’s an easy way to quickly communicate with anyone on your team at a moment’s notice as long as they are online.
Remote Working in the Digital Age
Even though masks and social distancing will one day be distant memories (I hope!), remote working will not be. These are our favorite eight tools for freelancers and remote workers at the moment, but this list might look completely different in a few years’ time. Be sure to keep up with blogs like TechCrunch or Gizmodo to stay up-to-date with trends in modern business.