Telecommuting, remote work and flex schedules are rising in popularity. On a recent webinar, Out of the Office: Tips and Best Practices for Working Remotely, Kristin Thomas of FlexJobs shared some impressive stats on the increase in remote work:
• Telecommuting increased 80% from 2005 to 2012
• FlexJobs saw a 26% increase in remote jobs posted in 2014 over 2013
• 64 million U.S employees (50% of the workforce) have jobs that are remote-compatible
• 83% of HR professionals said telecommuting would be more prevalent in the next five years
• 34 million people “occasionally” telecommute. This is expected to swell to 63 million by 2016.
In Improving Your Remote Work Experience, we shared some checklists and tips for remote workers as well as tips for their colleagues and managers. During the webinar, Abby Wall of ReadyTalk, shared some great technology tools that help be a successful remote employee.
Here’s our list of top technology tools for remote work. We’ve suggested categories of tools and a few in that category but keep in mind, there are lots of options out there:
• Audio and Web Conferencing: Hosting and joining audio and web meetings should be easy and should start quickly. Look for tools that integrate with your other tools, like Outlook, Google and Salesforce. Example: ReadyTalk
• Instant Messenger: Allows you to quickly chat online with colleagues. Examples: Jabber and Peer.im
• File Sharing: Whether in the office or out, employees need to be able to access and share files. Examples: Dropbox, ownCloud, and Box
• Group Calendars: Syncing up schedules can be a challenge. Having shared calendars can often help. Examples: Google Calendars and TeamUp
• Private Social Networks: Private social networks ensure you always have a space to share photos, collaborate on a group project. It can aide in keeping colleagues connected on personal and professional levels. Examples: Yammer, Tibbr, and Jive
• Time Management: Without the distractions of an office, remote employees can lose track of just how long they’ve been working on a task or project. There are apps to help. Examples: Rescue Time, Remember the Milk and Focus Booster
• Project Management: Keep a major project moving forward can be a challenge whether you’re in the office or not. These apps keep everyone on the same page. Examples: Basecamp, Jira, Trello
• Note Taking: If you work remotely or on the go, a cloud-based note taking app can be extremely helpful for sync notes across multiple devices at any time. Examples: Evernote and OneNote
• Time Zone Converter: If your team is located internationally, bookmark a time zone converter to ensure that you’re not scheduling a meeting in the middle of the night. Example: timeanddate.com
• Other Enterprise Tools: Depending on your business and your profession, you may need access to a variety of other tools, such as Salesforce (CRM), Hootsuite (Social Media Management) and others.
For more on working with remote colleagues, check out the recording from the webinar, Out of the Office: Tips and Best Practices for Working Remotely.