So lots of people are now working at home (WFH) 100% of the time. Hopefully if this is actually the case for you, it is possible to maintain productivity and stay positive through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most of us are accustomed to living the entrepreneur life from the home office, it’s still a large adjustment to possess to self-isolate and stop all face-to-face interactions with coworkers and clients.
I encourage you to use this time to take a closer look at your overall business goals, focus on your wellbeing (both physical and mental) and self-care, and enjoy some family time in the home.
I think many small enterprises are having to pivot their online marketing strategy, and what they do when the coronavirus passes could look quite not the same as what they did before.
I wanted to share some useful tech tools that may make your day-to-day WFH life easier.
Team Communication Tools
This is most likely the biggest WFH product decision you need to make. Your team requires a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lets them instantly message coworkers. The correct one for you depends on your business needs and challenges, team size and budget.
1. You may have heard about Slack. This tool gives you the ability to create channels around multiple topics and invite users. From marketing content suggestions to social media marketing tactics to office dog photos, your team can create relevant channels for easy chat and collaboration.
In addition, it integrates with many useful tools, including Outlook Calendar, Twitter, HubSpot and Salesforce, so that you can see what’s going on at all times right in the Slack app (you don’t need to click in and out of your daily calendar or Twitter feed, for instance). There are SO MANY fun and creative emojis you need to use too, making remote messaging in a challenging time like this a little more lighthearted.
2. Another popular platform is Discord. Favored by gamers, this voice, video and text tool isn’t just for talking to coworkers, but for finding like-minded communities and new friends. It is possible to create “servers” and “channels” for specific topics, similarly like you do for Slack channels. While Slack has more business integrations, Discord has voice channels, so that you can easily chat with team members. Discord also enables you to set user roles and permissions.
3. Flock is really a cloud-based team communication tool with video and audio calling, screen sharing, text chat, integration with other business applications and much more. It is possible to tag colleagues in comments and to-do lists, upload documents, images and videos and set reminders and payment dates. Polls, code snippet sharing and group discussions can be found, also it integrates with other apps such as Trello, Github, Google Drive and Asana.
Team Collaboration Tools
Your employees must be in a position to share their work, whether they’re creating on a marketing strategy or editing a news release. Here are a few that might fit your small business needs.
1. G Suite is really a Google product that’s made up of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products. In a single suite of tools, it provides email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation decks, shared calendars, cloud storage, and much more.
You can comment and make suggestions about specific documents through Google Sheets and Docs, edit documents online simultaneously and collaborate on projects and documents. It’s easy to give users permission to specific files.
2. Evernote: This is greater than a note-taking app. Evernote helps you capture, prioritize and share ideas, track projects and to-do lists. I find it super helpful for note-taking, obviously, but also as a sort of “digital filing cabinet” that simplifies organization. There’s a free, basic and business package available.
CRM stands for “customer relationship management,” and CRM tools help you with things such as inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking and eNewsletter delivery. Here are three to consider:
1. MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing platform with tools to create from emails to postcards. They have a great selection of templates to choose from that may then be further modified to suit your brand. Their intuitive interface and thorough reporting are excellent, but things can get expensive as your subscriber list or amount of emails increase. You can compare their different plans on their website.
2. Constant Contact has always been a large rival with MailChimp to be the brand name in email marketing. It’s a huge company and a great option if Facebook is really a big part of your online marketing strategy. Constant Contact has an email option that is designed so users can simply share your newsletter on Facebook.
This option can be viewed as the most social media-friendly and contains all the major features of the others noted. If your web marketing involves Hootsuite (it is possible to integrate this into Hootsuite) and you focus your efforts on gaining traction on social media then this is a great newsletter tool for you.
3. AWeber is an extremely popular option and recommended by many professional marketing companies. It offers you five plans to pick from and more information on features such as unlimited email marketing campaigns, follow-ups, lists and Auto Responders.
Lots of people believe their Auto Responder platform is superior to other companies, allowing businesses to automate the procedure of delivering personalized emails to customers on a schedule.
Project Management Tools
A collaborative task management tool lets everyone track and manage all of their projects. Think of it as an online scheduler, taskmaster, and collaboration tool to control your team’s workflows.
1. Asana is probably the leading tools and gets lots of positive feedback. It allows everyone on your team to follow the complete workflow of a project within an easy visual tool. You’ll always know where your team reaches and who’s responsible for what and when.
From daily reminders on a task that’s due, to the capability to easily add collaborators or assign teammates a sub-task of a project, Asana helps it be easy to see what everyone’s day, week and month appears like (but you can simply move things around if plans change).
2. Monday.com is really a pretty simple, intuitive visual team management tool (it’s rather a project management platform). It runs processes, workflows, and projects in one digital workspace. Visually, it looks the same as a collection of very customized spreadsheets, where every team member can log their tasks and update them with status reports and other relevant information.
That means that every person can see all active tasks and keep depend on their progress. Team members could work on multiple projects without getting lost through the use of Monday’s weekly overview. The workflow can be customized virtually any way you need it to communicate priority, what’s done, not done and so forth. The colourful designs and big buttons don’t hurt either!
Social Media Management Tools
Many small businesses will curently have a social media management tool set up. A social media management tool allows you to manage all of your accounts in one dashboard, which saves you both time and frustration. These tools share your content at the best possible times throughout the day, which means that your followers and fans see your updates more often. Leveling bot ‘s a smarter and much more efficient solution to schedule and share your social media posts.
The best part about these tools may be the built-in analytics system, that will provide you with a glimpse into what’s performing well, and when your social media marketing posts are making the most impact.
Here are two social media management tools I take advantage of:
1. Buffer shows your scheduled posts and analytics (how in-depth those analytics get depends upon the plan you choose). Many small business owners choose Buffer due to the sleek, clean interface that’s easy for beginners to obtain the hang of.
2. I discover that while Buffer is ideal for less demanding social media marketing needs, Hootsuite is where it’s at to be able to see your timelines, replies, and much more across all your social networks.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer free and paid plans, so that you can always try them out and see which one feels like an improved fit for your small company.
And while it’s not an instrument your entire workforce might use, I’m liking MoneyMinderOnline of these uncertain times. It not only gives you a location to track your spending, but you also get insights into your spending habits, and you can look ahead to enhance your cash flow, clear your financial troubles, and start saving for your big goals.
I hope I’ve given you a synopsis of some tools that will assist boost your team’s productivity and morale while you’re all working from home. You may even benefit from our article on boosting business efficiency on our website.
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is really a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Advisor. She works together with entrepreneurs who struggle with getting the insufficient knowledge, skill and support needed to create their web business presence.
As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can concentrate on building their business with reassurance at having a perfect support system in place to steer them every step of just how.