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Hackernoon logo4 Critical Tools to Stay Organized and on Top of Remote Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic by@EngageBay

4 Critical Tools to Stay Organized and on Top of Remote Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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@EngageBayEngageBay Inc.

Head of Marketing @EngageBay

We are living in an unprecedented time in our society. All around the world, people are on lockdown in their homes, unable to leave except to buy groceries and supplies. Millions of businesses have shut down, some possibly never to reopen. 

You’re lucky enough that your company allows for remote work. However, working from home–especially if you’ve never done it before–brings with it its own unique set of challenges. How do you keep focused and motivated at a time like this? What methods do you have to stay in touch with colleagues and your boss? How do you remain on top of your tasks with your anxiety about COVID-19? 

In today’s article, we’re presenting our list of four critical tools you don’t want to go without when remote working right now. These tools will help you keep up on communication, tackle your to-do list, and feel a little less professionally isolated during the pandemic. 

Zoom

Our first recommended tool is Zoom, a video communications platform for webinars, web conferences, and video conferences. You and your remote team can all download Zoom, log in, and schedule a meeting. Users are supported on all sorts of devices, from mobile phones, laptops, and tablets to desktop computers. 

To keep everyone in attendance on-schedule, you can send meeting reminds on iCal, Gmail, or Outlook. All video is in HD quality, even if you have up to 49 videos shown on-screen or have 1,000 participants at once.

If you want to show your fellow colleagues what you’ve been up to, use the screen share feature. Team chat lets you communicate via text while the video meeting is ongoing. Zoom also allows you to record your video meetings when someone hits the record button. After the meeting wraps up, the video is sent to a Zoom folder on your computer.

Zoom relies on end-to-end encryption as well as waiting rooms, passwords, and role-based user security for your safety. 

You have your pick of four Zoom pricing plans. The free plan lets you hold meetings for up to 40 minutes with 100 people, but you can host as many meetings as you want. 

The Pro plan is priced at $14.99 a month per host. You get Skype for Business interoperability, M4A or MP4 cloud recording (a gigabyte’s worth), custom personal meeting IDs, and reporting. You can also stretch your meetings to 24 hours.

The Business plan is $19.99 a month per host. This tacks on extra features like cloud recording transcripts, LTI integrations, company branding, and managed domains. You also get a vanity URL, your own admin dashboard, phone support, and access to 300 participants. 

For the biggest businesses, the Enterprise plan costs $19.99 a month per host. This lets you use all previous features as well as executive business reviews, a dedicated customer success manager, and unlimited cloud storage. You can support 500 participants per meeting as well. 

Slack

With your video meetings covered, for the everyday communications that would normally happen at the cubicles, there’s Slack. Thousands of professionals use Slack for project management, human resources, customer support, marketing, IT, sales, financial services, engineering, distance learning, and remote work.

Slack utilizes a channel-based workflow, allowing you to have ongoing instant-message-like chats with colleagues, managers, your boss, and anyone else within your company. A searchable archive lets you quickly find the information you’re looking for without combing through weeks of chat history. 

If you only want to communicate with one or two people, such as for a private work matter, you can select who sees which messages you send out. Slack keeps your messages secure with Slack Enterprise Key Management and other encryptions. Also, domain claiming and single sign-ons prevent your proprietary information from getting into the wrong hands. 

Slack offers four pricing plans. The free plan lets you use 1:1 video and voice calls with up to 10 integrations. You can also keep your 10,000 most recent messages.

The Standard plan costs $6.67 a month. Besides the above, it includes video and group voice calls with 15 participants, unlimited integrations, and full message history. Upgrading to the Plus plan for $12.50 a month gets you 24/7 support and advanced identity management.

There’s also an Enterprise Grid plan with tailored support for 500,000 colleagues that features compliance and security that’s considered “enterprise-grade.” This plan has custom pricing. 

Asana

If you’re looking for a remote tool to assign and manage tasks, you should try Asana. Create visual workflows that take a project’s status from conception to in-progress to completed and paid. With the Timeline feature, you can make a project plan so you never have to worry about missing deadlines. 

Automation within Asana makes it easier than ever to assign tasks and check on their progress. With Custom Rules, there’s no questioning the processes you establish unless or until you want them to change. Asana says this can save the average businessperson 70 steps every week, which means more time you can use on other work.

All your favorite tools and apps integrate with Asana, more than 100 in total. Some of these include Gmail, Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office, Slack, Google Calendar, Zapier, Salesforce, Dropbox, Trello, and MailChimp. 

Like the other tools on this list, you get four plans to pick from with Asana. The Basic plan is free. It includes some integrations, 15 team collaborations, due dates and assignees, a calendar view, board view, list view, and tasks. 

If you need more, the Premium plan costs $10.99 a month per user. It adds such features as private projects and teams, an admin console, milestones and rules, custom fields, and advanced reporting and search.

The Business plan is $24.99 per month per user, tacking on even more features. You get further integrations, lock custom fields, approvals, the custom rule builder, proofing, workloads, and a portfolio. 

For everything Asana has, there’s the Enterprise plan with custom pricing. It adds priority support, custom branding, block native integrations, data deletion and exports, and user provisions to your account. 

EngageBay

While times are lean financially, since your business is still in operation, you of course want to make money. That means taking the time to focus on your marketing and sales efforts. This brings us to our last recommended tool for remote workers: EngageBay.

EngageBay is a comprehensive, all-in-one sales and marketing suite with customer relationship management or CRM. In the Service Bay, you can focus on your customer experience with EngageBay’s helpdesk software. Here you will find features like reports, custom ticketing, service automation, and live chat software.

In the CRM and Sales Bay, you can focus on targeting the right customers. Features include deal management, lead scoring, and EngageBay’s 360-degree customer view. You can also take advantage of the free CRM, which you never have to pay for, even if that’s all you use from EngageBay.

The Marketing Bay is for all your promotional needs, with email templates, SMS marketing, contact segmenting, inbound marketing, web forms, and landing pages. You can also set up marketing automation for more efficient task completion without your manual effort.

EngageBay has four pricing plans. The free plan gives you 1,000 branded emails and 1,000 contacts as well as features like live chat, a helpdesk, CRM, landing pages, autoresponders, and email marketing.

The second most inexpensive plan, Basic, costs $8.99 per month per user. Send up to 10,000 branded emails and have 15,000 contacts. You also gain access to the social suite, integrations, SMS marketing, lead scoring, web pop-ups, and email templates. 

The Growth plan at $29.99 a month per user expands to 25,000 branded emails and 50,000 contacts. Besides the features of the prior two plans, you also get service automation, call records, A/B testing, a custom domain, and marketing automation.

For $49.99 a month per user, the Pro plan is the most comprehensive. You have 50,000 branded emails and unlimited contacts to work with. As well as every other feature listed, this plan also includes phone support, a dedicated account manager, custom reporting, role management, and analytics. 

Conclusion 

As the world around us continues to change every single day due to this pandemic, it can be hard to organize your thoughts and your tasks. The four tools we recommended in this article are critical in staying organized and productive.

Zoom will let you see your coworkers again, even as you all engage in social distancing. Slack keeps the communications going after the meeting while Asana lets you receive and assign tasks to keep busy. With EngageBay, your marketing and sales tactics can stay as strong and sharp as ever.

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