Thanks to the Internet, working from home is now a real alternative to a regular office job. No longer do you need to show up physically to collaborate with others, as there is a plethora of software tools and services available to assist you. Some are free, others paid, but they all have one thing in common: they enable a team to work together even if they’re located in completely different parts of the world.
Here are a few of our favorite solutions:
This program probably doesn’t need much of an introduction, as it’s become the gold standard of online communication. Whether you want to exchange instant messages, call people on the phone, or participate in video chat or conferences, Skype is there to help. Communicating with other Skype users is also completely free and it’s available for a number of different platforms.
Sooner or later you’ll want to share files with other members of your team, and Dropbox is one of the easiest and fastest ways to do it. It’s a form of “cloud storage”, which in practice means a folder on your computer that is also shared with other members of your team. When you change a file, everyone sees the change and gets the updated version immediately. If you don’t need much storage space it’s also free to use.
Working in a team you may run into a situation where you need a good project management solution. There are tons of them available online, but none is as well known as Basecamp, which has been around for many years. It has a slim, fast interface and all the necessary features to stay productive and keep everyone in the team updated on what’s happening in your project. It’s not free, but there is a free trial you can use to see whether it suits your needs or not.
If you regularly find yourself collaborating on documents or spreadsheets, consider switching from your regular office suite to something like Google Docs. It works just like your regular office programs, but is hosted completely in the cloud. You invite members of your team, give them access to the documents they should be able to edit, and off you go! It’s very easy to use, has most of the basic features (but lacks some compared to full-fledged office suites) and best of all, it’s completely free to use.