Everything You Need To Be a Remote Worker: HipChat, Vox.me And Some Hardware


Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had to work from the beach, under the summer sun, sipping some cocktails? You’re probably sitting in your office now, counting the time until you’ll go home and take a nap, right?

However, if you’re working in a virtual company, where a classical office isn’t necessary for you to get the work done, you might be in luck. All you need to do your work is a computer, Internet connection and some specialized tools and services. Of course, a great location is an additional bonus.

HipChat

HipChat is a great service which works like a modern IRC chat. Download the desktop application, create rooms and stay in touch with your coworkers. There are mobile applications (with push notifications!) and a web interface as well. Chat history is great for remembering the details of a specific conversation and the extra smiley faces will help to keep a good mood in a chat room.

HipChat

You can try HipChat for free, and if you think you need some extra features, check out their plans and pricing. Freemium model, such a wonderful thing!

Vox.me

Why download a client application for various VoIP services when you can do the same right from your browser? Vox.me is a startup that wants to revolutionize the way phone works over the Internet. It’s a browser based tool, so you d0n’t have to download client applications and install them – just register online and find the person who you want to call.

Even better, if you want to have a one-time call with someone, create a Vox.me link, send it to them and once the call starts, the link renders invalid. If you want to keep everything in the cloud, including your VoIP calls, Vox.me is a tool you’ll love!

Vox.me

Remember The Milk

Task management is a requirement and it’s crucial to have this done the right way. You don’t have an office, whiteboards and big desks for your brainstorming sessions, so whatever you and your coworkers agree via Skype or HipChat, transfer the tasks into a task management software. One of the best out there is Remember The Milk, with its web and mobile applications, synchronization, shared lists and smart lists.

Think of the smart list like it’s a saved search. You can tag your tasks, prioritize them, add them notes, URL’s, due date… And search by all of those terms. If you’re into lifehacking, time management and GTD, find out more about Covey’s Time Management Matrix and you can easily implement it into RTM in the form of the smart list.

Remember The Milk

Inbox is also a great feature; have your coworkers send you your tasks via email to a unique RTM email address and everything will be waiting for you in the Inbox list.

Google Apps

Google Apps is a set of office applications, by Google of course. Gmail, Calendar, Documents; these are the tools that will keep your business rolling. Google Docs are especially useful for creating a shared document and writing notes in it while other coworkers (or clients) are watching or even helping you live with the text.

Google Apps

Since almost all of your data will be in Google’s cloud, it would be a good thing to back up your Google Apps account frequently.

Dropbox

In your work there will be files that need backup, sharing with coworkers and/or clients and in general – you’ll need a data server of some sort. Corporate FTP servers are history, welcome to the cloud era where you can get some free space for your files with Dropbox. Everything you put in it will be automagically uploaded to the cloud and once it’s done, you can share it with anyone you want. There’s also a web access to your files and mobile applications, and if you need more space, just upgrade to 50 or 100 GB plans.

Dropbox

If you’re worried about uploading sensitive and secret data to the cloud, you can use TrueCrypt with Dropbox to make everything more secure.

Evernote

Evernote is a powerful tool for all of note taking geeks. It stores its data in the cloud as well and everything you write in it is available in the web interface. You can even create so-called local notebooks which won’t get synced with the Evernote’s servers. However, there’s a team component in it – create a notebook and share it with your coworkers! This is available for premium users only, but it might be useful if Google Docs don’t work for you much.

Evernote

Smartphone

Let’s talk hardware now. Smartphone is an absolute must have if you’re a remote worker. Since you’re not bound to an office, you might get something done and head out for a cup of coffee in your favorite bar. While you’re enjoying your beverage, a ton of emails arrive. Why not answer them right from the coffee shop? That’s the point of remote working; you don’t have to be in your room/home office, but you should be available to your team (at least during working hours).

Don’t forget that a lot of the apps your team will use will rely on mobile apps as well. So if you don’t own it already, it’s time to get a smartphone. Android or an iPhone – your pick.

3G Data Plan

Smartphones are worthless if you don’t have some sort of data plan with your carrier. Prices today are much more affordable than before and there’s really no excuse to not have one and be online even when there’s no Wi-Fi. Also, you look quite unprofessional if your online status (and by status I mean availability) depends on something like Wi-Fi.

Laptop

While smartphones can handle some emails, for getting the real job done you’ll still need a bigger screen and a keyboard. Get yourself a laptop, netbook or whatever you want to call it, just have some additional computing power with you.

Power Sources

Since you’re able to move to different locations during the day, week or a month, make sure you have your power with you. My backpack always has a power extension cord – I don’t want to get into a room (at a conference) and find out there are no available power outlets for me. This way I can easily plug my gadgets in and still have the room for one more.

Extra batteries for your computer or smartphone? Why not. 3G USB stick with an extra SIM card? Of course. Hate plugging out your laptop’s power cord from under the desk every time you’re going somewhere? Get one which will be with you in your backpack all the time!

Do you work remotely or in an office? Got any more tips for remote ones?

Author:

Nikola Krajacic

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