Whether you’re responding to emails from your phone while out and about, working from a coffee shop for the day, or simply engaging with co-workers in a different city, most of us find ourselves “working remotely” in one way or another.
We sat with BillionMinds co-founders Paul Slater and Ryan Tubbs to discuss how work has changed, how HR teams are responding, and the critical skills needed to master remote work. We also asked remote workers on Reddit about their must-haves to create our ultimate remote work toolkit.
What is remote working?
Remote working means doing your job from a location other than your company’s central office. With an endless supply of collaboration tools for remote teams and the cost-saving benefits of remote work, many companies are opting for fully-remote or hybrid work environments since it’s possible to work from anywhere.
According to BillionMinds research, most people don’t do remote work well, but there’s something to learn from the 10% that do.
“We discovered that people who do remote work well are better at maintaining organization, control, motivation, balance, and resilience,” Slater said. “When managers know employees have these skills, they can trust their teams to get work done.”
How to work remotely with excellence
Slater and Tubbs say you must be intentional about being good at remote work by optimizing your home office space, focusing on your well-being, and staying organized.
“Building effective remote work habits benefits employees on a personal level and is a better approach for employers facing the challenge of managing a more ambiguous, less structured, distributed workforce,” Tubbs said. “From an HR perspective, you want to know your remote team is productive, and you might be worried people will quit if you force them back into the office.”
The BillionMinds behavioral science-based approach to mastering remote work focuses on helping individuals develop a personalized approach to organization, take control of their workday, stay motivated and engaged, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and build resilience to adapt as things change rapidly.
Slater says that developing these skills and focusing on personal well-being will help individuals be more productive and fulfilled in work and life.
Of course, these skills go hand-in-hand with having the right tools. Our remote worker toolkit includes products, software, services, and snacks that help engage remote employees, keep teams organized, upgrade a home office, and enhance the work-from-anywhere experience.
- Tech & equipment
- Collaboration tools for remote teams
- Home office
- Snacks & drinks
Tech & equipment
Collaboration tools for remote teams
As one of our top picks for project management software, GanttPro is an easy-to-learn, cloud-based tool that makes tracking projects easier for distributed teams. We think it’s “Best for Beginners” because of its low learning curve and robust customer support options. Users get several project views, tracking and scheduling tools, and the ability to create, assign, and set milestones for tasks. Team members can leave comments and upload files for other team members, making collaboration a breeze.
BillionMinds uses behavioral science and experiential learning to help employees develop and refine their habits no matter where they work. Managers and HR teams can build trust with remote workers knowing they’re equipped with the skills and habits needed to do remote work well. BillionMinds Remote Work Certification Programs allows organizations to measure that their employees and managers have the skills they need. Individuals can sign up with BillionMinds for free, and HR professionals can schedule a demo to learn more about incorporating BillionMinds into their remote workforce.
GoToConnect is a great all-in-one small business phone system solution. We included it in our toolkit because it’s nearly impossible to get anything done without a tool like GoToConnect that lets you call and video conference with your remote team. A cloud-based phone system with meetings and messaging built in, it’s designed for flexible work, easy to set up, and allows you to make calls from anywhere.
What’s included: Slack Pro has all the benefits of the free plan plus unlimited message history, apps and integrations, voice huddles, and securely connecting to other companies via Slack Connect channels. The free version is good enough for many startups, with Pro pricing depending on the number of users, about $261/year assuming 3 users.
Slack is the LinkedIn of messaging apps – it’s for work. When you need an app to keep all your team communications in one place, Slack is great because it’s easy to use and integrates with popular apps like Google Drive, Zoom, Dropbox, and hundreds more. You can use Slack in your browser or download the Slack desktop and mobile apps to send and receive messages from any device. The free version will get small teams pretty far, but if you want to collaborate with other companies using Slack Connect channels or get unlimited message history and integrations, you’ll need to upgrade to at least the Pro edition.
Finally, collaboration is made easier with contract management software. In a recent survey we conducted, contract management software users favor DocuSign CLM due to its ease of taking complex contracts and getting them into every party’s hands quickly and efficiently. The contract management software is also praised for streamlining and automating processes, helping users identify when renewal dates are coming up, locating specific words or phrases in contracts, and identifying where in the line a contract is being held up to keep it moving smoothly. Check out our contract management software reviews to see other vendors we recommend.
When it comes to home office printers, we think it’s better to have a laserjet than inkjet because it’s faster, cheaper per page, and works without fussing. Jets in ink printers can get clogged and require keeping refill cartridges on hand. When you mostly need black and white copies, we say the HP LaserJet MFP M140we All-in-One Wireless Black & White Printer is the way to go.
Snacks & Drinks
The ElfAnt adjustable laptop stand’s lightweight and portable design makes it easy to set up shop from anywhere. You can adjust the height to get the best visual level for your screen, and reviewers love how easy it is to transport while still being sturdy enough to support bigger screens. It works best if you pair it with a wireless mouse and keyboard, and it’s compatible with many devices, including MacBook Air/ Pro, Google Pixelbook, Dell XPS, HP, ASUS, Lenovo ThinkPad, Acer, Chromebook, Samsung, Tablet & iPad.
What’s included: The Xebec Tri-Screen 2, 2 USB-C to USB-C 90-degree cables, 2 USB-A to USB-C adapters, 1 USB-C extension cable, 2 mini-HDMI to HDMI cables, and USB-C 90-degree pass-through charging adapter. Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, and more for $499.
Sure, you can use a stylus to draw or take notes on your tablet, but nothing compares to reMarkable’s paper tablet if you’re seeking that pen-to-paper experience. ReMarkable offers a paper-like reading experience without the backlight or glare you get with LCD screens. You can convert handwritten notes to typed text, read and review documents, and take notes directly on PDFs – which is especially handy if you don’t have a home office printer.
When you add a Connect subscription, your notes and documents are synced online via the reMarkable unlimited cloud storage service. If you don’t subscribe to Connect, your notes will still be stored locally on your reMarkable tablet, and files used and synced online will be stored in the cloud and updated in reMarkable’s apps for up to 50 days.
If you’re in a hybrid work situation or are ready to take the digital nomad lifestyle more seriously, the Brompton folding bicycle is a great way to get from one workspace to another. It weighs only 26.7 pounds and folds up, making the transition from home office to coffee shop to office or local co-working space super easy.