Before I go into talking about communication services, I have to talk about the elephant in the room, Zoom and all the controversy that is around it. We here also used zoom for some time and we actually were satisfied with its performance, but I believe when there already exist so many other well known and established alternatives, risking your data with one like zoom may not be the best decision you make. The amount of data leaks and over-sights that happened on the service was more than enough to steer us away from using it any more and made us move to other platforms. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the rest of the list.
Whereby is one of the easiest ones out there to use and has been a favorite of us here for a long time up until recently that we decided to move to Skype. Whereby has a very simple and clean UI. Creating rooms and then sharing that room with others is as simple as creating a custom link and then sharing that link with others. You don’t even need to be subscribed to use the platform! You can have rooms with 4 participants in a free plan and then it goes up to 50 based on the plan you choose. Chatting and screen sharing are also included as standard and the ability to record your sessions is included in paid plans. Whereby can be accessed through your browser, which makes it very versatile, and also both on Android and iOS if you want to use it on your phone.
Google Hangouts is one of the older ones here and being a Google service, it must have been a great success to last this long, considering Google’s track record at killing services left and right! Hangouts provide you with a group chat platform to communicate via messaging, voice, and video. Group chats can go up to 250 people and video calls are limited up to 10 people. You can also record your sessions using the meeting recording function. To join a Google Hangouts meeting, you can use a shared link which makes things much easier and straightforward. Another neat way to join meetings is right from the Google Calendar invitation, making scheduled meetings easier to organize.
Skype might be one of the oldest and most well-known communication services out there that is still going strong! Skype which is currently owned by Microsoft, is a perfect blend of voice, video, and instant messaging. With skype you can easily set up video conferencing sessions and then start talking with your colleagues, sending them files or share your screen with them if you want to do a presentation. Of course, skype has some fun parts to it too like animated emojis, support for GIFs, and reactions that you can use while live in a video. Skype is our current communication service of choice and I do not believe we will leave it for a better one anytime soon!
When working remotely, keeping track of tasks and projects will become a bit trickier to handle. Fortunately, there is a big list of Task and Project Management services out there that can help you stay on track and focused on your work. We also have made a list of Best Task and Project Management Services which we believe can help you with your work. But here I’m gonna talk about the one we use personally, and also a service that can work as a complement next to it.
Jira has been a long time tool in our arsenal and has helped us stay “agile” perfectly! Tasks and Stories are all set and imported into the backlog which works like a vault full of things that we know we must do in the near or far future. Next, when it is time, each task will be moved out of the backlog and into the main board and then assigned to each individual to be taken care of. Boards have the flexibility of being customized based on the needs and workflow of each team. For example, on the teams that I am active on, getting the work done for a written blog has a whole different workflow journey compared to the process of creating a video! On Jira, each step of the workflow is presented as a column which is filled with cards representing a task. This form of presentation makes the follow up process really easy and intuitive both for team managers and team members working on the project. Jira also has the ability to notify team members who are working on each task either by email or more conveniently by a notification on the phone through its mobile app which is both available for iOS and Android. In general, Jira has been a great task and project management tool for our team and I can not suggest it enough!
OK, Miro in of itself is not a task and project management service, far from it. But using it as a complementary service to a task and project management service can be beneficial. The way we use it in our team is as an open board for the flying ideas and suggestions which might get lost in time and busy work otherwise. See Miro as a whiteboard ready to be filled with ideas or even light task managing work. Miro is extremely versatile and easy to use and I believe it has been an almost necessary cog in the running machine of our team.
File Storage and Transfer
Sharing files with colleagues can become very important for many different scenarios. Every project includes different assets that may need to be accessed by more than one person at a time or may need to be reviewed by different individuals. Using cloud storage services is the obvious choice in these situations. There are many reputable brand names that offer cloud storage solutions like Google Drive and Dropbox. I personally believe you can not go wrong with either of these options and they both work great for your general needs.
But there is another solution that we use which is more suitable for one-off file sharing situations. For example, you just want to send a file off to your colleague and you do not care much about safely storing it for the future. In these instances, we use a service called Wetransfer. All you need to do with Wetransfer is to upload your file to their platform and then get a shareable link for it that you can give to your co-workers to then download. Easy and straightforward procedure!
We are living in an age that working remotely is easier than ever. There exist so many different services that can help all sorts of teams to have members working from any part of the globe and still stay in line as if they are sitting next to each other. I personally am a big fan of this trend cuz it gives me the chance to stay creative and productive on my own terms!