5 tools for working remotely

Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goals.

 –Mario Andretti

Dealing with a global pandemic also means that we all must learn to adapt to the changes around us and make the best of things. Government issued lockdowns and curfews have led many companies to switch to remote working to ensure that work still gets done. Luckily there many tools available to ease the transition from the office environment to working remotely. Find out about these handy tools in this blog post.


Skype for Business is a trusted enterprise solution designed by Microsoft to enable efficient communication in companies and connects employers, employees and customers effectively around the globe. It combines phone calls, video conferences and messaging services into one entity to increase efficiency and promote business growth.[1]

Some of its features include:[2]

  • HD video streaming
  • High level security through data encryption to protect valuable company data
  • Video conference options that can accommodate up to 250 meeting attendees

A major advantage of this software is that it does away with travel and communication costs with its video conference option. Additionally, the software is secure, very user friendly and portable – it can be accessed on many devices as long as a Wi-Fi connection is available.[3]


Evernote is a free app for your smartphone and computer that stores everything you could possibly imagine losing track of – a boarding pass, receipt or article you want to read. You can create a to do list, or even a simple typed note. The app works brilliantly, keeping everything synchronised between your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The app is also ideal for managing projects and productivity.[4]

For companies, Evernote Business is available and allows teammates or members of a company to access, upload, share and edit notes from any device. This app is especially resourceful for those who are working remotely because it automatically syncs up with all your devices when you add or upload new content. This means that you are not limited or tied to just one machine.[5]


It goes without saying that running a company results in the generation and collection of large amounts of data. Therefore, companies need a safe and reliable place to store all this data – in comes Google Drive.

Google Drive is a cloud-based software application that lets you create, store, and share documents and data from around the world in one place. This is ideal for companies as it enables teams to access files from anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. Additionally, it is possible to edit documents and get replies and feedback and therefore increasing collaborative productivity. It is also protected by SSL encryption that operates on both Gmail and other Google services so you can rest assured that your valuable data is safe.[6]


As an employer, when making the transition to remote working, you’ll want software that can keep track of employee’s work hours, progress and productivity as easily as it’s done in the office.  Hubstaff is a time tracking and work management app built to help teams make the most out of their time, build trust, and provide accountability. 

Once the app is running, it monitors which websites and applications your team is viewing, their screen activity, and how much time they spend at their desktop. It then gathers all this data and creates individual reports for all your employees. Your team members can also track how much time they spent on a particular task or project.[7]


When working from home it can sometimes be difficult to disconnect after a long day of meetings and work tasks. Headspace is a meditation and healthy living app that aims to reduce stress, improve mindfulness, and save remote workers from burn-out. It’s important to step away, especially when working from home.

Studies have shown that taking time to practice stillness and meditate using the Headspace app can increase focus by 13%. Meditation also promotes increased awareness, clarity, compassion, and a sense of calmness.[8]

The right remote work tools will make you and your remote colleagues more productive. They’ll also allow you to experience the human connection of office work, while preserving your freedom to work from home. For any companies making the transition to working remotely, try out these efficient tools to ensure success.

Found this helpful? Try this: Working from home: How to do it successfully

If you’re a manager/business owner check this out: How to manage remote employees: best practices

As Usual, The Manpower Company (TMC) is here to support you and your business through this unprecedented time. With innovative consultancy, guiding you is what we’re here for. Let us know what you need in the comments below or email: info@tmc.ke

Mshimba Michelle

[1] https://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/definition/Skype-for-Business

[2] https://www.nimble.com/blog/skype-for-business/

[3] http://www.freedomcomms.com/blog-post/skype-for-business-advantages-and-disadvantages/

[4] https://lifehacker.com/whats-all-the-fuss-about-evernote-should-i-be-using-it-5964285

[5] https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-evernote-3485736

[6] https://www.goskills.com/Office-Productivity/Articles/Google-Drive-features-review

[7] https://hubstaff.com/faq

[8] https://www.headspace.com/meditation/benefits

How to work from home successfully

Working from home sounds like a dream for many office goers – until you toss in a pandemic  and it’s less exciting. No doubt the change in routine is enough to throw anyone off their productivity game. I searched high and low and threw in some personal experience to bring you the ultimate guide to working from home – successfully.

  1. Pretend you’re going out

A change in routine isn’t an opportunity to slack off. When you get up in the morning, start your day as if you would if you were going to the office. Take a shower, dress like you’re leaving and eat like you’re leaving. Doing this little task will set your day in motion and you’ll kick start your productivity. It’s a lot easier to get into work mode in a suit and tie than in sweatpants and pyjamas.

  1. Separate your workspace from your living space.

Bringing work home is never fun and taking home to work is forbidden. This especially applies when working remotely. Identify a space you’ll make your office during work-time and make sure it’s free of distractions. Most people opt for a dining table or a study. Separating your workspace from your living space is a necessary boundary to successfully work from home. By dividing your space you can easily rest when you need to and work when you’re supposed to. It takes as much discipline to ‘switch on’ as it does to ‘switch off’.

  1. Work when you’re most productive

This is undoubtedly the biggest perk you get when working from home. Naturally, our motivation levels ebb and flow[1]. Learning when your productivity levels peak will allow you to schedule your harder tasks for when you’re most capable of doing them. Save the more routine and easier tasks like answering emails and making calls for when your productivity levels drop. Some people are early risers and can run a marathon first thing in the morning while some can write a thesis at 3am. Find your time and work with it.

  1. Get started early

While we’re not all early risers, getting a start on your work as soon as you wake up is a well-known secret for being productive. If your productivity doesn’t peak until later in the day, that’s fine. Tackle any tasks you can when you wake up – anything is better than nothing.

  1. Plan out your day ahead of time

We’re all guilty of wasting time planning out what we’re going to do – in the order we’re going to do them. It’s massively inefficient to start planning your day when it’s already begun. Ideally, after completing your work day you should spend an extra 15minutes planning where to start the next day. Don’t aim to plan more, aim to do more.

  1. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you

Maximising productivity is all about minimising distractions. With lockdowns and mandatory curfews – you’re likely not the only one at home. Establishing boundaries early will save you a lot of heartache. Do this by scheduling your work time and making sure your family/roommates/kids respect your space when you’re working.

  1. Pick a definitive finishing time each day[2]

You’re responsible for protecting your time[3]. Being at home and working are exclusive concepts – you’re responsible for doing each at the right time. While it seems like working from home is the key to a healthy work-life balance – you’re bound to overindulge on one side. You have to be careful not to get caught up on either activity – work when you have to and rest when it’s time. Clear boundaries are the key to a healthy work-life balance.

Try out these tips and let us know how they work for you. Stay tuned for even more advice on working from home.

Also check out: habits of successful employees, How to get hired on the spot

[1] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/productivity-tips-working-from-home

[2] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/productivity-tips-working-from-home

[3] https://medium.com/unsplash/an-introverts-guide-to-working-remotely-68ad78c84575

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