Tools and Tips for Working From Home

by | Mar 25, 2020 | Productivity

The world has been turned upside down. We are living in extraordinary times, experiencing history as it happens and our day-to-day has become the home-today. These measures are absolutely necessary to fight the spread of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and we just hope they have been implemented in time to protect as many people as possible. The vast majority of the UK population now find themselves working from home, living a life no one predicted on January 1st, 2020. But here we are, and we will get through this and come out the other side.

For some, working from home is a whole new experience. Others, such as those in the technology sector, likely find themselves in familiar territory. Some will come to like the new home life, others will come to hate it in a few weeks. It’s important during this time though to stay connected with one another, even though we literally are being told to move nowhere and especially with loved ones who may be vulnerable, isolated or not comfortable alone.

Our mantra at Road XS has been that ‘transport is the invisible thread that ties us all together’. We are witnessing what happens when that thread breaks to communities, society and the economy on a global scale. However, technology is one way to bridge the gap during this difficult time, and we have put together some tips to get you connected in ways you might even come to enjoy. When we’re out the other side of this, it might even become the new ‘normal’.

Here’s our tips to help get you through:

Keep ‘Visiting’ with Zoom

Video calling has been used in business for years, but people often feel uncomfortable using the technology and in the past preferred the face-to-face. Nothing beats face to face, but in times like these the next best thing is a video call. The easiest system to use and implement is Zoom. It’s also free to use for meetings up to 40 minutes and you can have up to 100 people on the video call. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with a mic or camera and you’re up and running able to drop in on anyone else who uses Zoom via a meeting ID. We’ve been using this for years and never used it more than now and it’s a great way of feeling like you’ve met people and had a face to face. It’s also great to have a laugh together! Zoom really helps lift the spirits.

»Visit the Zoom Website here to stay connected

Stay Chatty with Telegram

Telegram is not as well known as Facebook Messenger or What’s App, but it’s actually a very smooth, secure and reliable messaging system. Unlike Facebook Messenger and What’s App which not everyone has for work, Telegram is a great way of quickly and easily creating group chats, channels and broadcasts. It’s fantastic for quickly sharing files, images, links – you name it! Not helpful now, but we also use it to share live locations too (no more where are you calls when you’re out shopping when this is all over!). It’s also user-friendly and accessible across all devices unlike What’s App which can’t be used easily on desktop pcs without scanning a QR code each time. We strongly recommend using this when working from home. It’s also very secure. At Road XS we’ve used it for years and it’s just superb for working with remote teams. Telegram is fast, feature rich, cloud based and incredibly powerful! Best of all, it’s free!

»Visit the Telegram Website

Remember with Evernote

It took us a while to really ‘get’ Evernote despite everyone saying how great it was. Then it clicked. It’s so good, that it can actually make you completely paperless! This benefit didn’t present itself until a holiday trip in 2019 and a notebook with vital information had been left behind. Normally this would be a disaster, but fortunately the notes had been snapped up and stored in the Evernote cloud and were therefore being read on the beach. Result! You can use Evernote in a whole host of ways and it integrates across the Internet which is why it’s so popular. Like that website you visited? Store it in Evernote! Want to keep that receipt? Scan it and store it in Evernote! Need those written notes tagged and retrievable 2 years from now? Store it in Evernote! Need to plan? The uses are endless. It’s so good that you can scan your paper documents using your phone and save loads of storage space in the home. You can also get super organised in the process too! Evernote even have a free version too!

»Visit the Evernote website

Secure Your Life with LastPass

If you use the internet or computer, then you have passwords. If you use more than 1 cloud service or website, then you have a problem. Passwords are still the keys to our online and digital life. The problem with this is, it also makes us all vulnerable to basic and easy brute force attacks on our life and access to digital, sensitive information. Despite advice, many of us still use the same username and password for websites, which means if a cyber criminal cracks one password, they likely have access to a whole host of other sites you use. This is where LastPass comes in. With LastPass you can keep all your passwords and secure notes in one place and generate really strong passwords which you’ll never remember but that can never be broken. What’s also great, is with the browser add-on, you won’t have to remember them and you will be auto logged in each time you visit your favourite websites securely. Take this time to secure your digital life with LastPass. You’ll be glad you did.

»Visit the LastPass Website

Snip the Screen with Cloud App

Have you ever wondered how people take screenshots and do quick little demo videos? They’re likely using a snipping tool. In windows there is a free tool called ‘Snipping Tool’ which enables you do take snippets of a screen, but to go to the next level and create recordings and animated images, use Cloud App. Cloud app is free to use for up to 2GB of data capture and you can purchase the pro version for additional features. This tool now more than ever is an essential tool when working from home. We’ve used it for years for training, bug capturing, general communications and even just sending files over email via a link and therefore not clogging up a client’s inbox with large files as a result. It’s a Swiss army knife for your work from home. Check it out, you’ll love what it can do!

»Get Cloud App and Snip to Victory

Stay Crisp with Krisp Noise Cancelling

With everyone at home, it’s likely the TV will be on, the radio in another room and conversations non stop. It can be hard to concerntrate, but imagine you’re on a conference call and all the noise get’s picked up on your call. That’s where Krisp comes in. We discovered this last year, and so far so good. It blocks out background sound really well. We put this to the test by activating Alexa on a low volume 2 (which is loud enough for anyone in a home office to hear), yet no one could hear the music on the call despite it being less than 1m away from the mic. Krisp might just be your best friend over the next 3 months or however long we maintain social distancing and other measures to tackle the corona virus.

»Visit the Krisp website

Stay Organised with Todoist

We’ve tried all sorts of productivity apps over the years looking for that silver bullet to become that robot that gets things done! The truth. Find what works for you. Todoist is the simplest, easiest app there is for organising and capturing tasks that otherwise you’d forget if you left them in your head. Because it works across all devices, no matter where you are you can just jot that idea down and know that it won’t be forgotten or lost. One of it’s great features on the premium version is to remind you to do things when you arrive there via GPS location. The ability to organise tasks per project and link to third party systems, makes it the perfect task manager.

»Visit the Todoist Website and Stay Productive

Avoid Distractions with Freedom

Working from home can be difficult with lots of distractions. With no one looking over your shoulder you can pretty much do whatever you want. Before you know it, it’s midnight and you really wish you’d got this report done earlier and not been checking in and catching up on social media all day. This is where Freedom comes in (which is even used by sports stars believe it or not!), to drown out the noise and block sites and apps for periods of time to enable you to focus. Can’t stop checking your emails? Run Freedom. Can’t stop obsessing over the latest news? Run Freedom. Just want to disconnect? You get the idea….. it’s the perfect escape when you need it from the digital life.

»Visit the Freedom Website and Disconnect

Meet the New Paper with Rocketbook

This looks a little like something from science fiction but it’s not – it’s just magic paper. We all take paper notes at sometime or another or need to jot down diagrams to communicate a point. But you know when you buy notebooks and a diagram take up a whole page and another page and then before you know it you’re buying a new notebook? Well not with Evernote. With your Rocketbook you just scan your notes (and store and tag them in something like Evernote, OneDrive etc) and then wipe the page clean. Wait for it to dry and start again. It’s magic! But it’s also endless paper and reusable! The best part is you can then quickly find your meeting notes or that idea you had that is stored away or the diagram which outlined the proposed plan. It’s the perfect partner in your digital life. Rocketbook is available from Amazon too! It’s the last notebook you’ll ever need. It’s great for sharing drawings and diagrams you’d otherwise have been able to show face to face.

»Watch the Magic Happen on the Rocketbook Website

Support Your Community with the Road XS Platform

If you have never seen Road XS at work, it’s the first fully cloud based community transport software that evolves with you. It’s enabling teams to continue working and coordinating across the country as if they were still in the office together. Our software meets the demands from the community as it happens. Right now with the country in lockdown due to the corona virus, we’re hard at work in using our technology to assist organisations with handling and managing the much needed delivery services to the isolated and vulnerable. We are also expanding the platform to enable you to keep in touch with your passengers and volunteers during this difficult time so they don’t feel alone and forgotten. Working together with providers and communities we’re able to respond to the needs as and when they happen. If you would like to know more about what we’re working on right now and how we might be able to help your community during the corona virus pandemic then please contact us below:

»Find Out More About Road XS

Hopefully this list was helpful in assisting with your transition into the world of working from home and working with remote team members during an unprecedented and difficult time for the country and the world. Whilst many are likely to already have this system in place, for the day to day operations make sure you check out Microsoft Office 365. This also has a wealth of tools to connect your teams from anywhere in the world.

Please stay safe, healthy and positive during this difficult time and make sure you stay at home to stop the spread. We will get through this as a nation and we will in the process find solutions and ways of working we prevously never thought possible.

Keep smiling, this crisis will eventually pass.