Remote workers have to try a little harder to stay connected and stay organized. While I work for a company that has a shared drive and a virtual private network, it’s not exactly the easiest way to share files with my team. The VPN connection is pretty slow so it takes a long time to connect, and to download or upload files.
So I went looking for better solutions. Although I’ve only tapped the surface of what these tools offer, the following five cloud-based services have proven indispensable to my productivity and efficiency. And the best part is…they’re all free.
I use Evernote to stay organized. The note I access the most is my to-do list, however I also use Evernote for brainstorming sessions, jotting down article ideas, making grocery lists, and keeping track of goals. I love that I can write down an idea on my iPhone app while I’m out, and then pull it up on my laptop when I get home to develop it further.
As an editor, I work with a lot of word documents that need to be shared with multiple people. This is where my company’s VPN is simply too lethargic. I needed a cloud-based service with easy access for multiple people in the writing and editing chain. With Google Drive, I can upload a large number of files, edit them, track the revisions, insert comments, and share them with my fellow editors for polishing and publishing.
I’m also a big fan of Google spreadsheets, which I use to keep track of writing assignments and due dates.
If you work with large multimedia files including photos or videos, Dropbox is a convenient cloud-based service that helps you share those files with your colleagues and clients. The basic free plan allows 2 GB of data, which you can increase by referring friends. If you need more space, you can upgrade to Dropbox Pro, which comes with 100 GB of storage. Dropbox Business has no limit, but it does come with a pretty big price tag.
The free basic service should be enough if all you want to do is transfer files. Once you share and download the files, you can clear up the space in your box.
Need to set up a group meeting or a group call? How about stream a live webinar? Try Google+ Hangouts. An upgrade from Google Chat, Hangouts is accessible from your Gmail account or your Google+ account, and it works across multiple devices.
Note: video calls can accommodate up to 10 people.
Basecamp is a project management tool that’s perfect for remote workers. I’m currently working on a project that involves some folks in San Diego and some in New York. Basecamp keeps us all on the same page regarding project details, action items and deadlines.
If you plan to work remote, get acquainted with some of these cloud-based services now—they’ll help make your life that much easier once you’re on the road.