A Few Useful Online Resources for Remote Workers

The office as we knew it is slowly disappearing into obscurity – the traditional desks and chairs inside cubicles for the minions and private, posh rooms for superiors have given way to a worldwide office space, one in which workers are spread across the globe and are connected through one or more networks. Thanks to the Internet, recruiting employees from across the world is a reality; it is an option that provides companies with more versatility and flexibility, and a wakeup call for complacent workers who know they must pull up their socks or they could be replaced in a trice.

Remote workers could work from home or out of another office; and for them to be able to do their job effectively, they must have the right tools for communication and collaboration. While most people know about IM applications and video call software like Skype, not many know of tools like Dropbox and Basecamp.  The former is a file storage application that uses the cloud and the latter is a project management software application that allows collaboration between workers located in different geographical locations.

Dropbox: If you’re on the go and use many computers for your work, or if you’re just looking for a safe place to stash your data and update it easily, then Dropbox is exactly what you need. It’s a simple tool that you have to sign up for and download before using, and once you’ve got it on your computer, all you need to do is put everything that needs to be backed up into the Dropbox folder that has been created on your system. The files are automatically transferred online, and each time you make any changes to any file, they’re automatically reflected in the online copy. If you’re not connected to the Internet when you add new files to the folder or make changes to existing ones, Dropbox syncs the changes the next time you connect – you don’t have to do a thing. Also, it’s easy as pie to synchronize your files across many computers with Dropbox – just download the application on the computer you’re using, log in to your account, and download the folders and files you want. Now your files are synced across all the systems you use, so there’s no need to carry around portable hard disks or pen drives when you travel. Dropbox is free to use for up to 2GB of storage, and if your friends join on your recommendation, you get 500MB free for each one who signs up.

Basecamp: If there are many people working on the same project, timelines and schedules to adhere to, responsibilities to allocate and carry out, files to share, and feedback to be given and received, look no further than Basecamp. It allows you to set up multiple projects, create To-Do lists for each, assign tasks to various members on each project, and assign completion dates for each of these tasks. Members can check off tasks that they’ve completed, upload files relevant to each project, leave comments on tasks, and conduct discussions on all that is going on within the project. The dashboard allows you to see all the latest activity on a project, and you can see what your co-workers are doing and check if you need to work faster or slower accordingly. Simply put, Basecamp makes it very easy to stay in touch and collaborate on a project even when you’re miles away from the rest of your team. Basecamp offers a free trial period and plans starting at $49 a month; you also have the option to pay as you go.