Remote Work, The 2020 Guide to Must-Have Tools

Tools for remote work

As we are currently going through 2020 we all know that life has been a doozy so far. One major shift in society has been the adaptation of remote work. This is something we’ve detailed before, but we wanted to put together the 2020 guide. This is physical equipment and cloud-based software that keeps us going and productive – even when traveling. These remote work tools are crucial to the success of not working in the office. In case you missed it, I have been traveling the country on a road trip, but working still. I’ve got asked several questions about my equipment, so here’s a breakdown of must-have remote work equipment.

Physical products for remote work

Keep in mind, everything you see here fits in my laptop backpack. That’s the whole point behind the decisions we made when purchasing equipment. We should be able to quickly pack up and work from home, a cabin in the woods or somewhere in between.

  • Zoom field recorder – if you’re looking to record podcasts, Zoom recorders are a must, especially if you’re going to use XLR microphones. This particular recorder is super small and compact. It can be used as a belt clip lavalier mic, or you can mount it to a stand and run multiple XLR mics into it using the next product on our list.
  • Zoom XLR input capsule – we love the small zoom field recorder but sometimes we still want to be able to run a traditional microphone to it. This little add-on comes in handy.
  • Shure microphone – What’s a podcast without a microphone? When myself and Pat were in bands way back when, we (Pat) acquired loads of equipment. These were just some old microphones from the glory days of high school rock bands. They work perfect for recording podcasts!
  • Macbook Air – Not just a basic Macbook Air. We maxed this little powerhouse out so it could pack a punch in a small size.
  • Apple Magic Mouse – it’s small, compact and wireless. All things needed when your office is anywhere but an office.
  • Airpods – How do people work without music!? Airpods bring a flexibility of listening to music and being able to talk on the phone while not having wires.
  • iPhone – Does one really need to break down why they chose the best phone available? Part camera, part phone, part computer – it does everything we need.
  • High Performance Planner – When working remote it’s easy to skip over stuff. It’s easy to forget about tasks that need to get done. This planner helps keep us on-track.
  • Lap Desk – Chris has broken this down a few times on his travel blog posts, be sure to check those out on our Duo Day to Day blog
  • Logitech Webcam – The webcams built in computers aren’t always awesome, especially in low-light situations. This little camera works beautifully in just about every condition. Is it 100% required? Nope, but it helps bring some clarity to all of those zoom calls.

 

Software products to keep you on-track

While the physical products are important, any good quality combination of a laptop and phone would allow one to work remotely with ease. The secret sauce is the software that you choose to work with. We’ve broken this down in the past, but we hope to keep this post up as a guide going forward.

  • Slack – We use Slack for internal communication amongst our team. It’s a great way to stay connected, especially when your team works across a few different time zones.
  • G-Suite for Business – Having cloud-based docs, sheets, slides and email is especially nice. A good internet connection and your favorite device and you’re in business!
  • WPEngine – Seems odd to have a hosting company listed here but hear us out. If you know that your hosting is going to be rock solid, steady and reliable it takes a massive weight off your shoulders. There is no better hosting option for WordPress, every one of our WordPress sites are hosted on this platform.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – As a creative agency this is one of the most-important subscriptions. We have to be able to make content, graphics, etc.
  • ActiveCollab – ActiveCollab is our project management portal of choice. But it’s so much more than that. It allows us to send estimates, invoices, assign tasks to our team, assign tasks to our clients, create discussions with clients and so much more. It’s really the best all-in-one tool we’ve found.
  • Hootsuite – Our marketing team is made up of many parts, all of which rarely work inside an office together. Hootsuite allows us to schedule and visualize our social media management and make strategic decisions. It also allows us to interact as the brand.
  • Hubspot CRM – Taking sales calls from the road is always tricky, but having a rock-solid CRM to keep track of sales is key.
  • Stripe – Without a payment processor like Stripe, remote work would be nearly impossible. Being able to take payments online, set up recurring charges, etc. is key. Without rock-solid financials, having an agency isn’t possible. Stripe helps a ton while keeping their rates reasonable.
  • Spotify Premium – My goodness, I can’t listen to commercials anymore. Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I’d rather pay to get rid of them. A never-ending stream of music or amazing podcasts helps me to focus in and block out distractions.

 

Trial and error

It took us a handful of years to find the right systems, tools and develop the right processes to be able to effectively work remote. Our team is full of talented individuals that all have the same remote mindset. This is the key when setting up the anti-office agency. Self-motivators are crucial to the success of working remote in any capacity. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t finding the right combination yet, it will come to you. We hope this post can serve as a guide for those that are trying to navigate the new waters of remote work.