Three free working from home tools
Three free tools that will make working from home easier for your business.
by Kimberlie Clare-Campbell, Digital Business Advisor Hunter Region Business Hub
While we may need to be physically distant from our customers and clients, we can keep in touch by using technology. There are lots of great apps and programs that can make working from home efficient and seeing your clients (virtually) easy. Best of all many of them have free versions.
ONE: To see your clients (and employees), try video meetings
Face to face contact is reassuring for both customers and businesses. There are many free and paid video and conferencing tools available, with new video apps coming out almost daily. Choosing the right platform can be confusing. Our recommendation is to choose by keeping your customer in mind.
- What programs do they already use?
- What is free or low cost for your customer to use with you?
- Is there an option to use a lower quality video to keep stability? (Internet bandwidth is at a premium)
The easiest and most stable Video meeting program we have found is Zoom. You can start with a free account and upgrade if you need longer group meetings. You do need to give the Zoom program access to your microphone and camera during meetings. In the free version, you can schedule 1:1 meetings for an unlimited time. For groups of three or more there is a 40 minute limit per meeting. There is also the option to record the meeting on your hard drive.
The Hunter Region Business Hub are running a series of free Zoom for Beginners workshops giving our clients the opportunity to try Zoom and ask questions with a Digital Advisor.
TWO: Keep everyone on track with shared workflows and project management
Keeping your clients and team members up to date with projects when you’re not able to interact face to face can be challenging. People can feel less involved and may lose track of tasks. Using mobile tools is a visual reminder to keep everyone accountable.
There are many project management tools that assist with time management and productivity. Trello is a free project management tool you can use through your web browser or mobile. It works by creating Boards, Lists and Cards. Some organisations use it as an online To-Do-List but when utilised to capacity can be much more valuable.
With a team working at home it is useful to create a Trello board for all business related information. As an example you can include:
- Business logo (as an attachment)
- Branding e.g. Colour Hex codes
- Swipe files
- Affiliate links
You can create workflows for projects and allocate tasks to team members with due dates. Team members can be invited to specific boards. Use labels and checklists to show the workflow and progress of specific tasks.
At the Hunter Region Business HUB we use Trello to plan our content marketing, events and workshops, it helps everyone keep track of where projects are up to and what needs to be developed. Trello is a very useful tool to keep team members and clients up to date with projects.
For a quick practical introduction, join the Hunter Region Business Hub in a free mini workshop to organise your business on the go using Trello.
THREE: Create your own Graphics
If you’ve got time on your hands, creating your own graphics can be fun and fulfilling. Programs like CANVA gives you the opportunity to create branded, eye-catching social posts for free. CANVA is a simplified graphics design program that you can access from your mobile via a free app or from your computer via your web browser.
For those who are not graphic designers, CANVA gives you the ability to edit pre designed templates and customise them to align with your businesses branding. You can also upload your own elements and design different size files including social media posts, flyers, posters, website and email headers.
The Hunter Region Business Hub is running an online CANVA workshop giving attendees the opportunity to learn about CANVA and ask questions of an experienced graphic designer. Previous workshop participants have found CANVA fun to use for creating on brand graphics for their business.
The team at the Hunter Region Business HUB are here to assist business owners in this tough economic climate. The Hub is offering half price online digital workshops through Eventbrite and waiving the fee for 1:1 mentoring within the Digital Solutions Program. For more information on the program contact the Hunter Region Business Hub on 0490 891 001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.