The surge in remote work opportunities has led to a growing trend of companies providing their employees with the flexibility to work from home. If you’re among the countless individuals embracing this change, you’re part of the vast global community now relying on online tools to enhance their productivity. In the United States, where remote job opportunities have surpassed 15% of the total job market, this transition is more prevalent than ever.

Recent surveys highlight that approximately 27% of remote workers credit their ability to perform effectively to dependable high-speed internet access and a suite of indispensable online tools. While remote work offers numerous advantages, it also presents its fair share of challenges and responsibilities. Maintaining focus during remote work demands discipline, but fortunately, a wealth of online tools is available to assist you in staying productive.

This guide, tailored to both individual contributors and team collaborations, aims to provide you with valuable insights and tips on utilizing online tools effectively to boost your productivity.

Productivity starts with a quality internet connection

Virtually every form of remote work requires access to a high-speed internet connection. Without it, most people working from home wouldn’t be able to complete tasks, communicate with leadership and team members, or finish projects. 

Benefits of having a good internet connection for remote work

A good internet connection provides a range of benefits for remote work:

  • High-speed internet improves productivity by reducing lag time and eliminating confusion due to slow or dropped connections.
  • Quality internet saves money over time because it helps workers stay on task and improves productivity.
  • Faster speeds make it easier to send or download files and share things via the cloud for better collaboration.
  • Remote workers with high-speed internet have a better chance of creating a positive first impression with customers, clients, and company leadership.
  • High-speed connections ensure high-definition videos, remote video calls, and an enhanced experience overall.

How to ensure you have a good internet connection for remote work

To ensure your internet is running at an ideal speed, start by running a simple speed test to determine your current status. Try to connect to the internet using an ethernet cable rather than WiFi, which can improve speeds significantly. Turn off other devices sharing the same network connection until you need to use them. When in doubt, consider consulting with a professional internet specialist near you so they can assess your connection and make recommendations for improvement. 

Using online tools to monitor and troubleshoot internet connections

Here are some tools to help you monitor your connection and potentially improve connection quality and speed:

  • SolarWinds Pingdom uses a cloud-based program that monitors and troubleshoots your connection from any location.
  • Outages.io includes a convenient control panel and several hardware or software internet monitors for onsite connections.
  • NodePing is a subscription cloud service that allows users to monitor up to 250 networks per account.
  • Dynatrace keeps tabs on network statuses onsite and reports website response times.
  • Uptime monitors servers, networks, and applications to determine the response time and availability of each.

Troubleshooting internet connection issues

If you’re having trouble with your internet connection, use these tips:

  • Check the ethernet cable and router’s physical connection to confirm that everything is attached correctly.
  • Reboot/restart your router, wait at least 30 seconds, then turn it on again.
  • Confirm you don’t have any active firewalls that may interfere with your connection.
  • Run Windows Diagnostics and check your DNS settings.
  • Reboot your computer. If this doesn’t help, you may need to contact your internet provider or troubleshoot the issue with your company’s IT department.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

man with a laptop looking out of the window.

The Pomodoro Technique helps you manage your time more effectively while you work. Created in 1985 by Francesco Cirillo, this productivity-based technique uses a timer to encourage you to avoid all distractions while you’re working. After the timer goes off, you can take a break and repeat the process several times throughout the day. When used correctly, this technique may help remote workers stay focused and optimize their time more effectively.

Benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique

There are many benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique, including:

  • This technique gives you a plan to follow, making it easier to stay on task and remain as productive as possible every day.
  • It may be easier to eliminate distractions because the technique is based on concentrating on one task for a pre-set period of time. 
  • You’ll be more aware of your time and how you use it thanks to the timer, which helps you measure how much time you spend concentrating on specific tasks.
  • The Pomodoro Technique is flexible, so you can easily adapt it to work with your unique needs and goals. 

How to use the Pomodoro Technique

Here’s how to use the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Start by making a to-do list either the night before or early in the morning before you begin your workday.
  • Work on each item on your list using intervals of approximately 25 minutes, making sure to avoid all distractions during that time.
  • Use a timer to “separate” each 25-minute block.
  • When the timer goes off, mark off the item and record any progress you’ve made.
  • Take a five-to-10-minute break between each of your listed tasks.
  • Begin a new task and repeat these steps until you’ve completed four tasks, then take a longer 15- to 30-minute break.

Pomodoro timer apps and online tools

There are several Pomodoro timer apps and tools you can use to help make the process easier:

  • MarinaTimer is free, lets you choose from several different timer styles, and can be shared with coworkers using a unique URL.
  • Forest is a clever, creative app that allows you to use the Pomodoro Technique on the go.
  • Session is designed for Mac and iOS and gives you a wide range of features, including customizable timer lengths, lots of shortcuts, and syncing between your computer and smartphone.

Asana

Asana is a work production tool to help you manage projects and deadlines, communicate with your team members, and work together in one central online location. This web-based tool helps remote workers who need to communicate with other employees and keep the entire team on the same page. You can connect goals together to help prioritize tasks more efficiently, and it’s easy to scale the program as your needs grow.

Benefits of using Asana

There are many benefits of using Asana for remote work:

  • Asana is simple to use thanks to its highly intuitive design and easy-to-navigate interface. Learning how to use Asana requires very little training.
  • This online tool is well-integrated and works with a variety of project management apps, including Google Drive, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Asana focuses heavily on collaboration, making it easy to work with teams. Collaborators are notified whenever changes are made, and it also displays tasks for each individual to other team members.
  • Asana allows employees to comment on tasks, improving communication.
  • The efficient and organized design allows users to see all their tasks together at once. You can also prioritize your tasks through Asana with real-time information. 

Using Asana for remote work

Asana is an excellent tool for remote work because it makes communicating easy. Use the program to set goals, assign work tasks, and collaborate with your team. The ability to add comments, shuffle tasks, and change deadlines helps to ensure the entire team stays on the same page at all times. This tool is one of the easiest ways to collaborate and complete projects, large and small. Asana syncs with other popular productivity programs, so you’re able to complete various tasks without missing a thing.

Using Asana for remote teams and individually

Remote teams can use Asana to keep track of different tasks within a single project. Individually, the program helps remote workers prioritize different tasks throughout the day, week, or month. Companies can assign permissions to different employees based on their position, allowing team leaders to set deadlines, add important information, and update statuses in real-time. You can also invite new team members as the project’s requirements grow. Individuals are able to create a personal to-do list within different tasks to help them stay on track as they go.

Notion

girl working on her laptop while drinking coffee

Notion is a connected workspace that’s specially designed for remote workers. This program offers both a web-based and smartphone application version. Both sync in real time, so you’re always aware of any changes. Users can create “wikis” to keep important information and guides all in one place. This allows workers to refer to the wiki whenever they have questions or need help. 

Benefits of using Notion

Some of the benefits of using Notion include:

  • Notion lets you design a central hub and create pages for each product. Users can add notes, images, and other files to keep everything in one place.
  • The program helps to improve communication and collaboration between team members no matter where they’re located.
  • Adding notes, guidelines, and files allows the entire team to have access to crucial information.
  • Notion is an excellent tool for project management. You can assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, add notes, and more.
  • This online tool also has a tracking feature so you can record how much time you’re spending on each task.

Using Notion for remote work

Notion helps keep everyone informed through synchronized communication. You can create collaborative docs that include things like your company policy, project guidelines, FAQs, and more. The project tracking feature allows you to structure data using a board, table, doc, or calendar. This makes it easy to instantly see the status of projects and workflows. The app also integrates with Slack, so you can link back to Notion after communicating with team members.

Using Notion for remote teams and individually

With Notion, you can keep your tasks together in one central location, create individual pages for each project, and add notes, images, and files. It also helps remote teams and individuals see the same deadlines, updates, and additional information as it changes. Notion works best with teams because it’s designed to promote clear collaboration. You can invite new team members to your individual pages and assign each member a different task.

Whether you’re working on something by yourself or with a team, Notion is an excellent tool for project management. Add tags and filters to your pages so it’s easier to search for specific items as you work. The time tracking feature is excellent for working individually, so you know how much time you’re allotting to various tasks throughout your workday.

Trello

Trello helps remote workers bring teams, tasks, and tools together in one simple program. This online tool is chock-full of features, including Trello boards for organizing workflow and projects, lists to keep up with different stages of tasks, and cards that represent tasks and ideas. Move or shuffle the cards as you make progress so  everyone can see the status in real time. 

Benefits of using Trello

Here are some of the benefits of using Trello:

  • Trello is free to use. After you sign up, you’ll get access to almost all the features.
  • The tool is mobile-friendly. The web-based interface looks very similar to a mobile app, making it very user-friendly.
  • With Trello, you can see all project-related items on the same page.
  • Add members, assign tasks, and create new issues in minutes. 
  • The tool is simple yet very powerful and flexible. All you need are the boards, lists, and cards to give you an overview of which team members are doing what and which tasks need to be completed. 

Using Trello for remote work

The setup for Trello is specifically designed to help you keep tasks organized. The board lets you see everything at a glance, including your current to-do list and completed tasks. Lists on Trello help you view different stages of a task, including examples like “to do,” “in progress,” and “done.” You’re also able to create a custom workflow to fit the unique needs of your team. The cards on Trello represent different ideas and tasks and contain specific information about how to get each task done. Once the task is complete, move the card across the list to update the status.

Using Trello for remote teams and individually 

Trello’s remote team hub helps teams stay organized, track project statuses, and monitor weekly progress. You can also structure team meetings using the Trello board. The program also helps to improve team bonding through various remote activities. The table view keeps teams aligned, connected, and productive through every stage of a project or task.

Individually, you can use a personal productivity board to split your workload into different lists to keep track of tasks. The online bullet journal template helps you achieve short and long-term goals while keeping a record of your progress. The simple board allows you to plan each day, see what’s in your queue, and monitor what’s coming up in the future.

Pembio

Pembio is a web-based goal- and work planning platform dedicated to help remote teams and organisations carry out work with full focus on the goals and results that matter most. Pembio connects colleagues in real time, so that everyone is always up to speed on the latest progress and achievements across the team. All work is scheduled according to deadlines and priorities, with an automated in-app cycle that ensures everyone always knows exactly what to focus on, what colleagues are working on at any given time, and whether there are bottlenecks in the workflow that needs addressing, ensuring that nothing falls between the cracks and work progresses according to plan. 

Benefits of using Pembio

Embark on a productive journey with Pembio and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pembio functions as the key area for colleagues to convene around projects, goals, and work planning, ensuring a single source of truth.
  • By uploading and saving all links, files and documents directly to Pembio, or by simply integrating seamlessly with other platforms directly, all users have all the resources they need at their fingertips all the time. And with Pembio’s built-in Pomodoro timer users easily pace their workflow for maximum results.  
  • With Pembio’s smart scheduling functionality, it is at all times crystal clear to everyone what needs doing, who is responsible for the tasks at hand, and what the next steps are on the path to reaching the desired goals and outcomes. 
  • Full in-app data tracking provides the intel required for all stakeholders to assess the progress made (or not), enabling real-time adjustments to planned workflow to take place instantaneously, ensuring efficiency and maximum productivity is maintained at all times 
  • Pembio’s automated feedback solutions keeps everyone up to date on the latest progress and all achievements made by individual co-workers, so that everyone’s achievements and efforts are recognized and wins are celebrated together as a team

Using Pembio for Remote Work

Pembio becomes your go-to platform to understand the latest developments across the team, in real-time. Colleagues can see each other’s schedule and plan work accordingly, to ensure that bandwidth and workload is managed in the best way. Dependencies between tasks are easily navigated with on-going progress tracking, all visualized in clearly delimited project and workflow categories in bespoke Pembio Rooms. 

Using Pembio for Remote Teams and Individuals

Pembio is the perfect solution for remote teams and organizations that want to have full control over their project, goal and work planning. Work is structured in single projects or cross-functionally over several stakeholders and departments, creating an environment where collaboration and progress flows without friction. Each remote colleague has full visibility of her or his most important work to be done, and everyone clearly sees how their efforts and achievements become an important part off the larger machinery – the company’s mission and vision. With full spec functionality for inviting more team members, setting permissions, roles and priorities, as well as scoping work according to priorities, statuses and deadlines, as well as adding all required resources, Pembio empowers remote teams and individuals to maximize productivity and achieve their goals effectively.

 

RescueTime

girl working from home in her living room

RescueTime is a time management program that assesses your work style and meeting schedule. These items are combined and analyzed to determine how to work in the most productive and time-efficient way. This unique program claims it’s the only app that can truly measure your focus. Smart coaching works throughout the day to keep you on track. RescueTime analyzes you throughout the day, then gives you nudges and insights to help you stay on track. You’ll also get end-of-day summaries to see how much you accomplished.

Benefits of using RescueTime

Here are a few of the benefits of using RescueTime:

  • Individuals get a clear understanding of how they use their time, and the program encourages workers to be proactive about self-management.
  • Team leaders get a high-level overview of how the entire team is spending its time to learn which tools are the most effective.
  • You can set goals and alerts to help you stay focused and on track to improve overall productivity.
  • The program includes progress updates via the dashboard and through detailed reports.
  • You’ll be able to spot any inefficiencies throughout the workday so you can block out distractions.
  • A weekly report is emailed to you, summarizing your activities and giving you a productivity score so you can better plan for the next week.

Using RescueTime for remote work

Launched in 2010, RescueTime was designed by remote workers for remote workers. This program helps you gain better insight into the best daily practices for your unique project or workload. You’re able to understand the impact of meetings and easily identify distracting websites and applications that may be cutting into productivity. The program also blocks specific distractions during optimal production times throughout the day to improve focus. You can also set custom goals for each day and define boundaries for work and downtime. 

Using RescueTime for remote teams and individually

RescueTime can be used company-wide, but it’s also helpful for individual remote work. Use the program to help you get the most out of your day by blocking distractions and taking advantage of detailed reports sent to you via email. When armed with this information, teams and remote work individuals are better able to determine how to effectively maximize every minute of the day. With RescueTime, you can achieve a better work/life balance, improve your mental health, and reduce stress. Many remote work teams may also see a lower employee turnover rate. 

Quixy

Quixy is a cloud-based no-code platform for small to large enterprises. It empowers business users (citizen developers) with no coding skills to automate forms & workflows and build simple to complex enterprise-grade applications for their custom needs up to ten times faster.

Benefits of using Quixy

Here are some of the benefits of using Quixy:

  • Quixy enables businesses to automate workflows and streamline processes, reducing manual effort and improving operational efficiency.
  • Quixy’s flexible platform allows users to create tailored applications and workflows to meet their specific business needs, empowering organizations to adapt quickly to changing requirements.
  • With Quixy businesses can collect, analyze, and manage large amounts of data efficiently, reducing errors and enabling better decision-making.

  • Teams can collaborate seamlessly, share information, and track progress in real-time, fostering cross-departmental collaboration and enhancing communication.

  • Adopting Quixy as a no-code platform saves organizations money by eliminating the need for extensive coding and development resources, making application development more cost-effective.

Reliable protection for your project management system

The daily work of an IT administrator has its own challenges, especially in digital project management where preserving critical data is crucial. However, human errors can lead to irreversible consequences such as data loss, document corruption, stalled projects, client claims for negligence, and financial/productivity loss.

To prevent these devastating effects on company project management systems, FluentPro Backup provides automated continuous backup and restore data in project management systems. It works seamlessly with popular tools like:

  • Office 365 Planner
  • Microsoft Project for the Web
  • Monday.com
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Smartsheet
  • Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Built on Microsoft Azure, it ensures reliable and secure data protection.

By using FluentPro Backup, your business can:

  • Automate project backup and restore
  • Minimize the risks of data loss
  • Eliminate the emergencies and costs associated with human errors
  • Reduce manual work
  • Immediately access backed up data through automatic restore
  • Minimal maintenance and support
  • Get reliability and security

One powerful tool for enhancing employee engagement and fostering a positive work environment is the implementation of an employee app. This innovative solution, streamlines internal communication and facilitates seamless collaboration. With features such as peer-to-peer recognition and employee appreciation programs, an employee app becomes an invaluable asset for organizations seeking to boost employee morale, strengthen team dynamics, and acknowledge outstanding contributions. By integrating this technology into their operations, companies can create a culture of appreciation and empowerment, resulting in increased productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Cybersecurity is essential for remote workers. It protects you from hackers, security breaches, and the theft of vital company and personal information. There are some ways to ensure that you’re using the best possible methods to keep your data and other vital information safe. 

  • Use best practices for remote work cybersecurity: Set up, implement, and enforce a company-wide policy regarding internet security. Everyone should be aware of what’s included in the best cybersecurity practices. Only perform work on work-issued computers. Make sure your HR department is vigilant about informing every employee about the company’s internet security policies. 
  • Keep software updated: Update all software regularly to ensure the latest security patches and other stopgaps are installed on every computer and smartphone company-wide.
  • Utilize firewalls and antivirus software: Using a firewall and installing effective anti-virus software can protect you from hackers and other security breaches.
  • Encrypt data and communications: Whenever possible, encrypt all data and communications and require password access or two-factor authentication. Update and change passwords regularly and make sure you’re using unique passwords to log into every program separately. Choose passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. 
  • Back up data regularly: Ensure you’re backing up all data regularly and storing it on a server. Cloud storage is convenient, but it’s also much more vulnerable to data breaches. 
  • Use virtual private networks (VPNs): Instead of Wi-Fi, set up a VPN – or virtual private network – to protect your company data and personal information. Never use public Wi-Fi when accessing valuable data; only connect to confirmed, verified connections using company-issued log-ins and passwords. 

Working from home is a great way to enjoy the benefits of doing your job without ever having to leave your living room. Consider implementing some or all of these online tools for remote workers to help improve your productivity, focus, and time management. Finding the right productivity tools helps you feel good about your job, improves business revenue, and makes it easier to complete everything on your to-do list in a timely manner. Among these tools, an e-signature tool stands out as an essential asset for maximizing efficiency. With its ability to electronically sign documents, teams can save time, minimize errors, and streamline the approval process, eliminating the need for printing, scanning, and mailing. Try some of these techniques and unique online tools for remote work, including an e-signature tool, and watch your productivity levels soar.