Coworking often means collaborating remotely with team members who are not around you all of the time. While a few of you may have rented small private office space in a coworking building, the reality is that many of the people who are helping you get your enterprise off the ground may not be right next to you. What coworking tools can help you get things done more effectively and drive your productivity? There are actually lots of options available. Let’s take a look at some of the best coworking tools.
When You Need Mobile Access
Reliable internet access is nothing short of a must when you’re coworking. While your coworking space will likely have a great fiber-based connection, not everyone in your team may be there to enjoy the same access you do. Moreover, if you leave your coworking space, but remember that you have a few items left on your to-do list, internet access instantly becomes a must. What are the best coworking tools when it comes to access?
- Karma: This pocket-sized Wi-Fi offers you access points to which you can wirelessly connect. The device itself is usually around $100, but there are separate charges for the data you use.
- Orbic Speed: This hot spot comes from Verizon, and it means fast, reliable Wi-Fi whether you need to travel or you simply aren’t able to make it to the office today. In fact, you can connect up to ten devices at once.
- Your Phone: It may seem obvious, but it’s possible to use your phone as a hotspot as well to gain the access you need. Keep in mind that your wireless plan will determine how much you can do this and how many devices can connect at once, but it’s perfect when you just need a fast connection.
When You Need to Remote Into Your Desktop
Some of the best coworking tools provide you with the ability NOT to work at your desk if you want or need to be elsewhere. If your main computer is in one space and you’re in another, it can be helpful to connect, and remote desktop software can help you do just that. It can also help you troubleshoot issues if you’re offering IT services to your clients. Here are the best tools for a coworking office when you need remote desktop access.
- Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Client: This option is built into most windows machines, and you just need to press connect to begin working remotely.
- TeamViewer: This is a fairly comprehensive program that offers quite a bit to coworkers. You not only gain remote access, but also a host of other features. The best part, though, is that it works with any desktop or mobile platform, so whether you need to remote into a Windows device or an Android phone, it’s no problem.
- Chrome Remote Desktop: This is a good option if you simply need to access files or quickly troubleshoot an issue. It’s not as robust as the other available options,
When You Need to Chat
Working together means a need to chat, but what if you’re not all together at the same time? Email works, but it’s a bit clunky. Fortunately, there are several other options available.
- Slack: More groups use Slack than any other chat app, and it’s not hard to see why. You can decide which channels you want to subscribe to and create channels for all kinds of things within your company. It means you won’t have to be part of an unrelated conversation as you’re trying to get things done ever again.
- Microsoft Teams: This is a bit of a cheat on this part of the list because Teams is far more robust than a simple chat app. That said, it offers some real power when it comes to chat-apps. It works well with other Microsoft products, but it means some serious rollout time, so if you’re not IT inclined, this may not be the right choice for you.
- Google Chat: If you’re already working with Google, Chat is a great add-on. It was once called Hangouts, and it’s a robust add-on to the software you likely use every day. It can break conversations into rooms the way Slack can, and it keeps them in threads so they stay well organized. It also fits with any other Google Products you may use.
When You Need to Show Others What You’re Working On
As you work, you may need to show your team members or clients what you’ve already done, and this is where screen sharing and screen recording come into the picture. Screen sharing is included in some of the best coworking tools for good reason. These tools allow you all to see your team members’ screens at any time. It’s built into some apps like Slack, but it’s also available from other products.
- Surfly: This is primarily a co-browsing tool that means the ability to remote in for support and sales. It also means that you can interactively share your screen without a lot of problems. It even allows you to set your screen size so you can carefully point out what you like.
- Drovio: This screen-sharing app gives everyone a cursor so lots of people can see different parts of the screen at the same time. It’s unique because you can all work together on a variety of options at once.
- Demodesk: If you’re looking for screen sharing that is designed for sales, this is the option you want. You can begin from your inbox or the dashboard itself, and you can easily decide what you want users to see and what you don’t. It’s packed with other sales features as well.
- Zappy: This option is dedicated to screen recording, and if you want a fast screen recording to drop into one of your chat apps, this is the one. The app opens with a fast keyboard shortcut, so you can quickly make the video and get done. It’s important to note that this is Mac-focused software.
- Loom: This one is dedicated to screen recordings, so it doesn’t really make for a quick screen share. It is a powerful option, though, as you can store the screen recordings you make. You can store up to 25 videos, and there’s a mobile app as well.
- Screencast-O-Matic: This option, too, was designed for screencast videos, and it works well on your desktop, laptop, and even your phone. You can even get some simple editing tools.
When You Need a Video Conference
Video conferences have just become part of daily life, but not all of the best coworking tools are created equal. We mentioned Microsoft Teams above, and it offers rich video conferencing abilities you can use to meet with other team members or even interview new talent outside of your organization. Google Meet, part of the Google Suite, is a go-to for many organizations as well. There are many other options too.
- Zoom: You likely knew this would make the top of the list when it comes to video conferencing apps. It became the single biggest platform during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to use and incredibly reliable. It’s also fairly inexpensive.
- Whereby: This is a lighter option than Zoom, and it was designed for quick-start video meetings. It’s easy for people to join, and it offers support for up to 100 people. It also integrates well with other productivity apps.
- Webex Meetings: This option comes from Cisco, and the call quality here is nothing short of amazing. You’ll need to download the app to make it work, but it’s easy to install, and there are lots of collaborative features built in.
When You Need Office Software
The chances are good that you’re already familiar with a few of these. Microsoft Office has a great online version you can use as an entire team, as does Google. There are a few other players in the category, though.
- ZoHo: This option makes it fairly easy to collaborate and share, whether you’re talking about documents, spreadsheets, or even slides. There are free plans available, but there are also some paid options with premium features.
- iWork: This is an Apple-based office suite, and it’s completely free. It has a clean interface, and you can easily sync to iCloud if all of you are using Apple machines.
When You Need to Store Things
You likely have lots of data in various files that you may all need to access at once. In a coworking space, though, you don’t have the extra room for a huge server. Instead, a cloud storage solution is the way to go. Naturally, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive are the two biggest names to know in this landscape, but there are some other great players too.
- Dropbox: This cloud storage service has gained quite a bit of popularity over the last few years, and while it’s not flashy, it does work very well. It sits in the background of any machine and can host almost any type of file. There are both free and paid versions available depending on what you need to store.
- Box: This up-and-coming superstar integrates with lots of different programs, and it offers stronger security features than most. While you’ll have to get a paid account to take advantage of most of those features, the reality is that this is a safe space for whatever you need to store.
- Creative CloudCreative Cloud: If you’re working in Adobe for image or video files, this is the best-shared storage option. It’s intuitive, and it can help you stay organized for project after project.
When You Just Need to Keep All the Balls in the Air
There are orders, workflows, and task lists abound sitting on your desk. How can you keep it all straight? The best option is a full-featured project management option that can give everyone a task list, help you understand where to turn next, and show you what’s happening on every front. Here are the best options we’ve found.
- Basecamp: This option is huge in the world of coworking, and for good reason. It packs a number of different features and tools into one space, and it will help you stay organized. While there are a few drawbacks – like the price – you’ll find it’s one of the more robust options available today.
- Trello: This is a fairly simple option that allows you a quick way to organize your projects into boards. There’s both a free and paid plan, and you’ll be able to easily visualize everything. You can even use their templates to help streamline things.
- Paymo: If money is tight, Paymo is the way to go in terms of project management apps. Here you’ll find everything you need to plan and prioritize so nothing gets lost. They feature three key categories – clients, projects, and tasks, and you can assign due dates and decide what is a priority. You can even add attachments.
When You Need to Focus
While being in a coworking space can mean great things, it can also mean a continual source of distraction. When you need to focus, there are tools that can help with that.
- Pomodor: On the surface, this is just a minimalist timer, but it can help you customize the length of work and break periods so you can decide exactly how and when you want to work. It’s free too.
- Be Focused: This is an Apple tool, and it’s integrated with the Mac. You can set your durations, the number of intervals you want each day, and even set up a different timer for each task. It also allows you the ability to add notes and due dates to various tasks.
- Serene: This is more than a simple focus app. It’s an entire productivity system that is built around deep focus. In general, you block what you find distracting, then with a click of the button, a timer starts. It will even play optional concentration music.
At Office Evolution, we offer some of the best coworking spaces available, and with the best coworking tools, we can help you connect with the right people at the right time. Learn more about our spaces today.