5 tools for working from home

Code orange has been declared and you may have been asked to work from home. Trevor Tan and Vincent Chang pick the best teleconferencing and collaboration tools for this

These teleconferencing and collaboration tools allow you to still be as productive as ever while working from home.
These teleconferencing and collaboration tools allow you to still be as productive as ever while working from home.PHOTOS: SLACK, ZOOM VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS, TRELLO, TOGGL /FACEBOOK


Available on Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows

Google's G Suite, which comprises Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Hangouts, Calendar and other services, is probably the easiest way to work from home while still staying in contact with your colleagues.

The suite allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Your colleagues can hop in any time to continue working on these documents.

You can store the working files online in Google Drive and search for what you need almost instantly.

Calendar allows everyone to see everybody's schedule without having to call or message one another.

Hangouts allows everyone to stay in contact with one another.


Available on Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows

Currently one of the best collaboration tools, this platform allows you to send direct messages and files to a person or a group.

Your conversations take place in dedicated spaces called channels, which you can assign to projects, thus making it easy to track the ones you are working on.

You can prioritise the channels and thus focus on projects that are of top priority. Even if you leave or archive a channel, the contents are still searchable.

This allows you to refer to them when you have similar projects in the future.

In addition, Slack supports voice and video calls. You can set up a video-conference meeting remotely to discuss urgent matters.

The best part is that Slack has a free version. But it supports only one-to-one voice and video calls instead of group calls and you have access to only 10,000 of your team's most recent messages.

Paid plans allow group video conferences and full searchable history.


Available on Android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows and Web

When it comes to managing a project with a distributed team, Trello is a popular tool that has been used by notable organisations, including Kickstarter and Unicef.

Trello revolves around boards, columns and cards. Each project is represented by a board, which can be filled with columns for upcoming, ongoing and completed tasks.

These columns are filled with cards - each representing a task - that can be edited, colour-tagged and moved from one column to another. Team leaders can assign a card to a member with a deadline. In short, Trello is easy to learn.

Its basic features are free to use, though with restrictions such as a 10MB attachment limit.


Available on Android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Web and Linux

Tracking the hours spent on a project is essential for businesses that bill their clients based on time. It can also improve productivity by highlighting tasks in which team members are spending too much time on.

Toggl is a time-tracking tool that supports a wide range of platforms. It syncs across all platforms so you can start a timer on a smartphone and stop it on a computer. Idle detection ensures accuracy even if a user forgets to stop the timer.

Toggl is integrated with popular collaborative tools such as Asana, Basecamp and Google Calendar, making it easy to assign and track the time for projects.

Best of all, most of its key features are available for free. Firms with larger teams may find it worthwhile to opt for the paid version, which adds more functions, such as generating reports and including an unlimited number of members.


Available on Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows

For those who need to make group video calls, Zoom is a good platform to consider. Once you have installed the app or its extension on your devices, you can have a free group video call for three or more people, but for no longer than 40 minutes. It supports high-definition video and voice with full screen and gallery view.

Participants of a conference call can even share their screens simultaneously as well as schedule meetings directly from Google Calendar.

You can also record video calls in video (MP4), audio (MP3) or text (txt) format to keep as reference.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2020, with the headline '5 tools for working from home '. Subscribe