Teleconferencing and collaboration tools to consider when working from home amid coronavirus outbreak

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

Code Orange has been declared and you suddenly find yourself having to work from home, as per your company's directive.

Fret not, here are some teleconferencing and collaboration tools that allow you to still be as productive as ever, even when you are in front of your computer in your pyjamas.

Slack

Available on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows

One of best collaboration tools currently, 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 projects you are working on. You can also prioritise which channels are the most important, so you can focus on those projects that are top priority.

Even if you leave or archive a channel, the contents are still searchable. Thus, you can always refer to them when you have similar projects in the future.

In addition, Slack supports voice and video calls. So 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 only supports one-to-one voice and video calls, instead of group calls and you only have access to 10,000 of your team's most recent messages. Paid plans allow group video conferences and full searchable history.

G Suite

Available on Android, iOS, Mac 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. And your colleagues can hop in anytime 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 everyone's schedule without having to call or message one another. And there is Hangouts that allow everyone to stay in contact with each other.

Zoom

Available on Android, iOS, Mac 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 more 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.

Trello

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 for completion. In short, Trello is easy to learn.

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

Toggl

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

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

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