Published: 17 March 2020

Digital remote working tools: sector tips

From Loom to Zoom, here are seven essential tools suggested by CharityComms’ Twitter followers.

Need to get your head around remote working? Luckily there are lots of online tools that can help. Many of them are free and most are easy to use (but make sure they’re compliant with data protection laws).

Here’s some suggestions from our community below.

1. Loom

Loom recommendation

What is it?

Loom lets you record videos direct from computer and share them with colleagues.

What is it good for?

Need to share something relatively complex – like the thinking behind an edit or the inspiration driving a campaign? Then Loom could help. It links up your screen, camera and microphone so you can record a short video talking people through your ideas. You can also create a library of ‘how-to’ videos explaining processes or policies.

Tip: Set a time limit for videos. They can be any length – which some people may see as an invitation to waffle.

2. Slack

Slack

What is it?

Slack is an online messaging service where conversations are sorted into ‘channels’ – which can be clearer than email.

What is it good for?

Like other online messaging, Slack gives you the chance to access people instantly. Because messages are classified into different channels it’s simple to see the history of a project. And you can also create different channels for different needs: like ‘social’ and ‘latest campaign’.

Tip: Put clear policies in place about when/how people are expected to respond. Otherwise it can quickly feel like a runaway WhatsApp group.

3. Basecamp

Basecamp recommendation

What is it?

Basecamp is an all-in online project management tool.

What is it good for?

Basecamp is one of the big-hitters in project management. Once you’ve bought into it (and it takes a bit of time to learn the features) it’s a one-stop shop for managing a project. You can sort out a schedule, set deadlines and make sure everyone’s in the loop.

Tip: Need to cut through the noise? You can ‘unfollow’ projects you don’t need to hear about today.

4. Skype

Skype

What is it?

Even your grandad knows what Skype is by now. One of the original internet conferencing systems, it’s often the first choice for video and audio calls.

What is it good for?

As long as you have good Wi-Fi, Skype is a reliable way to communicate by video, audio or text over the internet. Because many people are familiar with it Skype can be a good go-to when other communication methods fail. Plus, you can pop it on your phone too so it’s easier to communicate on the move.

Tip: The pencil animation that appears when someone is typing can be distracting when you’re trying to get on with something else. Go to options to stop it.

5. Zoom

What is it?

Zoom is a Skype competitor with a similar USP: reliable video/audio conferencing.

What is it good for?

As Claire explains, many people find Zoom more user-friendly than Skype. That’s not surprising since as a latecomer to the scene, Zoom had a chance to fix some of Skype’s early UX problems. Zoom also offers some nifty features too – like integrated scheduling and webinars.

Tip: Use the record function to keep track of what’s happened in key meetings (or interview case studies).

6. Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck

What is it?

Tweetdeck is a simple, free way to schedule and manage everyday Tweets for your charity.

What is it good for?

When you’re out of office it can be easy to fall behind on social media. Tweetdeck helps you stay ahead by letting you schedule tweets so you can be sure your audience are engaged. You can also link accounts too, allowing you to manage multiple feeds at once. It’s only available for Twitter – but the fact it’s free makes it a good stopgap before a paid app like Sprout Social.

Tip: There’s now a ‘Teams’ option so you can delegate actions without having to share passwords.

7. Google Docs 

GoogleDocs
What is it?

Google Docs allows you to share documents with your team, edit and collaborate in real-time.

What is it good for?

Google Docs can help end the back and forth of Word docs and keep version control in check. In fact, it can do pretty much anything Word can do – but in a shareable online format. You can even save as a Word doc once you’ve finished.

Tip: Remember that Google Docs isn’t necessarily compliant with GDPR. If you’re worried, try out SharePoint (Microsoft’s equivalent).

*We’d love to make this list as useful as possible for all of you charity folk out there so if you have a great tip please add it to our Twitter thread here.


Matt Chittock, copywriter, freelance

Matt Chittock is an experienced copywriter, journalist and proofreader working in the not-for-profit sector.