A few people have asked for advice for home working and we thought you might find some of these free tools useful and help you with home and collaborative working over the longer-term. Albeit there’s always a paid version, dependent on usage!

If you need any more detail or if these don’t cover your main issue, please feel free to ask, I’ll share what I can.

1. Google Hangouts – Video Conferencing

We created this how-to-do-it document (Word doc 7mb or PDF 0.5mb) which shows you how to use Google hangouts. It’s easy once you have a go at it, just ask a friend or colleague to trial this out with. We like it because it’s free, you can add text chat, share screens, theres no time limit and you can work in groups. You will need a Google account, which you may already have via your Gmail account, YouTube account etc.

In response to Covid-19 G-suite are increasing the coverage of Google hangouts to Enterprise meaning up to 250 can be in on the same video conference. Read more here. And Google Classroom for teaching environments.

2. Google Drive – Cloud shared file storage (and G-Suite).

You may well already be set up with Office 365 or another file sharing system but if you’re not, G-Suite essentially gives you all of Google’s alternatives to Microsoft Office i.e. MS Word Google call Docs. But it also includes Google Drive for storing files. G-Drive is essentially for your storing and sharing your files, if you have a networked drive that is only in the office, G-drive allows you to add those files to their cloud. So everyone who is working remotely, and has an internet connection (and in your team) can gain access and you can share files. One of the benefits of a Google account’s is that you get 30GB of cloud space for free, you just need a Google account. You can upgrade and get a free trial of that here for 14 days for more capacity.

Office 365 also offer cloud storage via their one drive.

3. Skype for messaging and calls – https://www.skype.com/en/

We like this just for day to day message and notifications. You can invite people into the chat. Text chat is less organised than SLACK (see below) but a lot more familiar to people and you can switch to a free call, video conference and share screens (just like with Google Hangouts).

4. SLACK – for group chat: https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/ and https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/pricing

This is a really handy tool for everyone who is involved in a project, essentially group email, but it means they can chip in to on-going conversations, and you can organise the topics so people see what’s relevant to them. They also get an email notification when you type their @username.

5. Trello – for project based task management:
https://trello.com/ and https://trello.com/pricing

This is a really nice tool to help collaborative working on projects. Large tasks or segments of projects called (boards) are organised into columns and you can assign tasks to people within your team or comment on tasks, upload files, images etc

I hope that’s helpful, as we create more guides I’ll circulate or let me know the kind of thing that would be of use to you.

All the best

Nick

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Written by Sam Gardiner

I'm a designer based in Liverpool currently working for E-blueprint. Die hard Bolton Wanderers...Enough said.

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