At Aprao we've been working remotely for a while - and we know a lot of our customers and friends in the property industry are now suddenly having to do the same. While the switch to remote work can often be a challenge, there's a host of great tools available to make it a whole lot easier. So today we're sharing our favourite remote work tools, in case you find it useful.
1. Aprao, of course!
We're all here - doing what we're doing - because Aprao is a remote working tool, designed for people at all stages of the property development process: and that includes us! We use Aprao every day, mostly to manage our customers' projects. Ideally we like to get our customers so familiar with the platform that they don't need our help, but in a lot of cases we'll help you get started - and of course we're here for you whenever you get stuck or need help with something a bit out of the ordinary. You can sign up for a free trial here.
We love Basecamp - not just because their platform helps us to manage our teams, projects, and tasks, but also because we are completely aligned on their ethos of encouraging remote work, trusting your employees to do great things, and being flexible to ensure everyone is enjoying their time at your company. The co-founders of Basecamp - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson - have written 3 books we love, too! "It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work", "Remote", and "Rework". These are our work "bibles" and we refer back to them often! You can try Basecamp free for 30 days, too.
3. G Suite
We use Gmail and Calendar for the basics, but we also use other tools too: like Sheets rather than Excel, so that we can collaborate live on spreadsheets, never having to worry about multiple versions. Google Drive is a great way to manage and share our files, as well as Docs and Slides for word processing and presentations. All these tools are hosted completely online, and you only ever need one version of any document - as many people as you like can work on the document at the same time, and you can see changes being made in real-time. G Suite doesn't have a free trial, but it's cheap, you pay monthly, and can cancel at any time.
4. Google Meet
It's technically part of G Suite, but deserves its own place on this list! Every day at 10am we all join a video call on Google Meet, where we can talk about what we're working on, and catch up with our colleagues. Staying connected on a daily basis - both personally and professionally - is vital to the success of remote work. You're not shooting the breeze over the coffee machine anymore, so you need to make up for it in other ways. Google Meet comes as part of G Suite, and you can sign up here. If you don't have G Suite but you've got a Gmail email address, you can also use Google Hangouts for free - which is a similar service, with some limitations.
We use HubSpot to ensure we've got all our customer's contact details up-to-date, and can keep records of all our conversations with them. It also ensures that whenever someone unsubscribes from our emails, we never bother them again! We want to let people know about Aprao, but only insofar as they find it useful. HubSpot also helps us to manage our sales and marketing processes, and support tickets whenever our customers need a helping hand. HubSpot has both free and paid options across a range of online products, which you can see here.
Now, we may be getting a little technical with this one - but this is where we store the code for Aprao 🤓. It's what we call a version control system. It allows our engineers to avoid stepping on each other's toes when we want to make changes in the Aprao application. It's where we discuss feature implementations with other members of the team as well. Github is so ubiquitous that chances are, if you have an engineering team at work, they are already using it without you knowing. 😉
7. Honourable Mentions...
Diagrams.net is a great place to create, edit, share, and collaborate on flowcharts and diagrams of all kinds. It comes in useful for the sort of thing that often gets mapped out in a PowerPoints slide and lost in a file somewhere...
Google Analytics is how we measure traffic on our website, to ensure everything is working as it should be, and that our content is relevant and useful to you.
LinkedIn is a staple for connecting with people in our industry, as well as keeping up-to-date with all the latest news and developments in property.
Zapier is a simple tool you can use to automate tasks - and the best part is, you don't need to be super tech-savvy to use it. No code, no faff, just "if this thing happens, please do this other thing." It's integrated with loads of online applications, so whatever you need to get done, it's probably somewhere in there!
None of these companies have approached us for promotion and we don't receive any kickbacks if you sign up with them. But if you have any questions about how we use these tools, do ask! We want to help you out wherever we can; not just with our own platform. We'd also love to hear about your remote work toolbox - what's working for you? What's not working so well, and why? Email us, we'd love to add your input and share your insights.