Tools I use to make remote work easier

Andrea Soverini
6 min readJun 21, 2019

I’ve been working remotely since 2017 and after trying all sort of tools I thought to make a list of the widgets for peace of mind I use daily to make little tasks a little bit easier. Some have been there forever and could be better, other are brand new and hopefully more will come!

Disclaimer: I’m working with Apple products, so all tools are tested on (and some only available for) MacOS and iOS.

So without further ado…

Krisp.ai noise cancelling— MacOS (freemium)

Krisp.ai is the latest addition to my remote toolbox. Is a little widget that you can install and act as a filter for your computer audio input and output. You talk into your mic, Krisp’s technology removes the background noise (cafes , voices etc), and then spit out a cleaner audio signal that you can use with any of your app, just need to select Krisp (virtual) microphone and speaker and you are all set. Is pretty genius and, so far, works pretty well!

The Clock — MacOS (paid)

You don’t really work remotely if you don’t have to plan call with at least three different timezones involved. The Clock is a simple app that add a nice multiple clocks on your MacOS top toolbar, has a lot of option to personalise your interface and a super helpful slider that allows you to see time in the past or future across all your timezones. Is paid ($4.99 one off) but TOTALLY worth it. I use it daily.

Every Time Zone — Website (freemium)

Every Time Zone is pretty much the same as The Clock, the team have been working on it recently and adding a few features and integrations. Personally I haven’t try any extra feature yet (and don’t feel the need for it either), but depending on your work and team dynamics it might be a better or worse option for you. Sometimes I prefer this for a more visual feedback on how timezone relate to each other, sometimes I prefer The Clock because is right in my desktop and only has my favorite timezones.

Time Buddy — iOS app + widget (freemium)

Time Buddy is basically the equivalent of The Clock but for mobile phones. Looks terrible, but the lock screen widget is a life and time saver! The app also allows you to “explore” past and future time slots, select a time for an event and share the information to other apps or message it to anyone. Pretty neat.

iOS lock screen widget is 👌

There’s actually a website version too (iOS and Android apps), but again, I think the design is pretty awful and everytimezone does the same job better.

Timeout — MacOS (freemium)

Timeout is another little sweet app for MacOS that simply reminds you when is time to rest your eyes and take a break. To be honest sometimes it gets in my way when I’m in the middle of writing emails or when I forgot to turn it off for calls, but the paid version allows you to enable snooze (don’t do it!), skip breaks and set what apps should disable the breaks (eg: Skype, Zoom, etc). I don’t necessarily feel I *need* this one, but is good for you!

The Clock also has a simple breaks option, is pretty basic, but you might want to check it out too. I like this one better for its personalisation options.

Tripmode data usage firewall — MacOS (freemium)

Tripmode comes to the rescue when you’re on the move and using and abusing your limited and precious mobile plan via hot spot. Without it you just need to distract once and having all of your cloud apps synchronising gigabites of files and draining your mobile data allowance in minutes (tested this first hand 😢 multiple times 😭). With Tripmode you can say what app can and cannot access the internet, it also remembers what apps are allowed based on the network you are connected to, so you can really use it with any connection (slow wifi, limited wifi from cafes, mobile data, etc). There’s a paid option that gives you some extra feature.

It worked great most of the time except once recently when even if I had it on while hotspotting I had my +7GB of mobile data gone with no reason. The “Data Used” counter (see bottom of the image) was telling me only few MB were consumed, but my mobile carrier said otherwise. It still a bit of a mystery why/how this had happened, but it’s the only issue I had in a few years of use 🤷‍♂️. Good luck!

Data saver… when it works

Foursquare — iOS app (free)

I like to use Foursquare mainly to find good food and drinks, that’s pretty much it, but one thing that I love is using the suggested search “Coffeeshops with wifi” it’s pretty reliable and is a quick way to find a cafe where to work from when in a new town. Easy peasy, just double check the opening hours before getting to a place the other side of town!

Calendly — Website (freemium)

Calendly is a senior in this list, being around for long it is a no-brainer if you want to schedule call with peace of mind. For those who never heard of it, Calendly connects to your calendar and allows you to set up time slots and a personalized URL to allow whoever needs to have a call with you to choose their favourite time to talk. It then send everyone a calendar invite with all details and integrates with conference call tools (Appear.in is available on the free , Zoom is only on the paid plan). Very smooth… Just remember to keep your calendar updated to avoid surprise and awkward rescheduling requests!

PayForIt

No, this is not a tool. Just wanted you to notice that most of these tools are coming from independent developers, they might be not all top notch in terms of technology or design but they can really make your life better so, not only for the extra features, consider paying for these tools also to support these amazing developers and designers!

That’s it!

Do you know another tool that improve your remote work and you really love?
Leave a comment! ✍️

Hope you find this helpful!

Happy remote work!

✌️

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