So, you too gave a nod to the work from home policy!
I mean yes, under the circumstances of the Covid-19 outbreak, a lockdown is in place and you as a business owner want to ensure a safe working culture for your workforce.
To showcase a noble gesture in such trying times, you need to show complete trust in your employees that they won’t misuse this facility.
But the businessman inside you knows that the comfort of home is also a challenging new working environment for your employees. So, how can you ensure that there is a productive outcome during the lockdown period?
I am listing down some of the coolest and useful SaaS tools that will come in handy during the work-from-home regime.
What is the novel coronavirus or Covid-19?
Knowing your enemy is half the battle won! Isn’t it.
A bit more clarification before we head into the article.
According to ECDC, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus.
If we talk about the disease on the world scale, with more than 786,000 coronavirus cases and more than 37,000 deaths, the world has fallen to its knees. The good news is 165,000 people have recovered. But there are around 583,000 infected patients out of which 96% have mild conditions and around 4% are serious or critical.
Current situation in the U.S.
COVID-19 activity is visible in the United States. In national terms, this is the initiation phase of the pandemic.
There are various states that are reporting community spreads and are now considered in the acceleration phase.
The CDC has stated that the duration and severity of each pandemic phase depend on the virus and the public health response.
All 50 states have now reported cases of COVID-19 to the CDC.
U.S. COVID-19 cases include:
- Imported cases in travelers
- Cases among close contacts of a known case
- Community-acquired cases where the source of the infection is unknown
Twenty-seven states have reported community spread of COVID-19.
Read more on the various states that are reporting cases of Covid-19.
So why the elaborated definition and statistics in an article that is supposed to speak about enhancing productivity in the wake of a pandemic.
Be productive during remote working
As I mentioned earlier, knowing the enemy is half the battle won. The other half of the battle will be won with proper planning and with SaaS tools that will help businesses with their productivity in this work-from-home regime.
So, let’s get started on the SaaS tools that will help businesses ensure a productive work-from-home outcome.
Accounting can get boring if you are not in love with the whole numbers game. For small business owners, doing a faster calculation in lesser time is a crucial requirement. After all, time is money!
Be it the expense tracking, personal and business taxes, the financial side of entrepreneurship can get dull and boring.
QuickBooks is accounting software that has been developed and marketed by Intuit.
QuickBooks helps small and medium-sized businesses by offering on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions.
Businesses use this accounting tool for
- accepting business payments
- managing and paying bills
- payroll functionality
Xero is a web-based accounting system. The accounting tool has been designed for small and growing businesses.
It is one of the favorite and most used financial collaboration app that helps small businesses connect with their trusted advisors and provides instant financial visibility to them as well.
Xero works in line with businesses’ rules and priorities whilst managing money in and out of their budgets that coincides with their long-term goals.
- The setup is painless and the training requires lesser time.
- From data entry to deep accounting, Xero is designed to facilitate the easy processing of huge financial records.
- Purchase files can be quickly edited.
- Every transaction has a detailed list of performed actions, including dates, users, and manual notes.
Multiple-approval model and two-factor authentication are the necessary features for minimizing financial fraud.
Analysis and reporting tools
Reporting tools are critical for successful business operations. These tools help the analytics teams in generating updated statistics of the essential business growth areas. These reports can be circulated to other teams and upper management for understanding how things are going.
Google Analytics is a free tool to analyze your website traffic and conversion. The analysis and reporting tool provides crucial insight into website visitors’ behavior and journey. It is the world’s most popular freemium web analytics service and is used worldwide by many companies, regardless of their size and domain.
Google Analytics offers a life-time free package for
- Small businesses
It also gives quote-based and justified pricing to enterprises.
Kissmetrics is an analytics and conversion platform that has been developed for businesses that want to optimize their marketing efforts. Kissmetrics provides really useful data to the marketers for measuring the impact of their strategies.
- The analytics tool will analyze user interactions with a website over-time whilst providing insights to businesses.
- The insights help businesses make better decisions based on the understanding of the website visitor behavior.
- This tool connects all the activity sessions as well as the time of these sessions across devices.
- Such insights are useful for identifying the patterns audiences follow in the desired target segment.
Using the insights marketers can easily plan and improve their next campaigns.
You can see the actions getting converted into your business’s success.
Appointment scheduling tool
Appointment scheduling apps allow clients to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments using the web interface.
Calendly is simple yet powerful and automated scheduling too. Around millions of users benefit from its scheduling experience, so that they can spend their time on top priorities. This appointment scheduling tool accommodates individual users and large teams alike.
- Calendly seamlessly works with Google, Office 365 and Outlook calendars.
- It can also integrate with third-party apps such as Stripe, GoToMeeting, and Zapier.
- It is really easy to use, simply set the availability preference, share the link and let your colleagues or clients pick a time for the event.
- The best part is your appointment set from Calendly will automatically get added into your Google and Microsoft calendar.
Calendly is more efficient and simplified than traditional appoint scheduling solutions. It is really easy to set up, use, and manage.
This appointment scheduling tool is completely optimized to work with
Such cross-platform functionality ensures that users do not have any compatibility issues.
- Prevention of last-minute meetings
- Creating buffer times between meetings
- Secret event types with enhanced privacy and control
The availability of the invitees is shown on a single page which maximizes your convenience of appointment scheduling.
Take note, this is a great personal assistant if you are looking for someone to schedule your appointments. With Acuity Scheduling, you can put your appointments booking with your clients & customers.
You can allow your clients to
- see your real-time availability
- select the date and time that works best for them
- pay in advance via Square, Stripe, or Paypal
- even cancel or reschedule on their own
Acuity scheduling has a flexible calendar coordination system. The tool gives you complete control over calendars you want your staff and your clients to see.
For avoiding scheduling mix-ups, Acuity Scheduling’s calendar automatically adjusts as per the user’s timezone. The calendar is shareable via e-mail and on Facebook and Twitter.
Maintaining a healthy and lasting customer relationship is necessary for businesses. Doesn’t matter if you hail from B2B or B2C domain staying updated with evolving customer conversations while effectively managing new leads is really necessary for staying ahead of the competition.
This is where Customer relationship management (CRM) tools come into play and help your sales team members
- Log important communications
- Manage leads
- Build marketing campaigns
- Execute email campaigns
Salesmate is a leading CRM solution for small and mid-size businesses.
This sales CRM tool will empower your sales team members in closing deals faster by making the most important deals and actions available to them with a few clicks.
This smart and intelligent CRM tool
- Makes sales reps productive
- Increases their sales input
- Engage deeply with their customers
Salesmate CRM helps businesses close more deals at a faster rate by making the selling process easier with features like:
- Pipeline management
- Email tracking
- Built-in calling
- Shared team inbox
The robust sets of features and a clean UI make it easy to set up and help businesses save more selling time at every stage of their sales cycle.
You can win more deals without compromising the sales team’s collaborative spirit by avoiding the busywork.
It is easy to streamline your entire sales process with powerful tools and reduce your team’s manual workload. So that they can give their complete attention to engage and convert prospects into paying clients.
Using the built-in phone system you can always stay closer to your prospects and clients, whilst email tracking allows you to know when the recipient has opened your email. Set your flow of communication with the prospect and communicate with them seamlessly.
- Send emails, text message and make calls from the CRM itself.
- Turn your best-performing emails into templates
- See who is managing which client communication
- Automate your email outreach
- Check the performance using intuitive reports
These useful features allow the business owners to not just manage their customers but also to make sure their sales team is updated with the deals, leads, and productivity.
Be less dependable on third-party apps. But even if you want to add your favorite apps in this sales CRM, you can do so with integrations. Sign up for a 15-day free trial to see how it can help you.
HubSpot is inbound marketing, sales, and CRM suite.
This tool provides much-needed functionalities to businesses for creating captivating content, target the audience, and sell to them.
HubSpot provides its users with a marketing system where they can build, administer, and distribute gripping emails that are linked with the rest of their marketing tools and applications.
With HubSpot users can
- create dynamically updated membership lists
- static one-off email distributions
- tailor emails without coding expertise
As far as integrations go, you can connect the tool with your
- Email service providers
- Social media profiles
- Third-party applications
It is exactly the friendly and intuitive interface that makes it possible to import contacts with ease and use a fast leads backlog instead of complex installations and manual enrichment. The data insights it provides are simply unparalleled, and will certainly help your team save time they usually spend on research.
HR management tool
HR software options are abundant with its own merits. The most promising tools are built-in line with various HR techniques like
- Performance management
- Employee training
- Employee engagement
BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources (HR) software. This tool is loved and used by small and midsize businesses. This HR management tool offers a human resource information system (HRIS) with an applicant tracking system (ATS) required for managing every other aspect of the employee lifecycle.
Inside the system, you will get every other HR functionality such as
- personnel data modules
- tracking capabilities
- advanced reporting opportunities
The system utilizes a stripped-down mechanism for following employee performances, making it the best choice for every growing company in the market.
Remote and decentralized teams can really make the most from using this tool as it works flawlessly on all operational systems.
Keka HR is a human resources management and payroll tool. This tool helps HR executives to automate all the basic and tedious HR and payroll tasks.
- It lets your HR teams work faster, with more accuracy and productivity.
- This tool is a perfect option for businesses and organizations that want to leave the traditional practices behind.
- Process payroll without any hurdle and manage your workforce easily.
This HR management tool blends traditional and innovative features for attracting, acquiring, and nurturing your talent pool.
Live chat tool
67% of buyers abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase. The simple reason is that customers want answers to their questions instantly. They want to be 100 percent sure that the purchase they are making is right.
If they have no one to consult just before this step, businesses will lose their prospective customers. Businesses can avoid such a scenario by using a live chat tool for providing assistance and instant reply to the prospects and turn them into paying customers.
Intercom live chat
Intercom live chat is a chat tool that can be integrated into your business website. Whenever a visitor comes to your website, the live chat tool will notify them that help is available.
This live chat tool offers a better way of acquiring, engaging and retaining customers. It is ideal for sales, marketing, and support teams for connecting and communicating with customers.
There are many helpful features this live chat tool offers to sales, customer engagement, and customer support. With this tool, your team can
- capture, qualify, and nurture leads for converting prospects into customers
- send targeted messages for onboarding users
- make announcements and re-engage with leads
- solve customer problems faster using an integrated help desk
Marketing automation tool
The marketing automation industry has skyrocketed from a $500m market to an expected $6.4 billion in 2024.
MailChimp is an email marketing tool that offers various plans for small and developing companies.
This tool can handle large volumes of emails for big businesses and organizations. This tool offers low-cost plans ideal for startups with business-enhancing analytical features and strong technology tools.
These features allow businesses to effectively use email for becoming customer touchpoints and market their products and services more accurately.
Businesses can easily turn their leads into actual sales. This email marketing tool affordable and the best in today’s digital market.
Easily create, execute, and analyze ad and email campaigns
- Manage subscribers
- Generate custom reports
- View click-through and success rates
- Track your emails
- Ensure full transparency of campaigns
Users can select from a wide range of pre-designed templates or create their own. Businesses can use the freemium plan and send up to 12,000 emails per month to around 2,000 subscribers.
Marketo is one of the leading marketing automation platforms. It has around 2,300 customers and over 100,000 users from all over the globe.
It is so popular that Adobe acquired it for $4.7 billion.
Using Marketo, users can easily carry out email marketing. You can send emails based on actions, timing, and predefined stages.
Other helpful features from Marketo
- Email testing allows users to try out various content for different situations or occasions.
- It offers real-time personalization which allows business users to personalize the system as per their requirements.
- It simplifies the process and streamlines many tasks that help improve the efficiency of your marketing strategies and generate better revenue for you.
- It is simple and really easy to use and has been developed as a flexible and sophisticated marketing tool that helps you achieve better results.
Project management involves effective planning and organization of work.
- Defining the project objectives
- Making schedules
- Assigning tasks
These points are important for accomplishing the goal of your project. Businesses have the option of choosing from a variety of tools for effective and efficient project management.
Basecamp provides tools necessary for collaborating and managing projects.
- This tool is cloud-based and enables businesses to get a better handle on their projects and tasks.
- It is one of the most popular online project management tools and is very reliable with lesser setup and shorter learning time.
- Remote teams can stay in the know-how of every project even if they are different time-zones while using Basecamp.
Basecamp is hosted in the cloud and provided as a service on your desktop and mobile devices. You don’t have to invest in IT help as the developers of this tool are always pushing new and better releases.
Jira Software is an agile project management tool and supports every agile methodology scrum, kanban, or anything that is suitable for you.
- Be it agile boards or reports, businesses can plan, track, and manage this agile software and manage their projects.
- The tool gets constant updates that ensure its users about the support they will get in the future and also for staying updated with the current technological trends.
- Managers can simply create tasks in the backlog and let the team members decide which task needs to be prioritized.
JIRA terminates the problem of visibility and scheduling problems and also creates a way of communicating between the development and testing teams. They can track the journey of their tasks from backlog to completion.
JIRA tool is free to use and all the premium features are also free with it. Most of the time other tools are paid for the organizations.
With the JIRA tool, businesses can download the reports on the basis of Tasks and time spent on a particular task. Users can easily download the list of
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management software with amazing collaboration features.
- It lets you remain in ultimate control of your tasks, projects, and communications.
- Managers can create task lists for simple task management or use kanban boards to create custom workflows.
- The tool integrates with popular third-party apps like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and more.
ProofHub boosts team communication and lets team members collaborate in real-time to discuss and brainstorm ideas. It replaces the many apps teams use for managing their tasks, projects and communications with a single software.
With ProofHub, managers can create custom reports with set parameters that they can define to plan their projects and manage their resources more efficiently.
ProofHub has simple pricing with no per-user fee, and apart from being accessible on a browser, it is also available as a mobile app on Google Play Store and App Store.
Teams who are good at collaboration, are less susceptible to waste their time. A strong base can be built using online collaboration tools for enhancing their productivity. Collaborate with your remote workers frequently and conveniently. Get everyone on the same page about the projects.
Slack is a messaging app that is used as a communication platform and offers real-time messaging, file sharing, archiving, and search functionalities to your team members. The tool is built for modern teams who want to manage all their communication in one location.
- Slack works with 1,500+ external apps and services
- The tool has internal and external file-sharing options
- Users can use advanced search for filtering and sorting the right files
- Easily set filters using relevance or file type
The tool has been developed for iOS and Android platforms for providing complete mobile functionality.
Use Asana for organizing all your tasks, goals, attachments, and scheduling.
Businesses can optimize their projects and provide directives to the team. The tool provides a complete overview of all your goals whilst streamlining your workflow.
It is one of the most popular project management software in the market. It helps your team to stay focused on their goals, projects, and daily tasks.
Asana enables businesses to plan and structure their work in a way that suits you. You can
- set priorities and deadlines
- share details
- assign tasks
To stay on track, it allows You can follow projects and tasks through every stage and always stay on track.
While constantly juggling deadlines, resources, and deliverables, there’s a high chance of deriving benefit from a time management tool.
Harvest is a web-based business management tool developed for businesses to provide them with a time tracking tool.
- Harvest also helps businesses generate and send professional-looking invoices.
- The tool is easy to install and the intelligent interface makes it easier to operate.
- Its other important capabilities include powerful reporting with information on time, projects, and budget.
Businesses can derive reliable and actionable insights for making intelligent decisions, make successful project estimation, and ensure profitability.
Virtual meetings are cost-saving and also a revenue-generating option for event planners.
Zoom is developed for
- hosting webinars
- teaching online courses
- conducting online training
- video demonstrations
- virtual meetings
- video conference
The tool is an easy-to-use online video conferencing and meeting tool. It integrates video conferencing, online meetings, and group messaging inside a single cloud-based platform.
The tool is helpful in covering your face-to-face meetings and is best for
- Small and medium businesses
- Educational institutions
- Healthcare organizations
Zoom is built for hosting and broadcasting online meetings. It can cater to up to 100 interactive video participants and around 10,000 view-only attendees.
The tool offers quality video, audio, and screen-sharing capabilities.
Zoom as a virtual meeting tool improves collaboration
- Among teams
- Remote employees
Joining the meeting is easy and the attendees just need to give one-touch for starting and joining a meeting using their mobile devices and web browsers.
Scribe is a browser extension that turns any process into a step-by-step guide, written instructions, and screenshots. It automatically creates how-to guides by capturing the steps you take to complete a process, which saves a bunch of time being spent on preparing training materials.
Simply click “Record” in the Chrome extension or desktop application, complete a process, and then a guide is ready to share or modify instantly, complete with written instructions.
Price: The free version allows unlimited document creation with some limitations. Pro is $29/month and offers functionality such as screenshot redaction.
- Create and share in seconds
- Browser extension (free account) and desktop plugin (pro and up)
- Powerful team enablement
GoToMeeting is a simple web conferencing tool and is loaded with awesome features. The features make it an ideal option for businesses that are present at multiple international locations.
- The tool has a user-friendly interface and users can host a meeting without any hassle.
- The tool is also an excellent solution for businesses that are looking for a better alternative to Skype, Hangouts, and Facetime.
- GoToMeeting is compatible with PCs, iOS devices as well as Android devices.
Such compatibility provides users with a wide range of flexibility and allows them to create or join online meetings using any device, at any time and from anywhere.
The world has not seen better collaboration and coordination than this crisis. Every country is taking appropriate measures to keep their citizens safe and sound, every business is allowing exceptions and giving WFH facility to the employees.
You as a business owner have to compromise on a few things but need I remind you that health is wealth.
By taking these tools into consideration and looking for the best fit for your business you can make sure that your team’s WFH (work from home) productivity doesn’t get compromised.
Do read Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo
For more info on the pandemic, check out cdc.gov.