The COVID19 or Coronavirus outbreak has brought about major disruptions on how the world works. For the first time, the whole world has given remote working a chance, as more and more companies find themselves with little choice but to advise their staff to work from home.
As a veteran in remote work, online work, working from home, or whichever term you would like to use, there are some few insights I have picked up over the years. To start us off on that front, I’m going to share with you some open source tools that make working from home secure, easier, and efficient.
Why Open Source?
Well, the first disadvantage of proprietary or closed source software, is that more often than not, you are required to pay for use. Of course, you can always get the pirated versions, but then you will be putting security, privacy, and efficiency at risk.
Pirated software might contain embedded codes and scripts that could spy on you, steal your information, and use system resources resulting in slowed computer performance.
If your company has adopted the work from the home policy as a measure to control the spread of the COVID19 virus. There is a chance that you will be doing your work on your own devices. Perhaps you work on desktop computers, not laptops or tablets.
When you start working from home, I don’t see it being easy for you to take your office desktop computer to your home. You are more likely to turn to your own personal computer. There are a lot of people out here, especially Microsoft Windows users, who are not using the legal copies of the operating system.
You either purchase the official license and get the security upgrades and updates to secure your computer. Or if buying the license is too tall an order for you to commit to financially, then the open-source operating system is the best way to go.
If your work involves word-processing, numbers-crunching, presentations, database management, then you need a solid office suite. The best office suite currently on the market, Microsoft Office and Google G-Suite, are proprietary software that one must purchase or subscribe to in order to use.
If you can’t work on the proprietary office suites, don’t fall into the trap of using counterfeit versions of the same. You are better off going for open source office suites that have proven to be secure, robust, and integrate with the popular proprietary office suites.
To that front, LibreOffice comes highly recommended as a leading office suite in the open-source space.
Etherpad shared Documents
If you want to work with a colleague on a document, you need an online platform where your contributions can be reflected in real-time. If you are looking for an open-source platform for doing that, then Etherpad
Ethercalc shared Spreadsheets
Ethercal is a real-time collaboration spreadsheet, which allows two or more people to do the number crunchings together online. As it works out, several people, from different locations, can work on the same spreadsheets remotely.
Whiteboards are common during physical meetings in companies’ conference rooms. However, it is struggling to transition to the online digital world during virtual meetings. Nonetheless, there are several digital whiteboards that have done a good job in trying to create the same experience.
On the open-source front, Drawpile has proven to be a robust and effective whiteboard for people in need of having virtual meetings; the best part of all being, it is free and open source. So you can trust it has been tried, tested, and tweaked to the best standards.
Project Management on Kanban board
If you and your colleagues working in the same department are all working remotely, each at their respective homes. You can organize and synchronize your work remotely with opensource tools like Kanban board or Taiga.
Riot team chat
Many people don’t like having meetings, even if it is online meetings. Not everything requires everyone to drop what they were doing, and synchronize to get online at the same time to have a virtual meeting.
Some things can be done without a video chat or voice call, and for that reason, the Riot team chat was created. An open-source software where members can chat on the same platform via instant messaging complete with emojis, GIFs, and images. Riot.im is one open-source software that meets the said descriptions.
Nextcloud shared Calendar and Storage
Described by its fans as the humble giant application, Nextcloud works as personal cloud storage. It has clients for desktop and mobile ecosystems. It enables you to put your files in the cloud, with the ability to share them with your contacts.
It also comes with plug-in features, where the software, in addition to enabling teams to share files, acts as an email client, chat client, and video chat client, among others.
Working from home is not the bed of roses with servings of milk and butter as most people seem to imagine. If not handled right, a worker’s productivity could take a nose-dive, especially if they do not practice self-discipline and create a conducive environment for work.
However, if handled right, remote working could help the world now fight off the spread of COVID19 pandemic, and later fight social problems like traffic in cities with lots of people not having to commute to work.
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