How To Work Remotely: Productivity Apps That Help You Get It Done

Apart from being a very cool reggae song, the expression “No Man Is An Island” is never more true in building a fashion brand, wherever you may be located – or even while traveling.

In the fashion business it’s entirely likely that you’ll be working remotely with several third parties for some portion of the process, whether that’s just manufacturing or all the way through to distribution. In the case of my brand Isy B., a designer womenswear label based in the Cayman Islands (three beautiful, tiny dots in middle of the Caribbean), working remotely has been refined to an art form with teams based in San Francisco, LA, and New York. In short, everywhere but here.

It’s not always been easy to manage but let’s face it, on the balmy beach days when I’m swaying gently in a hammock, sipping on tree-fresh coconut water, the benefits outweigh the challenge! Working productively anywhere can be entirely doable with the right tools in place, particularly with the right apps. Best of all, they cost nothing initially – which is always a big plus for small businesses.

Working remotely anywhere. Photocredit
One benefit of working remotely…tree-fresh coconut water. Image credit:

Get Organized

With Asana the to-do list gets automated, assigned and shared, deadlines are written in stone, and delegation is a piece of cake. Everyone knows what happens next, and can collaborate on making it happen. Cost: $0.

Get Visual

Sometimes, to get your ideas across, it’s easier to show rather than tell. Skitch makes it easy for me to clip anything from the web, annotate it, point at exactly what I mean with unmistakable huge pink arrows, or highlight it with sketches on the image. I can then save it for later or share it with the team through Evernote. Cost: $0.

Get Sharing

Dropbox keeps all relevant project information safely stored in one central location in the cloud which makes it easy for the team to access and share files and documents with each other. Cost: $0.

Get Talking

Skype is the tool of choice for us here, not least because we love to see the guys we work with, and there’s nothing like a video call for showing off the scenery and making everyone jealous! Sometimes however, in order to guarantee the consistent quality of a group call (and look more professional) it’s best to go old school, which is where comes in useful. It also usefully allows the conference call to be recorded for revisiting later when you realize you’ve forgotten who said what. Cost: $0.

Spending quality time with the DNA team in San Francisco: Image credit:
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Get Your Timing Right

If you’ve ever had the brain-frying experience of trying to coordinate timing with people in more than two time zones, then you’ll soon understand why World Time Buddy is a particular favorite. It makes it easier to find a time that works for everyone and avoids the grizzly and toe-curling incident where I woke a potential supplier up from REM sleep in the middle of his night. Cost: $0.

Get Up Close and Personal

Sometimes, nothing beats being there face to face with the team, but flights costs are a budget killer for a small business. I take the hassle out of getting there with Momondo, a flight comparison site which provides options for the cheapest, quickest, and best way to get to my destination. I also love the “pain and anguish” score it gives me for each flight option by weighing the cost of the flight against the amount of time it takes to get there. Cost: $0.

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