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Our Favorite Work from Home Tools for Agency Owners

July 10, 2020

Running your nanny agency from home isn’t as scary as it might sound. You can get your daily work done, schedule meetings, share important documents, even conduct video interviews with potential new nannies… all from the comfort of your home office.

To do all that effectively, though, you need the best remote work tools at your disposal. I’ve shared some of my favorite tools below for your inspiration. The best part? Many of them are free!

Project Management

If you have a small nanny agency, you might think that your team can handle all of its tasks by communicating through email. While this is technically true, there’s a better way to organize your workflow: a project management system. 

Asana is my favorite for its user-friendly interface and different options for visualizing and automating tasks. Love using calendars, or do you prefer a to-do list for your tasks? Choose your preferred format in Asana. You can assign others to specific tasks or projects, set security controls, and share information across your team. I love Asana because you can even use it by yourself to organize all the things you have to do in a day. Being a solo agency owner means there's a lot of work on your plate! Make sure you're organizing it.

You can even automate regular tasks, like meetings with families or nannies, checking your weekly budget, running payroll, and so on. Asana is free for teams up to 15 people, and there are paid monthly plans per user if you need more options.

Other project management tools: Freedcamp, Trello, AirTable

Cloud Storage

Just like project management, sharing files with your caregivers or clients is best left out of email. Use a cloud storage platform to store and share digital files securely, in one location. 

Google Drive is my cloud storage platform of choice because there is so much you can do with it. Work on a list of interview questions for potential nannies (and share copies with job candidates during interviews). Create slide decks for presentations. Keep an open document of social media ideas for your agency. Use spreadsheets to keep track of expenses.

Other cloud storage options: Dropbox, OneDrive

Time Tracking 

A big fear that business owners have about working remotely is that productivity will slip. And that’s totally understandable! It seems easier to keep an eye on your team (if you have one!) when you’re all gathered in the office together. Time tracking tools can ease those worries. You can also track your own time to make sure that you're spending it wisely — there's only one you!

Toggl is easy to use and free for up to five users (with paid options for more advanced features). Some great features include idle detection, a stopwatch timer, differentiation between billable and non-billable hours, employee monitoring, and more. You can see which tasks or projects are taking up the most hours or making your agency the most money.

Other time tracking tools: Time Doctor, Hubstaff, Teamwork

Chat

If you do have a small team, working remotely might feel like you can't communicate well with others. Using a platform to chat with your colleagues (instead of popping over to their desk) can be tough. Rather than go back and forth through email, use a tool that makes it easy to talk to everyone on your team immediately.

Slack is my top choice here, and it’s a favorite of many companies as one of the most popular messaging tools out there. Use individual channels to talk about specific projects, brainstorm new ideas, or share silly and fun bits of the internet with your colleagues. Plus, you can integrate Slack with other apps like Google Drive and Dropbox, which is super handy.

Other chat options: Discord, Microsoft Teams, Flowdock 

Video Conferencing

Get ready for your next nanny or family interview with video conferencing. You can even use it to connect with other agency owners and your team if you have one!

Zoom, of course, is probably the most popular group calling app around right now. It’s fairly affordable, high-quality, and teeming with helpful features: screen sharing, calendar integrations, video recording, and more.

If you don’t have time to book a meeting with your agency employees or nannies, use Loom to record a presentation of yourself or just your voice. You’ll get a shareable link for your recording afterward that you can send through chat or email.

Other video conferencing tools: Skype, Join.me, Google Meet

Scheduling

One of the best parts of working remotely is the ability to set your own schedule. However, when you work with caregivers and families, you might need a tool that makes it easy to share and compare those schedules. A scheduling tool lets others know what part of your day looks the busiest, or when you’re available for meetings.

Google Calendar is useful because so many of us use them for work and personal events already, on desktop or mobile. You can use Google Calendar to keep track of meetings, vacations or sick time, interviews, virtual events, and fun stuff like birthdays and work anniversaries.

If you want an appointment scheduling tool to book meetings with nannies or clients, try Calendly or Doodle.

Other scheduling tools: TimeTree, Simple Calendar

Stay productive and happy

When will it be safe enough to move our nanny agencies back to the office? With COVID-19 still at large, it’s hard to say. That’s why it’s so important to invest in remote work tools to ensure that you stay productive and happy while working from home. We could be WFH for quite a while, so we should have access to the best tools to do our jobs well.

Looking for more tips on growing and operating your nanny agency? Be sure to follow the Megan Metzger Consulting blog!

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