30+ Awesome Tools & Resources to Work Remotely (and Play) Like a Virtual Boss

Are you required to work remotely? Stuck at home in self-isolation? In this post I share some awesome tools and resources for remote working (and play). From productivity and remote online tools to some fun entertainment resources.. I’ve got you covered for work (and entertainment) in this post!

By DONNA MORITZ| PUBLISHED 3 APRIL, 2020

Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through a link. 

Now, I probably don’t need to tell you why I’m writing this post. The world has changed in 2020. We’re all getting used to a new normal at least for the short term, but possibly the long term too. Many of us are also now required to work remotely too, which brings new challenges.

Personally, I have enjoyed the family time, even with the juggle. I’ve been processing what we are all going through right now with COVID-19, and the changes to our world, and finding a new normal. I hope you and your family are safe and well, and get through this pandemic, safe and well. It is hard seeing so many fellow business owners and employees lose income, jobs and businesses overnight.

At home, we’ve been adjusting to having kids at home for schooling to the pressures and challenges of having two small businesses in one family and no “employer” to rely on outside of those small businesses. It has required reassessment and planning moving forward. On the flipside, I like the idea of family time and the unexpected benefits of isolating at home.

And like most of you, I’m searching for better tools and resources (and fun!) for this time. And as someone who has worked from home for a number of years, I can share the tools and resources that work for me.

Some of these tools are “evergreen” tools and resources, and some are “right now” resources for work (and play) that are on a limited time offer (super discounted, or FREE), so make sure you snap them up quickly for the next few months. I’ll update this list to reflect current offers and new ones, where I can.

Let’s jump in and take a look at the tools so you can work remotely.

Tools, Tips and Resources to Work Remotely (and Play!)

Let’s get started with some awesome education and training resources. Dive in quickly as some of these are limited time:

Learning & Education

The following items include amazing opportunities for learning and development. Snap them up while you can:

1. FREE Access to Social Media Manager School for 8 weeks (powered by Agorapulse)

This one is huge! UPDATE – it’s still huge but extended! If you have been thinking of getting further training as a Social Media Manager (or maybe starting out on your path to becoming a Social Media Manager) then Social Media Manager School is one of the best systems for you! Normally $997USD, it’s being offered for 8 weeks for FREE.

Yes that’s right, if you claim your seat in this training before the end of May you have up to 8 weeks to complete the training and get your certificate!

Social Media Manager School is the premier online place for Social Media Managers to access platform based learning and the latest and best social media strategies and tactics. I know a lot of Social Media Managers who have graduated from this program and they now work in some awesome and exciting companies or have built their own consultancies off the back of this program. You can also work remotely!

It’s quality training, so grab this opportunity if you are able to spend the time completing the program.

Access The School Free for 8 Weeks!

2. Free Access to ‘Over’ on Desktop

If you’re not familiar with Over, then let me help you. Over is a mobile-based tool for creating visual content and (in my honest opinion) it’s one of the best. From great templates to awesome graphics, elements, and features to allow you to design from scratch or edit easily… it’s fun to use. For those that love creating images and videos on mobile, it’s fantastic. But they haven’t had a desktop tool. Until now.

Now you can try out their Desktop tool in Beta for FREE. It’s open through June which means you can get an account without having to use your credit card. All you have to add is your email address.

Get access to Over Desktop here till June 30.

PS this applies to desktop access only, not mobile. But that’s still a pretty sweet deal!

3. How Your Business Can Thrive and Survive Webinar

Danny Maloney is a smart guy – he founded Tailwind, one of my favorite online tools for managing Pinterest. Danny recently presented Facebook Live that has some useful insights in it, if you are in business weathering the storm of this crisis.

Danny has worked in different industries, and different size businesses so he has some good advice for helping businesses facing challenge times and crises and plan ahead for the future. He also knows a lot about how to work remotely. This session is target towards the American business community but the advice is generally relevant for any business owner.

Watch the Facebook Live Replay here and check out this blog post by Tailwind too.

How Your Business Can Survive COVID-19 (and Thrive After)

We are living in a world united by a common challenge. How can we deal with the current, immediate challenges of keeping our families safe and secure while planning for our ongoing business success?We asked some of our members if they’d like to hear from Tailwind CEO Danny Maloney with ideas for weathering and making the most of these uncertain times, and the answer was – YES! So, join us live tomorrow at 2:30PM CT on Facebook (recording available in the same spot) and we’ll discuss:Practical resources for families and businesses in crisisIf I can’t tell already, what kind of impact should I expect?Should I pivot my business? And if so, how? (featuring examples for several niches)How to avoid common mistakes during a downturn – and emerge strongerOpen Q&AWe hope you can make it. Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues who might be struggling. All are welcome.After the session, we’ll ask for additional questions or areas where you want support. If you want more, we’ll schedule additional sessions to go deeper on specific topics with you. https://blog.tailwindapp.com/navigating-the-covid-19-recession/

Posted by Tailwind on Monday, March 23, 2020

4. Two Free Months at SkillShare as you Work Remotely

Want to learn a new skill or to level up your existing skills while you work remotely? SkillShare is a wonderland of short courses in just about everything from stop motion animation to learning guitar, learning a language or sewing. Take your pick! With this link you can get two free months to test it out. Can’t afford to pay? Just add a reminder to your calendar in just under 2 months time to remind you to cancel. Enjoy (and let me know what you learn!).

Get two months free on Skillshare here.

Virtual Business Resources

Here are some business resources to help you work from wherever – you’re only limited by a laptop and internet connection with these tools in your pocket. These are all tools I use from companies I love, so feel free to use them too! Many are free or have free trials or freemium levels so you can get started without worrying about cost, at least initially.

5. Podia

Podia is a fantastic easy-to-use all-in-one course-creation platform.

If you’ve been talking about creating an online course, now might be the time if you are going to work remotely. When it comes to platforms to help you do that, I’m in love with Podia. I’m currently moving my old, custom course platform over to a new platform and I spent MONTHS deciding on where to move. I looked at a bunch of course platforms, many that are super popular, and many that I love. But I ended up on one that I hadn’t considered before – Podia.

Why Podia? It’s super easy to use, it has many of the features, I was looking for in other platforms like Thinkific and Teachable and Kajabi but for a much more affordable price when you consider that Podia includes unlimited students and no sneaky add-ons to achieve full functionality.

You can fully host videos, downloadables like PDFs, accept money (or integrate with your own shopping cart), send emails (or automate with your email provider) and it even has a robust membership platform. So basically it’s very all-in-one and saves you a lot of time plugging in other tools and functionality. For those people starting out with online courses, it’s a great option.

Oh, and they even recently added an awesome messaging function (to keep in touch with your students based on their actions) and a webinar feature, so they are always adding more functionality for their users, which makes me happy.

You can try Podia here and get 15% off with my link after you do a 14-day free trial. When you couple this with the discount for paying up-front for annual membership (also 15%) that’s a total of 30% for the year.

6. Zoom

Zoom has emerged as the most popular video conferencing platform of them all when it comes to remote working. I’ve used Zoom for a while now for meetings or presentations and I love it. Check out how to start using Zoom here as well as tutorials and guides for using this versatile tool. You can do meetings up to 40 minutes for free and up to 100 people, which is not so bad for a free plan.

Start using Zoom here and find out more about using Zoom during Covid-19 here.

7. Tasks Management Tools for Teams that Work Remotely

Asana and Trello both have free plans to get you started.

There are many tools that work well for teams but two that I have used (and have solid “free” functionality) are Trello and Asana. They are perfect for when you need to work remotely as a team.

Both tools you to manage tasks, projects and content calendars as well as messaging features between team members. Asana is better with bigger teams with time-dependant projects with lots of moving pieces and assigned tasks. Trello can work well for small teams with small projects, content calendars and visual tracking of tasks.

Hot Tip: Take them both for a test run, with a different project on each and see how you like them!

Check out Asana here and Trello here.

8. Social Agency Scout

Need help from a Social Media Agency? This free tool will help.

Need help with your social media marketing? Need to find a well-recommended and reviewed agency? Then use this free resource to help you. Simply enter the city or country you want to find an agency in, select the type of agency you want to work with and Social Agency Scout does the rest!

Take advantage of Social Agency Scout here.

9. Easy Advocacy

Empower your employees to be advocates and share your content!

One of the most effective ways to share your story is to empower your audience to share it for you. One segment of your community that is often overlooked – but super powerful – when it comes to sharing content is your employees.

Easy Advocacy allows you to streamline your employee advocacy efforts, amplify company news and give more reach to your content. And it just takes one click from your employees to share. It’s also gamified so you can track your biggest sharers. It’s also perfect if your team has to work remotely and you can even gamify the process. And it’s free!

Start using Easy Advocacy here!

Visual Design Resources

Now let’s take a look at my favorite type of virtual resource – visual design tools. I write a lot about visual content tools on this blog but I wanted to share just a few in this post that have extended trials or discounts to help you get started (or awesome free plans). These tools allow you to create visual content from anywhere, anytime, including in teams if you are working remotely. Check them out:

10. Wave.video

Wave is one of the best DIY Video tools for small businesses.

Wave is my go-tool tool for video creation. Currently they are offering 50% off annual plans or the first 3 months of any monthly plan – so that more businesses can access these tools that help them to better work remotely.

Click here to Grab the 50% offer – use this link and click through to the Pricing Page (new users only). Ignore the 10% discount listed on the landing page.

11. Easil

Easil is free to start – or affordable for teams.

Easil is one of the best DIY Design tools for businesses wanting to get started with visual content. There’s a lot to get you started on the free plan so I’d highly recommend you try it here.

But if you are looking or a great DIY-design tool that gives you great team functionality for less than a lot of the other teams-based tools, try Easil’s Plus level. It gives you everything from extra text effects to a GIF-maker, resizing, brand kit and remove background feature and more.

It’s the teams functionality that I love the most with Easil and it’s perfect for teams that work remotely. One of the things I love about Easil Plus is that you can create custom team templates, and lock those templates with brand locking so that they are only used in the way you want them to be used by team members, protecting your brand.

Brand Locking is a gam-cchanger for protecting your brand assets.

You can also easily set up and get design approvals before posting – which makes it much easier for designers and users alike! Everyone is happy.

Get started with Easil Plus here including a free 30 days trial.

12. Splasheo

Splasheo is a video captioning service that allows you to create videos with headings and captions with quick turnaround. The Splasheo team is offering a free trial for friends of Socially Sorted. This essentially means you can get up to 4 videos created for free during a 7-day trial period. Only continue to pay if you love the service and want to keep using it.

Take advantage of the Splasheo trial here now and get some videos edited while you are working from home!

Hot tip: use old presentations or footage that you can easily get converted into a short meme-style letterboxed video. Choose the best segments, send them off and have them returnd to you with headings and captions.

13. Quicc

Yes captions are important on video, which is why I’m sharing two video caption tools. Did you know that the majority of videos are watched with the sound off? That figure might improve while a bigger percentage of the world is starting to work remotely for the first time (and not commuting as much) but in any case, captions help us to consume the content.

Quicc is a tool that adds captions using arificial intelligence. Upload any video (from YouTube to Facebook to Instagram and Instagram Story sizes) to their website and in a matter of minutes (or less) you’ll receive back a fully captioned video. It’s easy to edit, and boom… you have a video ready to post.

You can even add your own branding colors so your videos are on-brand for your audience.

Check out Quicc here to get started with 10 free minutes.

14. Canva Update – all media INCLUDED In Pro

Wait, what? Canva Pro now includes unlimited images, videos and design elements.

Just as I thought I was wrapping up this post, Canva went and announced something very cool for their Pro users. They have unlocked their ENTIRE content library for Canva Pro users. Previously you had to pay $1 for many premium images, videos, elements. Now all Canva Pro users get access to over 60 million premium assets. Basically, Pro users don’t have to pay for any asset (image, graphic or video) in Canva projects. But please check the terms of use for the stock images/video/elements for your individual projects.

The good news is that FREE users can get another Canva Pro trial, even if you have done a trial previously, so you can check out Pro again. So give it a whirl and see what you think. This is huge as we don’t need video and photo stock libraries anymore!

Do a Canva Pro Trial here (even if you’ve done one before) for 30 days.

Entertainment Resources

Now it’s time for some resources that help you to PLAY! Let’s face it, right many of us are at home, trying to get through the day with work-from-home expectations, home-schooled children and cabin fever all rolled into one. Try some of these resources to help you get through this time in our lives!

15. Catch up on TED Talks

I’ve rarely met a TED Talk I didn’t love. Now’s the time to catch up on them while you work (and play) remotely. The TED website is jam-packed with excellent presentations, in just about every category you can think of. Dive into some of the most popular TED talks of all time, or take advantage of their section of presentations hand-picked to get you through challenging times. Or watch the most recent additions. It’s a Netflix of amazing presentations.

Watch TED Talks here.

16. Take the ‘Science of Well-being’ Course

A friend told me about this course and while I have not completed it yet, it’s on my list of to-do’s. This course in happiness has thousands of positive reviews and millions of students, so I guess it helps with happiness, which is not a bad thing right now, right?

Take the happiness course for free here.

17. Watch Broadway Musicals for Free for 7 Days

Broadway HQ has opened up their subscription to offer 7 Days watching time for free. Now again, you should plan to cancel before you get charged if you don’t to pay a subscription. But if you are stuck at home with time to spare, you can watch a lot of musicals in one week. It’s not Hamilton and you’ll find that some of the musicals are older, but there is, from time-to-time some recent gems like Kinky Boots and Billy Elliott. And hey, it’s free and entertaining – and that’s all that matters.

Start watching Broadway at home here with BroadwayHQ.

18. Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals

Not to be outdone by BroadwayHQ Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has generously agreed to release one of his full-length smash-hit musicals to be streamed weekly as many of us work remotely… starting with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Work? What work? These full-length musicals may go away but you can still find some of your favourite songs and musical moments in the playlists that remain.

Check out the latest musical available here.

19. Find an Entertaining Zoo Webcam

Fan of wildlife? Go to your local zoo or aquarium on Facebook or YouTube and check out their live streams or webcams. Check out the Monterey Bay Otters to start the ball rolling.

20. Visit Your Fave Museum… Virtually

Around the world, famous museums are opening up their doors … virtually. Don’t work remotely all day – take a break! Check out some of the museums offering virtual tours in this post. From the Met to MoMa to the Tate Britain and the British Museum… take a walk through the hallways of history in virtual time.

Start finding museum tours here.

21. Sign up to your Local Library for e-content

Whether you can still visit your library in person or not, check out the e-services available to you. Most libraries often e-books, audio books, digital magazines

22. Free Guitar, Bass or Ukele Lessons with Fender

Want to learn a stringed instrument? Fender is offering 3 months of free lessons. That’s some serious time learning your chosen stringed instrument form a quality website.

Start playing here with Fender (3 months free). Web only – no credit card required. As of May this has been extended to the first 1 million people that sign up to Fender, so grab your spot!

23. The Body Coach PE Lessons

If you haven’t heard of Joe Wicks then you’re in for some fun. Joe has been growing quite the following with his Lean in 15 second recipe videos and online workouts. Currently he’s doing free “PE Lessons” daily on his YouTube Channel and Facebook page, so now’s the time to get fit with the Body Coach!

Oh and by the way, Joe is British and when he had a massive influx of viewers on his YouTube Channel recently to watch his daily PE workouts, his ad revenue skyrocketed. Kind Joe has decided to donate it all to the NHS to assist with health services. What a nice bloke! Here’s a taste…

24. Discover some new music & a feel-good story

My friend Ian recently told me about an EP album on Spotify that I have since listened to a few times. It was masterfully mixed by his 16-year-old son Ryan and his girlfriend, Jamie (also 16) in their duo called “Less than Three”. I wanted to give them a shoutout so you can enjoy listening to it as well.

Here’s the kicker: These young musicians recorded these tracks despite being in isolation in different houses. At 16 years of age!

My daughter literally came to my office asking me what the song “So hard to be yours” was called, as she wanted to add it to one of her playlists.

Through the wonders of modern technology and smart editing and production by Ryan, the two young musicians in Less than Three sound like they are in the same room, singing and playing together. Give it a listen and support some young, creative artists.

Check out Oranges by Less than Three on Spotify.

PS Maybe it’s time to make a new playlist and share with friends! Or take some time to search for some other new artists to play and support!

25. Need Some Good News? Watch “Some Good News”.

If you loved The Office then you might like John Krasinski’s Some Good News – a funny, wrap of good news around the world:

and the second episode is even better… especially if you’re missing musical theatre live. Watch for the Hamilton ensemble near the end of the video:

We could all do with some good news, right?

26. Watch the “Whiskered Woodcarver” on Facebook Live

I know it sounds like an unusual topic but my friend Jeff Sieh doing his “happy little cuts” while woodcarving super-cute projects and chatting about topics from “simple joys” to “how have you invested in yourself” is so addictive. Maybe it’s the banjo music in the background that I love to. My Dad played banjo and mandolin. If you’re a fan of Bob Ross, Jeff is the ‘Bob Ross’ of woodcutting.

My daughter has loved his carvings ever since he started sharing them online. Jeff is also a super-smart marketer so follow him for great tips on live streaming and video, visual content and Pinterest marketing.

I’ll keep adding resources to this page as I discover them. And keep an eye on your favorite newsfeeds as there are so many great offers being made by generous companies all the time.

Some Final Tips

Lastly I want to say something to the internet. Dear Internet, may you be strong. Because unfortunately, most of these things require data (the least of which is most of us now starting to work remotely). Here are a couple of hot tips for preparing for when (and it’s likely) the internet goes down, as well as other tips to help you out:

27. Take advantage of downloads to watch offline.

Got Netflix? Disney Plus? Any streaming service that allows downloads? Download some episodes on a device or two that you can watch offline in case the interwebs go down.

28. Get a HDMI cable and adaptor.

Want to watch your downloads on the big screen? Get a HDMI adaptopr. I have two adaptors, one attaches my Surface Pro to the TV and the other can attach my phone to the TV. If the internet does go down we can play those downloaded movies via the HDMI cable.

Why would we do this? Because some providers like Netflix and Disney Plus have a block on mirroring your device. If you plug it in directly using a HDMI cable you can broadcast the screen of your mobile to your TV.

27. Plan to work offline.

Have a folder of jobs ready that you can do offline should the internet go bye-byes. For me, that might be recording some videos that don’t require the internet using screenflow. Or maybe it’s sorting your receipts. Or perhaps it’s cleaning out your screenshots or freeing up some storage on your computer. I am sure you can find a long list of “offline” activities that you can do with the documents on your computer that don’t require internet.

and yes i am well aware that this post says 26+ resources… I’m adding new ones so it’s going to grow well beyond that {wink}.

29. Get outside.

Even if you are still “on the clock” use it to make a call or brainstorm or just clear your head. You don’t have to be in front of a screen 24/7. Sunlight is also super important for a strong immune system so don’t forget to boost it!

30. Remember the 20/20/20 rule.

If you are using screens for long periods, then every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 metres away, and focus on it for 20 seconds.

BONUS TIP: Plan Your ‘Trials’ to Avoid Surprise Payments

Doing a Software or Tool Trial? If you need to enter your credit card and you are not entirely sure you will continue after the trial, do the following so you are not automatically charged:

  • write the date in your calendar at least two days before the automatic payment is due as well as the day before it is due so you can remember to cancel your trial.
  • choose monthly payment as the option when signing up. This is so (in the case of an accidental charge) you can request a refund on a monthly charge vs an annual one. Hopefully, this won’t happen if you use the tip above to remind yourself to cancel.

And of course, it goes without saying that if you enjoy a service and you can afford it, consider paying to continue. A lot of businesses are doing it tough right now and your continued subscriptions will help to keep them in business. Not every start-up is Netflix, so consider your expenses and if you can invest in keeping your favorite tools running, then do so.

That’s it for now. I hope you have enjoyed this list of helpful tools, tips and resources to help you work remotely (and stay entertained). I’ll continue to add resources to this list as I discover them, so feel free to bookmark this and come back to it for updates.

Your Turn

What are your favorite business resources, tools or entertainment sources as you work remotely (and play remotely). Share them below!

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Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a “Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019”. Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.

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