The Best Remote Working Tools for Professional Horticulturists

Horticulture and landscape professionals have weathered the COVID-19 storm well, with the public turning to their gardens and landscapes for solace and activity as lockdowns are enforced across the world. While working outdoors can avoid close contact with clients, we still need to find ways to have those discussions and meetings that make work happen.

In this review, we look at three of the best remote-working tools for keeping you in touch with you customers and colleagues. These are all free tools that you can start with and if you need more functionality, all are able to be upgraded to offer enough functionality for every organisation.

Zoom

Everyone is talking about Zoom right now, and it’s a great teleconference product. The free version offers an easy to use service with up to 40 minutes per session and no limit on the number of participants.

Pros:

  • It’s free for short meetings and works on computers, mobile phones and tablets.
  • It’s easy to use and automatically focuses on the speaker.
  • It has a handy chat messaging function and you can virtually ‘raise your hand’ to ask to speak.
  • You can even have breakout rooms that split up your participants, ideal for interactive workshop sessions.

Cons:

  • You have a install an app which takes a few minutes the first time.
  • Reports say it has some security issues but in having used it, this has never come up as an issue.

Slack

First created as an internal collaboration tool for an online game company in 2013, Slack has been touted as the ‘end of email’. The reality is that email is still with us, and Slack has become the real-time collaboration tool of choice for many businesses, from start-ups to associations to corporates. Slack is ideal for keeping your employees together if they are out and about, using their mobiles to stay in touch, share ideas and work in groups.

Pros:

  • Slack is free, easy to use once you get the hang of it and works on all devices
  • You can create your own groups called ‘channels’ and specifically mention individuals using the @ symbol and their user name.
  • It’s real-time so you can message back and forth more effectively than email.
  • It is great for creating an enduring archive of organisational knowledge over time.

Cons:

  • It has its lingo and style that can take a while to get used to.
  • You have to be a bit careful with privacy settings

Teamwork

Teamwork is one of a number of online project management tools designed for dispersed teams, so it can be useful to manage employees and their tasks, or share your progress with clients as you work. It has a free version and offers a range of reports, tracking systems, file uploads and other useful collaboration tools.

Pros:

  • Powerful and customisable even in the free version.
  • Offers a range of tools for managing your project, employees and providing reports for clients.
  • Provides chat and discussion tools that help you stay in touch from remote sites.

Cons:

  • It is relatively more complex than some tools available.

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