In response to the coronavirus (Covid-19), the nation has shifted to home-working – kitchen-tables across the land have been swept clean of the breakfast things to make way for laptops and hard drives.

The era of homeworking came to us, however, about four years ago when I realised that the most important thing was to recruit and retain the best talent I could, rather than my choice being restricted by geographical boundaries. I haven’t looked back.

I have a team of productive, digitally savvy people (of all ages!) who know how to use software so that good team communication and happy working relationships thrive.

And it doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg to get set up. Here’s a list of the best affordable software that we’ve tried and tested.

Best transcription tool Trint

Ok this is not free, sorry! But it’s such a time-saver and you do get a very generous free trial where you can at least get a couple of documents transcribed. If you are interviewing/talking to people remotely online and need their responses typed up – simply upload your sound recording (Zoom saves both sound and video files) to Trint and it will do all the hard work for you. It saves hours. It’s not 100% accurate and struggles with strong accents, but it does most of the leg-work meaning you just need to listen through once again and make corrections. Its auto-stop function means you don’t have to stop and start the recording as you make edits, it’s responsive as you type.

Best collaborative audio/video editor Descript

Descript is a brilliant audio/video editor tool which includes many features including transcription, screen recording, podcasting and even some useful AI tools! I heard about this tool from someone who uses the filler word removal feature to edit out all of the ums, uhs, ahs etc out of their podcast recording.  It comes with 3 hours free transcription which is really useful if you want to transcribe any video’s to repurpose your content. You can try a lot of the features for free, or unlock all the great features for only £9 a month. 

Best free software for project management Trello

We’ve tried a few project management tools before settling on Trello. We like how you can organise activities on cards, drag and drop them to new locations, assign project owners add notes and upload supporting documents. Easy. And FREE!

Best free software for social media graphics / simple graphic design – Canva

We love the simplicity of Canva. With lots of free graphics and styles, you can mock-up posters, flyers and social media posts really quickly and professionally. We use it on a daily basis. Whilst the free version is good enough, for a small cost (about £10/month) you can upgrade to use your own brand colours and fonts.

Best free software for social media video shorts Animoto

You may find that your capacity to deliver digital marketing is going to be more crucial than ever. Boost your social media presence by creating catchy, engaging video content. No technical know-how needed, simply use Animoto which can piece together video or photography slideshows and overlays sounds and subtitles. You can trial the software for free but there is a monthly £5 for removing the watermark. It’s so cheap, effective and easy to use we thought it was well worth listing it here!

Best free software for writing effectively – Grammarly

You’ll be using those typing fingers more over the coming months! Even if it’s just for a quick chat on skype, we recommend you keep your professional edge with your colleagues as well as external clients by using the Grammarly plugin.

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