It is fair to say that remote work would not have been this successful, without the technological advances of the last decade. Zoom, Hangouts, Dropbox, Trello, Asana – these are now all familiar names everyone ranging from office workers to school teachers. Technology has played an essential role in allowing companies to use different tools for managing remote teams.
Here, we explore 6 common categories of tools for remote workers.
1. Communication Tools
Without a doubt, every company with remote or hybrid employees need a solid communication tool.
The best ones makes it easy to communicate with your team in multiple different ways (instant message, video chat etc). These tools help you eliminate the friction that comes with remote work, such as communication lag and increasing interaction between remote team members.
Here are some communication tools that our team has used and we would highly recommend:
Zoom is one tool that has definitely boomed in the last two years. It is best known as a web video-conferencing platform that a lot of teams use to hold meetings. A major plus point is that it’s free to get started and meetings can be recorded and stored.
Slack is another communication tool that is very popular in teams. It allows for different group chats as well as secure file sharing and storage. Slack is primarily known for its intuitive user interface and is even commonly used as a virtual headquarters!
Another excellent example that is used in a lot of larger companies would be Microsoft Teams. It is a collaborative communication tool where you can chat, create channels, and run your day-to-day communications. It also has a call-in feature, which allows a one-on-one or team meetings to easily be held within the app.
One tool that our team uses the most often is Google Hangouts. If your team, like ours, uses the Google ecosystem, this is one of the most intuitive system to use. It has one of the easier interfaces and allows for a large number of team members in a call.
And if you’re looking for a more secure form of communication, Webex is also a great tool, that is able to host up to 1000 members internally and externally.
2. File Sharing Tools
For remote companies, security is one of the topmost priorities, especially when dealing with file-sharing online.
A dependable file-sharing tool is your first step in safeguarding against cyberattacks and data breaches.
One of the more commonly used file sharing tools would be Google Drive, which gives a generous 15GB of space with a free account. You can store, share as well as allow another party to edit documents. Google Drive works seamlessly with its other apps, such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. Anything you create in these will be automatically stored in your Google Drive.
Another popular tool used for file sharing and storage is Dropbox, which is a true pioneer for file sharing, having been around since 2007. It offers synced desktop folders that you can access from anywhere. While we would prefer the free version to have more storage capacity, it’s nonetheless a good option if you’d rather not store your files with the dominant tech players.
Organizations that use Microsoft Office as a whole would find it easier to sync everything on Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive is known for its reliability and is one of the most secure file sharing and storage sites.
A lesser known tool is ProofHub which brings together everything you need in one software suite, including centralized file management.
Once you find your idea cloud-based file storage and sharing tool, you’ll find managing your remote teams easier than before.
3. Provisioning Tools
Imagine trying to onboard a new joiner when you are based in another country. This is no easy task, but is a common situation that many HR and IT Operations people of remote companies find themselves in.
Juggling multiple vendors, hours on the phone to find supplies, and delayed onboarding when something goes wrong (eg. laptops stuck in customs). This is something that remote work provisioning tools such as Esevel can help resolve.
A remote work platform, Esevel provides one central platform to set up, equip and manage remote teams based in different countries.
At the click of a button, you’d be able to procure and ship the physical equipment your remote employees needs to do good work, whether this is a laptop, monitor screen or headset.
At the same time, Esevel also provides automated asset and spend tracking, and acts as a single source of truth between different departments in your company.
A remote work provisioning tool can help you scale up your remote company by providing a single place to manage all remote work needs.
4. Project Management Tools
Good communication, asynchronous communication and work visibility, these are all important factors for remote project management.
To keep your team productive, consider using one of several project management tools for remote teams here.
Asana is an app that has seen incredible growth over the last couple of years.
It is a flexible Saas management tool that focuses on collaboration. Intuitive with different task displays, it also supports custom fields and forms. You can even invite unlimited guest users. Although it may require a steep learning curve at first, Asana offers remote teams a lot in the way of productivity and collaboration.
Trello is another excellent project management tool that many companies (including ours) use. It is a leading project task management software with built-in collaboration tools to work with your teams. Lightweight, simple, and straightforward to use, Trello also uses boards, lists, and cards to create tasks and stay organized.
With the proper project management tool, your team will find it much easier to communicate and collaborate with each other.
5. Time Management Tools
Working remotely, especially from home, can make us lose track of time. In the absence of an office environment or office commute, people often put in more hours than they expected at work.
There’s where time management tools come in. They help team members have a healthy work-life balance, especially when working from home.
A widely used time management tool is Toggl. It is a no-hassle time tracking software that integrates with different project management systems. It is a good add-on if you are already using tools such as Trello and Asana. For teams, it also has a helpful reports feature, that shows the team’s work progress.
Project management tools such as Asana and Trello also incorporate time management tools in their app. This would make it easier to ensure seamless time and project management.
6. Secure Integration/Password Managers
Hacks, such as this one on Google Docs, have proliferated with as workers moved to work from home.
One major vulnerability is phishing attacks.
Employees have to juggle multiple online accounts on different devices. Away from the security of the office intranet system, team members may not have the knowledge or time to maintain secure passwords.
That’s where password managers come in. Password managers help offload the trouble of memorizing passwords and storing the details for you and your team members.
Apps such as 1Password, for instance, not only store and manage your password but also alerts you when your password is weak or has been compromised. Plug-ins are also available for all your favourite web browsers to make them more accessible. Lastpass is also a favourite of ours and offers great value with its free tier.
Great Tools for Managing Remote Teams
With such a wide availability of tools for managing remote team, it’s a matter of finding the right ones so that your team continues to be as productive and connected as they’ve always felt.