In a traditional office, communication and collaboration are fairly simple. Even productivity is easy to maintain with your boss keeping an eye on you all the time. You can access all the documents as the files are kept next to you, talk to your colleagues whenever you want to, hold up a surprise meeting or simply solve out any query with a discussion.
Things are different in a fully distributed team. People work across different time zones, speak different languages and belong to different cultural backgrounds and rarely meet in-person. To bridge the gap you need the right set of tools in a remote environment to make everyday work smooth and simple.
There are countless tools available for your remote team but filtering out the most useful ones is the key. Cloud-based tools are the very foundation of remote teams and they can make or break a strong team.
Slack for Communication
For remote workers, Slack is not just a communication tool - it’s a religion. Slack is one of the most widely used tools for remote communication as it cuts down the endless array of emails. Slack is like a virtual office, where employees can connect and communicate with ease. It is great for brainstorming, asking each other questions, sharing files, comparing notes and updates.
Slack also serves as a virtual water cooler, giving remote teams a place to talk about anything, work-related or otherwise let off some steam. And if you are still not convinced why Slack is one of the best remote communication tools, I bet the hilarious Gifs will definitely hook you to the app.
Zoom for Video Conferencing
In a remote environment, meetings usually happen on video calls. For a one on one meeting, any video app can get the job done. But what do you do when there’s an entire team (or teams) that need to be on the video call?
An alternative to most video conferencing tools available, Zoom has a higher threshold for the number of people who can be in a meeting at once. While some other tools like Skype are often slow, Zoom allows effective meetings in a remote team. It has excellent video and audio quality with built-in group messaging. The best feature about Zoom is that any user can dial into an audio call for free.
Scheduling and conducting meetings in a remote environment can be a difficult task. But cloud-based tools like Zoom, make it simple and easy.
Toggl - Time Tracking Tool
Procrastination is easy when you are working remotely. A time tracking tool like Toggl can instantly boost your team’s productivity. Toggl tracks time based on tasks and projects, either through a task timer or manual entry.
Besides time tracking, it offers reporting services on both desktop and mobile applications. It is a very effective tool to have an overview of your team’s time and progress on various tasks and projects.
Time Doctor– Employee Management and Monitoring Tool
Time Doctor is an efficient HR tech tool that helps to boost the productivity of distributed teams.
This time tracking tool goes beyond tracking how much time remote workers spend at work. It also plays other employee management roles. With its screenshot monitoring, chat monitoring and desktop tracking features, Time Doctor creates transparency and accountability to the virtual workspace. Employees can always check in with remote team members to see if they’re working on the right tasks or projects.
In addition, this tool sends accurate timesheet, productivity and web usage reports via email. HR managers can use these reports to evaluate employee performance and to monitor each team member’s level of productivity.
Furthermore, the payroll module helps to generate salary information for each team member. HR staff can delegate discretionary employee management tasks to Time Doctor so that they can focus on critical tasks
Google Drive for Storage
Google Drive is by far the most popular cloud storage tool available. Remote workers (and pretty much everyone in the world) use Google Drive for one reason or the other.
Google Drive is highly effective because of its smooth collaboration features across documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Additional features include third-party apps, easy file sharing, quick access, search and backups.
It is also accessible to visually impaired users with improved keyboard accessibility, support for zooming, high contrast mode, and better compatibility with screen readers.
Trello for Collaboration
Trello’s ease of use makes it a great tool for project and task management. Trello’s simple design, which revolves around blank spaces called “boards” and virtual Post-it notes called “cards,” gives you room to track, plan or organize anything you choose. These boards allow transparency within the team.
Trello can be connected to Slack and since both these tools also have mobile apps, no other tool works better for a remote worker. These two apps when combined together, tackle projects and never let anything slip from the cracks.
In fact, Trello’s own team uses a Trello board for efficient communication. Stella Garber, Product Marketing Lead, Trello, says “Trello boards make brainstorming and planning very easy in a remote environment”.
ProofHub: All-in-One Project Planning Software
ProofHub is the one project management tool that replaces all the apps you use to plan your projects, manage your in-house and remote teams, and simplify your team collaboration. It has an easy-to-use interface and offers great flexibility with its multiple views. It boasts of having excellent collaboration features like online discussions and an in-built chat app.
ProofHub gives you ultimate control over teams, projects and communications with features such as custom roles, custom workflows, and custom reports. It also aids in time management as well as you can add a start and end date to tasks, use timer and timesheets with ease.
Over to you: What do you think?
These six tools are bound to take your productivity to the next level. They ensure the smooth functioning in a remote team. Do you use the same tools within your remote team? Still not sure if your remote team will benefit from them?
Remote organizations have been successfully working with the help of these tools and you can too.
Learn more about these tools from remote work experts like Stella Garber, Beat Buhlmann, Courtney Seiter and many more.