Remote work is quickly becoming a normal business practice thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic is impacting companies across every industry around the globe, forcing more and more people to work from home. Many employees and businesses are new to this concept and are needing to adapt to the new world of remote work quickly.
When your team is based remotely, a lot of your success depends on having the right processes and tools for the job in place.
Collaboration and communication become extra-vital because you can’t simply hang out over coffee or have a casual conversation at the water cooler. What you need is a good set of apps to help you include all your team members and streamline for efficiency wherever you can.
Some Thoughts on Remote Teamwork
Not everyone is wired to be suited to remote work. For some people, this lack of social contact can make it very difficult to get work done.
Open communication is critical when working remotely. You can have the best apps in place for communication, but they’ll be useless if a) they don’t get used or b) the person using them can’t get their messages across well.
Good, productive work habits and processes for making them happen are a must. While tools won’t substitute for skill or practices, they can become an essential part of the process for aiding those things.
It’s also worthy to note; there are a lot of possible tools out there, so many that your head may spin trying to come up with the right combinations. Our suggestion? Before deciding to explore all tools, put together a list of the essential functions that you really need. Tools on tools on tools can be tiring to manage, so error on the side of using what you need.
Tools for Remote Teams
It’s not easy to come up with a shortlist from all the available tools out there, so we’ve chosen some popular tools the teams we work with tend to use. They need tools that will facilitate communication, collaboration, productivity, and workflow management. Here’s our list:
We’ll start with our software. Our team is mostly remote, so we know that project management is an essential part of a thriving remote work environment. Remote teams need easy-to-use project management software that automates workflows and tasks to help save time.
We are a cloud-based project management solution that was designed with remote teams in mind. Rindle allows users to automate project workflows, distribute and assign tasks to team members and follow progress. Rindle organizes tasks, projects, resources, and communication and keeps track of ongoing activities via a real-time dashboard.
We also have some free resources that can help your remote team today:
- E-Book - Structuring Your Team’s Work
- E-Book - The Ultimate Guide to Project Automation
- Use Case - Manage remote teams
#2. Google Docs
Shared docs are often one of the cornerstones for remote teams. You need to be able to collaborate, keep essential docs where everyone can access them, and have a way to monitor version control (just in case!).
Google Docs/Drive/Sheets is an excellent free solution for editing and storing essential documents, particularly those that are needed often. It doesn’t have the best organization (you have to sort that out yourself), but virtually everyone has a Google account so that it will be readily accessible to team members.
Loom is a beneficial tool for training, on-boarding, and sharing ideas. With Loom, you can capture your screen, voice, and face and instantly share your video with anyone. Instead of spending a whole lot of time on one-on-one training for new team members, record your repetitive tasks and share them with your team
Slack is a popular communication tool that has been gaining momentum in the workplace for the last several years. As we have discussed, communication is key to having an efficient remote work environment.
Slack is essentially a chat room for your whole company, designed to replace email as your primary method of communication and sharing. The workspaces allow you to organize conversations by channels for group discussions and allows for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place.
Zoom is a popular cloud-based video conferencing application, useds to host meetings with remote or international colleagues and clients. Zoom video conferencing is known for its ease of use, high-quality HD video and audio, and collaboration facilities such as text chat and screen sharing.
Your team members might be remotely based, possibly even working in their pajamas, but team meetings via video conference can add an extra social element to your remote team. It helps to break the ice with team members and helps them to know each other a bit better. Plus, add a little personal flair by adding a video background during your meetings.r.
Simple really – remote teams need reliable cloud-based storage for the files they need to share and keep readily on-hand. Dropbox is one of the original and most popular solutions for cloud storage.
#6.5 Dropbox Paper
Dropbox Paper or Paper is a relatively new offering from Dropbox where collaboration is the star. Paper is an online document workspace, where you can organize and display text, media, and files all in one place. Paper lets you easily collaborate with others and access your Paper docs from anywhere. Plus, Paper is free with your Dropbox subscription.
Many apps you use now will have built-in integrations so that you can easily share data between the other apps you use. Data centralization is another cornerstone of productivity for remote teams. It helps if you can save time and reduce errors by removing any need for manual data entry.
For apps that don’t have a direct connection, Zapier may be able to assist. It works by forming the “bridge” between apps and is triggered by “zaps,” which are rules created. Rules are based on triggers; “if B happens in A app, then send B data to app C.” The more you can automate, the less likely things are to fall over in your team.
Do different members of your team need to be able to access various business accounts that have a password? Good examples might include WordPress, social media accounts, or CRM software.
1Password allows you to add users to your team account and give them access only to those accounts that they need. They can access them easily through the 1Password browser extension or by logging into their 1Password account. Plus, 1Password has a "family" edition, so you can manage passwords for anyone at home.
HelpScout is excellent from an external client perspective for providing help desk services and answers to FAQs. From an internal perspective, it’s a great way to keep communication with clients in one place and ensure the right people on your team have access to it. Rather than diving through your inbox, look for the thread in your HelpScout account.
Skitch is a free app that helps you communicate visually with friends, co-workers, and the world. Annotate images with arrows, shapes, text, and more.
Use Skitch to sketch something new, mark up maps, screen captures, or even a photo. Then save or share your Skitch annotation to help others see and understand your ideas.
In these uncertain times, it’s essential to give your remote teams the tools they need for success. Collaboration, communication, productivity, task management, and even team building can happen with the right tools, just make sure you know the features you need first.
Find the right combination of tools, resources and workflows for you remote work environment and figure out what works for your work environment. Document your processes and procedures and keep them where team members can easily access them.