A few years ago, the concept of remote working was often frowned upon, and businesses didn’t encourage remote teams. However, in recent times, with technology allowing us to work from wherever we are in the world, more and more businesses are warming up to the idea of building remote teams. In fact, with the COVID-19 pandemic, even businesses that were wary of remote working have had no choice but to implement it within their organization.
That being said, remote team collaboration can still be challenging, especially if your organization hasn’t implemented it on a large scale before. Working away from the office occasionally is one thing, but transitioning a large chunk of your workforce to a remote setup requires significant planning. And because there’s no manual on how to do that, there may be plenty of questions such as, “How can I manage my team across multiple time zones?”, “How can I collaborate and brainstorm with my remote team?”, and “How can I communicate effectively through text messages?”.
The answer is simple — by using the right tools. In another blog post, we’ve covered some cloud-based project management tools that can be used on a daily basis. However, this blog post covers all the online tools that remote teams can use to stay connected, collaborate on projects, and more. Let’s begin!
1. Communication Tools
Effective communication is an essential factor in maintaining healthy and strong working relationships at all levels of an organization. However, this is particularly true when working with remote teams. Investing in clear lines of communication will lead to trust among employees, higher levels of productivity, and a boost in morale.
Which communication tools can you use?
Fully integrated with G Suite, Google Hangouts is an enterprise-grade video-conferencing application built on Google’s robust and secure global infrastructure. All you have to do is set up a meeting and share the link with your remote team without having to worry about creating accounts or installing plug-ins. The application is integrated with your calendar, syncs across multiple devices, allows call recording, and instant messaging as well.
The OG of video-calling, Skype is a free global video-conferencing application. The app allows instant messaging, calls between Skype and landlines or mobiles, voicemail, video calling, screen sharing, SMS text messaging, and wireless hotspot network access — making it the perfect application for remote teams.
With an always-on chat interface and public & private chat rooms, Slack has emerged as the undisputed champion of team communication in recent years. Its simple, easy-to-use interface allows remote teams to share photos, videos, documents, create and schedule reminders, and access archives.
17% of the respondents wish for better collaboration and communication with their remote team.
Source: 2019 State of Remote Report
When you work with remote teams across the globe over multiple time zones, organising a central meeting can be a bit of a challenge. However, by using Jell, the crisis can be quickly averted. Jell allows you to get an overview of each member’s schedule, their tasks, and their local time, making it the perfect application to schedule and conduct daily scrum meetings.
Zoom Video Communications is an American communications technology that provides video telephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform. In recent times, especially with the pandemic urging businesses to work remotely, Zoom has been used extensively for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations.
2. Time-management tools
When managing large remote teams, it’s next to impossible to personally message each employee to know what they’re working on and what their schedule looks like. And that’s precisely why time-management tools are invaluable when working remotely. An employee time clock free software may be helpful, but other time-management tools include:
actiTIME is a time-tracking software that allows users to record hours spent on various tasks and compare actual performance time with the estimated one. One of the main benefits of actiTIME for managers is the ability to review which team member is engaged in which task and evaluate if the delegated work is completed on time.
Time-management tools allow time audit, task-related time estimation, and use of visual calendars that aid in promoting better utilization of the most essential resource – time.
TimeDoctor takes into account the different websites and applications that employees visit and creates reports on how work time is used. The app also optionally takes screenshots of employees’ workstations. Thus, by using TimeDoctor, managers can review the daily task performance of every remote team member at any time.
3. Project management and collaboration tools
A report published by Harvard Business Review stated that collaborative activity is the ‘secret sauce’ that inspires creativity. It enables virtual teams to make innovative and creative new products, communicate better, and promotes productivity.
Some of the best collaboration tools that you can use when working with remote teams include
Podio is a collaboration software that helps teams organize tasks and projects through a system that puts content, context, and conversations in one place. With automated workflows, meeting scheduling, unlimited storage, integrated chat rooms, personal dashboards, task management boards, connected CRMs, and data visualization, Podio is extensively used in large IT teams for collaboration.
Discover more to know about online tools for remote teams to stay connected and promote better collaboration, communication, and effective workflows.