The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has brought the world economy to a standstill. Billions of people across the world are under national lockdowns, leaving them no choice but to work from home full-time. Remote work has become the norm of the day for many people across the globe and is bound to stay that way for a couple of months. Remote work offers flexible working hours, but it also comes with many disadvantages.
Working from home regularly and not being able to step out for a breath of fresh air can hit your productivity severely. Some even find themselves avoiding work and putting off things to a later date. Remote collaboration and management need digital collaborative tools along with hard work.
Here is a comprehensive list of best tools for remote teams that can help you become more productive in your work amid Coronavirus:
Remote working tools for team communication and collaboration
In an office, you can drop by someone’s desk to communicate information and get instant clarification. Remote workers do not have this freedom and liberty, which is why you need a tool that makes it easier for everyone in your company to communicate.
Emails can become very complicated to use, especially if there are more than two people working on a single project. Missed reply-calls, long and complicated threads, and delayed responses can wreak havoc and lead to frustration. This is why you need tools that can facilitate ongoing communication seamlessly.
Slack provides a very simple and intuitive platform to chat one-on-one and in groups. The app has channels that can be used for collaboration on team projects. You also have the option to send direct messages to one person or more. With everything managed in real-time, it becomes easier to keep track of recent updates and urgent communications. Apart from text, Slack also offers audio and video chatting.
The app comes with a personal space to draft messages, list your to-dos, or keep links and files handy. The Slackbot is an interesting feature that works like a quick access help center. Other features include a search option to sieve through past chats, file sharing, and integration with Google Drive, Jira.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams can be considered an alternative to Slack with a few different features available. Other than file sharing, real-time communications, and audio and video conferencing, Microsoft Teams has in-built compatibility with Office 365. This makes it simple to prepare documents, presentations, workflows, excel sheets. You can also hold team meetings over Skype.
Basecamp is a project management and collaboration tool where you can interact with not just your colleagues but also clients, freelancers, and third-party agencies. Adding new members to the workspace is very easy since you do not need a company email to add someone new. You also have the option to add a person only to a specific project and not your entire company workspace. This way, they can access to information that you wish to share.
Remote Cloud Storage Tools
Cloud storage enables easier access to files, elimination of data redundancy, and regular backups to secure the information. Documents, notes, spreadsheets, and media are usually too bulky to be emailed. Cloud storage tools can generate a single shareable link to copy, and that can be sent to anyone.
Dropbox makes sharing files incredibly easy. You can create folders and drag and drop any file to save it in the cloud. Dropbox enables you to share a particular file, folder, or your entire Dropbox with others. Dropped files sync quickly on the cloud and with every collaborator. This gives them instant access to view, comment on, or edit any file they’d like to.
Dropbox is especially useful for sharing large files such as design files (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and so on) and presentations. It is very easy to access these backed-up files on your desktop, the Web, or your phone. Dropbox also sends instant notifications on any files added or deleted in your shared folders.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud storage tool that is a part of G-Suite. Here you can not only share files but also create them in the first place. It comes with a cloud-based version of Microsoft docs, excel, and presentation, namely Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. You get the additional functionality of preparing notes, checklists, reminders. You can also access maps, photos, calendars, books, hangouts, and more. All you need is a Gmail ID, and you are good to go.
Every content prepared on Google Drive automatically gets backed up on the cloud and can be accessed by all collaborators. You can also easily generate a shareable link to send to others and set specific permissions for access. Files get automatically synced across all logged-in devices. A great feature of Google Drive is that you can access these files offline as well.
Remote working tools for video conferencing and screen sharing
Remote work limits visual interactions with your team. Communicating via text and audio calls is sometimes not enough. Not being able to quickly get through meetings and doubts can hamper your productivity when working from home. You need handy tools that facilitate video conferencing and screen sharing so that you can communicate better and quicker. Jumping on a quick video call can help you reduce delays and confusion.
Zoom is a teleconferencing tool that makes video meetings incredibly simple. They offer high video and voice quality at affordable prices. The tool is very user-friendly and can also record entire video meetings, including screen shares. This makes it easier to share minutes of the meeting with anyone who missed it. One can even go back to the recordings to recall something they might have forgotten. Other than meetings, Zoom also provides features such as video webinars, cloud phone systems, and voice sharing.
7. RingCentral Meetings
RingCentral Meetings is an online video conferencing and screen sharing tool. It allows up to 100 participants to join a meeting. Higher upgrades even allow up to 500 participants. RingCentral Meetings comes with Microsoft Outlook integration, which allows you to schedule a meeting from within Outlook. You can conduct a Q/A session, start a poll, or even annotate content on the screen share.
8. Cisco WebEx
Cisco WebEx is another video conferencing tool highly useful for remote workers. You can get a personal meeting room, hold networking events such as online conferences or meetups, and even host webinars. It allows you to share your screen in high quality so that everyone can view the subject matter. Cisco WebEx is also a great tool if you are looking to train your employees remotely.
Remote Human Resources Tools
Work from home teams needs to pay special attention to talent acquisition and management. You cannot conduct on-site job interviews for prospective candidates. Remote work can also make virtual management of all employees tough. Human resources management tools can help you not just acquire the best talent but also manage them well.
TalenX is a talent acquisition and management and HR Analytics tool. It helps HR professionals save time and effort by shortlisting the best candidates for a job. TalenX can identify human potential using predictive analytics. Job-success predictors, such as personality traits, help shortlist candidates. You can conduct targeted interviews by asking behavioral interview questions from the TalenX tool. All team members in human resources can be sent a common hiring framework. This helps everyone come to the same page.
TalenX is also useful to manage the talent that you have acquired. It helps you identify employee strengths and competencies using advanced psychometrics. This way, even if you aren’t in physical touch with your employees, you can still keep track of their performance. Psychometrics can also help you chalk out the career path of an employee and qualify them for promotions.
Keka is an employee experience platform focusing on human resources, payroll, and talent management. With this tool, even if you are not in a physical workplace with employees, you can still manage them well. The payroll feature helps you handle monthly salaries, expenses, loans, and employee finances. The simple and intuitive interface helps you manage leaves, attendance, and employee documents. The collaborative hiring and application tracking feature are very useful for talent acquisition.
Remote working tools for note-taking
Breaking down a big project into shorter deadlines and making specific notes on them can help you get through work faster. This also makes sure that you aren’t missing out on any mini task. Taking notes in a diary is satisfactory, but it can get disorganized pretty quickly. Note-taking apps can help you prepare organized and clean notes that are easy to retrieve and follow through.
11. Google Keep
A part of G-Suite, Google Keep allows you to make easy to read notes. They can either be plain text, checklists, images, or audios. These notes can also be shared with other collaborators. You can color code and label each note, making their retrieval very easy. Google Keep is accessible on desktop, Web, or even your mobile phone since the content is synced across all devices.
Evernote makes it incredibly simple to take notes, set reminders, save attachments, and even clip web pages. You can create notebooks, organizers, and planners by including not just text and audio notes but also sketches, photos, videos, and PDFs. It is also a very handy tool to quickly jot down an idea, inspiration, or doubt.
It enables users to create agendas and annotate documents during a team meeting. You can then share these notes with your colleagues or pay extra attention to them when setting down to work. Since retrieving crucial information becomes easy, you never miss out on things or overlook important notes. All your notes on Evernote sync across devices and can also be accessed offline.
Todoist doubles as a note-taking and project management tool. You can add priority levels, due dates, and reminders for every note you add. You can also add recurring due dates, such as ‘Every Thursday,’ so that you do not have to set reminders every week. Todoist provides you the option to assign tasks to others. It notifies you of new comments on the task or when it has been marked as completed. Todoist also comes with several types of integration, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Slack, and so on.
Remote Project Management Tools
Virtual teams need a shared space where they can prepare specific tasks and sub-tasks and track their progress. Project management tools can help you stay on top of every crucial goal so that nothing is missed or overlooked.
Inspired by the Kanban method, Trello is a powerful tool to manage projects. The entire production line of a project is broken down into very specific tasks and sub-tasks. Every list in the Trello board comprises cards. These cards can be filled with descriptions, comments, attachments, due dates, labels, and more.
The entire work board and each specific card come with an activity watch that notifies you of all recent changes. Each of these cards can be shifted across lists, thus providing you flexibility with your set deadlines. You can also shift a card upwards in a list to set their priority levels.
Asana is a work management platform that helps your team stay organized and connected. Other than viewing all your tasks as a list, you can also view them as a ‘Timeline.’ This keeps you abreast with all other tasks in the project. Asana also has a ‘Calendar’ mode that allows you to view tasks in a calendar. Asana helps you get a snapshot of each team member’s workload. This way, you know exactly how much work is on someone’s plate and prevents managers from overwhelming their juniors.
The progress of every task can be viewed with status labels, such as On Track, At Risk, and Off Track. You can also set priority levels for each task with labels such as High, Medium, and Low.
Remote working tools for writing and editing
Writing and editing are a major part of almost every job. Marketers, copywriters, and customer support professionals need to be extra careful about this. Unclear communication can create a lot of confusion amongst your team members and with business partners. It can be even more devastating to send out confusing content to your customers. Writing error-free content is not so simple unless you have a writing assistant to help you along the way.
Grammarly is a writing assistance tool that enables you to write grammatically correct content. You can also set various goals, such as Audience (General, Knowledgeable, Expert), Formality (Informal, Neutral, Formal), and Tone (Confident, Joyful, Analytical, and so on).
Grammarly gives you an ‘Overall Score’ depending on parameters such as correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery. Premium upgrades can also alert you on advanced issues such as passive voice, word choice, intricate sentence, and more.
Another great tool for error-free writing is Hemingway. It helps you communicate more clearly, which is an essential need when working remotely. Hemingway effectively points out lengthy and complex sentences. It also enables you to reduce passive voice in your content and write lines that pack more punch in just a few words. You also get suggestions for phrase alternatives to make your content clear.
Remote Time Management Tools
When working remotely, one can often lose track of time and keep working without any breaks. You keep replying to emails and working on tasks since you do not have a clear end to your day. Working from home can also make you forget how much time you have been investing in a particular task. It is crucial to use time management tools so that you can complete tasks timely and demarcate clear office hours.
18. Google Calendar
Time management and scheduling are made very easy with Google Calendar. You can not only schedule meetings with colleagues and clients but also set the duration for the meeting. This can help you accommodate every meeting in the day in a very organized fashion. Google Calendar also allows you to label days in the week with specific tasks and holidays. You can even prepare an hourly schedule for each day.
Toggl is a time tracking tool that helps you stay on track with your day’s tasks. It enables you to see how much time you have spent on a particular task or project and helps you optimize it better for the future. Reminders and idle detection help you avoid procrastination and boosts your productivity.
ActiveCollab helps you manage your time well across projects or tasks. Its features include stopwatches, timesheets, and detailed time reports. This is a great time management tool for freelancers who charge by the hour. You will know exactly how much time you have spent on a project, which enables you to make every second of your time profitable. ActiveCollab also provides a profitability report. You can check if the desired profits for all your projects were achieved or not.