Productivity, employee engagement and workplace happiness are among the most heatedly discussed subjects when it comes to remote work. Remote employees work under different conditions than their in-office peers, and keeping remote teams engaged and productive can be challenging at times
One key factor to keep employees who work remotely happy and productive is to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. This might seem like an obvious thing to do, yet many businesses fail to properly equip their remote teams, especially if they’re still in the transition phase from in-office to remote.
Newly remote companies often aren’t aware of the challenges of remote work yet and therefore find it hard to decide which remote work tools their teams need. To save you time, money and trouble, we’ve compiled a list of the most important tools for remote teams. So, without further ado, let’s look at what tools are needed to work remotely – and to manage a remote team, of course.
Remote team communication tools
Communication is the key to remote work success. The lack of face-to-face interaction needs to be compensated by effective virtual communication. Needless to say that providing each of your remote employees with a company phone to call colleagues if need be is far from being enough.
Remote teams need a whole array of communication tools that cater to different communication needs and also allow for asynchronous communication between colleagues based at different ends of the world. Here are the most important communication tools for remote teams.
How often does it happen that colleagues have aquick question they need answered so they can advance in the project they’re working on? Well, pretty much all the time. In the office, employees can just walk over to other colleagues and ask them directly. Since that’s not possible when working remotely, remote workers need software tools to make up for it.
Emails are usually used in more formal contexts and hence don’t seem like the appropriate means of communication in this case. Not to forget that inboxes would quickly overflow, with emails potentially going missing, if remote workers were to send a separate email for every tiny request. That’s where group chat apps come into play. The most widely used ones are Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Chat.
Video conferencing apps
While chat apps like Slack work well for quick inquiries, some things just need to be explained in lengthy detail, and that’s best done in a face-to-face conversation which allows you to see the expressions and gestures of the person you’re talking to. That’s why remote employees need video conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype or Google Meet.
Jumping on a quick call can avoid endless back and forth messaging via chat or email. Plus, video calls give employees the chance to get some actual facetime with their colleagues, which is important to counteract negative consequences of remote work, such as loneliness and isolation.
Tools for video conferencing are also crucial for online team meetings, which should be hosted regularly, as well as for virtual team building activities such as social hangouts and online games nights.
Productivity and collaboration tools for remote teams
As crucial as good communication is for remote work success, it’s only one piece of the cake. It takes more than just instant messaging for your team to effectively collaborate and work on projects together if they’re scattered all over the world – and not lose countless hours on video calls to distribute tasks and discuss deadlines. Here are the best tools for remote workers to stay productive and make collaborating across different time zones work.
Effective collaboration is based on everyone knowing what is expected and what the common code of conduct is. Remote-first businesses need a remote work handbook with detailed guidelines for their teams, which include onboarding processes, company vision, rules for meetings and more. These documents need to be accessible for all teammates, which is why many remote companies rely on digital workspaces like Notion.
Staying productive while working remotely is a major challenge. Therefore, your suite of remote work tools should also include project management tools. Project management tools for remote work allow you to organize weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and to-dos, assign tasks to team members and track the overall progress that’s been made on a particular project.
There are many different remote project management tools out there, and while Trello, Jira, Asana and Basecamp are probably among the most-used ones, you’ll have to find out for yourself which tool works best for your company.
File storage and sharing
One of the crucial parts of collaboration in remote teams is organizing and sharing files to allow team members to work on them together. Online office suites like Google’s G Suite or Microsoft Office Online not only allow employees to create files in different formats (text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) and store them online, but also to share documents with other teammates to get feedback and comments.
Remote work tools for enhanced data and systems security
With data theft being at an all-time high, the security of company data and systems are among the top priorities for remote organizations with a globally distributed team. When employees are working from all over the world, connecting to different networks and constantly sending files and data back and forth, upping your data protection measures is a no-brainer. Here are some remote work tools you need to create a secure virtual environment for remote collaboration.
The beauty of remote work is that employees can basically work from anywhere they want. Whether it’s from their own home or from a nice little cafe they discovered on a leisurely stroll during their workation. Unless you provide your team with worldwide unlimited data, they’ll have to rely on public Wi-Fi networks, which often lack security.
To protect your company systems and data, you should make sure to give your remote team access to a VPN (virtual private network) which provides an encrypted connection between the employee’s computer and the network they’re using to send and receive data.
The downside of having a whole suite of remote work tools is having to remember many different passwords. It’s not uncommon for remote employees to try and solve this problem by creating easy, in other words unsecure, passwords.
One way around this problem is to use a password manager. A password manager is an application that stores the individual passwords for all your tools and software systems in a centralized secured database. To access the database, employees only need to remember their master password.
Remote team management tools
The challenges of working with a globally distributed team aren’t just about productivity and project management, but also largely involve HR, payroll and legal issues like benefits management, global payments and compliance with ever-changing labor laws. Luckily, there are special tools available to remote leaders to make the task of managing a global team easier.
HR tools for remote teams
As your global team grows, you’ll soon find that traditional tools for managing benefits, sick days, leave requests and more don’t work anymore. Working with a globally distributed team requires specialized HR solutions that are adapted to remote workflows like remote recruiting, onboarding and performance management, and cater to the realities of the new way of working that is remote work.
Well-known HR tools for remote teams include Personio, Workday and Greenhouse. The range of features and solutions they offer differs, so you’ll have to decide which aspects of managing a global team you need help with before you choose.
Compliance and payments for remote teams
Building a global team whose members work remotely from different countries all over the world comes with many compliance challenges. These challenges range from complying with local labor laws to managing taxes, payroll and social security. Many businesses struggle under the weight of the increasing compliance burden. Without the right tools, compliance and payroll struggles can quickly cut into time which is needed for more important business activities.
A compliance and payments platform like Lano allows you to put your global hiring and payroll processes on autopilot. Hire remote employees in over 150 countries without worrying about compliance, run and control your global payroll from one centralized dashboard and easily pay your global team in over 50 currencies with one single click. Book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.
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