Top 8 Tools Remote Workers Need for Better Collaboration
One of the keys to running a successful remote business lies in online collaboration. When it comes to productivity, it’s no longer enough to rely on traditional communication methods such as phone and email. Sure, you need those too, but when you’re working at a distance from your team -- which might be hundreds or even thousands of miles away -- it’s essential to use the right online tools to help your business operations run smoothly and efficiently.
If you’re wondering whether remote working is worth the effort, consider this. In a case study by Global Workplace Analytics (2016), one business saved as much as $11,000 per person per year by implementing a remote work agreement in which their employees worked from home at least half of the time.
In addition to working from home, some companies allow staff to work from a local coworking space, often as part of a virtual office space agreement, which can also save a significant amount of money by reducing office space.
But it’s not just about saving money.
Remote working is also a boon for productivity, as employees spend less time commuting and more time enjoying greater flexibility and work/life balance.
In a 2018 survey from FlexJobs, 73% of respondents ranked work-life balance as more important than salary (70%) when evaluating a job prospect, and 76% said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
That means happier and more motivated workers, which in turn leads to better performance and higher levels of productivity.
To help your business operate more efficiently with a remote team, here, we outline 8 online tools to help remote businesses improve communication and collaboration.
1. Real Time Messaging
When you need to ask a quick question to an individual or the whole team, use a real-time messaging app like Slack. It’s a user-friendly private chat platform that helps teams stay in contact.
You can create groups or chats dedicated to a specific topic, and there’s a handy search function too, which keeps all your related conversations in one easy-to-find place.
2. Team Video Calls
When you’re working at a distance from your team, the opportunity to meet face-to-face is often diminished. Therefore it’s well worth arranging regular video calls to maintain positive collaboration, and there are now many different video software tools on the market.
Zoom offers a high quality video call experience with excellent collaboration options, such as screen sharing, which is vital when you’re meeting to discuss a specific project.
3. Online Calendar Management
Scheduling meetings with team members or clients is a drain on your time. Rather than sending back-and-forth emails, use an online calendar software that acts like a window on your availability and simply share the calendar link with your meeting attendees. That way, they can view your live availability and select a time and date that suits them.
One of the most popular tools is Calendly, which is great for scheduling meetings, as is Appointedd, which is backed by a powerful booking software and offers an intuitive user-friendly experience.
4. Project Management
One of the best online apps for team project management is Asana. It lets you create new tasks and assign them to specific people along with descriptions, attachments, and deadlines.
Asana sets automated reminders and notifications which keeps everyone updated and on schedule, which means less person-to-person chasing.
5. Online Whiteboard
An online whiteboard, such as RealtimeBoard, helps your team to work together in a visual way. Described as a ‘design thinking toolkit’, it enables creatives to get together, virtually speaking, and co-design using a single tool.
RealtimeBoard has numerous integrations such as Slack, Dropbox and Google Drive, which enables easier and faster collaboration.
Invision is an online product design platform, which is best used for prototyping. It’s a collaborative tool that lets users upload designs and gather feedback from within the app, which designers can view and act upon from within the dashboard. It also integrates with numerous platforms to help the process flow seamlessly.
7. Shared Files and Documents
In today’s digital age, many companies live and breathe Google Docs. From independent freelancers to global corporations, this online platform is the ultimate way to store and share documents with your team and create and edit the same content, collaboratively, in real time. Users can set permissions and invite specific people to view, edit or comment on specific documents, be they inside the company or external, which ensures swift feedback and faster project completion. Google Docs incorporates platforms for written text, spreadsheets, presentation slides, forms, quick sketches, and more.
8. Social Media Management
If you want multiple people within your team to contribute to your social media accounts, and minimize the risk of duplicating content, Hootsuite is the ideal platform. It lets you manage all your social media activity in one place by giving team members access to all your channels and accounts, and view scheduled activity in a visual dashboard. Write and schedule posts for specific times, upload photos or videos, add tags and hashtags, see notifications in real time, track and measure social performance, and provide feedback to your team, all within the same platform.