Remote work is here to stay—and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, remote work might just be the solution for recruiting and retaining employees.
According to a FlexJobs survey, millennials value work-life balance and flexibility more than anything else in a job. Clearly, having more time and freedom is important for this generation of employees.
But it isn’t enough. Organizations need to do more than just let employees work from home. They need to provide the structure remote workers need to accomplish amazing things together—things like landing a spacecraft on Mars, which was done using Slack, by the way.
On that note, here are the best tools for helping remote teams succeed.
Tools for communication
Big or small, your remote team will need a way to communicate in addition to email. Here are some great tools to use:
Slack is a favorite among remote teams and online communities, and for good reason. Intuitive and beautifully designed, it functions as a virtual office/hangout space. Members can send private messages and communicate in various themed chat rooms. The wide range of emojis keeps communication fun and engaging.
You can run an entire company on Basecamp. The most complete of all remote work platforms, Basecamp has great communication features, including group messaging, private messaging, and chat rooms. Emojis let you acknowledge teammates and keep communication positive and friendly.
Great ideas spawn great ideas. Donut, a byproduct of Slack, pairs up 2-3 people at random for a virtual coffee date. The goal is to recreate the office social life in a remote setting.
Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting
Bonus app: Mmhmm
Mmhmm adds “magic” to video calls and presentations. You can use it to create interesting backgrounds, screen share while appearing on camera, and more.
Tools for collaboration
Tools for assigning tasks and managing projects are essential to remote work. Here are some of the most popular:
The simplest and least overwhelming of all project management tools, Trello uses boards and cards to organize tasks. The app is perfect for small teams and projects, and many remote professionals use it in combination with other, more complex tools.
A sophisticated project management tool, Asana allows you to organize tasks and visualize projects in multiple ways. You can set tasks as priorities and automate routine work. Asana also has reporting features, including real-time charts. You can use it with over 100 other apps, including Gmail, Google Drive, Harvest, and Slack.
Basecamp lets you delegate and track tasks within specific projects. It has a number of great features, including calendars, automated check-ins, and the previously mentioned communication features.
For collaborating on documents in real-time, no application is quite as good as Google Docs. With Google Docs, you always have the latest version of a document.
Tools for time tracking and reporting
Remote teams track their work hours because 1) they get paid hourly, or 2) because it helps better understand and manage their time. Here are the two best tools for time tracking.
Add a task name, then hit play. That’s all you need to do to start tracking time. At the end of the week, month, or customized time period, Toggl lets you export a PDF report complete with colorful graphs.
A tool for tracking time as well as expenses, Harvest helps you manage your team’s workload and keep projects within budget. You can use Harvest to create professional invoices and send them to clients within the platform.
Remote employee engagement starts with the right tools
Multiple tools address the specific challenges of working as a remote team. Team chat apps, screen sharing software, screen recording tools, video conferencing apps, and project management software are just some of them.
The recent global transition to remote work has given rise to even more remote work tools, including ones that enhance existing remote work software.
And it’s just the beginning. As remote work continues to grow, companies will be even more focused on helping remote workers succeed.
What are your favorite remote work tools? What tools would you like to see that haven’t been invented yet?
To learn more about remote work and remote work culture, check out: