According to a study by Owl Labs, 16% of global companies are now fully remote. With technologies continuing to advance, businesses continuing to adapt, and the mindsets and expectations of workers shifting, that percentage will surely only rise over the next decade — particularly as that same study indicated that 90% of employees say they are just as productive (if not more so) when working remotely.
As more and more businesses move toward a remote working model, others have adopted a hybrid approach, where working hours are split between the office and the home. Either way, this shift away from a traditional office-based model presents an abundance of new challenges when it comes to managing teams. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of tools and apps that trim down the burden of remote team management.
Here, we break down the 8 best-in-class remote management solutions, covering everything from recruitment to employee satisfaction.
Best Project Management Tool: Basecamp
With your workforce rarely collaborating face-to-face, managing projects can be particularly challenging, particularly where there are multiple stakeholders involved. How do you ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and key deadlines are met? It’s even more important in a remote environment to keep all project-related communication in one place, to avoid things slipping through the cracks and deliverables not being delivered.
When comms and updates are spread across emails, files, and chats, a project can quickly veer off-track. But with a comprehensive project management tool such as Basecamp, it’s easy to keep track of progress, understand what everyone’s working on, and focus on the next steps. With dedicated tools to share files, provide status updates and assign tasks, Basecamp is the ideal tool for managing projects remotely.
Best Global HR Tool: Remote
In an increasingly interconnected world, many businesses are expanding their operations into overseas markets. And with remote working meaning you can effectively take on employees from anywhere in the world, there’s nothing stopping your business from tapping into localized knowledge of new and emerging markets.
If you’re hiring remote team members internationally (whether they’re permanent employees or contractors) you’ll need a tool like Remote to take the stress out of the onboarding process. Remote is an all-in-one global HR solution that acts as an employer of record in the country you’re hiring, taking care of international payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance for businesses of all sizes.
Best Time Tracking Tool: Hive
When we talk about time tracking, we’re not talking about ‘spying’ on your remote employees to check whether they’re working hard or hardly working. That said, it’s important in a remote environment to keep track of productivity so you can measure workloads and assign or delegate projects accordingly. It’ll also help with client-facing businesses, as it’s often vital to know how much time is dedicated to billable client work.
Hive is a pretty comprehensive project management tool (“the first project management platform built for users by users”, according to its website), but the ace up its sleeve is its focus on enhancing productivity in remote teams. Its ‘teamwork’ feature lets you keep a close eye on how much work your team is delivering with timesheets and tracking tools. With a clear-eyed view of workload and output, you can assign projects in just a few clicks.
Best Employee Feedback Tool: Officevibe
When your employees are all working in isolation, it can be difficult to gauge their levels of satisfaction in their roles. Are they happy? Do they feel valued? Are they frustrated or troubled by anything? In an office, it’s easier to pick up on the overall atmosphere within your workforce; but in a remote working environment, that’s not quite so simple.
To help with that, an employee feedback tool like Officevibe can be a godsend. Officevibe describes itself as a “people-first employee experience program”, with weekly ‘pulse’ surveys and anonymous feedback helping employers to better understand the mood of their teams. Using the data collected by Officevibe, you can improve employee engagement by focusing on what really matters to your employees.
Best Recruitment Tool: Bullhorn
Of course, one aspect of our working culture that has changed drastically thanks to remote working is recruitment. Not only is the potential talent pool far larger (since prospective employees don’t need to be within commuting distance of a central office), but it’s also changed the way businesses hire and onboard new talent, with technologies advancing and applicant expectations shifting.
The recruitment process can be complex, but a hiring solution like Bullhorn helps remote businesses source, search, interview, place, and onboard new starters all out of one system.
Integrating with platforms like LinkedIn as well as major email providers, Bullhorn offers a fully-featured applicant tracking system as well as a smart search feature that removes the need to sift through résumés, helping you recruit the right talent at the right time.
Best Cloud Storage Tool: Google Drive
With widely-dispersed teams needing to access company files from potentially anywhere in the world (often doing so from their own devices), you’ll need to ensure your data is not only easily accessible and logically organized, but safe. You’ll also want to make sure your employees can share documents and resources easily to enable hassle-free collaboration.
The best solution for file storage and sharing is Google Drive; with Google Drive, team members can instantly access data from anywhere, anytime, and using any device. And with various suite editing tools like Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slide at your disposal, your employees can easily edit, update and share files with their teammates. You also get up to 15GB of storage space, for free!
Best Video Conferencing Tool: AnyMeeting
In a time when all of us were forced to spend time apart from one another, we became acutely aware of the power of video conferencing technology. In business, having a reliable virtual meeting tool is essential, particularly if you’re operating remotely: though it can’t fully replicate the ‘face-to-face’ experience, video conferencing is the next best thing to being in the room with your teammates, and clients, or business partners.
There are myriad options, of course, but AnyMeeting from Intermedia is one of the most powerful online meeting solutions, and it’s suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes. AnyMeeting has an adept and easy-to-use video conferencing option, but it’s also great for hosting live events and webinars, with custom invitations and email reminders built in too.
Best Communication Tool: Slack
If you’re managing a remote workforce, communication is paramount. Ensuring that everyone stays in the loop (and that everyone has a platform to bounce ideas off one another) is essential to fostering a collaborative and connected remote work environment.
Endless email chains and unnecessary meetings are rarely a productive use of anyone’s time, and that’s where an instant messaging tool like Slack comes in. From ‘water-cooler’ chat to important business updates, with Slack, your teams can stay connected whether they’re at the desk or on the go. What’s more, you can organize discussions into their own channels, so you’re always bringing together the relevant people for the right projects.
So, whether you’re managing a fully remote workforce or you’ve taken on a hybrid approach, you’ll need the right tools in place to recruit, manage and engage your teams remotely. Covering the most important aspects of team management, these 8 diverse and dependable tools should help you to foster more productive relationships with your remote employees.