5 Critical Toolsets Every Remote Team Needs to Thrive

Invest in these tools to create the best remote environment for your workforce.

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Are you equipped with the best remote tools to keep your business running in the long term?

With so many businesses shifting to a remote work model, putting the right tools in place is essential for success. It’s critical to ensure each team member is secure, stable and communicative, regardless of where they’re working from.

The Work from Home tools chosen at the start of the global pandemic may have been an adequate solution at the time but lack the sustainability to keep the business running in the long term. With that in mind, here are 5 essential tools for remote teams.

1. Remote work project management program

One of the most integral components of a remote work ecosystem is a robust project management program.

One of the most integral components of a remote work ecosystem is a robust project management program. This program will be the core of business operations and ensure everyone knows:

  • What needs to be accomplished
  • When it should be completed
  • Who is responsible for completing it

Project management software has come a long way in the past 10 years. There’s no longer any need for specialized training or expensive self-contained software. There are a variety of cloud-based project management programs available that are easy to learn, affordable for businesses to use, and provide live updates on ongoing projects.

Asana is a cloud-based project management program built with remote teams in mind. It allows simple progress tracking, automates recurring tasks, allows for weekly sprints, and simplifies full-time employee and freelancer collaboration. Asana is a robust tool, making it ideal for project-based businesses or teams — from new product development to graphic design and branding.

For businesses with basic tracking needs, Trello is a popular alternative. This Kaban-inspired project management tool uses simple task blocks and columns for an intuitive project management platform. Trello’s free product is sufficient for many businesses getting into remote work.

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2. Remote communication software

Communication is a common challenge for companies, even when sharing an office building. Going remote adds complexity to this issue, both internally and externally. Not only does it become more challenging to interact with coworkers, but also to present a united front to clients and vendors. For these reasons, communication software is a must.

Slack has dominated the instant messaging market for remote workers since its launch in 2013. Its simple interface offers numerous integrations with project management tools for centralized and streamlined communication. Remote teams can create channels for specific projects — limiting the back and forth flow of emails — and streamline remote team productivity.

Implementing video conferencing software is also important for both internal and external communication. Programs like Zoom allow people to interact in a face-to-face scenario, which can help increase productivity, accountability, and team cohesiveness.

External communication is also an important consideration when working remotely. Depending on your business’s needs, you might consider an online faxing program or cloud-based call center like this one. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for your clients, vendors, and prospects to get in touch.

3. Cloud file sharing

When you work remotely, you lack the luxury of walking to the filing cabinet and pulling documents. That’s why having cloud file sharing is a critical tool for remote teams.

Use a program like Dropbox or Google Drive to ensure everyone has access to what they need. Having this system in place reduces downtime and guarantees that everyone is working on the most up-to-date copy of a document.

Having cloud file sharing is also worth the investment for businesses that see their remote structure as a temporary measure. This platform allows companies to pivot overnight as the global situation changes and reduces the overhead of in-house filing and data storage.

Having cloud file sharing is also worth the investment for businesses that see their remote structure as a temporary measure. This platform allows companies to pivot overnight as the global situation changes and reduces the overhead of in-house filing and data storage.

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4. Time management and tracking tools

Productivity and time management is a significant concern for business owners who are just shifting to a remote environment for the first time. This concern is especially valid during the global pandemic, as many people are sharing their home workspace with partners and children.

Having time management and productivity tools in place isn’t just about ensuring employees are staying on task — they can help the employee set boundaries as well.

Using a focus app like Focus To-Do or Forest is a great way to reduce distractions and ensure everyone is taking the mental break they need. Time tracking apps like Toggl and Time Doctor assist with project management and help team leaders determine if the workload distribution is sustainable.

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5. Workplace security tools

While many companies are focused on daily operations while shifting to a remote format, cybersecurity is getting put on the backburner. A data breach or loss could end a business that’s already struggling due to the pandemic. Having the right security tools in place to keep your team and your business safe is vital for success.

Start with a simple data back-up program. This tool ensures that your hard work is protected if one of your employees logs into public WiFi and gets hacked. Consider encouraging your team to use a virtual private network (VPN) when completing work tasks. This feature is something the company should cover.

Using a password management tool like LastPass allows you to share encrypted passwords with team members. This tool ensures everyone has access to what they need while protecting your sensitive information.

Schedule some time to conduct a cybersecurity audit for your remote business, leveraging professional assistance from a skilled IT professional. They’ll identify specific areas of risk and how you can use tools to correct the issue.

Also consider monitoring your Office 365 Environment and taking a look at your Exchange Monitoring setup. Are your emails safe, and is your uptime steady? There are several tools that can help you track and report the security of your Microsoft tools.

With these 5 tools, you can create a remote team environment that rivals the traditional office setting. Every company should consider investing in these tools as we push through these unprecedented times.

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