Remote work is here to stay. So use the most effective tools to manage remote employees effortlessly!
Tools You Must Have For Managing Remote Employees
The rise of remote work means that employers have to find creative ways to manage remote employees. They have to keep employees engaged with an eye on the bottom line. Most employers are at the mercy of the technology they have access to lead their remote teams effectively. Luckily there are a lot of tools that can help with making the task of managing remote employees easier.
Choosing the right tools to manage your remote workforce can be overwhelming because of the number of options out there. The best remote work tools tend to cover the following basic needs:
- Video meetings that allow screen sharing.
- Collaborating with team members on projects.
- Project management tools.
- Measuring productivity.
- Employee engagement.
So what are some examples of tools that meet the needs mentioned above?
Video Meeting Tools
It is no secret that remote work creates a sense of distance between everyone on a virtual team. It is also tough to hold audio-only or phone meetings and not have participants get distracted from the meeting. So video conferencing tools allow for more direct engagement between members of a remote team. Meeting participants focus more on meetings when they can see faces and look at the information on the screens in front of them. Meeting hosts also pay more attention to what they are saying and doing because they are conscious of how they come across to those attending the meeting. Others pay more attention because they know they might be called on to say or do something on camera.
Zoom is one of the best and most widely used video conferencing tools in existence. Zoom is so easy to use that people don’t just use it for work purposes,
They also use it to connect with their friends and family. You can hold free one-on-one meetings without time limits. You can hold free group meetings for up to 40 minutes.
With Zoom, you can conduct meetings with high quality-video and audio meetings with screen sharing capability. The chat feature and breakout meeting rooms add to the utility of Zoom as a meeting tool. Meetings can be recorded. You can access Zoom on any device, and only the host of the meeting will need an account. A meeting invite can allow other participants to join in from their desktop or mobile devices. Zoom apps allow you to launch work tools from within Zoom.
Go-To-Meeting has a great reputation with businesses because this video meeting platform was built with the needs of the business customer in mind. They are known for being fast, reliable, mobile-friendly, and easy to use for beginners. They cater to businesses of all sizes.
Go-To-Meeting offers the most affordable service plans that come with secure video conferencing, high-quality video, screen sharing, and chat functions. You can easily record meetings, and thanks to automatic transcription, nobody has to worry about taking notes during the meeting. Screen-captures of meeting documents can be compiled into PDFs.
They focus on keeping data private and encrypting meetings. Hosts can use meeting locks to control meeting access and dismiss participants. Go-To-Meeting monitors suspicious logins from remote locations.
Microsoft Teams allows users to search through conversations, blur backgrounds to reduce distractions, and use live captions to improve the overall quality of video meetings. You get high-quality video and audio, can share screens, use whiteboards, and record meetings. You can use the chat feature before, during, and after meetings. Raising your hand to ask a question without being disruptive is another helpful feature. You can download a list of meeting attendees which is a great tool for managers of remote teams to follow up on meeting participants. Microsoft Teams offers free and paid services.
Microsoft Teams is a great video conferencing option for groups that use Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for their work already. It allows for sharing and editing of files. There is seamless integration with Microsoft 365 apps. There are extensive integrations with 3rd parties, Asana and Trello. Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration and project management tool as well.
Collaboration tools help team members to work together to complete projects and tasks on time. The pandemic has highlighted the need for online collaboration tools for remote work. Managing remote employees becomes easier when you know your employees have the right online collaboration tools to work together as a team. Facilitating good communication and file sharing are the hallmarks of good collaboration tools.
Slack has become a must-have tool for teams that have to collaborate online. Slack provides quality service to both free and paying customers. It is used for both work and personal purposes. It is a one-stop-shop for all internal communications. It eliminates the need for email, texts, and other instant-messaging tools. You can create as many public or private channels for every topic, group, task, or project.
Facilitating instant communication between two or more users means that Slack helps to save valuable time when you are working on projects with deadlines. The ability to search through messages is also a time-saving feature built into Slack. It allows for more relaxed, communication which encourages employee engagement and team bondedness.
Slack’s file-sharing capabilities and integrations with other commonly used tools Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365, make it an even more appealing tool to use. Video conferencing capability and good security features help to make Slack a well-rounded tool for team collaboration. Slack is also considered to be a good project management tool.
Google Drive makes file sharing and file storage a simple task for its users. One of its best features is that it allows different team members to edit the same document at the same time. The ability to collaborate in real-time makes it a time-saving tool. Files can be shared easily by using links. Since it is a cloud storage platform, you can access your files quickly from anywhere.
Google Drive provides both free and paid services. It does not restrict any feature or function in its free service. You can store almost any type of file of any size. You can create and collaborate on many types of documents. Teams can also create shared drives to keep all team-related projects and documents in one place. You can also store, edit and collaborate on Microsoft files in Google drive. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are comparable to Microsoft’s products yet free to use.
Project Management Tools
Good online project management tools should make it easy to start a project, monitor the progress of the project. They also keep track of budgeting, tasks, and communication throughout a project. These features make it easier for leaders to manage their remote team workers.
Asana is one of the easiest online project management tools to use. It can help you to manage all aspects of a project from one place. You can manage the workload of your remote employees to maximize productivity. It allows multiple ways of viewing the progress of projects so you can easily identify and solve problems. Multiple views also allow context for understanding the different needs of individuals or departments working on a project.
You can start and manage multiple projects. Set milestones and automate processes in Asana. Integrations with at least 100 apps allows you to sync it with other apps so you don’t have to keep switching between apps while working. Setting everyone on the team with Asana will allow everyone to understand the big picture and their individual roles in the project. You can use both free and paid Asana services to make project management easier.
Trello is a very user-friendly and visual project management tool. It displays information regarding projects on boards in a visually appealing way. Just one quick glimpse at a project board will show you everything you will need to know about a project. You can start using Trello within minutes of signing up for it. It gives real-time updates, and keeps everyone on the team informed of any changes regarding the project they are working on. It is mobile-friendly.
Trello has built-in automation features that can reduce common and tedious tasks. It uses boards, lists, and cards to denote projects, track activities and assign tasks. It also integrates with many popular work tools such as Google Drive, Slack, Evernote, Dropbox, etc. It has a free version for individuals and paid versions running multiple projects and for bigger teams and businesses in general. Trello is a great collaborative tool as well.
BaseCamp is an affordable, flat-rate, project management tool. It also focuses on being an all-in-one toolkit or solution for working remotely. BaseCamp focuses on organization by breaking work up into projects. Then every project is grouped with all the tools that a team will need to finish the project (in one location). Message boards, to-do lists, schedules, documents, file storage, group chat, and automatic check-in questions are the main tools used for working on projects as a team.
BaseCamp organizes the whole team by splitting them into departments similar to how it splits work into projects. It adds the same project management tools to each department from above. Only this time, it adds a company HQ announcement center. This page or location can be used by employees for all non-project-related work. Now everyone on the team can always work on BaseCamp for everything. And this is how you can use BaseCamp as a tool to manage your remote employees.
Time Tracking & Productivity Tools
Time tracking tools help managers to gauge the productivity of their employees. It also helps leaders to see a realistic picture of how many hours of work remote employees are putting in from home. Are employees spending more or less time working?
Time Doctor is a tool that measures attendance, productivity, inactivity, and how much time an employee spends on a task. It is an affordable tool that can be downloaded on your computer. Then you list the employees you would like to be set up with this tool. Time Doctor sends an email to those employees with instructions on how to download the program onto their computers. It is considered to be the best time-tracking tool.
Employees can be tracked automatically using the silent option. Or they can turn the tool on and off as they start and finish their work. Time Doctor monitors if someone sits idly for too long or takes long breaks. It also sends a pop up message to an employee if they have spent too much time on non work-related web sites. You can use this tool to generate reports based on web and app usage, poor time usage, time spent projects and length of workday, etc. It can be used across all devices and can integrate with project management tools like Asana, BaseCamp, Slack, etc.
Clockify offers a basic time tracking tool for free. Its paid subscriptions offer timesheeting, invoicing, billing, GPS tracking and screenshots every five minutes. This tool is great for monitoring employees who work off site. For example, plumbers and electricians. You can track time on desktops or mobile phones. Clockify has integrations with over 50 web applications. It keeps track of attendance and time-off requests. It can track progress on tasks and budgets.
Employee Engagement Tools
One of the best ways to increase employee productivity is to increase engagement at work. Managers of remote workers have to be creative when trying to drive up employee engagement.
Brightful uses the concept of play to boost engagement between remote team members. Icebreakers, conversational and social games on Brightful
both energize meetings and make them more memorable. The games are designed to foster stronger bonds between team members so that there is an improvement in teamwork and productivity.
Brightful has a good free plan and a more robust paid plan for accessing games and activities that improve productivity. It works with all video conferencing tools and does not have to be downloaded. Just sign up, use your video conferencing tool and send invitation links. Others can join to play on desktop or mobile devices.
WooBoard is a platform where employees can earn points and rewards for recognition by their peers. This is a great tool to increase the visibility of remote workers for a job well done. Celebrating each other at work increases employee engagement. It builds trust and connectedness between employees. Points earned can be exchanged for rewards.
Managing on-site employees is hard enough for managers. Managing remote employees is even harder. Thankfully there are a lot of tools that can assist managers in guiding and leading their workforce. Using good video conferencing, collaboration, project management, time-tracking and, employee engagement tools can increase productivity and accountability in the remote work environment.
LinkHCM can provide you with customized tools that can help you to manage your remote employees better. They can integrate all your work tools seamlessly with each other. They can even build custom integrations to connect to your system to simplify payroll. They can optimize the productivity of your workforce by automating time management tools for you.