With almost everyone working from home nowadays, remote tools for remote teams are exploding. Businesses are investing in project management tools, employee training software, virtual classroom software, LMSs, video-conferencing tools, and more.
Will things go back to normal once the virus is no more? Will businesses stop using the remote tools they invested in? Is remote work here to stay?
According to an estimate by Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save around $11,000 per year for every employee who works from home half of the time. That’s definitely something to think about.
But for the time being, your team needs remote tools, so here are the 10 must-haves to consider.
10 Must-Have Remote Tools in the Wake of COVID-19
When working remotely, you need a project management tool. Trello can help you oversee all projects, assign tasks, boost productivity and accountability, and track progress and performance.
It’s a web-based tool that makes organizing projects a breeze. You use boards to create projects, lists to create tasks within projects, and cards to provide all relevant information regarding each task.
Every Trello list contains to-do, in-progress, and completed tasks, so it’s easy to see what needs to be done.
Trello cards are for adding deadlines, notes, attachments, and anything else necessary for completing tasks and projects.
There’s even an AI bot that can help you automate the workflow.
Communicating with your workforce seamlessly is a must when working remotely.
Sure, there are lots of instant messaging apps where you can create group chats. But you need something more dedicated and secure for business interactions.
Slack is an enterprise communication and collaboration app. It’s not your regular IM app that gives you one overstuffed inbox. It features channels for communication, which you can search and use to share files and review documents.
You can create channels for company-wide announcements, departments, groups working on a particular project, and even external communications.
How can you know what your remote employees are doing during business hours? Are they really working or video-chatting with friends?
DeskTime will let you know that. It’s a time-tracking tool for helping you identify inefficiencies and boost productivity.
It shows you what websites, documents, and apps they’re accessing during work hours. You’ll know when they clock in, when they are most and least efficient and productive, how much time they spend on tasks when they’re taking breaks, and more.
This tool also takes automatic screenshots for overseeing everyone’s activity. There’s also a private time feature when your teammates need to do something unrelated to work quickly.
Zoom is one of the most popular video-conferencing tools these days. Everyone seems to be using it, and for a good reason.
It supports online meetings, video-conference rooms, video webinars, cross-platform messaging, screen and file sharing, and even an enterprise phone system.
You can also use breakout rooms, private and group chat, interactive whiteboards with co-annotations, and much more.
Zoom’s largest plan allows you to include 1,000 video participants and 10,000 event viewers. The free plan allows unlimited video meetings for up to 100 people, but they can’t be longer than 40 minutes.
Still, that should be more than enough if you’re looking to spend less time in meetings and increase productivity.
5. ProProfs Employee Training Software
If you need to train employees during the coronavirus lockdown, ProProfs employee training software might be just what you need.
It allows you to create online training courses that you can administer to any number of users across all devices and operating systems. There are over 100 customizable courses to choose from, and more than 100 fully-integrated quizzes for assessment. You can also embed surveys and tests in your training courses, and track performance and engagement with in-depth reports.
This virtual classroom software also comes with collaboration and knowledge-sharing features. You can create a knowledge base consisting of manuals, FAQs, how-to videos, and a self-help portal for 24/7 access.
Email still plays a huge role in team communication, but it can be overwhelming and distracting if you have multiple accounts. Mailbird can solve that problem for you, saving you a lot of time.
Mailbird is an email client that doesn’t require you to open a new account. It’s a desktop platform for unifying all your email accounts into one inbox.
So, instead of switching between apps, you can switch between inboxes within a single app. You can link contacts, preview and search attachments, integrate with other apps, and customize the layout.
You can also speed-read emails and snooze certain messages.
Keep in mind that Mailbird is only available for Windows users.
TeamViewer is a remote connectivity platform for providing remote support to all your employees.
If they encounter a technical issue, you can remotely access their devices to solve it. The platform comes with end-to-end encryption, so you don’t have to worry about security.
You can also keep your team’s productivity high with remote monitoring and management. This feature will help you stay ahead of any issue.
For instance, if an employee needs a software patch, TeamViewer will notify you and enable you to patch the software remotely.
You can also provide remote AR support to resolve problems more efficiently.
Instead of going back and forth with emails or chats to arrange virtual meetings, you can simply create events in a shared calendar.
Your teammates can set their own hours to tell you when they’re available, which is perfect if they are dispersed in different time zones. They can also vote for the best meeting times using polls.
You can set automatic reminders, so no one forgets about a meeting, as well as schedule personal events and appointments.
9. Google Drive
Since you currently do all the work from home, you need a secure, preferably cloud-based solution for file storage and sharing. Google Drive is one of the best for the purpose.
It allows you to create and store documents in any format, and easily share them with your team. Anyone can edit them in real-time, and communicate via chat within documents for seamless collaboration.
The best part about Google Drive is that it’s free. Anyone with a Gmail account gets 15 GB of free Drive storage by default. That’s more than enough storage to keep years of documents.
However, you can upgrade it anytime if you have a lot of videos, designs, and other large files.
If you utilize all these tools, it may be tough to manage everything and stay sane during the coronavirus lockdown. Constantly switching between all the platforms doesn’t make for a very productive time.
Luckily, Zapier can integrate all your apps into a single platform and this sole feature makes it one of the best remote tools out there.
It lets you set triggers for starting different workflows called Zaps, which automatically complete actions in connected apps. For instance, when you receive an email, Zapier can send its attachment to Google Drive and notify you in Slack.
Zapier supports integrations with more than 2,000 apps, including all Google products, Trello, Slack, Zoom, Doodle, and many other tools.
Except for the free Google Drive, all these other remote tools offer a free trial, so make sure you give them a test run. Many have even extended their free offers during the pandemic.
We recommend you use all of them if you can because each is designed for different purposes. By doing so, you’ll empower your remote workforce and supercharge productivity.