The global economy is changing, technology is rapidly advancing, and the number of remote workers is higher than ever before. To tackle the crisis caused by the current climate, employees have quickly shifted to remote work. On the one hand, this particular work arrangement allows employees to balance work and family commitments better. On the other, employee productivity often takes a hit at some point because of many distractions at home. To keep their productivity levels high, employees can resort to various tools and gadgets. Here are some of the best tech tools employees can use to nail remote work.
For those having to manage a virtual team, project management tools are of great use. There are so many available options on the market. Some have more features than others. Depending on the size of the virtual team and its needs, managers can easily find the best fit. Project management tools, such as Basecamp or Asana, primarily allow managers to assign tasks and projects to employees and track their progress. Moreover, every team member gets a complete to-do list with their duties and responsibilities. More importantly, they can work and brainstorm together, help each other, making sure all projects meet tight deadlines.
Effective internal communication is crucial for remote teams. Remote employees have to communicate not only more but also better than usual. Keeping in touch makes the job easier. They get all the relevant information right away and interact with coworkers like they would in a regular office. That is why managers should stimulate their employees to regularly communicate not only as a team but also across departments. The easiest way to boost communication in the virtual workplace is with internal communication software. Slack, Instant Messaging, Google Hangouts, and Telegrams are just some of the many communicative technology tools, plus there are great alternatives to Slack and man other apps. They all connect employees and the management and allow them to communicate daily through text messages.
Virtual teams don’t have access to what is commonly known as the file room. However, team leaders and managers should make sure they have access to the virtual one. Keeping all files uploaded on the cloud allows employees to upload, share, or download corporate files. Procedures, regulations, policies, guidebooks, and similar useful documents can be uploaded for employees to access whenever they need to. The most common document management tools are Dropbox and Google Drive. For example, teams can save, share, edit, or add new documents all online. However, the downside is the limited storage space. If teams need more storage space, they will have to switch to a paid version of the tool.
Remote teams don’t only struggle with productivity but also with the lack of face to face communication. While it is possible to maintain communication solely through texts, remote workers still need body language to send and receive messages effectively. This is where technology comes into play. Many platforms and tools allow remote teams to organise, attend, and record video meetings. Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are the go-to tools for most virtual teams. While their primary purpose is video conferencing, some tools can also be used for file sharing, audio calls, texting, and teamwork. Whatever video conferencing tool managers choose, they will surely bring their staff members closer and make their communication more efficient.
Knowing how easily employees get distracted, software developers have designed time tracking apps to help them stay focused at all times. The apps are particularly useful for remote employees. When they work from home, superiors can’t monitor their activity in the workplace. For this reason, time tracking tools show employees how they spend their time during working hours. Apps such as Clockify or Toggl are some of the most common ones. Apps generate reports at the end of the workday, which employees can analyze and determine which tasks take the most time to complete. Being aware of how they spend their time helps employees increase their productivity and prioritise.
As mentioned previously, home offices are full of distractions. They prevent remote staff from performing well at their work assignments. That is why they should install distraction blocking apps on their devices. Most of these apps block distractions on all synced devices at once. Forest and Freedom are every remote employee’s best friend. The former allows users to plant a virtual tree that keeps growing as long as the user is focused. The latter can be used to restrict access to a web browser, social media, or any other app or website the user selects. When employees avoid distractions, nothing is stopping them from meeting deadlines.
The remote staff has to be always organised to get things done at work. Lucky for them, there are numerous organization apps they can use to help them stay on top of things in the workplace. Nozbe and Doodle are some of them. Nozbe is a multifunctional app. It can be used for time, project, and task management as well. Meanwhile, Doodle is actually an online calendar that makes sure no meeting is double-booked, or deadline missed.
Since remote work is on the rise, virtual teams need all the help they can get to stay productive and engaged in the workplace. There is no better sidekick than technology. Apps, tools, and gadgets we suggest can help them excel despite all distractions their home offices contain.