A few years back, remote working was only for freelancers. But, today, with changing work trends, more and more companies are discovering the benefits of allowing employees to work from home. Research reveals that remote workers are more productive and engaged and offer immense cost-savings for the organization.
Today, it's common for businesses to manage a distributed team with people from across time-zones and spread across continents. With that said, work is always a team sport. Different members have to contribute their unique skill sets and complete tasks collaboratively. Unlike conventional teams that can get together, have face-to-face meetings to discuss issues and challenges, distributed teams don't share a working space.
Here, in this guide, we share with you a list of remote working tools that make it easy to manage distributed teams. The tools in this list not only help in managing projects but also boost intra-office communications while helping your remote workers grow professionally.
While resource planning and allocation is the starting point for all teams, it's incredibly crucial for distributed teams. Project managers need to get a clear picture of the availability of team members, so that they can assign the right tasks to the right team members, based on their skill sets and previous experiences.
eResource Scheduler is a cloud-based resource management software that offers a central repository of all resources. Project managers can use the easy drag-n-drop tools to assign, reallocate tasks to all team members in real-time. Besides resource allocation, the eResource Scheduler has various features like intuitive reports, Gantt charts, resource prediction that makes it easy to manage all your team members from a single place.
With simple clicks, project managers can quickly see resource utilization ratios, thereby avoiding over or under allocation for specific team members. Simply put, eResource Scheduler makes it easy to manage distributed teams, thereby increasing the efficiency of resource allocation.
One of the biggest drawbacks of distributed teams is that it becomes difficult to have face-to-face conversations to discuss, offer feedback and guidance. But, there are plenty of tools that overcome this challenge with technology. These tools help to eliminate communication problems that arise with distributed teams.
It's the most popular remote working messaging tool. It makes it super-easy for team members to bounce ideas, share feedback, and updates in real-time. Slack makes it possible to have all team communication in a single place. Team members can communicate with the entire team or have one-on-one conversations with individual team members.
It makes it easy for teams to share files and retrieve files from archives. The best part, Slack, offers fully-functional mobile apps for both iOS and Android, thereby helping team members communicate quickly while on the move.
Storing files on the cloud is an ideal way for team members to access large files that are too big to be sent via email. Additionally, cloud storage ensures that teams can access files anytime and from anywhere, irrespective of the device they are using.
Google Drive is free to use and helps team members store all their work files securely in a centralized location. Additionally, team members can collaborate and work together by sharing links to documents on Google Drive to others. It allows files to be synced across devices, making it easy for employees to view and update documents from anywhere.
While email has come a long way in the last few years, it's still a bother to share large multimedia files using email. The alternative is to use Dropbox. Large multimedia documents like photoshop, PPT, can be uploaded to Dropbox and shared quickly among team members.
With remote teams, tracking the work time of each employee becomes a significant challenge. Make use of these tools for efficient time management of distributed teams.
It helps to track the work done by your team members every hour. It makes it easy to generate invoices based on the tracked time. Additionally, it allows project managers to create custom time reports for the entire project as well as the time reports of each team member. The best part – you can export the time-sheets in various formats like pdf, excel, or CSV that can be integrated with other project management tools.
With distributed teams, it's not possible to assemble the entire team in a meeting room to discuss progress and other issues. These tools help you to bring your team together virtually.
It's an easy-to-use and free tool for voice, video, and messaging with your entire team. Project managers can use this app to connect with the whole team, a subset of team members, or individual team members. It works across multiple devices, and you can even record calls and make it available for team members who were not able to join.
With distributed teams spread across multiple time zones, it's challenging to get everyone together for a central meeting. Jell makes it easy to track the availability of all team members and helps you come up with the right conference time that works for all. It integrates with Slack, making it super easy to use.
While working remotely, employees can get distracted or lose motivation. These tools help team members stay focused on the task at hand, improving their productivity.
It helps team members separate tasks into subtasks, assign priorities, set reminders, and stay organized with plenty of features like a productivity chart.
Team members can take notes, keep all their notes synchronized across devices. Think of Evernote as your personal notebook where you can jot down all your thoughts and ideas regarding work.
While it's true that distributed teams are the future of work, there are some initial challenges to overcome. Using the tools listed here will help you and your teamwork cohesively, irrespective of your geographical location. The best part, most tools on this list are free or come with free trials. Make use of free trials to test different tools and choose the one that works best for your team.