Tools For Remote Teams: Stay Connected, Productive and Sane

The Peoplescape team has been enjoying a remote workplace for years. What we may have lacked in having a traditional office, we’ve replaced with intentional high-quality interactions and of course, online apps. If you are looking for new tools to fill any gaps in your own Tec stack, we share below some of them we have used. Save yourself the time on the research and use it to test out which work for you – or perhaps use the time for some self-care instead! 

Slack

Microsoft Teams

Asana

Podio

Trello

  • A mighty collaboration tool
  • Excellent interface
  • Impressive free version
  • Millions of users around the globe
  • mobile and desktop devices
  • Sends direct messages and files
  • Organize conversations into channels
  • Supports video calling
  • Drag, drop and share files with your colleagues
  • Compatible with services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.
  • Some might want more depth in security
  • An integrative dashboard for collaboration
  • Voice/video calls
  • 180+ apps and services
  • Free plan
  • Themes
  • Conversation threads
  • Direct messages and file sharing
  • Channels for conversations
  • No task management facility
  • Integrates with other Microsoft software such as calendar, office365, SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • A Project Managers dream for organization & tracking
  • Handy integrations
  • Other apps have better comms features
  • Been around since 2008,
  • You can create to-do lists for ongoing projects, set reminders for upcoming deadlines, and send requests to colleagues. Team members can also assign comments to posts within the app.
  • Organize all your projects in a list or board format,
  • Search function so you can locate past work quickly. In short,
  • Asana is a very effective way to stay super-organized and facilitate conversations when it comes to updates on how work is progressing.
  • A mobile-friendly collaboration tool to organize and delegate work
  • Communication tool on delegated tasks between employees
  • Quality mobile apps
  • Wide range of integrations
  • Multiple subscription plans
  • Share files
  • View the status of ongoing projects and get feedback
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Impressive amount of integration with third-party services and apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Zendesk.
  • Clean, easy-to-use organization and collaboration tool without a lot of communication
  • Free version
  • Not many comms features
  • Available on the web and with mobile apps, it lets you easily organize projects and work on them with colleagues.
  • The platform allows you to work with boards or lists, which can be organized by teams and different tasks.
  • To-do lists and delegate amongst colleagues.
  • There is also the option to assign comments to cards – a quick way to give feedback to others.
  • Several integrations with apps such as Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive and Slack. You can download the app for free, but there are premium options available which give access to more features.

Here are some examples of our own true-life experiences, in case war stories are helpful:

Staying In Touch

Teams – Communication used to be the biggest challenge for remote teams, back when Outlook and conference call phones were the norm. Now we have a lot of great tools to make communication a lot easier, whether it’s simply for staying in touch or for building the culture of the company. We wanted to use Slack to brainstorm, ask each other questions, pass files back and forth, compare notes on new releases, and much more but in all honesty, it didn’t work for us and we’ve recently switched to MS Teams.

Staying Visible

ZoomA few years ago, we were looking for a good app that would let us do voice calls and easily share screens at the same time, a burden that seemed to slow Skype down too much to make it usable.  We wanted something as simple to use with functionality to turn into a virtual training room.  We soon found Zoom, which has been stable, smooth and pretty pain-free. We used Zoom for team meetings, client trainings as well as one-off calls that pop up throughout the day. As we transition to Teams, we are trying to wean ourselves off Zoom and use the full MS functionality but old habits die hard.

Staying Productive

Without being in the same room, managing the team’s productivity gets to be a little more complicated. We’ve moved from Wunderlist, to Freedcamp and are now with MS Teams as we continue to search for the product that does what we need. Some of us spend a lot of time travelling or with clients, so our tools need to be accessible not just from a desktop computer but also mobile devices. Don’t get too hung up on what everyone else is using or the latest product. It’s far too easy to spend too much time thinking about which tool is better, when a better use of your time would be to pick any tool and move on to the hard work of using the tool.

Staying Current

File Sharing & keeping content and other company docs in one place

With documents, client updates, templates, blogs, guest posts and thousands of emails going out each year, we have a lot of content to keep track of. We use Google Drive as a repository for all of it; inherently collaborative, easily organizable and instantly searchable, it’s the best tool we’ve found for managing content. And with Google behind it, we have a reasonable level of confidence that our critical files won’t get lost (though we do back things up anyway). And with practically unlimited storage, it has replaced Dropbox for us as well.

Staying Sane

Finally, don’t forget to find tools that keep you vibing. Working solo, it’s easy to go a bit stir crazy without building an environment that forces you to take breaks and balance your work and life more effectively. Here’s how we stay sane:

Meditation – Headspace app can help you focus, breathe and stay calm.

Music Streaming– Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music, your sound is out there.

Home Workouts – SWORKIT, you deserve to wear that swimsuit..

To stop procrastination and help you focus Focus Booster – a simple pomodoro timer.

What Are Your Must-Have Tools?

We hope this post has given you some ideas for tools that can help your team be more productive, effective and close-knit. We’d love to hear more about what tools you’re finding most useful to your team. Share your favorites in the comments!

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