Keeping Employees Connected and Projects on Track in a Remote Work Environment
Before the pandemic, 17 percent of US employees worked remotely full-time. Now, it’s closer to 44 percent.
More businesses than ever before are operating without physical headquarters or offices, giving their employees lots of flexibility around their work schedules and workplaces. And it is safe to say that these remote work policies are here to stay, with 73 percent of workers saying they’d like to continue telecommuting in some capacity after the pandemic.
There was a time when remote work wasn’t even a possibility, mainly due to the lack of technology and tools necessary for distributed teams to stay connected and collaborate efficiently. These days, that’s no longer a problem: Plenty of apps now exist to improve the remote work experience and increase employee productivity.
Adapting to the remote work world has not been easy for everyone, but I believe many companies could overcome the challenges of telecommuting by investing in the right tech tools. There’s no perfect equation for a flawless remote work tech stack, but here are some platforms and programs that can surely make your remote team more efficient and organized:
Tools for Staying Connected
One of the biggest concerns about remote work is effective communication between employees. After all, communication is foundational to an optimal collaborative environment. Therefore, reliable instant messaging and video conferencing platforms are necessities.
One of the most popular instant messaging apps in the market, Slack offers a simple way for teams to stay in touch. It integrates with other business applications, like customer relationship management (CRM) tools, for added ease of use. Meanwhile, GoToMeeting offers a reliable video conferencing program, with some important features like a “smart meeting assistant” that allows users to record meetings in the form of both audio/video and written transcripts
Loom is another useful tool that blends video conferencing with instant messaging. Loom allows users to record and share short video messages, which can be a much more efficient communication channel than emailing and instant messaging.
Tools to Manage Projects
Effective project management is vital to keeping work on track in a remote environment, but it can also be challenging to manage a project when everyone isn’t in the same room together. As a result, leaders need tools to help them track the stages of a project, follow up on tasks, and delegate to team members.
Basecamp is a project management platform where users can create different spaces and timelines for different departments and projects. In addition, admins can create checklist templates to ensure the same steps are followed consistently between projects, and members of each project team can manage their past, current, and future tasks in one place.
Asana is another popular project management tool. What I like about Asana is that it offers three main views to choose from: list, timeline, and boards. Teams can select the views that best fit their projects, and no matter which they choose, admins can define workflows and add insights and instructions for team members. Asana also includes some handy reporting tools that help leaders keep track of the team’s progress and workload with real-time charts and status updates.
Trello is a good choice for those who prefer a visual representation of projects and tasks. A Trello board consists of lists and cards that contain detailed information about tasks, including who is responsible for the task, when it’s due, related attachments, and relevant productivity metrics.
Technology + Talent = Remote Work Success
Remote work brings new freedom and flexibility to companies and employees, which is why so many have embraced it. However, employers will need to put some new standards in place to ensure employees continue performing at their best while telecommuting.
Luckily, the technology is now available for employees to enjoy the benefits of a remote role while staying connected with colleagues and staying on top of their tasks. As a result, companies can continue offering remote work options while minimizing the challenges of overseeing a distributed team.
As companies continue building remote teams of talent from around the world, they’ll need to rely on the right tools and platforms to encourage productivity and teamwork in the virtual work environment. It is important to note that the tools highlighted above — and any other tools your company may adopt for remote work — are most effective when employees adopt them with accountability, trust, and discipline. Given the inherent autonomy of remote work, employees must do their part in leveraging the right tools to reach higher levels of productivity and get the most out of working remotely.
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