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Toolkit for remote teams

A Perfect Toolkit for Managing Remote Teams

Remote work has become more popular in recent years, with 2020 speeding up the transition drastically. Further, thanks to the emergence of countless digitized platforms and online collaboration tools, it’s now easier than ever to manage a remote team. Working remotely has actually been found to increase productivity by up to 13%, and we can expect remote teams to become more and more common in the near future.

Here are some of the reasons remote work gains ground every year:

  • Better work/life balance
  • Less stress
  • Reduced work-related expenses for both companies and employees
  • Ability to work from anywhere, even when traveling
  • Larger pool of candidates for companies to choose from

Difference Between Managing Remote Teams and Office Teams

Managing remote employees is not the same as managing a team in the same office. Remote work has lots of advantages for everyone involved, but it can also be fraught with challenges.

Managers who want to succeed in making the transition from an office team to a remote one need to be upfront with themselves and their teams about the challenges they’re facing, says Andrew Dawson, Entasis Therapeutics, for Forbes.

It’s also essential for leaders to trust the members of their team and avoid micromanagement, which is annoying enough in the office, but can be truly destructive when it comes to remote teams, says Alex Kvamme, CEO and co-founder of Pathlight.

Communication is the basis of team management, but it becomes even more critical with a distributed team. When everyone in the team works remotely, you can’t pop into the manager’s office to ask about the status of a brief, and you can’t discuss timelines and deadlines with co-workers by the water cooler.

As such, it’s vital for team managers to use proper communication channels to make sure everyone is kept in the loop. In the beginning, you may find it necessary to overcommunicate to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Being transparent with the workflow and defining each task clearly is a way to see big strides in processes and collaboration. Making sure everyone on the team is on the same page is the key to success for any remote team.

Read on: What It Takes to Become Remote-Ready

What Tools Are Needed to Manage a Remote Team?

Knowing what to do as a manager of a remote team in terms of workflow and communication is one thing, putting it into practice is another. To run a remote team successfully, it’s paramount that you have access to the right tools.

Whether you’re running a remote team where everyone is in the same country or a distributed team with members who live everywhere from Boston to Hong Kong, you need to have tools that enable everyone to collaborate, while keeping engagement and motivation high. Unfortunately, with so many different tools to choose from, it can be a time-consuming and challenging task to put together an ideal tool kit for your team.

To help make your decision process easier, we’ve taken the time to test out various tools and put together a list of the best tools on the market from five main categories:

  • All-in-one tools to bring everything together into one system
  • Cloud services for file storing and sharing
  • Productivity tools to remove distractions and improve efficiency
  • Communication and collaboration tools for online meetings and better team collaboration
  • Security tools to keep your data safe

BEST ALL-IN-ONE TOOLS

Scoro

Scoro product screenshot

Scoro is a powerful end-to-end business management solution with all the necessary features for managing a company successfully. These features range from project, tasks, and contact management, team collaboration, quotes, billing, and reporting. With Scoro, you can streamline work and eliminate routine tasks to run your company as smoothly as possible.

Pros:

  • single source of truth
  • highly customizable dashboard and detailed reports
  • excellent project management features
Cons:

  • not suitable for individual use

Pricing: Free 14 day trial, paid plans from $26 user/month

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Hubstaff

Hubstaff product screenshot

Hubstaff is a time tracking and productivity monitoring tool that enables your team to streamline their work and improve productivity with features like screen recording, online timesheets, and more. Easily manage various projects and teams, and keep track of where each team member spends their time.

Pros:

  • Screen recording capabilities for sharing
  • Productivity tracking features for remote team
Cons:

  • Basic reporting capabilities
  • time tracking can be faulty

Pricing: Free 14 day trial, paid plans from $11.57 user/month

Jira

Jira product screenshot

Popular choices among developers, Jira is a great tool for those looking for ways to improve team performance. It started as a bug-tracking tool but now offers various other features, including an agile planning suite and other resources needed to track large projects.

Pros:

  • Good for issue management (bug tracking)
  • Very customizable
Cons:

  • Can be difficult to set up
  • Fairly complicated user interface

Pricing: Free trial, paid plans from $7 user/month

ClickUp

Clickup product screenshot

Another all-in-one platform suitable for small teams, ClickUp is a flexible solution that allows you to see projects organized by assignee or from an Agile dashboard. Other features that make managing a remote team a breeze include task assignments and statuses, communication and collaboration tools, and real-time alerts and notifications.

Pros:

  • Pre-organized project templates for easier project management
  • Responsive support team
  • Customer-centric with regular updates
Cons:

  • More affordable plans don’t include two-factor authentication
  • Only enterprise plans come with onboarding and training

Pricing: Free trial, paid plans from $5 user/month

BEST CLOUD STORAGE SERVICES

Google Drive

Google Drive visual

Google Drive is a very popular cloud storage solution because it offers real-time collaboration functions and it’s easy to use. Use it to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and enable your entire team to edit and proofread in real time. Further, there’s no need to install any software — everything can be done online.

Pros:

  • Syncs across all devices and can be accessed everywhere
  • The ability to see revision history and restore older versions
  • Real-time collaboration with teams
Cons:

  • Google Drive comes with potential security risks and their system can automatically browse all your shared content (including emails).

Pricing: Free for the first 15 GB of storage

Dropbox Business

Dropbox product screenshot

Dropbox Business is a cloud storage system with multiple features making it easy to collaborate and share documents. It comes in handy when you need to share large files with the team and can’t do so by email.

Pros:

  • Can be used offline
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple versions of the same file can be shared
Cons:

  • Compared to some of the other cloud storage services, the price is relatively high.

Pricing: Free 30 day trial, plans for teams starting from $12 user/month

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive product screenshot

Microsoft OneDrive works in a similar way to Dropbox and Google Drive, enabling you to store large files and quickly share them with the team. It’s also a good option for businesses who are already using Microsoft’s Office 365 suite.

Pros:

  • Integrated with Office 365
  • Access information everywhere
  • Great permission levels and sharing options
Cons:

  • Some concerns over privacy have been cited by users – Microsoft has reserved the right to scan files saved in OneDrive

Pricing: Free 30 day trial, plans from $5 user/month

BEST PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS

Todoist

Todoist product screenshot

Todoist is a powerful to-do list app that can help anyone get organized and achieve peace-of-mind anywhere. From planning large scale projects to simply remembering to pay the rent, it’s ideal for anyone looking for a simple way to organize their tasks.

Pros:

  • Good cross-platform capabilities
  • Can be used offline
  • Easy collaboration
Cons:

  • It can be challenging to work on larger projects because the subtasks don’t work very well and can’t be indented

Pricing: Free 30 day trial, plans for teams from $5.90 user/month

Krisp

Krisp product screenshot

Krisp helps remote teams to boost productivity by removing background noise. This way you can make calls with greater confidence, even from busy places like airports.

Pros:

  • Removes any background noise
  • Interface is simple and easy to use
  • Compatible with all major communication apps, such as Zoom and Slack
Cons:

  • High CPU usage can occur because all the audio-processing happens on the device

Pricing: Free 30 day trial, free and paid plans available

Toggl

Toggl product screenshot

With Toggl, you can choose to track time real-time or insert information manually afterwards. Further, you can easily compile reports for customers and managers, showing how long team members spent on different projects and progress toward team goals.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Free plans available for small teams (up to 5 people)
  • Good reports for analysis
Cons:

  • Not suitable for teams looking to manage their entire projects from one place as it doesn’t include some important features, such as invoicing

Pricing: Free trial, paid plans for teams from $9 user/month

BEST COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION TOOLS

Zoom

Zoom product screenshot

One of the most popular communication platforms for businesses, Zoom brings teams together to get more done in a frictionless and secure video environment. It offers high video quality and enables you to record your team meetings.

Pros:

  • Easy setup and intuitive interface
  • Screen can be shared with all the attendees
  • Save videos and share with people who couldn’t attend
Cons:

  • If you have problems with your internet connection and no co-host, connections can be lost very abruptly

Pricing: Free plans for single users, paid plans from $14.99 licence/month

Slack

Slack product screenshot

Slack is more than just a messaging tool. It’s a digital space that makes it easy to communicate with teammates. Remote teams can use it for instant messaging and collaboration. Slack offers complete functionality on iOS and Android so you can also remain connected on the go.

Pros:

  • Ability to create public and private channels
  • Customizable interface
  • Integrates with different software
Cons:

  • Not the best option for video calls

Pricing: Free trial, paid plans from $7 user/month

Read on: 5 Clever Ways to Automate Your Work with Zapier

InVision

InVision product screenshot

InVision is a cloud-based digital product design and development platform used to create and manage prototypes. It enables users to collaborate, test and experiment with designing templates and ideas on a digital dashboard.

Pros:

  • Easy collaboration and in-document commenting
  • Code (different programming languages) for design functionality
  • Great for prototyping
Cons:

  • Many users have reported poor customer support services

Pricing: Free plans available, paid plans from $7.95 user/month

BEST TOOLS FOR SECURITY

LastPass

LastPass product screenshot

LastPass makes it easy for managers to empower their employees to work remotely and have access to data securely. With the help of this tool, you can generate passwords for the members of your team, which can be backed by two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.

Pros:

  • Easy to share access and manage passwords
  • Good pricing options
  • Password audit to check the existing passwords
Cons:

  • No private VPN for users

Pricing: Free 14 day trial, paid plans for businesses from $3.50 user/month

1Password for Teams

1Password product screenshot

1Password is another great password manager tool that makes it easy for remote teams to stay safe online. 1Password for Teams is a scalable solution that makes it easy to bring new team members onboard. You can use this tool on as many devices you want and benefit from advanced encryption and total privacy.

Pros:

  • Various secure note templates for storing sensitive information
  • Intuitive password organization
  • Two-factor authentication
Cons:

  • No automated password changing capabilities

Pricing: Free 30 day trial, paid plans for teams from $3.99 user/month

Everything about your business, one click away


Keep in mind, technology should make our lives easier. And with the multitude of tools available, creating the perfect tool kit for any team, but especially for remote team, may take some time. The key is to test out different apps and combinations until you reach your most productive workflow.

Read on:

Liis Milk

Liis Milk is the Content Marketing Specialist at Scoro. From research to clever writing, she cares about creating engaging content. Best described as a photo enthusiast and a word nerd, she gets inspired by nature and books. Never says no to good conversation, sports and traveling.

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