Technology advancements have made it possible for more people to work remotely. According to a report by Upwork, hiring managers initially believed that 38 percent of their full-time staff would be working remotely in five years, but now they estimate that number to be 58 percent. Additionally, Gallup‘s employment trends update from April 2020 to September 2021 found that 45 percent of full-time employees were either partially or fully working from home.
As the number of remote workers and virtual teams increases, so does the availability of tools and software designed to support them. Whether you’re a digital nomad enjoying a beautiful beach or a permanent employee working from the comfort of your home, successful remote work requires planning and preparation. Now is a great time to equip yourself with a set of software tools that can help you achieve your goals. Here is a list of some of the best tools for remote working in 2024.
What Key Aspects Should Employers Consider When Managing Remote Employees?
When managing remote employees, employers should pay attention to several key aspects to ensure their success and well-being. Here are some important areas to focus on:
- Communication: Establish clear channels of communication and encourage regular and open dialogue with remote employees. Use tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, and email to stay connected.
- Goal Setting: Set clear goals and expectations for remote employees. Make sure they understand their responsibilities and have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
- Performance Management: Implement a performance management system that includes regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and performance evaluations. This helps track progress, provide guidance, and address any challenges or concerns.
- Work-Life Balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance for remote employees. Remote employees have personal lives and commitments outside of work, just like their in-office counterparts. Encouraging realistic work hours, promoting regular breaks, and respecting personal time and boundaries are essential for preventing overwork, burnout, and dissatisfaction. By actively promoting work-life balance, employers can create a supportive remote work culture that values the well-being and satisfaction of their remote workforce.
- Remote Work Infrastructure: Ensure that remote employees have the necessary tools, equipment, and technology to perform their work effectively. Provide support for technical issues and ensure a secure and reliable internet connection.
- Team Collaboration: Foster a sense of belonging and teamwork among remote employees. Encourage collaboration through virtual meetings, team projects, and shared platforms. Promote a positive team culture and encourage regular interactions.
- Support and Recognition: Provide support and resources to remote employees. Offer training opportunities, professional development resources, and ensure they feel valued and recognized for their contributions.
- Well-being: Prioritize the well-being of remote employees. Encourage self-care, promote mental health awareness, and provide resources for managing stress and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
- Trust and Autonomy: Trust remote employees to manage their work independently and give them the autonomy to make decisions. Focus on results and outcomes rather than micromanaging their every move.
- Feedback and Growth: Provide regular feedback and opportunities for growth and advancement. Offer constructive feedback, recognize achievements, and provide opportunities for skill development and career progression.
By paying attention to these aspects, employers can create a supportive and productive environment for their remote employees, leading to higher engagement, satisfaction, and overall success.
Best Tools for Remote Working
Trello is a popular tool for startups. It’s a project management tool that is easy to use and has a wide range of applications. It follows the Kanban system, which helps managers create cards and guide them through a streamlined process that can be customized to fit their needs.
One of the reasons Trello is so popular is because of its visual list creation feature. It allows you to track the progress of your projects in a simple and visual way. You can create cards for different tasks and arrange them as needed. This makes it easy to delegate assignments, monitor progress, gather and store information, and plan and organize your work.
Trello is a great example of software that doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Its simple design and straightforward functionality make it a reliable choice for teams that need to collaborate on complex tasks.
While it does have messaging options, Zoom is best known for its excellent video quality during calls.
If you use the free version, you can have conference calls for up to 40 minutes. But if you upgrade to the pro version, you get even more benefits, like hosting webinars, which can be really helpful for your online marketing.
A feature that many people find helpful is the ability to record videos. You can use these recordings to make educational videos or keep a record of important processes.
Zoom helps teams work together by:
- Providing a meeting space that’s always available and ready for your team to use.
- Improving meetings by offering features like a virtual whiteboard, the ability to make notes on shared content, and the option to share files.
- Giving users a familiar and user-friendly interface, so it’s easy to navigate and use.
Dropbox is a service that lets you store your files in one place on the internet, so you can access them from anywhere and share them with others if you want to.
It’s like having an online library where you can keep all kinds of files, like documents, photos, videos, music, and more. You can use Dropbox on different devices, like computers or smartphones, to access your files.
The free version of Dropbox gives you 2 GB of space to store your files. But if you need more space, you can upgrade to a paid version starting at $8.25 per month.
Hangouts is a messaging and video calling tool that is safe to use and is great for people who like using Google.
Hangouts has many of the same features as Zoom, but you don’t need to download any special software to use it.
If you already use other Google products like Google Calendar and Google Drive, you’ll be happy to know that Hangouts works well with them. This means you can easily schedule meetings and work together on documents without any trouble.
If you’re a designer or work closely with designers, InVision is a useful tool for remote work. It makes it easy to create interactive prototypes and share them with your team. One of the best features of InVision is the ability to receive comments and feedback. When you share your design ideas with your team, it’s simple to collect feedback and make improvements quickly.
InVision helps design teams by:
- Offering ready-to-use templates that can help you generate ideas faster.
- Allowing team members to work at their own pace while keeping everyone updated.
- Integrating with tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so people can collaborate in real-time.
Good communication is important, especially when working remotely. However, sometimes the background noise in your surroundings can make it difficult to have clear phone calls. That’s where Krisp comes in. Krisp uses smart computer programs to remove background noise from your calls, so you can be heard clearly no matter where you are.
Krisp makes your meetings better by:
- Being compatible with over 800 different apps, so you can use it with the tools you already use.
- Working well with different headsets, microphones, and speakers, so you don’t need any special equipment.
- Offering advanced audio features like getting rid of echoes and making your voice sound high quality.
Managing projects and tasks is important for getting things done and meeting deadlines. Asana is a tool that brings your team’s work together in one place. With Asana, your team can talk to each other, keep track of progress, see important project milestones, and share files. It makes sure that all the project files are stored in one organized location.
Asana helps with project and task management by:
- Letting you customize how you see your projects based on how your team likes to work.
- Automating repetitive tasks with rules, so you don’t have to do them manually every time.
- Offering over 200 integrations, which means it can connect with lots of other software you use to make your work easier.
Recognizing and appreciating employees is important for keeping them motivated, but it can be challenging in remote teams.
Assembly is a tool that helps automate workflows and focuses on employee recognition and team connection. It allows you to celebrate the accomplishments of your employees, nominate outstanding performers, and offer rewards to keep them motivated.
Assembly boosts productivity in remote teams by:
- Providing structure to your day with daily and weekly agendas, so you can stay organized and focused.
- Allowing you to publicly acknowledge and give shout-outs to employees for their achievements, helping to create a positive work environment.
- Making it easy to offer rewards from a wide selection of over 600 options, so you can find something that suits each employee’s preferences.
Even when working remotely, it’s important for employees to feel connected and engaged with their organization. WorkTango is a tool that helps with this by allowing employees to stay connected and helping management keep their teams motivated. It provides tools to set goals and objectives, celebrate achievements, have meaningful conversations, share feedback, and reward behaviors that contribute to a positive company culture.
WorkTango brings teams closer by:
- Allowing the creation of goals at different levels, from individual to team, department, and company-wide, so everyone is aligned and working towards common objectives.
- Facilitating one-on-one meetings and performance reviews, which are important for providing feedback and discussing progress.
- Making it easy for employees to give feedback to each other, fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration.
Tracking time can be useful for measuring how productive a team is and predicting their future needs. Toggl Track is software that helps teams keep track of their time and generate reports. It’s designed to manage billable hours, increase productivity, and provide valuable insights. Toggl’s platform is very user-friendly, and employees can start tracking time even before assigning a specific task.
Toggl enhances time tracking and management by:
- Offering a straightforward interface that can be accessed from any device, making it convenient for everyone to use.
- Providing reports that give you a detailed or big-picture view of team performance, helping you understand how time is being spent.
- Improving the accuracy of invoicing, ensuring that you are paid correctly for the work you do.
While these tools can greatly facilitate remote work, employers should also focus on key aspects of managing remote employees, including communication, goal setting, performance management, work-life balance, remote work infrastructure, team collaboration, support and recognition, well-being, trust and autonomy, and feedback and growth. By combining the right tools with effective management strategies, employers can create a thriving remote work culture that benefits both the organization and its remote workforce.