The remote virtual world has taken us from working in a cubicle to working anywhere with access to the internet. Being a great employee no longer only means showing up at the office Monday through Friday during office hours. Now anyone can securely work from anywhere in the world, any time of the day or night, and still achieve their project deliverables. This article provides a review of the top remote culture-building, communication, and team collaboration tools for the best remote working experience wherever you are.
Why remote work rocks if you like to move a lot
The term ‘settle down’ is antiquated in today’s digital world. There was a time when people followed a pattern, a set ethos that saw them grow up, get a job, get married, buy a house, have children, save for the future, enjoy retirement, and then die. There were even negative terms for a person who didn’t settle down. As we move further and further into the digital age and into a globally inclusive society, there is room for everyone to be as they are and do what works best for them. For those who like a change of scenery, exploring and getting to know people from around the world, working for a lifetime in the same office can seem like hell on earth. Now, working remotely can mean living in a quiet, remote part of the world, or travelling and exploring – all without sacrificing your career.
Top 4 culture-building platforms
A well-designed remote culture-building platform will help any business hire and retain employees by providing the company with actionable and engaging tools and templates. These tools can achieve goals specific to any work environment and go beyond tracking time and payroll. We live in an ever-evolving world. Not everyone can know all things all the time. By having access to blogs on current topics such as DEI, an employer can limit HR complaints that center around discrimination, bullying, and sexism. Tools that acknowledge hard work and goal completion can help employers develop plans that properly gauge how long a project will take and how many staff it will need. In turn, this can prevent burnout. Templates that guide employers through positive ways to improve engagement will help improve employee morale and build company culture and connection. The feeling of belonging, being noticed, and being appreciated is one of humanity’s top motivators for much of what we do.
This is a recognition and rewards programme platform. It can integrate with the tools your company already uses every day, like Microsoft Teams and Google Chat. Employees can recognise colleagues for their hard work by giving them monthly bonuses that appear in a public feed. It allows each team member to feel their work is valued. Employees can use the rewards for almost anything by selecting one of the partner gift cards. The partner gift cards come in a diverse collection of categories, including apparel, beauty and spa, cash-out (PayPal), charitable donations, entertainment and electronics, experiences and travel, food and drink, gifts and services, and such like.
Bonusly offers actionable content on relevant topics such as improving morale, and DEI reports. They also provide a comprehensive catalog of tools to help develop employee engagement and morale in their handbook.
This is a game app designed to help employers increase engagement and promote team building. Employers can develop real-world scavenger hunts that immerse employees in the company’s culture.
For new hires, a scavenger hunt can streamline the onboarding process by making learning the systems, protocols, and logins fun and engaging while at the same time ensuring they watched the assigned videos and completed the reading. Missions can include introducing themselves to key management and department heads members so they know the who’s who when it comes to working collaboratively on projects. With game code invitations, it is simple to get started. Comprehensive insights give employers real-time data on which missions are effective and which ones need reinventing.
You can use GooseChase with existing employees to build culture. As they complete missions, employees post photographs of themselves completing the missions to receive points. They can work in teams or as individuals. You can create missions for virtual teams who work remotely or gather them in an outdoor environment.
If you’re looking to create a strong, connected culture that help attract and retain staff, then this is it. Kazoo focuses on six key areas – conversions, goals/ objectives and key results (OKRs), incentives, recognition, feedback and employee surveys.
Conversations are more productive with the 1-1 or 1-many scheduling system. You can add topics like results and feedback to the agenda and record action items and notes to reference for future conversations. The system also allows sync-ups with automated calendar invites.
Everyone can set OKRs that align with company-wide initiatives. Kazoo allows you to add one or more measurable goals, including a percentage complete, yes/no, or a specific target and due date. Teams can collaborate on shared goals across functional groups and organisational levels where everyone can see the results.
The incentives and recognition programmes help inspire and motivate employees, as well as help employers celebrate employee successes.
Timely feedback helps keep employees on track, drives growth, and improves collaboration. Employees can provide feedback to each other with standard templates to ensure input is always actionable and meaningful. With Kazoo, they can also receive frequent coaching, mentoring support, and direct feedback that are more valuable.
Employee surveys support the whole journey and allow employees to provide feedback on the process safely and confidentially. This will enable employers to address challenges and team sentiment in real-time before it degrades company morale.
This is a flexible and secure digital headquarter that brings teams under one centralised system. It integrates with tools like Slack, Google G Suite, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Paychex, and Paylocity.
Assembly offers workflow management, customisable workflows and automation, powerful admin tools, and advanced security.
The platform promotes an atmosphere where employees feel valued, connected, and able to communicate directly with colleagues best suited to provide the answers they need in real-time, thereby increasing productivity.
Companies can add structure, transparency, and accountability through manager empowerment and give their managers the tools they need to develop their skills and become the manager their team needs through the manager-report relationship.
Top 3 Team Communication tools
A team communication tool can help small, and large businesses build collaborative work environments that strengthen employee engagement and productivity, and increase profits. For decades, communication in a work environment took a face-to-face approach at set times during the day, week and month. This meant waiting until the next meeting to get direction from department heads on a project, or feedback on a proposal from the group. In what could be called an overcorrect, emails and texts went directly to mobile devices, leading to a spike in communication and expectations beyond the 9-5.
With team communication software, team members can set their meetings, lunch and office hours to show as busy and silent notifications so they can work uninterrupted. Team communication software can also replace costly landlines and switchboard services through automation and high-definition digital programmes.
nextiva phone system
As a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone service, Nextiva offers everything from team messaging, to video conferencing, to a mobile app to provide business communication solutions.
The system displays a real-time presence so everyone can see who is available to receive calls or chats. There is also a conference line for meetings of up to 9 people and facilitating team collaboration through video and screen sharing.
‘Online faxing’ enables the sending of faxes as though they are email – it’s digital and secure, with no hardware, wires, paper or spools.
With voicemail to email, team members no longer have to check voicemails and write down names, numbers, and details. Employees can visually reference the client’s exact message when they call them back.
The auto-attendant eliminates the need to give out individual, direct numbers to your customers for every staff member. Use one number online and in marketing materials to easily connect customers through the auto attendant to the best team member for their service.
Being part of the Shiftforce Suite that’s a work management system for an array of solutions, Shiftnote focuses on team communication and scheduling.
The daily log book gives managers the tools to ensure compliance across multiple locations with safety, food handling, cash handling, and employee management directives. Managers can also consolidate all notes, communications, and essential sales data.
The scheduler allows employers to manage employee scheduling availability, auto-schedule, set holiday pay, set overtime, print schedules, and create and view availability rosters.
The bulletin board is for managing time requests, including approving or denying, limiting, and blocking requests during specific time frames or busy periods. Employees can trade shifts and have direct employee-to-employee messaging.
With Shiftnote’s additional features, employers can tackle problems before they start. For instance, the Forecaster feature offers a space to add budgets and sales that will be automatically pushed to all schedules during the corresponding periods, so there are no missed steps in the scheduling process. It also offers a billing portal and integrates with Point Of Sale (POS) systems making managing finances easier.
This is more than just an online note-taking cloud-based system. Businesses can organise all communication and files related to specific projects and clients in one place – images, to-do lists, contracts, PDFs, and notes. The web clipper allows the user to directly snip relevant data from the web and attach it to specific files. The powerful search and keyword tag system can search in-text emails, PDFs, and even photos. You can sketch and annotate documents and images to clearly express your thoughts and the concepts you want to develop.
The dashboard lets you see your day, week, month, and year at a glance. Evernote also integrates with Google Drive, Slack, MS Teams, and Gmail so you can take project planning to the next level.
top 4 collaboration channels
Remote collaboration channels allows teams to work on projects together, and employers to manage workflow. Good remote collaboration will provide data analytics that enables employers to see how long a project or a deliverable takes and apply that data to future projects to decrease employee burnout.
Not everybody works the same way. Being able to present workflow in multiple formats ensures everyone understands the full scope of the project and their part in it. Work flow charts and deliverables timelines provide crucial aspects of the project that are lagging or missing altogether.
The following remote collaboration software offers these features and more.
As a virtual team office, this channel allows users to manage projects, set goals and collaborate as if they are all in an office together. It provides workflow tools that fit your needs and allows you to boost team alignment, efficiency and productivity.
With the integration features, you can connect with your existing go-to tools like Mailchimp, Office 365, Canva, Twitter, box and Shopify. The embedded Zoom feature allows users to assign tasks and follow up on action items during the meeting.
Assign tasks and manage workloads with transparency in real-time with Kanban, Gantt and timeline views. Project managers can maximise efficiency and continuously improve processes by visualising work and limiting work-in-progress.
With features like forms, whiteboard and real-time notifications, team members can collaborate and provide feedback on projects and deliverables as if they were in the same room.
The time tracking features allow managers and employers to monitor projects, collect time data and apply that data to future projects to limit employee burnout from unrealistic deadlines.
Favro provides extensive tools to empower employees through live webinars and re-recorded sessions on a variety of topics to offer user-relevant support.
Developed primarily for software companies and gaming businesses, it provides real-time, actionable strategies for problem-solving bug fixes and software problems.
It offers docs inside Favro to replace Word or Google Docs and allows the user to write marketing strategies and planning sessions directly into Favro.
Individual teams can work on projects specific to their division with team and planning boards. When it comes time to launch the project, teams from multiple divisions can easily collaborate in real-time, managing client expectations and ensuring transparency throughout the project. Collaboration can occur through task relations on numerous boards to allow for divisional overlap and notify everyone when an issue or task is completed.
Real-time planning and writing are facilitated by using digital name tags that appear within a document or project to show who is working where at any moment.
With automation and notifications, users can limit time spent on repetitive tasks. You can build automation to suit each team and project’s needs.
Favro integrates with most existing collaboration tools such as Git Hub, Slack, Jira, Google Drive, One Drive, Microsoft, Dropbox, and Unito.
Teamwork is easy to use, flexible, and feature-rich. Beyond allowing users to create tasks and projects and upload files, it offers advanced features missing in basic systems so your business won’t outgrow as it scales. They provide top-notch customer support too.
With their portfolio management, time tracking, and reporting dashboards, you can get project health status updates in real-time. Teamwork help you view your Gantt chart or project task list to find out what is off track and what is left to do.
With Teamwork, you can empower your team members with autonomy and accountability via the task assignments and time tracking, to help plan new projects more efficiently and prevent employee burnout. The data-driven insights lets you see deep into your team’s resources and get the whole picture of who is at capacity and has the space to take on more work. You can also integrate Teamwork with the tools you already use, like Xero, Zapier, and Quickbooks, without missing a beat.
Toggl Plan provides simple work management tools for small teams. It offers drag-and-drop plan timelines with color-coded tasks so team members can stay on top of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. The public holidays feature allows you to have the visibility when colleagues from overseas are off or likely to have less availability because they are celebrating.
The plan timelines allows employers and project managers to visualise and balance workloads so that no one is overburdened or lacks billable hours – it gives everyone a clear overview to stay on top of the project.
You can manage tasks from timelines or boards and include as much or as little detail to the jobs by forming a checklist, feedback, and file uploads. By creating Kanban boards with user-specific workflows, you can easily design project plans that work for your company.
Toggl Plan offers automation for recurring task creation and in-app and email notifications that alert you when a task is complete or overdue.
With My Work Dashboard, team members can create a personal dashboard that suits their needs. Shareable timelines with read-only settings allow you to share project details with external shareholders.
benefits of remote work softwares?
Remote work softwares can help employers prevent burnout, improve employee morale, improve team member retention, foster diverse and inclusive workplaces, and re-establish or enhance company culture and connection.
They can also improve client communication, capture sales, and help your team provide real-time top-notch customer service, regardless of where they live.
Is there free remote work software?
There are free software options like Slack, Trello, and Google Suite. Most of the apps reviewed here offer free versions as well. However, the drawback with free versions is that they often don’t have as many features or branding options to personalise and customise the apps to your specific business needs.
Motivate Your Remote Team the Easy Way
Don’t let distance separate you from curating a great team of employees or keep you from taking the job you want. With this curated collection, you will find the best remote working tools, communication software, and collaboration tools for your remote team or career. Most offer a free trial, so you can start implementing one today.
Also, creating a strong bond among remote team members can become difficult due to the lack of in-person interaction. Using any of the platforms/ tools mentioned in this article, you can keep your team engaged, motivated, and highly productive through effortless collaboration.
Author: Pamela Tatam – SEO Outreach Specialist, Porch