Before 2020, remote work was a perk. It was only offered to certain individuals occupying specific positions. One pandemic later, everyone is familiar with the idea of working from home.
As the pandemic becomes history, many companies are embracing the idea of long-term remote work. This may be attractive for many reasons, but if it’s going to work in perpetuity, it must be set up the right way.
Here are several of the best tools you want to have in place to keep your remote teams as productive as possible.
Meeting on a regular basis is an essential practice for remote teams who want to stay aligned and connected. However, a great remote work meeting requires preparation and collaboration from all attendees. That’s why, if you want to increase your remote team’s productivity, you should use a tool to build the habit of meeting preparation and follow-up.
Fellow offers a great virtual meeting agenda option that can help you outline:
- Topics for discussion;
- Templates for recurring meetings;
- Action items assigned to various team members;
- Meeting minutes and follow-up.
If you’re going to gather online, you want to stay organized and efficient during the time spent together.
Basic workflow activities can become a concern when your staff is scattered to the four winds. This creates the need for a workflow platform to organize and oversee your team’s projects and other work-related activities.
ClickUp is a great way to keep everything in one central location. You can assign tasks, set due dates, attach documents, and take notes. Best of all, anyone can access the platform from their phone, tablets, or computers no matter where they are.
3. Zoom and Slack
Setting up easy-to-use communication tools is never more vital than in a virtual office scenario. One of the easiest mishaps of the remote work world is allowing communication to slip through the cracks.
There are numerous tools available to keep your team on the same page. Zoom is the posterchild for video conferencing while Slack fills the same role for text-driven messaging.
When it comes to communication, in particular, there are numerous options that can work in countless different scenarios. This means the specific tools that you use here aren’t the primary focus. It’s choosing your options and then codifying them into how your team interacts. Clear communication guidelines will help reduce clutter and keep everyone in the know.
4. Google Workspace
Collaboration is another area that can bog down online offices. If your team struggles to share information or work together in real-time, it can hamper productivity.
Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace is an arsenal of cloud-based apps that Google has created. These make it easy to share documents and collaborate on anything from a text doc to a spreadsheet, a presentation, and other online content.
Google Workplace is a great foundational element for your collaborative efforts and is ideal for sharing information. Nevertheless, there are times when you need an extra element to liven up an online brainstorming session or a similar activity.
This is where Lucidspark can be a godsend. The online tool allows you to create virtual whiteboards that can be shared with your team. These provide a powerful visual perspective that can help you stay organized and inspired throughout each project.
Customer service is a critical customer-facing aspect of any company. If your customer service reps are operating from home, they need to be well supported as they, in turn, serve your customers.
Five9 provides a cloud-based CCaaS (contact center as a service) solution that can unify and empower your customer service team. The software brings your various communication channels together into a single system. From there, customers are automatically partnered up with the rep that can serve them best.
Software such as Zoom and Slack are great for everyday meetings. Google Workplace can keep your team on the same page for run-of-the-mill activities.
However, there are points in your business processes when you need privacy. This can be difficult to find if you don’t have a physical office or conference room where you can disappear with a client to sign paperwork.
Enter CapLinked. The SaaS software allows clients to share documents, collaborate on sensitive data, and oversee complex transactions in trusted virtual data rooms. This is a great tool to have on hand for unique contracts and other negotiations.
With so many applications in play, it’s easy to have your virtual office become glutted with software. This is where an IPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) can come in handy. An IPaaS can help integrate, automate, and streamline the flow of data between different API endpoints in your business.
Workato has taken the concept of an automated workflow beyond the common IPaaS model. Instead, the brand has created a tool that it’s dubbed an Enterprise Automation Platform or an EAP. Workato’s tool takes the IT-heavy concept of integration and makes it more user-friendly. This can bring many different tools together and help them operate more efficiently.
There is no end to the number of tools that you can integrate into a virtual office. These are just a handful of the best options available. Each one serves a distinct purpose, from customer service to internal communications, agendas, brainstorming, and beyond.
The essential step is selecting a solution for each need that your remote team has. If you can do that, you can equip your staff to be as productive as possible throughout your long-term journey as a remote-first enterprise.