Managing Remote Teams: 10 Easy Must Have Tools
Managing a remote team comes with its own set of challenges. As the manager, you have to make sure that your team members are on top of their tasks and are as productive as possible. With distance separating you from one another, the convenience of walking towards your employees’ cubicle and asking for progress is out of the picture.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help you with it. Advancements in technology have allowed companies to streamline processes, even with their team members working remotely. With that said, we’ve researched and listed the best tool options out there to help to manage remote teams better. Here are ten tools worth considering:
Project Management for Remote Teams
Project management tools allow business owners to manage their remote employees’ tasks and track their progress to increase the company’s productivity. Here are two productivity tools you can use:
Basecamp is a popular choice among business managers and freelancers. It’s packed with features, has a simple design, and relatively easy to use. It combines project management and team collaboration in one tool.
Right after signing in, you’re immediately directed to the home page, where all your projects are displayed. Inside each project, you get the tools you need to get the work done. Inside each project are the tools you need to work on the job seamlessly. It includes Campfire, which allows you to message your team as a group, Message board, To-dos, Schedule, Automatic Check-ins, and Docs and Files.
You can also send a direct message to specific team members through the app’s “Ping” feature. You can get daily updates from each team member by setting up the automatic check-in, which sends a notification to the team at a specific time in the day and requires them to summarize the work they’ve done for that day.
Basecamp offers both free and paid subscriptions. Basecamp personal is free and comes with three projects you can manage simultaneously, up to 20 users and 1 GB storage space for files. Basecamp business comes at $99 per month and includes features like unlimited projects, users, and storage.
If you’re looking for a project management tool that uses a Kanban board to organize tasks, Trello is the one for you. The goal is to increase collaboration between workers and keep projects organized. With Trello, you can have an overview of the tasks with the assigned team members and the progress of each task.
Each project within the Trello app comes with a Kanban board that can be divided into different columns labeled “to-do”, “in progress”, and “done” with cards stacked beneath them. The board serves as an overview of the progress of the tasks so that team members can stay aligned in real-time. The cards on the board come with a specific team member assigned to do the tasks with corresponding deadlines.
For pricing, Trello offers three price tiers: Free, Business Class ($9.99 per user per month when paid annually), and Enterprise ($20.83 per user per month when paid annually).
When managing remote employees, communication is vital. Through these communication tools, managers can check in on their employees, send or ask for quick updates, or conduct virtual meetings to keep employee engagement and company productivity high.
When it comes to virtual meetings, Zoom is probably on top of people’s minds. It’s one of the most commonly used apps when setting up meetings, conferences, and even when conducting online webinars. Among the benefits of Zoom is that it operates at a lower bandwidth. It consumes less data than other video conferencing applications making it an ideal tool for remote workers lacking a high-speed connection in their homes.
With Zoom, you can enjoy top features like:
- Virtual waiting rooms
- Fun video backgrounds
- Screen sharing
- Schedule meetings
- Google, Microsoft 365, and iCloud calendar integrations
Zoom offers a free subscription to its users. However, opting for the free version will only afford you 40 minutes of Zoom call consisting of two or more people. Zoom’s Premium subscription, on the other hand, lets you enjoy unlimited video time with your remote team members.
Google Meet is a communication solution by Google Workspace. It makes a good video conferencing tool for managers that need an inexpensive and secure video conferencing solution. With the app, managers can host a meeting with up to 100 participants without a time limit. Participants only have to own a Gmail account to participate in Google Meet.
Google Meet’s free version comes with basic features. Users can share screens, choose different backgrounds, and turn on subtitles or captions. Companies looking for advanced functionality and video conferencing features like meeting recording, unlimited storage space, noise-canceling features, and more can subscribe to Google Meet’s free version starting at $6 per user per month.
Managers primarily use Slack as an instant messaging app to connect with their remote team members in real-time. Sometimes, it’s more convenient and time-efficient to send a quick chat to the team instead of calling them up on the phone. With Slack, you get to have that choice.
The app allows managers and other team members to create different channels dedicated to specific purposes to make communications easier for the people involved. They also include a video chat feature so that managers can conduct individual meetings with each of their team members.
Slack offers four pricing tiers: Free, Standard ($6.67/month), Plus ($12.50/month), and Enterprise Grid (price available upon request) suited for enterprise-level businesses.
Cloud storage is online storage that provides a convenient way for remote employees to access specific company files. The following are among the best cloud storage tools you can use when managing remote employees.
Google Drive is the most widely used cloud storage these days. Aside from its top-notch security system, Google Drive comes with the option of real-time editing and automatically saving the edits just as you finish typing them, so you won’t have to worry about lost progress again. Files stored on your google Drive also automatically sync on all devices, so you and your team members can access them anytime, anywhere.
For pricing, Google Drive offers 15GB of file storage for free. For $1.99 per month or $9.99 per year, you can get up to 100GB of storage. If you need more, you can get 200GB of file storage for $2.99 a month. They also offer 2TB of file storage for the price of $9.99 per month, 10TB for $99.99 per month, 20TB for $199.99 per month, and 30TB for $299.99 per month.
Dropbox is an excellent alternative to Google Drive. Managers and remote workers can easily drag and drop their files on the drive to upload them onto the platform. It even lets you upload large files. Once the upload is done, they can share the file with their team members and start collaborating. The files automatically sync across all devices, giving its users access to files no matter where they are in the world.
Dropbox comes in three different subscription plans: Basic, which is free and comes with 2GB storage; Plus which costs $9.99 per month and comes with 2TB storage and; Family, which offers 2TB of storage and allows access to up to 6 users for the price of $16.99 per month.
Time Tracking Tools
Working remotely means you won’t be able to easily walk to each of your team members’ cubicles to check on them. To ensure that they’re productive and utilizing working hours efficiently to stay on top of their deadlines, these time-tracking tools are worth considering.
Rescue time tracks the activity in your computer and phone throughout the day. It also tracks how much time you spend on each app or websites your team members visited. The app collects data and congregates those in the daily report, so the managers can see how well each team member is utilizing their working hours.
Workers can set up alerts in Rescue Time, so it sends them a notification if they’re spending too much time on a specific website or app. It can also block certain sites, including social media platforms, for a certain amount of time, so your team members can focus on work and avoid distractions.
Rescue Time is compatible with both computers and mobile phones. Subscribers can choose between the Free and Premium versions of the tool, which costs around $9 per month of subscription.
Toggl is perfect for business owners or managers handling employees that work on a per-hour basis. The tool allows them to track the billable hours for each team member and, at the same time, monitor the projects your team spends most of their time on. The data are reflected on the monthly report that you can export from the app at the end of the month.
Like Rescue Time, Toggl offers a free subscription to its users. However, if you want to take advantage of time tracking for multiple projects and employees, the app’s paid version might make more sense. Toggl’s paid subscription range from $9 to $18 per month. Enterprise subscription (custom pricing) is also available and best suited for larger and more complex companies.
Hub Staff is a great time tracking tool that lets managers track time and increases team productivity. The app allows easy monitoring of the employees’ activities, including what tasks they’re working on at the moment and where they’re spending most of their time. The tool summarizes the data at the end of every month, so managers can review their team members’ activity and make or suggest modifications.
Other features of Hub Staff include:
- GPS tracking
- Employee monitoring
- Employee scheduling
- Screen recording
- Invoice management
Hub Staff’s basic plan starts at $5 per user per month and is most suitable for teams needing a basic time and project tracking tool. The Premium Plan comes at $9 per user per month. It lets the managers in on different features, including app and URL tracking, automatic payroll, idle time control, attendance scheduling, location tracking, and more.
Final Thoughts: Choose the Tool the Fits your Needs
The task of managing remote teams doesn’t come easy. But with these tools to help you, there’s no stopping you from managing and building your dream team. Always remember that when it comes to choosing the best tool, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. The ideal app of choice will always come down to what your company needs. Once you’ve identified that, you can then choose the right tools to manage your remote team.