As global concern about the current COVID-19 pandemic grows and working from home becomes the new normal – it has become all the more important to stay productive and connected while creating value in your day to day work.
Whether you are a work from home veteran or just starting out – here are six types of remote work tools that will help you stay focused and connected to your remote team so you don’t miss a beat.
- Being fully present for meetings or focusing on work may be difficult in this period of anxiety. Stress not only affects your health; it also hampers productivity. In times like these, it’s easy for your attention to drift away. The importance of mindfulness meditation has never been as important as it is today. Meditation apps are the easiest ways to maintain your mindfulness routine. Whichever process you may prefer, these apps like Headspace and Calm will give you the break you need.
- You’ve got an idea and you want to quickly run it by your manager, without spending hours going back and forth? Or you want to chat with your project team member remotely? Online video conferencing tools are a great way to quickly and effectively communicate. It’s also a fun way to catch up for a virtual water cooler chat with your colleagues over coffee. After all, great ideas are sparked when people connect! From Skype and GoToMeeting to Zoom and BlueJeans, never before have there been so many choices.
- E-mails require long replies but chat is simple and perfect for communicating remotely. When a teammate reaches out on chat, you can simply type a short reply or send across an emoji and get on with your work. Nowadays, it’s exactly how work communication happens. Team collaboration applications enable teams to organize their communication based on topic – in groups or in private, in one place. Collaboration apps allow you to join multiple teams and keep track of your interactions. Some of the popular apps nowadays are Slack, Google Hangout, Microsoft Team, Flock.
- Effective remote teams maintain excellent organizational performance even while everyone is safe and protected at home. With project management tools you can keep distributed teams on the same page. You can map out your project, break down project-related operations, allocate resources, track progress, and follow up. Tools such as Trello, Jira Core from Atlassian, Asana, Monday.com basically give you everything you may wish for to manage your remote teams effectively.
- Even without the threat of a global pandemic, many companies have a global workforce. If you are a part of a company with distributed teams or a remote employee, you miss the opportunity to engage socially and professionally in person. While video-conferencing tools can help with face-to-face communication, using a learning management system is a powerful way to create shared knowledge and experiences. With training content that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, you can engage and empower your employees, customers and partners. An advanced LMS also gives you the ability to easily view reports to progress, identify gaps, and optimize training efforts.
- Almost all of us work with documents – from articles to contracts to presentations. If you are leading a remote team, or working on one, much of your work requires creating, sharing and editing documents in collaboration. More often than not, co-authoring tools are required to help your team members work together. With remote collaboration tools, you can view changes to documents in real time, share comments, or provide feedback instantaneously. Needless to say, collaboration tools like Google docs, Office 365 are the lifeline of any distributed workforce.
Working remotely gives your team more flexibility and can support a better work life balance. In times like these, the ability to work remotely has helped many businesses not only survive, but even thrive. On the flipside, remote teams that are not managed well can also lead to inefficiency or communication gaps.
Team leaders and remote employees must commit to building high functioning remote teams where everyone feels included and issues are dealt with on time. While there is a wide variety of tools for remote teams, the responsibility is yours to make the best use of them. Creating and maintaining a great company culture may be difficult, but not impossible, with tools like these that encourage opportunities for connection.