Working from home is certainly more common than it used to be. Even so, it comes with its share of challenges. Fragmented collaboration and communication, difficulties with time management, and countless distractions are not the only obstacles you face when managing a remote team.

Some employees have no issues using time-tracking software, for instance. Others say the opposite and consider it an impediment to their work. While you must learn to trust your workers, leaving them to their own devices runs the risk of productivity loss, among other problems.

Understanding the needs of your virtual team and effectively connecting with them is hard. Implementing new tools to replace office touch points helps, but there are so many options to choose from. Besides, choosing wrong means making processes more cumbersome.

If you want to make sure everyone’s happy and effective at work, invest time in finding software that’ll streamline your workflow. We have suggestions for you below to ease your worries.

Worksnaps

worksnaps
Image taken from the Worksnaps website

Overview

A one-of-a-kind service that helps track hours spent by individual. It helps improve accountability and visibility of time spent. While simple and automatic, it’s also dynamic in recording work based on keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, and screenshots.

Best for

Supervisors or managers whose remote team members are working on an hourly basis.

Key features

  • Records the operations of users through random screenshots taken every 10 minutes to make work verifiable and accurate. Tool usage is covered along with keyboard and mouse activity.

  • Uploads tracked time on the server in real-time, making it immediately available for monitoring. That means you don’t have to wait for the end of the day to review activities.

  • Offers detailed charts and graphs where you can analyse your staff’s performance to manage them better. These same reports are useful for estimating timelines and dividing work as well.

  • Allows users to generate invoices automatically based on the number of hours they’ve worked.

Pricing

Rates start at $20 per month which allows 4 users and unlimited observers and projects. Bigger teams may appreciate the most expensive plan at $90 per month which includes 30 users. A 30-day free trial is available for all plans while the account owner is always free of charge.

Slack

slack dracula theme
Custom themes are available for Slack too

Overview

A powerful team-messaging app with a wide range of options and settings. Chatting is be done in real-time or asynchronously. Even new users will find it easy to setup and navigate.

Best for

All kinds of companies, be it two-person startups or hundred-strong organisations.

Key features

  • Enables you to share files with your team directly. Uploading or attaching files is as easy as clicking on the paper clip button and finding the file on your PC or cloud drives.

  • Lets you set reminders about certain messages. The reminder can be scheduled for anywhere between 20 minutes and the following week—or customised according to your needs.

  • Integrates with various other tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Zapier, Loom, Stack Overflow, or SalesForce. See the extensive list of apps that can be added to Slack here.

  • Provides in-app video conferencing and calls. Not only can you talk to team members but also draw on shared screens and take notes.

Pricing

Small teams who’d like to try out Slack for an unlimited period of time can have it for free with up to 10 integration and access to 10,000 of the most recent messages. The standard plan at $6.67 per month is ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses though.

Skype

skype for business
Image taken from Microsoft 365 blog

Overview

A telecommunications app that works with excellent video and voice quality and is available on Apple, Android, and Windows. It recently added encrypted messaging options to its already long list of features which is why it remains a key player in the market.

Best for

Small and mid-sized companies looking for an affordable yet efficient video conferencing app.

Key features

  • Hosts up to 250 people in video, audio, or web conferences. Online meetings may be planned in advance or done in real-time as well as integrated with Outlook via its plugin.

  • Gathers participants’ opinions in group conversations via the Polling feature. If you’re the host, you can show or hide poll results and take viewer opinions over a broadcast.

  • Schedules, produces, and broadcasts meetings and events to up to 10,000 participants. Webinars may also be held through the Skype Meeting Broadcast feature while recorded meetings can be sent to Office 365 Video.

  • Lets people join meetings over the phone. This is very useful in case of problematic internet connections.

Pricing

Sign up for Microsoft Teams and get chat and collaboration services for free. To enjoy the most features, go for the Office 365 E3 plan for $20 per user per month. Price doesn’t include tax but does cover meetings and calling, productivity apps and services, and more.

Xero

xero
Image taken from the Xero website

Overview

A cloud-based accounting program that supports every major financial element, be it payroll, inventory, expenses, bills, purchases, or sales. Boasting of a sleek interface and endless tools, Zero is easy to use and has the convenience of a mobile application.

Best for

Small and mid-sized enterprises that want to stay on top of their accounting and bookkeeping remotely.

Key features

  • Comes with a Business module where you take care of anything to do with running your company, including preparing quotes for customers and creating invoices.

  • A Contacts module that lets you manage employees, customers, and everyone else you work with. People are categorised in smart lists for easy tracking.

  • Stores contracts and other documents as an attachment to a transaction or in a general library. The Xero Files feature lets you upload or email documents for convenience.

  • Lets you code and record bank transactions as well as raise invoices when you’re on the go. Their mobile app reduces the need for processing transactions in bulk to keep up with deadlines.

Pricing

The $20/month starter plan lets you send up to 20 invoices and enter 5 bills. The $40/month premium plan may be more to your liking as it’s the only one that allows you to handle multiple currencies. Receiving payments and sending salaries in other currencies is simpler with Premium.

Google Drive

google drive

Overview

A cloud-based storage and syncing solution that lets you create, edit, store, and collaborate on documents with your team members. This full-featured and full-service productivity suite is a must-have for any remote team, especially when used with its companion apps.

Best for

Businesses of all sizes who need to store and share photos, videos, presentations, and other content online.

Key features

  • Backs up files automatically when its Backup and Sync app is set up on the desktop. Files are then accessible wherever you go, as long as there’s an internet connection.

  • Allows you to open and edit your documents, sheets, and slides from your mobile device offline when the Google Docs Offline extension is installed and activated.

  • Converts PDFs to Docs without the need for a third-party service. Simply right-click on a PDF file, select ‘Open with’ and choose ‘Google Docs’ to easily convert it to a .doc.

  • Creates a shareable drive link or enables access through email so people can open or edit files of your choosing. Advanced settings help you control access to certain files.

Pricing

Every Google account starts with 15 GB of free storage across Google Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive. To increase capacity, you may upgrade to a Google One membership at $1.99 per month which includes 100 GB of storage and the option to add your family.

Access to Tools and People

Technology is either a boon or a bane for your remote team depending on the tools you’re letting them use. Implementing the wrong apps not only wastes your time and effort but also your money. Added to that, it has a negative effect on collaboration and productivity. So, choose wisely!

Beyond picking quality tools, it’s also important to hire experienced and self-motivated remote workers too. They must be comfortable with working independently and have strong communication skills. It’s also a huge plus if they know how to use the software you’re using.

If you don’t know where to find such virtual professionals, turn to Remote Workmate. Unlike freelancing marketplaces where you do everything yourself, we handle the heavy lifting for you, including recruitment and payroll.

Need a worker who knows how to use remote tools?
Book a call today; let’s talk about your business needs.