By Ikechukwu Nnabeze, SEO Copywriter, Traqq
The world is changing at a swift pace. A couple of years ago, remote work was an unheard term in the business world; it was a privilege enjoyed by a select few. However, this is no longer the case as more organizations are embracing working from home and its associated benefits. Even workers and team leaders are now quick to sing about the many positives that it brings.
Before the pandemic, working outside the office wasn’t an accepted idea among employers. However, current health risks have changed many minds. Everyone has been forced to adapt and become flexible about how things should be done. Employees who have tasted the work-from-home setup would prefer to continue if given the option.
It’s true that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to deciding the sustainability of remote work for your business. Even so, it helps to know the best apps that will help your team transition in this permanent setup. After all, there are several business risks in remote work. Fortunately, there are tech solutions that can mitigate these common problems. These modern digital apps help you to coordinate and monitor your staff, no matter their location. From time tracking software to free collaboration tools for remote teams, there are several ways to ensure productivity among your employees.
Tool to Prevent Miscommunication: Slack
It’s easy to lose proper communication while transitioning to a remote working structure. It’s one of the common issues companies face, which can lead to a massive dip in productivity. For starters, workers can no longer talk to each other face to face as they used to. The ease of walking over to a teammate’s desk to ask questions and come up with solutions to a problem is no longer there. This can lead to a messy communications network where vital information can get lost.
While emails will work in a scenario where all employees commute to a physical workplace, it’s less feasible with remote work. It’s difficult to hold continuous conversations over emails, especially when you need to talk to many people on small issues at the same time.
To create an effective workflow and boost productivity, you need a tool like Slack. This is an instant communication tool that comes with two primary modes of communication:
- Channels message
- Direct message
Using these two modes, employees can exchange solutions, creative ideas, and information seamlessly. In addition, it comes with add-ons that give it an added efficiency that you can’t get with email communication.
Slack also features a video call tool that you can use when you want to have face-to-face conversations. This gives a feeling that’s close to what you get from talking to a colleague or employee in a physical office. It’s also useful for holding quick meetings. Everyone can simply sign in and enjoy the pleasure of seeing each other’s faces, smiles, and gestures.
The app allows for file sharing, which makes it the perfect communication tool. Moreover, it can be integrated with other third-party team management software such as Jira and Google Calendar.
- Tool to Prevent Time Theft: Traqq
Working from home is great. However, it can come with a problem of distraction. In an office, it’s easy to keep an eye on your employees, caution them, or help them do their tasks without procrastinating. However, when it comes to telecommuting, the story is different. You need to find a way to monitor staff without being the overbearing boss that everybody hates. This is where time management apps come in.
Traqq is a time tracking software that allows you to keep tabs on employee activity, no matter where they are in the world. Research shows that individuals tend to work faster when they realize their activity is being monitored. This means that you can ensure an increase in productivity even without having your workers under one roof.
For example, managers use Traqq to keep track of their staff’s on-screen activity. They can see which websites and apps an employee visits during work hours. In addition, they get reports on how much time a worker spent on those sites and what they were doing on the pages they opened.
This time tracking tool helps you figure out how many minutes or hours each worker spends on particular tasks. At the end of every week or month, you get a detailed report that’ll help you give feedback and coaching to your employees. If a staff member is wasting time surfing through Instagram or playing games during their work time, you’ll know from the activity report that the time management app will generate.
Traqq also performs automatic tracking, which means that it quietly records user activity in the background without creating distractions or interfering with their daily work. It achieves this by taking screenshots or video recordings at intervals. The manager can then review this visual data and see an accurate calculation of the number of hours worked.
This app has many features that help to keep employees focused. For instance, this tool measures each worker’s activity level based on keyboard movements and mouse clicks. Your staff will stay focused on tasks, knowing there’s a tool monitoring their activity during work hours.
At the end of the workweek or month, the data is collated, and the app automatically gives you an extensive report. It shows the productivity level of each worker and provides accurate data for invoicing, salary payment, and client billing.
- Tool to Prevent Data Leaks: LastPass
As an organization moves its business online, it has to incorporate a lot of digital tools into daily operations. Using various apps and services means having several accounts – this, in turn, means creating many passwords.
It can get tedious trying to keep up with remembering and protecting all company passwords, especially when you have several employees under your wing. Writing them down somewhere can be risky as well – they can fall into the wrong hands. To operate an efficient and safe business, you need a way to keep these passwords secure while ensuring workers don’t get locked out of their accounts.
LastPass protects your company data by giving every team member a single master login password. As for the passwords to the other numerous accounts, they’re securely stored in the LastPass tool and are loaded automatically whenever a login page requests them.
The app is available on several platforms and is compatible with numerous devices. It was designed specifically for remote business purposes and to simplify the process of handling multiple work-from-home employees.
- Tool to Prevent File Loss: Google Drive
We cannot overemphasize the importance of having a secure system for sharing files and collaborating on digital data. Transitioning your business to a remote working structure means you have to find an efficient platform to protect business-related sensitive information.
Employees need to exchange lots of information to facilitate the work process and ensure that crucial documents are stored safely. Since they can no longer do this physically, the amount of digital data that needs to be exchanged online will significantly increase. A secure file-exchanging and project-collaboration network is necessary to avoid miscommunication and safeguard sensitive material from getting lost in transit.
Sending large files through email can get messy because there’s no way to organize and collaborate with other team members in your inbox. Besides, it’s easy to mistakenly miss an important message when they pour in from several sources simultaneously. Large organizations can easily invest in customized file sharing and collaboration tools. However, small businesses might not have the resources to pull it off.
Fortunately, Google came to the rescue with an app, which small to medium-sized companies can use to share and store data. Google Drive a cloud-based tool that your employees and teammates can use to collaborate on projects while keeping your data secure. No matter the worker’s location, they can share, download, edit, and leave comments on documents. The platform gives you 15GB of storage for free, which you can use to share any type of files—from documents and images to videos and links and videos and spreadsheets.
Since many people are already familiar with Google-based products, it’ll be easy to transition your workforce towards using other Google-based tools.
- Tool to Prevent Mental Blocks: Mural
When in a physical office space, it’s easy to get creative ideas from interacting with other employees, having meeting sessions, and engaging in playful banters. Even that chance meeting in an elevator can create bursts of fresh ideas coursing through you. This is not so when working from home – you’re alone, and it can get stale and mentally dull pretty quickly. There are no brainstorming sessions or cooperative working events in your home office to get the inspiration flowing.
In these situations, digital communication tools might not be so helpful – creativity and inspiration sometimes need spontaneity, which these apps don’t give. It can get monotonous scheduling calls and video conferences just to bounce ideas off each other.
Mural is a digital tool designed specifically for this purpose – the app is like a canvas for ideas and spontaneous creative thoughts. Unlike most project sharing platforms, it gives you the freedom to share ideas in any form you want.
Teammates and colleagues can put their thoughts on digital sticky notes, which they can arrange into diagrams, flow charts, and even drawings. Mural adds a new fun way of staying organized and creative. It’s a great alternative to other more traditional project management tools and is an amazing tool for boosting creativity among your workforce.
- Tool to Prevent Feelings of Isolation: Yammer
Remote work can get lonely sometimes, especially when you’re living alone. We are social creatures, and we crave human-to-human communication. When making changes to take your business online, this is something to keep in mind.
While there are many professional collaboration and communication tools with all the right features, these apps fail to cover the social aspects of cooperating on projects. To achieve team bonding, consistent communication and feedback between teammates are essential. One way to accomplish this in a traditional office space is through team-building outings and social events. However, this might not be possible when you have several employees in different and faraway locations.
Yammer helps you with this. Commonly known as the “Facebook for business,” the app has the makings of a social media network. However, instead of focusing on random personal updates and gossip news sharing, the tool focuses on work-related project updates. Teammates can like, share, and comment on posts/updates made by colleagues on projects that they’re working on, just as they’d on do on social media.
- Tool to Prevent Inefficient Task Delegation: Every Time Zone
Running a remote business means dealing with employees in different time zones. This presents the challenge of not knowing who’s available at any given time, which can make handing over and task delegations difficult. Unfortunately, keeping track of everyone’s time zones can be exhausting, and colleagues may end up messaging or calling each other at odd hours. This can create more barriers to productive communication.
Every Time Zone is an app that takes away the issue of performing calculations whenever you need to check who’s available for a task. It shows you the current time in every time zone that your employees or colleagues are working from. This makes it easier to know whom you can call or chat with when necessary.
It may seem like a relatively small issue, but knowing who is available and what time they’re reachable can help teammates delegate tasks more efficiently. Productive communication is necessary for building a successful remote business team.
Transitioning to a remote business structure doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice productivity and security.
With the tools listed in this article, you can protect yourself and employees from miscommunication, data hacking, and time theft. As a manager, solving these issues will give you time to focus on other crucial aspects of your business that require your attention, such as improving your products and services.
About the Author
Ikechukwu Nnabeze is a tech expert and content writer at Traqq whose goal is to improve people’s lives with the help of modern technology. His interest in providing practical solutions to real-life tech problems has led him to a successful career in content creation. His passion is to help individuals and organizations from all over the world to embrace the life-changing beauty of modern technology. He enjoys poetry and stargazing when he’s not spending time with family.