Best Collaboration Tools For Managing Remote Teams

Globalization and worldwide digitalization made it fairly easy for two people to connect despite their geographical location. However, when it comes to connecting for the sake of successfully completing a project at hand, we are faced with new types of challenges. 

Yes, an increasing number of companies are outsourcing a part or all of their business processes, some unaware of potential troubles that lie ahead; most unprepared to cope with them. What are we talking about?

Problems may differ depending on how far you are willing to travel to look for a talented remote team of professionals. Broadly speaking, everyone should be prepared to deal with:

  • Delay in communication (if you work in different time zones)
  • Miscommunication and language gap (of you collaborate with different cultures)
  • Project misinterpretation and  
  • Lack of control (as you will not be in direct contact with your team)
  • Missed deadlines

And more. 

Fortunately, businesses of all sizes have been searching for the best ways to cope with the previously-enlisted and any new issues that could arise. 

In the article that follows, you’ll stumble upon some of the best collaboration tools that are at the forefront of their niche. We’ve selected them based on user reviews, overall rating, and a specific problem they help you overcome.

Project/Task Management: Asana

For years, Asana has been holding the title of one of the best collaboration tools on the market. The appeal of this tool is in its versatility. Most plainly put, it allows you to create projects, segment them into tasks, assign them to individual team members, upload necessary documentation, and leave comments for others to see and follow up. 

How does Asana differ from other project management tools? It comes with unique features which enable you to include more details on individual projects (without cluttering the workspace and causing confusion). What many users indicate as its most prominent feature is the ability to define the priority of each task and get a visual representation of your current and upcoming work. It is even possible to show the duration of a task, which can help quantify the work of a remote employee and thus to some extent simplify payroll. 

Considering, Asana represents one of the easiest-to-use tools when you need to monitor the progress of your team members and ensure the deadlines are met. 

Day-to-Day Communication: Slack

Slack is far more than your typical remote communication tool. Yes, you can use it like Hangouts or Skype to substitute for the time you would otherwise spend with your teammates next to a watercooler, but its additional features make it an extremely practical professional collaboration tool.

Slack option to create channels let you get a clear overview of individual projects and give access to specific employees who are involved in the project. This feature helps you declutter and easily get in touch with the right people who can give you the information you need. You can share documents with your peers, create threads, and pin the most important messages. The best part - Slack integrates with other applications, allowing you to streamline overall workflow.   

Video Conferencing: Zoom

While Slack, too, has a video call option, Zoom is still a vital tool when more than two team members need to connect and discuss ongoing matters. It comes with an intuitive interface and is extremely simple to master. The quick invite option enables you to get in touch with your remote employees in a matter of seconds when matters are urgent and quickly resolve any issues. 

Zoom can be integrated with Google Calendar, in that way aiding you in keeping your schedule organized. During the meeting, multiple people can share their screens and in that way better communicate their ideas. Meetings can also be recorded so that participants can listen again and in that way avoid misunderstandings.  

Time Tracking: Time Doctor

How do you make sure your remote team is doing their very best? How do you establish trust with someone who is so many miles away? 

Time Doctor is a time-tracking tool that provides you with insight into your team member’s work. It helps measure productivity and get a summary of an individual’s work. Not only is this practical when you want to make sure each person is equally involved, but it also makes it easy to summarize their work and manage payroll. You get an accurate report on a team member’s contribution to the project as you are presented with screenshots and activity levels. 

Time Doctor easily integrates with other collaboration tools and can be used on all devices. 

Storage: Google Drive

Cloud technology currently offers one of the most dependable and secure files sharing environments and Google Drive maintains its position as one of the top-used solutions. It provides free Gmail users with a generous 15 GB storage space, to keep any type of documents: files, images, presentations, videos, etc. 

Each individual file comes with a sharing option that allows document owners to manage access and make sure there are no unauthorized breaches. And since Google Drive can be set up on any desktop or mobile device, users can get hold of important documents from any place at any time, if need be. 

Payroll: Gusto

Gusto is the perfect tool for HR departments who are responsible for handling the payroll of all company employees - in-house and those who work from home. This software comes with several neat features:

  • Salary paycheck calculator - you just input the basic information for individual employees and the tool does the math for you.
  • Hourly paycheck calculator - proves practical when your remote workers are employed per hourly rate.
  • Tax Calculator - even though it is reserved only for U.S.-based employees, it eases the thinking process as you are obliged to take into consideration several factors: taxes you pay as an employer, taxes deducted on behalf of employees, and taxes you both are responsible for (including Medicare and Social Security).

Additionally, Gusto includes several features intended to simplify the HR department’s processes, like the New Hire Checklist which enlists the most important information and forms the company and new employees need to fill out. 

Finally, the Salary Comparison tool enables you to calculate the average salary for a certain position within the U.S., as well as nationwide. With Gusto, you can remain competitive on the market and not worry whether you are under- or over-paying your people. 

What about you? Which tools have proved most beneficial for your remote team? Share your thoughts and experience! 

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