13 must-have tools to manage remote workers

13 must-have tools to manage remote workers

Any business owner looking to hire the best talent to get the job done understands that the most skilled people aren’t necessarily local. And it’s reasonable that employers want to take advantage of talent beyond geographical boundaries. The internet and increasingly affordable devices have turned this once unreachable pipe dream into a reality.

While access to a better skill base is one reason for setting a business up to facilitate remote work, there are many other benefits, a Stanford University study found employee turnover was reduced by 50%. Staff call in sick less, they’re happier and probably best of all, they’re far more productive. For some companies the model has worked well, for others, not so much. But your business will  never reap the benefits if you do not give it a go, so let us help you by suggesting technology tools to help you manage remote workers.

Project management tools + Time tracking

Cost: US$29 per month for internal teams ($79 with clients)

Basecamp is a project management tool that helps you keep an eye on your business, while also giving your staff the ability to complete projects. You can store documents, files, have discussions, have a virtual to-do list, manage capacity and much more. It’s a great option for all teams, not just remote. Another benefit is that it integrates with a number of amazing programs that you will use in your business such as time tracking, accounting, coding, design etc.

Cost: US$9.99 per month

Trello is a simple project management system that displays to-do lists. It’s a favourite amongst many remote teams as it provides clarity, visibility, and it’s easy to use.

Cost: US$49 per month (5 users)

Harvest lets your remote teams track their time when working on client projects. Jobs can be tracked on phones, desktops or tablets. The program also integrates with many other programs such as Chrome, Safari, Basecamp, Trello and Xero. It’s a great way to keep staff accountable, spot inefficiencies and provide better customer reporting.

Cost: US$18 per month, per user

Similar to Harvest, Toggl is a time tracker for teams. It can be operated in browsers or phones and remembers when you’ve forgotten to stop your timer.

Hive Desk
Cost: From US$15 per month

Hive Desk is a project management tool to manage your team and tasks. Hive Desk provides in depth time tracking options, which includes taking random screenshots when remote staff are logged in and working on a project. This provides remote employers visibility of a staff’s actions on their computers when they’re on company time.

Cost: US$5 per month

Hubstaff is an integrated tool that tracks your team’s time and screen activity. You can also easily integrate payroll to compensate your team based on the hours they’ve worked.

Communication tools

Cost: Free

Skype is an incredible tool for connecting with remote teams. You can use the program to instant message the team, have group calls, make group video calls, and call landlines and mobiles all over the world at a very low cost.  It’s a great option to keep the team in sync.

Cost: US$2 per month

HipChat is a business messaging tool, it’s a lot more formal and functional than Skype as it integrates with business tools such as Google Drive. You can video call, group chat, share screen, all in a very secure environment. Probably the best function is the ability to categorise chats by topic, search the chats to avoid asking the same question twice, and search Google Drive at the same time.

Cost: Free

Jing enables you to create short screenshare videos. This means you can provide quick training videos to your remote team to teach them how to do easy tasks such as update their email signature, edit their out of office, resize images etc. Many industries will find it’s a worthy tool to explain elements of a project to clients too.

Document storage and management

Google Apps
Cost: US$5 per user

Google Apps for business gives you many options to help run your business. Users are set up with a professional email account and 30GB of storage in the cloud. Google Hangouts enables you to have meetings with your team and clients and calendar keeps everyone in the loop with what, when and where things are happening. Another great feature is Google Docs, which allows multiple people to write, comment and edit a single document at the same time. Access permissions can also be changed and edited, which makes it much easier to share documents with remote employees.

Cost: AU$11.58 per month

USBs and external hard drives be gone! Dropbox lets your entire team safely store their files in the cloud. You can send them to anyone and restrict access to the files as needed. It’s a great place to store big files - specifically of photographs and design elements. You can also access the files from any device, which makes it handy when teams are on the road as well as remote.

Productivity and Happiness

Cost: Free

Remote working can get lonely and cafes can have bad wifi - but that’s where WorkFrom comes to the rescue. The curated website gives remote workers the best locations with great atmosphere and, of course, wifi connections across the globe. It’s a great website to increase your team’s happiness if they’re getting lonely at home.

Cost: Free

LastPass is a great tool for remote teams (or anyone) to save time trying to find passwords. It securely saves your passwords and syncs it across your devices. Life changing.

Final thoughts

Working with remote workers can be incredible but logistics can get tricky. These tools are a great start to helping you manage remote workers while promoting a productive team.

To learn more about making the right software choices, download our free ebook How to choose the right software for your business.

CeBIT Australia How to choose the right software for your business