One effective way tech companies are using it to boost worker productivity and reduce cost is to allow employees to work remotely. This makes a lot of sense with the proliferation of high-speed internet, mobile technology, and remote tools that allow companies and employees to communicate and work together effectively.
CyberCoders, Dell, and WordPress are just examples of high-tech companies that have embraced remote workers and freelancers. And they all believe it gives them distinct advantages over competitors who require employees to report to their office each day. But working remotely requires extra effort in terms of communication, project management, and real-time collaboration.
I list the top tools for working with remote teams. These are the top tools that you can rely on to be efficient, effective and to exceed expectations during any given workday:
1. Developed by 37Signals and launched in 2004, Basecamp is a web-based project management tool that offers to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, messaging system, and time tracking. Basecamp is a place to share everything, have discussions, collaborate on work, assign tasks, store everything securely and make it easy for people with different roles and different responsibilities to collaborate online.
2. Another web-based tool from 37Signals, Campfire is a web-based chat tool that lets remote teams share files and code in real-time, make video conference calls, create chat rooms and even integrate their Basecamp data. Campfire is an instant messaging platform, exclusively designed for group communication. It’s easy, simple, and web-based, all you need is a web browser and an internet connection.
3. Pivotal Tracker is a simple, collaborative, and powerful story-based project management tool that allows software development teams to collaborate and react to feedback in real time. It’s an award-winning, agile project management tool that brings focused, real-time collaboration to your remote development teams. It also takes project management one step further with customer feedback and intelligent estimation features. Pivotal Tracker let’s product owners know in intimate detail where things are (without having to ask), and enables developers to spend more time on work rather than on reporting and other kinds of stuff.
4. Trello is a free web-based project management application launched by Fog Creek Software in 2011, it lets you see everything about your project in a single glance and make sure you’re organized. Whether you’re managing a remote team or a team of freelancers, or just making a short list of work to get done, Trello makes sure you get it all.
5. iDoneThis (IDT) is an email-based productivity log that allows users to track productivity with a daily email reminder. A daily email lands in your inbox each morning, telling you what your team got done, and allowing you to record accomplishments. With iDoneThis, you can ensure transparency on everything that’s getting done in the company. The achievement tracking is great for staying in touch with your remote teams. Some of the tech world’s best companies like Reddit, Heroku, and Uber use iDoneThis to keep everyone in sync with progress.
6. Buffer is a software application designed to manage social networks, it helps you manage multiple social media accounts at once. The buffer is the easiest way to manage social media on the go, by providing the means for a user to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. With Buffer, we can plan our social media posts in advance so they always publish at just the right time no matter where we are. Buffer lets you schedule your updates to post at optimal times, whether you’re around or not.
7. Yammer is a private enterprise social networking service that was launched in 2008 and sold to Microsoft in 2012. Think of it’s a cross between Facebook and Twitter that’s specifically designed for private communication within a business or organization. Yammer is a great example of enterprise social software that can help you and your remote team collaborate openly and stay on top of it all. With Yammer, you can connect to the right people in your company, share and collaborate with your team, and connect with customers and business partners.
8. This is Google’s answer to Microsoft’s market-leading Office software suite. The ubiquitous Google Docs are a great example of free, web-based productivity software, which features a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application. This web-based app allows users to easily create, edit and share documents and collaboratively work on them in real time. Google Docs is also compatible with Microsoft Office file formats. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are available as web applications, Chrome apps that work offline, and as mobile apps for Android and iOS mobile platforms.
9. Google Drive is another great tool for remote workers and digital nomads. The web-based tool is basically a file storage and synchronization service provided by Google. It enables users to do cloud storage, file sharing, and collaborative editing. It is also the home of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, a web-based office suite of productivity applications, that offer collaborative editing on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, tables, and many more. Google Drive is one of the tech world’s most popular ways to manage your files, whether you want to keep your files, photos, and documents in one place or share files with your remote team, this is the ultimate file storage solution.
10. Calliflower is an online conference calling and sharing service that allows multiple users to dial into the conference bridge, and conduct online meetings, upload, and share files from remote locations. Developed by Lotum Inc. and launched in early 2008, Calliflower is actually a web-based audio conferencing service that provides document sharing, whiteboarding, dashboard features, and text chats.
This web-based tool offers greater flexibility for remote workers and digital nomads. It schedules conferences based on the user’s availability. When it’s time for the conference call, Calliflower sends an SMS and email to tell all participants to dial into the call bridge and takes the conference call.
11. Originally created by the web entrepreneurs Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Skype is a telecommunication application platform that specializes in video chat, voice calls, instant messaging, and video conference calls.
Skype was first introduced to the market in August 2003. Two years later, in September 2005, it was acquired by e-commerce giant eBay for $2.6 billion. In September 2009, eBay received a huge offer from a group of venture capitalists, which include Andreessen Horowitz along with Silver Lake and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. The deal involved the acquisition of 65 percent of Skype for $1.9 billion. Then, on May 2011, Skype made another huge blockbuster deal, when it was acquired by software giant Microsoft for a whopping $8.5 billion.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, Skype received lots of tweaks and introduced several improvements. It now supports conference calls and also screen sharing between 25 people at a time for free. It also keeps users connected with the entire remote teams for free.
Skype is currently available to download onto computers/laptops running Windows, Mac, or Linux OS, as well as Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows-powered tablets and smartphones. The service is free but users require Skype Credit or a subscription to call landline numbers or mobile phone numbers.
12. TeamViewer is an intuitive, fast, and secure application for remote control and meeting functions. TeamViewer offers one of the world’s leading solutions for desktop sharing and online collaboration tools, it uses a state-of-the-art high-performance global server network that routes connections based on geolocalization technology. TeamViewer can be used to organize online training sessions, and conduct online meetings and presentations. You can also use TeamViewer to remotely control unattended computers or servers, and even access computers behind firewalls and proxy servers.