6 Essential tools every remote team needs

6 Essential tools every remote team needs

The number of companies that exclusively hire remote workers continues to grow, with the rate now standing at 16%. What’s more, there are now 4.3 million people in the United States working from home at least half of the time. Workforce mobility is no longer a trend; it’s fast becoming the new norm.

In the long run, every business will benefit from accommodating the remote workforce. It won’t just make your organization more attractive to work for — it can also reduce costs dramatically, thanks to lower requirements for office space and hardware. But it also requires the right tools to ensure that the quality of work remains high.
Here are six essential things every remote team should have:

#1. Team portals

You can think of a team portal as an internal social network and collaboration platform — a one-stop shop for sharing work-related content and keeping in touch with the rest of the team. One of the most popular options is Microsoft Teams, which provides customizable templates and features selections for setting up an internal website where people can share files and access the latest news about their projects. It’s a virtual workspace that’s accessible everywhere via any internet-connected device.

#2. Online storage

Long gone are the days when everyone had to share files on removable media like USB flash drives. Instead of risking such devices containing sensitive data getting lost or stolen, you can exchange all work-related files and other information online. Online storage is highly scalable since you only have to pay for what you need, and you can add extra capacity whenever you need it. It’s also more secure, particularly if you protect it behind two or more layers of authentication.

#3. Project management

Project management tools give you a visualized overview of your progress on a particular task. One of the most popular options is Trello, which uses Kanban-style boards for tracking projects in progress, as well as keeping a backlog of future projects. Users can move cards along the workflow and assign columns to particular team members. This means everyone will know as soon as they look at the board what their tasks and priorities are for the day.

#4. VoIP communications

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the new standard in business communications. Chances are, you’ve already been using it at home for a few years now, in the form of apps like Skype. Business-grade VoIP solutions are designed with remote collaboration and limitless scalability in mind. They typically incorporate full video conferencing capabilities too, making it possible to hold remote meetings as though everyone’s there in the same conference room. No need for those expensive business trips anymore!

#5. Time tracking

One of the most common fears business leaders have with allowing employees to work from home is that they’ll end up slacking off. However, these fears are largely unfounded. Studies have shown that working remotely enables a better work-life balance and, as a result, greater productivity and morale. However, employees and employers alike still need a convenient way to track the number of work hours people put in each day, hence the need for an integrated time tracking app.

#6. Virtual private networks (VPNs)

Workforce mobility can make people forget that your business data needs to be protected at all times. A common concern is that employees will connect to an unsecured public wireless network to do their jobs, allowing their web traffic to be exposed to cybercriminals. An enterprise-grade VPN can mitigate the risk by automatically encrypting all outgoing data, thus allowing employees to use any wireless network safely. Administrators will also be able to keep track of who’s connecting to their cloud-hosted networks and revoke access rights if necessary.

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