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The way we work is evolving. We are living in a time when technology empowers us to work from anywhere, any time. More companies are embracing remote work and tapping the global talent pool to strengthen their workforce. Remote work is no longer the future but is the norm.

Companies are realizing that offering more flexible working arrangements allow them to attract and keep the best talent. But building a remote team is no easy feat. The best remote teams are defined by the strength of their collaboration efforts. This is why teams need a good technology stack to keep working cohesively and smoothly. We’ve rounded up the essential list of tools for remote teams and handpicked the best apps for teams to use.

Team Messaging and Communication

Communication can be challenging when you work remotely. Teams must communicate smoothly and continuously despite the distance and time difference. This is why a robust team messaging app is a must-have tool for remote teams. A good team communication app allows teams to manage messages in a structured manner – whether that’s by projects, by teams, or any grouping the team sees fit. It should be easily accessible through web and mobile to ensure teams can stay connected whenever they’re on the go. A good communication tool allows individual and group messaging and has a way to easily retrieve past conversations.

Your Best Bet: Slack

Slack is one of the most preferred tools for remote teams when it comes to messaging and communication. Its fuss-free approach to team communication makes it one of the most popular tools for remote teams worldwide. Apart from its chat feature, it also offers video and audio calls, file sharing, and screen sharing. Many remote teams also use Slack as a remote team-building tool. They organize channels to discuss non-work-related but fun topics such as vacations and random interesting tidbits.

Video Conferencing

When staying connected with a remote team, emails and chat messaging will not always suffice. There will be times when a more thorough and in-depth discussion is needed and this can only be achieved with face-to-face conversation. But how will remote teams do it if they’re miles apart? Video conferencing tools allow remote teams to bridge the gap and get straight to work. When conducting a remote team meeting, it’s essential to have a reliable video conferencing tool. You don’t want the app crashing in on you in the middle of an important meeting. Video conferencing tools can also be used for team training and learning such as webinars.

Your Best Bet: Zoom

Zoom is one of the most preferred video conferencing tools for remote teams because of its reliability and ease-of-use. Compared to other tools in its tier, Zoom outshines them in terms of video and audio quality. It also has screen sharing and content sharing capabilities. What I find very useful for remote teams is its recording feature. This comes in handy when one team member is unable to attend a team meeting. If you have remote onboarding training or a town hall that you need to record or stream, you can rely on Zoom to make it happen.

Task and Project Management

Another essential tool for remote teams is a task and project management app. Not only is this tool for managers but for the whole team as well so everyone knows what’s going on and who is responsible for them. A good task and project management tool doesn’t only make task assignments seamless but becomes the medium that binds the team towards hitting their project goals. Tasks and deadlines are managed without being physically in an office and teams can track their progress virtually anywhere across all projects.

Your Best Bet: Kanban Zone

The best tools for remote teams increase productivity. Kanban Zone is an app takes the Kanban system at heart and helps teams organize their work more efficiently and maintain focus. Teams can create virtual boards on anything – projects, brainstorming ideas, administrative tasks, and more. Kanban Zone takes virtual Kanban boards to a whole new level, allowing teams to fully customize their boards according to their process. If you’re managing multiple, interconnected projects, Kanban Zone can link your tasks across all projects so you can stay on top of things.

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Brainstorming and Ideation

When you work in an office, it’s easy to go to a meeting room or pull out a whiteboard and start brainstorming with your team. It’s during these instances where creative juices start flowing and the team collectively gathers their best ideas to move forward. But what about remote teams? Can we not achieve the same level of creativity and innovation while meeting remotely? One of my most recommended tools for remote teams is a virtual whiteboard. When things need further explaining or you want ideas to flow freely, you need a medium where you can just doodle and write things down as they are brought up.

Your Best Bet: Sketchboard.io

What I like about Sketchboard.io is it keeps things organic-looking. This prevents teams from getting distracted with making their boards look aesthetically pleasing and lets them focus instead on getting the best ideas out there. It replicates the same feel the teams would get when they’re actually in a meeting room with a whiteboard.

File Sharing

A good file sharing remote tool allows teams to store their files securely and retrieve them easily. It also allows easy file organization so teams don’t have to spend a lot of time tracking down a file. Whether it’s tasks documentation, expense management, employee records, legal documents, etc., having such essential documents accessible to your team can help boost productivity.

Your Best Bet: Google Drive

Google Drive is easily accessible and cost-efficient too. And who doesn’t have a Google account these days? Most teams and individuals use cloud-based apps for documents and presentations, like GSuite. Google Drive integrates seamlessly with GSuite apps. It comes with both free and paid plans at an affordable price. You can upgrade your subscription as you scale your team and your needs call for it.

Expense management

With remote and hybrid work styles, finance and accounting teams find it challenging to handle employee reimbursements. Unfortunately, this leads to delayed reimbursement cycles, unhappy employees, and financial leakages in your system.

Your Best Bet: Fylehq.com

Fyle is built to make expense management and credit card reconciliation a breeze. In addition, it helps finance teams with real-time insight into the current state of your business finances, making it a valuable must-have for businesses.

Invest in Online Tools to Improve Collaboration within Your Distributed Teams

For remote teams to be successful, they need access to the right tools and technology. The best tools for remote teams provide value by keeping teams connected, collaborative, focused, and productive. While managing a remote team has its challenges, the right set of tools will help you meet those challenges as a team. When choosing tools for remote teams, it’s important to ensure everyone knows and sees the benefit of the tools you’re using. Otherwise, it will be a wasted investment. Have your teams try out the tools we’ve recommended and see how they can help your remote team achieve success.

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About the Author: Lena Boiser

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Lena Boiser is an Agile enthusiast. Starting off her career as a Software Business Analyst in 2010, she eventually performed other roles including Project Manager and IT Business Manager. When she was immersed in Agile methodologies in 2014, Lena found her way through honing her craft and eventually became a Certified Scrum Product Owner. In 2017, after 7 years of working in the corporate world, Lena started her own remote consulting practice. Today, she provides project management and Scrum Product Ownership services to various businesses including software development companies, e-Commerce business owners, and small to medium sized companies. She believes that even teams working remotely can harness the benefits of Agile in order to deliver results for their companies. In her free time she likes to write. One day she could be writing about Agile, the next she could be writing anything about fashion or travel.