Working remotely is becoming the new norm, especially in our current situation. Remote workers have been existing for a long time but are now more mainstream. It’s because of the increase in demand, and people prefer to work at home because it’s less stressful.
In fact, 86% of people feel that working remotely reduces their stress as they are able to exercise more, have a better diet, and practice a healthy lifestyle. Remote workers get the freedom they need, as they can control most of their time.
But, it’s not only remote workers who reap some benefits from the working situation. Even companies get some benefits from it.
- Remote employees are more productive, which means more work is done.
- Access to more talent.
- Less expense on business fees like office space.
- Lowers the turnover rate.
- Less likely to have employees calling in sick.
- Lowers environmental impact.
Employers and employees benefit from remote jobs, but it must be managed well to ensure that time and resources are utilized accordingly. Furthermore, employees must deliver their work accurately and on time.
Managing remote workers is possible with the help of technology. Using productivity tools to accomplished tasks, deliver accurate and well-crafted projects, and collaborating with teammates is the best way to ensure the management of remote workers.
Listed in this article are the best productivity tools employers can utilize for their remote employees.
WHAT ARE PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS?
Productivity tools are software that is used to improve the quality of work, save time, increases customer’s/client’s satisfaction, effortless communication, and effective collaboration. There are different functions of productivity tools. Some are for creating documents, presentations, and charts, while some are used to track time and progress.
PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS FOR REMOTE WORKERS
Managing a team of remote employees is not easy. Using email to communicate is not a good idea, and it is unsafe too. Instead, why not opt for project management tools to handle your team.
ProofHub is a project management tool that all remote workers can enjoy. It’s a place where all the tools you need are found. You can easily plan your project, communicate with your teammates, deliver your work on time, and organize everything.
Features of ProofHub:
- Kanban board: Visualizes the progress of each team members, using cards and columns.
- Gantt chart: Projects are visualized in a timeline view, and you can adjust the plans based on the deadlines.
- Tasks: Create tasks that are personal or assign them to other people. Furthermore, these tasks can be broken down into manageable ones. Add labels, set date and time, attach files, and create recurring tasks.
- Collaboration: Work with your teammates by discussing in one place. You can either start a one-on-one or a group chat, share files, mention the person in the chat, or use an email-in to be part of a conversation.
- Organize: Arrange your calendar by scheduling tasks and setting reminders. Upload files, create project templates, take notes, and store files (new and previous versions).
- Project: Get details of the project and resources, track the time spent on tasks, and get reports on your projects.
Price: Free trial. Plan (Essential Package) begins at $45/ month, billed annually.
Asana is another project management software you can utilize for remote workers. You’ll enjoy the friendly features of this tool. Like ProofHub, Asana has tools that can deliver projects on time, collaborate with teammates, and track the progress of projects.
Features of Asana:
- View projects: There are multiple ways to view your projects. You could organize your work like sticky notes and track the tasks. Break down your workload or tasks by using to-do lists to go through every step of your project. Check on deadlines, overlaps, and spot holes on your calendar.
- Project management: It includes tools to organize work, breakdown tasks, visualize progress, specify due time and dates, add files, streamline approvals, sync tasks, create customizable templates, and avoid time spent on recreating a project.
- Reporting: Get a real-time overview of team members’ progress or work on a project, automatic updates on projects and conversations, run reports based on vital criteria, and export to CSV and JSON formats.
- Security and privacy: Protects projects by limiting who can access projects and sensitive works. It also allows comment-only features on a project. Export and delete files, and backup the data to a safe and secured server.
- Collaboration and communication: Allows direct comments on tasks and @mentions of teammates. Add teammates as followers, discuss projects, and share the status of a project.
- Integration: Connect Asana to apps like Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
Price: Asana has a free plan but with limited features. Paid plans start at $10.99 per month when billed annually.
Working remotely requires real-time chat, online presentation, and video conferencing. Zoom is a communication app that has excellent features for video conferences. It’s affordable and easy to use.
Features of Zoom:
- Videos and Audio: HD videos and audios that can support up to 1000 participants with 49 visible on the screen.
- Collaboration tools: Work with your teammates by sharing screens simultaneously and co-annotate using built-in collaboration tools for more interactive calls or meetings.
- Security: Meetings are all encrypted and password protected. There are waiting rooms and attendees place on hold before entering the meeting.
- Recordings: Meetings can be recorded and stored locally or in the cloud.
- Schedule meetings: Link your calendars from Outlook, Gmail, or iCal to set a meeting or schedule a call.
- Group chats: Communicate with your teammates, search history of conversations, share files, contains archives up to 10 years, and move from 1:1 meeting to group calls.
- Multiple devices: Available on any device. Get the same features of Zoom on your desktop to your mobile devices, such as virtual background, share screen, co-annotating, and more.
- Integration: Connect zoom with other applications like Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, and as an extension on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.
Price: Basic plan is for free with limited features. Paid plans start at $14.99 per month/ host.
Skype is another communication tool you can use as a remote worker. It’s similar to Zoom, where you use it for calls, real-time chat, and video conferencing.
Features of Skype:
- Video and Audio: Enjoy crystal clear and HD videos and audios with your group. And, it includes a call reaction too. Skype meetings can hold up to 50 people, whether it’s an audio or video conference.
- Recordings and subtitles: It can record calls and use a live subtitle to understand or read the words that are spoken.
- Messaging: React to messages, use @mention to grab the attention, and reply to a person on a group chat.
- Phone calls: Reach out to others using your Skype account even if they are offline. Call mobiles and landlines with the most affordable rates. With over 26 countries and regions available, you can get a local phone number with unlimited incoming calls.
- SMS: Send a text message directly using Skype.
- Collaboration tools: Share screen, photos, files during a call with the integrated screen sharing feature.
- Secure: Enjoy a private conversation with Skype’s end-to-end encryption technology.
- Multiple devices: Available for download on PCs and mobile devices.
Price: Free. For an international call on phone and Skype Business, prices vary.
Communicating with your workmates comes quickly and easily with Slack. It’s a tool to chat, video call, and share files with your teammates. It’s efficient and one of the best communication tools when working remotely.
Features of Slack:
- Organized conversations: Create channels and invite members and clients to discuss a project. Members can join or leave the channel anytime they want. Channels are created for each project to avoid missing out on crucial messages.
- Searchable conversations: Search for conversations to solve problems or check if it’s done. Even if you leave the channel, you can still search for its content.
- Integration: Bring all the tools you need in one place, such as Zendesk, Salesforce, Jira, and more. Let these tools simplify tasks and add meaningful context to conversations.
- Video and voice call: Communicate and share online with video or voice calls. Share ideas on screen, connect with other communication tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams Call, and more, use any device to listen to a voice or video call.
- File sharing: Share files with teammates from your computer, any device, or the cloud. All files are secured.
- Security: Protects all conversations and data with various security standards. It supports two-factor authentication and encrypts data.
Price: Free for small teams. Paid plans are best for small to large businesses or industries, which begin at $6.67 per month.
It’s an online platform that stores and shares digital files and documents. If you’ve been using Gmail as your email provider, then utilizing its product, Google Drive, comes easy and free. You can save files and collaborate anytime.
Features of Google Drive:
- Free 15 GB space: Get free storage space up to 15 GB for content like photos, files, email attachments, videos, and more.
- Public or private: Share files or keep it private. Allow others to view, comment, or edit on any file or folder.
- Security: Files in the Drive is encrypted with SSL, which is used also in other Google services.
- Smart apps: Share documents and files or work using Google’s apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Create surveys, diagrams, flow charts, and edit photos.
- Other tools: Scan documents or take a picture of it, and Drive will store it into a PDF format. Files can be made available offline when wanted and search for documents as far as 30 days.
- Collaboration: Work with your teammates by editing or commenting on the same document with real-time changes.
Price: Free. Price varies on the storage space needed.
If you’re looking for a place to store your files, aside from Google Drive, you can give Dropbox a try. It’s where individuals or teams can come together to collaborate and store files.
There is no need to send large files via email, which could take that long to upload or download. With Dropbox, you can move your files quickly. The cloud storage system is integrated with API.
Features of Dropbox:
- Organize content: Store traditional files, content from the cloud, Dropbox document, and more. Access content using any device and make changes that will sync immediately. There is no need to move outside of Dropbox to manage a file, as you can edit your work directly on Dropbox.
- Easy Access: Spend less time searching for documents or files. With Dropbox’s smart content, it will suggest activities you usually do. Integrate a calendar to suggest upcoming events, note-taking templates, and relevant files you need for the meeting.
- Collaboration tools: Integrate Zoom and Slack for effortless communication without leaving Dropbox. Get real-time updates from files and to-dos, and use Document Paper for team collaboration that allows organizing project using timelines and tables. Work with teammates on a document by leaving comments or suggestions.
- Storage: Store files and all types of documents with this powerful online cloud storage.
Price: Free. For businesses or teams, purchasing a paid plan is better.
Using a time tracker is a usual tool for remote employees. It helps keep track of how you spend your time working on projects. Most employers utilize such tools to check on the productivity of their remote workers since they aren’t able to check on them in person.
Time Doctor is an excellent time tracking app that not only keeps track of the user’s time but also provides features to avoid distractions.
Features of Time Doctor:
- Time tracking: Track and analyze the time spent, set bills for clients, available on computers and mobile devices, and offline tracking.
- Distraction alerts: Detects excess time spent on unnecessary apps or websites like YouTube, Facebook, or any unrelated websites. It will send an alert to inform the user. Furthermore, if the computer is left idle for too long during working hours, Time Doctor will also send alerts. It will keep you and your team productive.
- Screenshots: It takes screenshots of the activities of the user. There is an optional time interval as to when the screenshot is taken and if it can be enabled or disabled. Screenshots only work when the user indicates that they are working. Furthermore, it can be deleted, but the time associated with the screenshot will be removed too. Even keyboard and mouse activities are tracked.
- All devices: Track your time anywhere you are, since Time Doctor can be installed in multiple devices, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS. Whichever device you use, it will all work in the same way.
- Integration: Increase efficiency by integrating apps like Asana, Trello, QuickBooks, and more. It can sync all the data in your project management and accounting tools. Since Time Doctor has an API, your software can interact directly with Time Doctor.
- Customizable: There are many options you can choose to change or turn on/off, depending on your company’s requirements.
- Privacy: All information and data, including screenshots, are encrypted using SSL encryption before sending it to Time Doctor’s server. No screenshots would be taken unless the user enables work mode.
Price: Based on the plan and number of users.
Evernote is your solution to note-taking when working remotely. It organizes, syncs, allows collaboration, and easy to use. It’s a handy notebook you can carry around all the time.
Get ready to take notes anytime, share the information with your teammates, make a to-do list, and include videos, web pages, and more.
Features of Evernote:
- Organize and Sync: Work on any device by syncing your Evernote content to other devices. All changes will be saved automatically online. Organize your notes in a system or search the note quickly. You can also add tags.
- Save Website Content: Take screenshots of websites, articles, or PDF, and save it on Evernote. You can edit them and add text, highlights, change the title, and add tags and remarks.
- Attach documents: Attach documents, files, photos, and more on Evernote. You can search for them easily. You can even search for scanned documents or use keywords to look for it.
- Spaces: It is a collaborative place available for Evernote Business users only. With this feature, teams can work together and collaborate by sharing, collecting, and organizing ideas. Every change will sync immediately, and team members get to access all files in the Spaces.
- Scanned documents: Keep your scanned documents, receipts, and business cards near you all the time by scanning or taking a picture of it and storing it on Evernote.
- Integration: Integrating Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, Google Drive, and other tools will allow you to manage your notes without leaving the mentioned apps.
Price: Free. Business plan is $14.99/ user/ month.
If your job is to write blog posts, social media caption, website copy, emails, and more, you need a tool that will make sure your writing is neat. Grammarly is an online writing assistant that will help you with your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more.
Features of Grammarly:
- Grammar checker: Grammarly goes beyond the basic grammar checker by carefully scanning through text for errors or typos. It suggests corrections on errors, checks misspelled words, corrects confused words, provides the right punctuation, and more advanced checking features.
- Tone detector: Check the tone of your writing with Grammarly’s tone detector. It will give you an idea of how you sound like based on what you write. Determining the tone of your writing is crucial for building a relationship with the recipient or reader.
- Plagiarism checker: Grammarly’s plagiarism checker detects over billions of web pages and even academic databases. The free version informs you if a work is plagiarized, meanwhile the Premium plan will highlight passages that need citations.
Price: Free. For in-depth grammar correction and more, using a Premium or Business plan is better. Paid plan starts at $11.66/ month, billed annually.
Productivity tools bring more to the team and the business. It’s built with vital features that remote workers can use. Working remotely and collaborating with your teammates from the other side of the globe is difficult. But tools like the ones mentioned above, and hundreds more, make collaboration effortless. And, it will contribute to a more productive workflow.
Vanessa Venugopal is a passionate content writer. With four years of experience, she mastered the art of writing in various styles and topics. She is currently writing for Softvire New Zealand and Softvire Australia.