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Guest Post: 4 Tools That Make Remote Work "Work"

In order for employees to be the most successful they possibly can be, it's imperative you provide them the best tools. Here are some our go-to tools for that remote lifestyle!

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With the unavoidable increase of companies relying on remote work in this uncertain time, a few questions are sure to surface for individuals leading remote workforces. To those who are implementing remote work for the first time, these thoughts seem to be top of mind: "What is remote work?", "What tools do my teams need to do it right?", and "Is it possible to work from home but keep morale high without sacrificing productivity?" Luckily, remote work can be just as productive and successful for your business as working from the office, as long as it's done correctly.

In order for employees to be the most successful they possibly can be, it's imperative you provide them the best tools. When given the correct communication, time management and productivity tools, your employees will be able to continue their everyday tasks without missing a beat. If you're wondering just what those tools are, we've compiled a list that is sure to get your employee-base working from home seamlessly.

1. Instant Message Platforms

Similar to in-person difficulties, communication is one of the biggest challenges for remote workers. To combat this challenge, set up your teams with proper channels designated for specific types of communication to ease into the work-from-home transition. These channels should include an instant message chat tool, such as Slack, on top of an email system so your employees can easily stay in contact with one another. The importance of having various different channels dedicated to different messages can help remedy problems with having too many meetings or sending too many emails. A general rule of thumb to follow for the difference between chats and emails is to reserve emails for anything longer than 200 words or needs a response immediately.

2. Task Management System

One struggle that a lot of teams face while transitioning to a remote work functionality is working in tandem with one another and being on the same page. Physical distance and lack of in-person meetings can often leave things unsaid, such as who is responsible for certain tasks or taking ownership over the next steps. In order to mitigate these issues, implement a digital task management system, such as Asana, to keep your teams organized and working as a cohesive unit. These systems provide you with a remote-friendly space that allows each person to plan their projects and tasks days or weeks in advance. This helps make sure team members are aware of what their calendar looks like for the day or week, what work they plan to accomplish and how much time they anticipate it to take. They also keep all communications in one location, which makes reviewing the status of a project more efficient.

3. Video Conferencing Capabilities

With the physical distance remote work causes for team members, in-person, face-to-face meetings become nearly impossible. This limitation can negatively impact teams who rely on collaboration to efficiently get their tasks done. One of the best ways to host meetings while working remotely is through comprehensive video conferencing capabilities. Video meetings allow employees to have a better read on their coworkers' nonverbal cues, and result in teams being far more engaged with one another. This, in turn, allows them to make more accurate decisions than with any other mode of communication and can be critical for your business' success while relying on remote work.

4. Time Management Tools

Focusing on time management is actually more important when working outside of a traditional office setting. Whether you need a timer to keep track of hours dedicated to client projects or a tool to track your status updates, collaborative time management tools, such as Calendly, will help keep your teams productive and on task. One easy way to keep everyone on the same page is by using the same time management tool and updating them daily. This will help your team members know who is up to what, and when they're available to answer questions. When everyone is working in different buildings, it's more important than ever for like-work balance to stay on top of updating calendars to show your availability.

While each team will find success with different tools, these listed above are a great starting point for getting your remote teams up and running. As time goes on, the need for more tools may evolve and become more apparent, but ensuring your have communication and project tracking tools are most important. How are your teams transitioning to remote work?