The ongoing pandemic has forced businesses across the globe to adopt the remote work model – a model that, until recently, was not widely favored, owing to the significant challenges of communication, productivity, and accountability.

But things are changing. Businesses are realizing that a remote work model can be cost-effective, efficient and sustainable beyond the current crisis. In fact, many people are now reportedly more productive than they are in the traditional workplace.

Successful remote work depends on a well-defined process complemented by the right tools that help overcome key challenges within the team. While there are a myriad of choices, the right stack of tools will depend on your goals and how those tools serve and support business processes.

As a remote-first company, we have found the following tools help us streamline processes and overcome barriers of communication, accountability, and collaboration. These tools have been categorized into five areas: Communication, Project Management, Productivity, Team Management, and Customer Success tools.

Skype for internal communication:

Skype has always been our preferred communication tool. Compared to Slack, a popular communication tool, Skype is not as distracting. It allows you to communicate efficiently without getting lost in too many options or functions. If you prefer a simple one on one interaction, Skype is the tool you need. If you prefer channels for every project you and your team is working on then Slack may work well for you. 

Zoom for client meetings or online events:

Zoom has become ‘the darling of remote workers,’ and rightfully so. Across the globe, people from every industry are making use of Zoom to educate children, host virtual events, conduct meetings, communicate with clients, and even take fitness classes. Zoom’s free plan (unlimited meetings, up to 100 participants at a time for 40 minutes) makes it convenient for businesses to hold meetings without having to spend anything. The fun backgrounds are an added bonus.

Join.me for instant meetings:

Need to attend a one-time, instant meeting? Use Join.me. Enter the meeting code and invite attendants to screen share and attend an audio/video meeting. This works well for a one-time client meeting, interviews with candidates or just a casual online meetup.  

Monday.com for small to mid-sized teams:

Aesthetically pleasing, easy to use and completely customizable, this is a must-have tool for digital agencies, SaaS teams, and marketing departments. 

Atlassian for enterprises:

Need document management, project management, ticket management, and team management in one platform? Atlassian is an enterprise-level tool allowing businesses to sync multiple teams and create a centralized repository of information and processes. 

Asana for visible accountability and productivity:

A modern project management tool, Asana is great for mid-sized teams where productivity and accountability can be hard to trace. With a time-tracking app, Asana can be used to help employees stay productive and meet their goals on time. 

Evernote for team ideas:

Want to save and sync clips across your devices while you’re brainstorming and gathering ideas as a team? Evernote is a great note-taking app that’s been around for ages. The best part is you can share those notes and ideas with your team and/or clients with ease. 

Todoist for team tasks:

A basic task-reminder tool, Todoist has evolved over the years to become a powerful task management platform for teams and individuals alike. It can be used across devices and is a great fit for people who prefer simple, minimalist styles. 

G Suite for team collaboration:

No introduction needed here. G Suite is a one-stop-shop for team calendars, meetings, documents, drives, images, sheets, etc. Get your business on to Google and reduce the dependencies on external drives or tools. 

WorkSnaps for simple time tracking:

Help your employees remain focused and productive by using a simple time-tracking tool like WorkSnaps. It takes regular screenshots of the user and generates weekly reports for managers.

Clockify for specific projects and tasks:

More visually pleasant, Clockify allows you to measure time against tasks and projects created. You can set project timelines, assign team members and measure the productivity of each team member against the said task. 

Trello for visual task Management:

A Kanban-based team management tool, Trello works best for teams with 10 to 15 people, each using a set of cards to accomplish their projects. It syncs with calendars, and plays well with a suite of other tools, making task management and communication a breeze. 

Zoho for large businesses:

A powerful CRM, Zoho is a great tool to create and define lead management and customer relationship management. Moreover, Zoho also allows for file management, team management, task management and of course, automated email management. 

HubSpot for smoother CRM:

HubSpot is a household name when it comes to CRMs. But more than a CRM, HubSpot comes with its own unique inbound marketing strategy that many companies swear by. To make efficient use though, you will need to truly understand and practice the HubSpot marketing strategy.

As the world goes through a paradigm shift, remote work is no longer a nice to have, but a new reality for millions of people across the globe. As managers, there are dozens of tools that can make this new reality productive and cost-effective. All a business needs is a strong plan and a well-defined process that incorporates the use of tools to achieve desired organizational results. 

Howard Moodycliffe is CEO of timetoreply

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