Remote work is no longer a fringe concern reserved for those on parental leave. The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed what was already a significant shift towards flexible work, with a 160% increase in remote work between 2005 and 2017. That figure has gone into overdrive in recent months; the Global Workplace Analytics think tank believes that 25-30% of the US workforce will be working from home by the end of 2021.
But this shift in the status quo has brought with it a few unique challenges, not least of which is the need for better communication tools. Because, while there are dozens of remote working benefits, it can be difficult for team leaders to manage a dispersed team in a productive and professional fashion.
While knowing how to manage your remote team is partly going to be down to trial and error, it’s always going to be a much smoother ride with the right communication software under your belt. With that in mind, we’ve investigated five of the very best team communication tools to help your business migrate effortlessly into the remote working world.
At the foundation of any business is its accounting department. If your payroll and bookkeeping are not in check then everything else will eventually fall apart. Xero is a cloud-based software solution built from the ground up for small-medium businesses. It’s centered around accounting, inventory, purchasing, invoicing, and bookkeeping. If it involves money then it has you covered and it’s a far more flexible and accessible option than comparable solutions.
Project management can be difficult at the best of times but when the team is scattered it can be even more difficult to keep track of who is in charge of what and what has and has not been done. That’s where ProofHub steps in. It boasts an elegant and clean interface that allows teams to effectively plan, assign tasks, and keep track of project histories from one incredibly simple and elegant virtual location. For project managers, this one truly is indispensable.
As a one-stop shop for all of your basic team communication needs, Slack is difficult to fault. In essence, it’s a chatroom but where Slack really shines is through its channels. These allow users to assign hashtags to a channel and every time a message is sent, if that hashtag is included then the message gets forwarded to that channel. This is a wonderful way of compartmentalizing your team and ensuring everyone who is meant to see a message actually sees it. Not only that, but Slack is also searchable, so you can comb through past messages with ease.
While ProofHub might be the more attractive project management app, Trello is the more fully featured alternative. What really sets it apart is the card-based system that can visualize projects in a very holistic way. For businesses that consider themselves fast-paced, Trello is an immediate and satisfying project management solution that rarely becomes confusing and exists to increase productivity.
In the last 12 months, Zoom has become iconic. For webinars and virtual meetings, it has comfortably overtaken Skype as the most popular platform thanks to its user-friendliness and feature set. There is very little that Zoom can’t do when it comes to video conferencing. Microsoft Teams, meanwhile, is often noted as being the stronger option when it comes to internal communication tools. It’s also the obvious choice if your business already uses the 365 suite. Whichever you choose, however, you won’t be disappointed.
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