Employees and corporates are going with the flow and sailing towards a post-pandemic modern work structure. Today organizations worldwide are constantly looking for productivity hacks and tools to boost employee satisfaction as employee’s health and safety remain the top priority.
According to Microsoft Work Trend Report, the 9-to-5 workday is losing its charm. (Source: HBR)” A digitally advanced world moving towards automation has different demands from a workplace. When your employees are working remotely, you don’t simply have to make them collaborate and communicate in real-time. Synchronous tools like Zoom have been done to death. Organizations are talking about ‘Zoom fatigue’.
The future of work points towards adopting asynchronous ways of working, with numerous benefits for both employees and organizations. It will be wise to use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous tools. Here’s your toolkit of some of the best remote working apps across different categories that will help you up to your ante.
1. Collaboration Tools:
Slack is ruling the roost in the Chat app industry. It is one of the most effective collaboration tools and is a popular instant messaging app and helps employees stay in touch throughout the workday. The one-on-one chats as well as various group chats organized by team or specific topic can make collaboration smooth and communications effective.
Slack also has a huge number of integrations, yet has a very simple setup that has an easy installation process and onboarding. It boasts of numerous channels, provides live updates, allows direct messaging and permits attachment of files and documents.
Other Popular tools: Chanty, Todoist, Monday.com, ProofHub
2. Focus apps:
Frequently checking your phone after every social media notification, you receive or constantly checking your email can send you on a downward spiral hampering your productivity and focus.
One popular tactic to stay focused is the Pomodoro Technique developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. This method helps you work in focused, timed 25-minute sprints with a five-minute break in between.
Forest is an amazing app that can bring your wandering focus back on track. Although Forest isn’t strictly a Pomodoro timer it is an amazing tool and you can focus for as long as you want.
When you want to focus you open the app and all you have to do is plant a tree. As you continue working and the timer on your phone counts down, the tree too begins to grow. You can witness this on the phone screen in front of you. Once you leave the app, it withers and dies. Every focus session you undertake, the trees in your forest grow over the days and weeks as and when you use the app. Interestingly, you can also unlock coins, to get new trees or even plant a real one. Also, if you get your friends or co-workers on board, you can compete to see who has been the most productive.
- Other Popular tools: RescueTime, Self Control, Focus Me
3. Mind mapping tools:
Mind mapping is known to be a wonderful brainstorming exercise. One begins with a main and more generic topic surrounded by a bubble and then moves on to further extend their ideas by adding additional thought bubbles which are interconnected to form relationships.
Tony Buzan who has penned several books on the Mind Mapping technique has an amazing thing to say about taking notes. He quotes, “Normal linear note-taking and writing will put you into a semi-hypnotic trance, while mind mapping will greatly enhance your left and right brain cognitive skills.”
Organizations are encouraging their remotely functioning teams to unleash the power of Mind-Mapping. MindMeister is an amazing Mind mapping tool that can help you turn your ideas into Mind Maps and Mind Maps into project planning. It is beautifully designed to help you incubate, capture and share your ideas creating a visual impact. It will set your creativity flowing and streamline all your ideas.
- Other Popular tools: SmartDraw ClickUp Lucidchart
4. Project Management
While it is not possible to watch your teammates work at the cubicle next to you, you can watch what your teammates are working on. You can achieve this with a productivity tracking tool. Using a reliable and efficient project management tool will enable and empower managers to cater to complex time-management needs. They can create assignments, track progress, review results and monitor the productivity of their team members to ensure a smooth workflow.
Asana is a content management system (CMS) tool that enables corporates to achieve their organizational needs. It is customizable and an advanced workplace organizational tool that helps streamline projects. Workplaces of any size can mark their progress and address their issues while working remotely thereby eliminating the need for endless meetings and the hassle of drafting email updates. All these tasks can be achieved in one place.
- Other Popular tools: Jira, Trello, Jira, Todoist, Monday.com, Basecamp, 15five, ProofHub
5. Data Management Tools
Sharing files with your teammates as email attachments can be cumbersome. If you need to share are a lot of files with your teammates frequently it can lead to information management chaos. Move on to cloud-based solutions that host a single version of each document and allow all of your remote team members to collaboratively edit and update in real-time.
Dropbox is an amazing tool and a melting pot for all your work to come together. This tool makes storing and sharing files, communicating and collaborating on projects a cakewalk. Whether you’re working alone or joining forces with colleagues or meeting the demands of a client, your ideas will jump to life. Dropbox backs up all your files to the cloud and makes them available online.
- Other Popular tools: Drive, Airtable, Box, OneDrive, Notion, Kintone
6. Time Management Tools:
As the adage goes, Time is money. Organizations that make the most of their score better on productivity. Harvest time and expense tracking software that lets teams and managers start and stop to keep track of the clock when you are at work.
It has timers as you work and it rearranges tasks according to priority. This ensures that the employees are not wasting any time. Harvest also has a built-in camera to snap photos of important receipts and documents.
- Other Popular tools: Focus, Clockify, TimeCamp, TSheets
7. Status Check Tools:
No man is an island. While working from home has presented us with multiple benefits, it has also taken away from us the joys of working with (and not working) our co-workers. We are missing a lot of nonverbal cues that help us understand our teammates better.
Know Your Team is a one-on-one meeting tool that offers platforms to write shared agendas and 200’s suggested questions to provide your team inputs and insights. It provides both daily updates and a weekly status that integrates with Slack so that the team members keep themselves abreast.
Popular alternatives include: Culture Amp, Tiny Pulse, Lattice
Bonus Training Tool:
Howspace is an efficient digital facilitation platform that helps you manage large initiatives such as learning programs, workshops and events when you have to cater to larger groups.
Howspace does wonders when it comes to boosting engagement. It enables an interactive journey to facilitate organizational transformation. The easy to use drag and drop, chats, polls, surveys and videos can make large group facilitation easy. Also, the inferences and insights for large discussions can be done in real-time. Get over zoom and Google meet and try this amazing tool.
Summing it Up…
The right tools for remote employees can transform the team and how the way an organization adapts to changes while chasing its vision. Employees not only enjoy flexibility but also become lifelong learners. An employee/organization that keeps pace with changing times can drive real change.
With 10 years of experience in operations and training, Parth is a go-to person for his team and even a multitude of growing start-ups. His knack lies at spotting and supporting start-ups, helping them streamline their processes and even take their ventures to the next level. After successfully establishing two start-ups and exploring the start-up landscape up-close Parth has learnt the nitty-gritty of the industry, which he now shares with fellow entrepreneurs.