2021 continues to be the year of working from home. While we love the flexibility of working wherever we want, it can also be challenging at times.When we’re in a co-located team, it might seem easier to brainstorm, communicate and collaborate. That being the case, it’s important that remote teams have the right collaboration tools.
In this fast-growing digital era, remote teams rely excessively on the collaboration tools for day to day task functions. Alfresco commissioned a survey that supports this circumstance. It reveals that nearly 83% of workers depend on technology to collaborate. For example, remote teams rely on virtual meetings to discuss project progress while collaboration in marketing teams relies on sharing data, numbers and other kinds of information which is done via file sharing.
Fortunately, supply always comes on the heels of demand. Over the past few years, there’s been an increase in the number of tools for remote teams. We believe that you are already familiar with remote team tools like Slack or Zoom to make communication a lot easier, whether it’s simply for staying in touch or for building the culture of the company. But, when it comes to productivity, time management and collaboration, you may want to check these cool tools for your teams learning together:
Tools for Collaboration & Productivity
If you need to facilitate collaborations, manage complex processes, and tighten up efficiency as well as productivity, have a go at these tools!
Airtable is thought of as the next Microsoft of business app since it draws huge attention in Silicon Valley. Not to mention, that Tesla is one of the customers that uses Airtable to track inventory of vehicles as they leave the factory. As a user-friendly spreadsheet app that makes it super easy to build custom applications with no coding experience needed, Air table is surely a valuable tool amongst the developers.
Comes with free and paid options, Airtable gives the best aspects of spreadsheets and databases and combines them together. It can create hundreds of templates for nonprofits, startups, venture capital firms, engineers, publishers and more. Media publications like Time, Money, and Fortune use Airtable to manage their video and photo production schedules. For more simple and personal things, you can use it to make shopping lists, wedding planning or apartment hunting.
Screen sharing will help you and your team to have engaging and effective remote collaborations. This will save your time from typing out long-winded emails to remote colleagues. CloudApp allows you to record yourself (via computer’s webcam) speaking your ideas or record your screen and illustrate processes as well as workflows for your team. Through CloudApp, you can have a handy tool that enables screen sharing and record videos and GIFs from any device. It also automatically uploads files to the cloud and lets you share it with your team instantly. For the alternative, you can also check Fluvid.
One of the challenges that is faced by remote workers is the difficulty to understand each other’s nuances and preferences. This is where Crystal comes as a great remote tool for learning more about individual employees and how you work together. Crystal provides a free personality test where you can learn more about DISC, Enneagram, 16-Personality, Core Values, Ideal Career and more. DISC stands for Dominant, Influential, Steady and Conscientious. It’s a well established and trusted behavioral framework that organizations use to communicate effectively, build high-performing teams, effectively train, develop and retain top talent. You can help your team connect with each other and see how to build more effective and engaging work relationships.
Miro Online Whiteboard
A traditional way of brainstorming in the office is get in front of a whiteboard and roll out ideas. In the remote work setting, you can still do pretty much the same thing by using an online whiteboard. This will help your team brainstorming remotely while presenting visual thinking and collaboration without having to be in the same physical location.
Our pick for an online whiteboard is AWW ( A Web Whiteboard) which is now Miro, a fast, free and simple to use online whiteboard designed to help you collaborate with your team, anytime, anywhere. You can use it for hosting a remote brainstorm, documenting a meeting or managing a workflow. With Miro, the possibilities for collaboration are endless.
When you’re managing a remote team, it’s useful to have all your company’s information in one centralized spot. Great for both remote teams and individuals, Notion is the all in one workspace that lets you take notes, run a knowledge base and track projects. From onboarding files, content guidelines, meeting notes to company values, Notion is like a workplace wikipedia.
Our favorite feature of Notion is that you can mention your teammates to get their attention. Think of @mentions as a virtual way to tap your teammates on the shoulder. Just type the @ symbol anywhere in Notion followed by the person’s name and they’ll get the notification right away.
Tools for Time Management
One of the great benefits of remote teams is that you can hire the professional worker no matter where they live. How you manage your team across vastly different time zones is where it gets tricky. To have a smoother workflow with employees spread all over the world and (if you’re also working with international clients), time zone apps can be your helping hands.
Every Time Zone
Like the name says, Every Time Zones makes it easy to visualize what time it is in every time zone in the world. The smart slider tool allows you to see how a time in one place corresponds to everywhere else. This is very convenient if you have two or more time zones to manage.
When you’re on leave and away from work in the evening, you may have an impulse to check email if there’s one notification come up. Boomerang works inside Gmail to help you schedule emails to go out at specific times. This prevents you from pinging your co-workers with non-urgent matters when they’re about to go to sleep.
If you’re one of the 10 million people using Slack every day, Spacetime.am (Slack Bot) might be the perfect time zone app for your team. Your team members can add their location and set their work hours so that you can see who is online and when. When you schedule meetings with Spacetime.am, it will automatically change the time, so the receiver will see it in their own time zone.
Tools for Staying Focus While Working Remotely
Distractions are only one click away when you are working online or remotely. While it’s actually a matter of discipline, we also agree that social networks and other distractions on the internet are designed to be as addictive as possible. Which is why you need a focus app to help you build discipline and block distractions.
Unlike most distraction blockers which only work on whatever device you’re using, Freedom can block distractions both websites and apps on all of your devices. Say, you’re blocking Instagram on your computer, the instagram app on your phone is automatically blocked as well. You can set up as many block lists as you want before you start or schedule a session. There’s a lockdown mode, which makes it impossible to edit your blocklists while a season is active. If you want to enhance your focus mode, there are also optional focus sounds, which are basically ambient background noise from coffee shops or nature.
RescueTime is a great way to block distractions without having to build a separate block list. As one of the best time tracking apps, RescueTime includes a distraction blocking feature called FocusTime. It lets you block distractions using your time tracking history. In FocusTime, you can tag specific websites and apps as productive, distracting or very distracting. RescueTime will work based on the data you’re already providing.
If your smartphone keeps distracting you from focusing solely on your important work, Forest might be the solution. The idea of the Forest app is simple: you open the app and say you want to plant a tree. Then you put your phone away. If you grab your phone and switch to another app, your tree will die. If you last 25 minutes, your tree will live. The more time you last, the more trees you’ll grow which will turn into a forest. The forest you’ll grow is like a reminder of all the time you mindfully spent getting things done instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media.
We’d Love to Know Your Must-have Tools!
Remote workforce creates an independent culture of task performing. Which is why collaboration tools can be useful and must-have to facilitate employees working together on different tasks and projects in a streamlined manner from anywhere in the world.
With the amazing growth of advanced technology over these past years, we’re excited to see what tools come next. Let us know what tools you find to be most useful for your own team? Share your favourites in the comments!