8 Vital Tools For Remote Employee Management

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If you or any of your employees work from home or at remote work sites outside of your central office, monitoring their time and activities can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are many efficient tools that can help you to keep track of your staff without adding to your workload. As working from home gains in popularity and practice, managing remote staff will become increasingly important. Working from home is a great way to cut down on commute times, lower operating costs and keep employees happy. With the available technology, it can almost seem as if your staff were right in front of you. These apps and tools include payroll management systems, time tracking applications, project management spreadsheets, communications systems, file sharing setups and more. These eight vital remote employee management software tools can be used on a variety of devices and across platforms to help manage your staff as easily as possible.

1. Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects has two levels of service. You can choose a free account for managing two projects at once or an account with a flat monthly fee. If you choose the paid account, you will get upgraded services such as unlimited users, unlimited numbers of projects and fresh designs with color coding. The paid service also allows you to create Gantt charts and to track billable versus non-billable hours. You can use the invoicing functions to bill clients and to manage your expenses. The system can be integrated with Dropbox and other file sharing programs. If you want to chat with your staff, there is an app for Windows and Mac devices and a free mobile app.

2. When I Work

When I work is an online time clock app that is designed to help managers and employees to accurately manage their work attendance. It can be set up on a dedicated computer or device, so that the employee logs in at the start of the work day and logs out for lunch and at the end of the day. The app allows for real-time GPS tracking, which would be useful for staff such as home health aides who travel for their work. Live map views give employers a constant update as to the employee’s current location.

Why is When I Work in our list of top remote employee management software platforms? To start, the app can also be used to do scheduling and change schedules. Staff can send in their work hours with just a click of a button. Employers can then export the data to the payroll department to issue a check. The system has built-in checks, so that any unusual data will trigger an employer review. There are different price points for the app, based on the number of employees. A small business with a staff of five would only pay about $100 per year to use the app. The system is accessible at any time and from anywhere.

3. Intuit Payroll

Intuit Payroll is a platform that is based in the cloud, which means that you do not have to worry about your server going down or your data getting tampered with by an unscrupulous staff member. The system is designed for small businesses. The basic plan features instant payrolls and payroll tax deductions and costs $20 per month plus $2 per employee.

The enhanced Intuit Payroll program offers employers the ability to fill in tax forms automatically, pay taxes electronically in addition to what the basic plan does. The enhanced program runs $31.20 per month plus $2 per employee. The full service plan features error-free accuracy guarantees and the Intuit Payroll staff does all of the entry and calculations. This plan costs $71 per month plus $2 per staff member. All of the Intuit Payroll plans allow for unlimited payroll frequency and the ability to choose the pay date. The system can be integrated with other software that is offered by Intuit.

4. Slack

The basic edition of Slack is a free messaging app that is widely used around the world, even by professionals at companies such as NASA. It can be used on a variety of platforms including Macs, Androids and PCs. The system is set up to allow for unlimited users even at the free basic level. Private or open channels can be used for different teams and for discussing projects. Members can directly chat with one another, share files and help each other with the integrated tools. Messages within the system are saved and can be searched at a later time to look up information on an as-needed basis. Documents shared within the system can also be searched. At no charge, users can get up to 5GB of storage.

Slack also offers other plans for a fee. The standard program costs $6.67 per month per user and offers everything in the free program plus unlimited searchable message archives, guest access, priority customer support, two-factor authentication at login and the ability to create custom user groups. The paid plan costs $12 per user per month and offers all of the features of the standard program, as well as SAML-based single sign-on technology, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week customer support with 4-hour response time, a real-time user directory and 20GB of file storage per team member.

4. Skype for Business

Skype for Business is a subscription-based app. It costs $2 per user per month when billed and paid for on a yearly basis. It is already present in some corporate Office 365 plans, but you would pay the user fee starting at $5 for an additional 1 TB of cloud storage and a 50 GB Outlook mailbox. The interace allows for HD video conferencing for up to 250 separate users. Calls and meetings can be scheduled through your corporate Outlook email program or Enterprise software. The Skype for Business also offers higher security through its active directory of users. You can share screens between members of your network and use the whiteboard for comments of discussions. The system has a voice translator for calls and instant messages. Additional features of Skype for Business include a polling option for setting up meetings, in-app communication and integration with Exchange and SharePoint Online. While Skype for Business may not be free or have a one-time price, it has a few options other communication solutions may not have and troubleshooting is rarely required and easy to do.

5. Asana

Asana is an overall employee management system that enables you to create and delegate tasks to your staff. The free level allows you to develop shared projects, chat within the projects and create a to-do list for each project. There is a calendar for task due dates. Each task can be split up into smaller activities and distributed to different users. You can also add notes or comments to tasks. The system has its own inbox for updates, or you can sync it with your corporate Outlook email delivery system. Asana integrates with Chrome, Slack and Github management systems. If you need to do any file sharing, Asana is compatible with Dropbox and Google Drive. Asana is free for up to 15 members, and you can invite guests for collaborative projects.

The premium plan for Asana costs $8.33 per member per month when it is billed and paid for annually. The premium features include unlimited 24 hours per day, 7 days per week customer service and no team member limit. A premium account also provides you with unlimited dashboards, no limit on the number of guests, access to private teams and projects and the ability to insert custom fields into the tasks and projects section. You will have admin controls and the ability to export data. A discount is available for small teams. Asana is compatible with Android and iOS devices and is also available on the web.

6. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting allows you to create a network of 5 to 100 attendees for online meetings. The meetings can include HD video, voice calls and screen sharing. The drawing tools for calls work in the mobile and desktop versions. If you need to refer back to what was discussed, you can record the meetings and set them up in a custom URL. The data is kept secure with end-to-end encryption. The starter program runs $19 per month for up to 10 users and offers features such as web audio, screen sharing and one-click meetings. The pro level includes the starter features, as well as drawing tools, recording, access to mobile apps and keyboard and mouse sharing for $29 per month and up to 50 participants. For $49 per month, you can have up to 100 participants and get all of the pro features and an active directory and sight board. GoToMeeting integrates with Salesforce, Outlook and Google Calendar.

7. Harvest

Harvest is a web-based employee management app that allows you to track employee projects, vacation time and work hours. There is an expenses section for employee travel and a resource estimate in the Forecast section. Harvest has three price points, including the $12 monthly for unlimited clients, unlimited projects and data import and export. The $49 monthly plan includes full add-on support and time sheet approval for up to 5 users. The $99 monthly business plan provides the same services for 10 users. Harvest integrates with Quickbooks and allows Excel and .CSV exports.

About the author:
John Porter is a Southampton-based freelance writer and a tech head, so he enjoys trying out new technology and likes to share software and business productivity tips and tricks. Check out his Facebook, Twitter or G+ profiles.

 

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