Due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, the adoption of work from home policies has now become inevitable for most companies that wish to stay in the game. As many workers shift to this new reality, there is now a greater, wider hunt for the best remote office software that can help managers and employees cope with a remote work setup.
It’s thanks to these advanced remote work tools, though, that remote work is not just possible but also highly effective. The pros are obvious: it has eliminated daily commutes for office workers and gave flexible work hours to employees, which resulted in improvements in productivity.
But as your company ventures into a remote work environment, you must have the right systems in place to keep your team together despite their physical location. It is for this reason that we compiled this list of best remote office software, discussing each of their features, benefits, and unique propositions.
For a growing number of small and large companies, employees working from home is the norm. Technology has allowed some employers to offer a remote working arrangement on a part-time, full-time, or an ad-hoc basis. But amid the COVID-19 outbreak, most companies have no choice but to implement a home-based office setup and keep up with remote work trends.
What worries most employers and managers, however, is how this could impact the productivity of their employees. With the infinite number of distractions found at home—social media, kids, the TV, and the list goes on—it could get a little tough to focus at work and remain productive.
Nonetheless, several survey results found that working from home increases productivity for many employees. In one particular FlexJobs survey, it was revealed that 79% of home-based employees see an increase in their productivity. By eliminating daily commutes, more time was allotted instead to more productive tasks; hence, employees led stress-free and healthier lifestyles.
In another survey by Airtasker, remote workers were found to take more breaks than office employees, which actually increased their productivity, as evidence suggests. About 37% of remote employees say taking breaks is one of the most effective ways to stay productive.
Using modern tools such as project management software, communication channels, and employee monitoring solutions can help your team stay on top of their tasks despite geographical constraints. In this guide, we’ll show you some great examples of these tools and how you can leverage them for your day-to-day business operations.
A project management software allows you to plan and manage teams and resources. It streamlines your workflows, helping you work in a style that best suits the nature of your business. With tools like project timelines, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and task monitoring features, project management software gives you a complete overview of all the tasks being worked on by your team.
Below, you’ll find some of the leading project management software that you can use for your business.
monday.com is an all-in-one project management solution that can empower your remote team management. It has a wide array of features that make things easier for you to keep your team together despite their physical locations. For instance, you can make use of monday.com’s workflow templates that allow your team to get used to the platform quickly. This way, no time will be wasted for onboarding and manually setting up your workflows.
Additionally, monday.com offers project timelines that give you a complete overview of your projects and how far along you are into completing them. It also offers customizable boards that you can use to manage projects, tasks, and workflows. You can even share these boards with internal and external stakeholders for more efficient collaboration. This is a great tool to consider if you’re weighing the pros and cons of remote work.
Wrike offers project management and collaboration tools that enable teams to plan, manage, and complete projects in one collaborative workspace. It has interactive Gantt charts, which let you see the whole scope of your projects. The software also helps you optimize your project plans following a critical path analysis.
Another beneficial feature of Wrike is its customizable dashboard, which helps you manage and monitor your tasks in a style that matches your workflow best. These dashboards are shareable, so everyone in your team can easily keep track of all the important information about your projects.
Business teams love Trello for its simple, easy-to-use features. It has three main components: boards, lists, and cards, all built to organize tasks and projects, and keep track of their progress. With its tools, the platform enables you to effectively collaborate with your team from the start to the completion of your projects.
Trello is also known for its Power Ups, which allows you to turn each board into what Trello refers to as “living applications.” You can do this by adding different features to each board or integrating them with other business applications, like social media platforms, document management solutions, or marketing, HR, and IT tools.
ProofHub is one of the best tools for remote office management. It’s a project management software that puts all the essential collaboration tools you’ll need under one roof. It has Kanban boards and Gantt charts that you can use to visualize your workflows and projects. Moreover, it has proofing tools, discussion boards, and chat features, enabling you to work with your team no matter where they are in the world.
With ProofHub, you can keep your team on the same page, plan projects, distribute tasks, and monitor their progress until they are completed. The platform also has powerful reporting features that allow you to stay on top of things and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Detailed ProofHub Review
Asana is a project management solution that helps your team collaborate and finish projects on time. It enables you to get your work organized and stay on top of your deadlines. With its task management and collaboration tools, you can easily manage a team of remote employees and handle multiple projects simultaneously.
Through visually attractive boards and timelines, Asana helps you keep track of your projects and their progress. It allows you to create as many columns as you need to visualize the movement of tasks among your team. Moreover, Asana has workflow automation tools to streamline your processes. By automating routine tasks, you can save more time and spend it instead on more productive work.
Detailed Asana Review
For any type of company, communication is a vital tool for fostering a collaborative work culture. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable communication system in place, especially for companies with remote teams.
Communications software allows teams to discuss business operations and exchange data in real-time. It consists of messaging features, live chat, VoIP, web conferencing, and FTPs (file transfer protocols). Below are some examples of communication tools that you can choose from.
RingCentral Video is a powerful web conferencing solution that offers HD audio and video calling, instant messaging, and content sharing. It empowers communication for businesses that have employees working from different parts of the world. The platform supports video meetings and screen-sharing for as many as 100 participants, with each session lasting for up to 40 minutes with the free version of the software. For the paid versions, however, session times are unlimited and the number of participants it can accommodate reach up to 500.
Moreover, RingCentral Video runs on any device, be it Mac or Windows laptops, iOS, or Android devices. Participants don’t need an account to join meetings, but they have to install the app on the device they are using. With RingCentral Video, you can collaborate with your team by sharing files, screens, or editing files in real-time.
If you need a cloud phone system for your team, then JustCall may be the ideal solution you’re looking for. By providing local and international phone numbers, JustCall connects you with your team members located in different parts of the world. With just a click, you can choose phone numbers in 58 countries and make calls using the web, mobile, or desktop versions of the app.
In case you want a custom number to make it more memorable for your callers, JustCall helps you look for the perfect number for your company. This way, your customers or colleagues can easily recall your phone number and reach you wherever you are. JustCall also allows you to send and receive SMS using the same number you picked for your business. If you already have an existing phone number, JustCall can easily port your local or toll-free number. The platform works as one of the most reliable virtual team communication tools today.
Slack is a communication channel that connects teams with its video and audio calling, screen-sharing, and messaging tools. Widely used among businesses from all over the world, Slack enables teams to effectively collaborate and have a frictionless communication experience no matter where they’re from.
To maximize Slack, you can use the neat features that it offers, such as file-sharing, advanced search modifiers, customizable themes, reminders, status selections, and lightning-quick navigations. It also has powerful integration capabilities that allow you to use existing business applications along with it.
Detailed Slack Review
Skype is another communication tool that you can use to connect with your team from various locations. It can be accessed from any device, be it Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS devices. Skype’s high-quality communication features and accessibility make it the ideal choice for many businesses around the world.
Like most communication platforms, Skype offers video conferencing, audio calling, screen-sharing, and instant messaging features. It also allows you to send documents, images, and video files directly on the platform. To reach offline team members, Skype provides local phone numbers that allow you to call mobiles and landlines from any part of the world.
Detailed Skype Review
Zoom is a web conferencing solution that allows you to conduct online meetings with a single tap of a button. It has video conferencing, real-time messaging, and content sharing features that you can use to communicate with your team. You can rely on Zoom’s HD audio and video quality that can support up to 49 videos on screen and 1000 video participants.
Screen-sharing is also supported. In your meetings, you or anyone from your team can share their screens, and by enabling the annotation feature, you can have a more interactive meeting experience. Zoom also boasts of its end-to-end encryption that ensures the highest level of security for all your online meetings.
Detailed Zoom Review
BlueJeans is a video conferencing solution built to allow businesses to host and manage online video, audio, and web meetings. With its HD video and Dolby Voice audio features, BlueJeans bring you an unparalleled virtual meeting experience, allowing you to hear clearly and communicate naturally.
For smarter meetings, BlueJean leverages AI and intelligent voice recognition. With smart user controls, you can easily choose the right camera, speaker, and microphone that you want to use for your meetings. The app also remembers your choices so that on your next meetings, you won’t have to manually set your preferred options again.
Detailed BlueJeans Review
Join.me offers audio and video conferencing features in one simple and user-friendly platform. It supports link-shared meetings, enabling you to participate in a meeting by simply clicking a link sent to you by the host. It also lets you connect with your team members via dedicated dial-in numbers.
Detailed Join.me Review
Whether you’re working from the office or at home, employers or managers still need to keep track of each employee’s productivity. By using employee monitoring tools, you can track your team’s time and monitor their computer activities during their shift. These tools ensure that everyone is doing their job efficiently regardless of where they’re working from. These software also come in handy if your employees need more than tips for maintaining productivity during this pandemic.
The following is a list of the best employee monitoring tools.
Kickidler is an employee monitoring and productivity software that you can use to ensure the efficiency of your business at all times. It helps you carry out remote computer monitoring for your team, allowing you to keep track of each employee’s desktop activity and easily detect negligence and violations. This makes Kickidler a viable option for companies with teams working remotely.
With Kickidler’s employee productivity analysis software, you can keep a watchful eye on how much time your team dedicates to their work duties. At the same time, you can also monitor time wasted on personal matters, idle hours, social networks, games, and other time killers.
Detailed Kickidler Review
Time Doctor is a time-tracking software that allows you to capture employee hours in real-time. It’s the ideal solution for businesses that want to monitor the number of hours employees spend on their tasks. With its accurate time tracker and productivity monitoring features, you’ll be able to ensure that your team stays on top of the things they need to do.
With Time Doctor, you can see how time is being spent in your company. It has powerful reporting features that show you the tasks and projects your employees have handled during their shift. You can also enable Time Doctor’s screenshot feature, which captures the desktop screen of your team at interval time. This way, you can closely monitor each employee’s activities during work hours.
Detailed Time Doctor Review
Harvest is another popular time tracking software used by remote teams operating from different parts of the world. It allows you to track time as you see fit for your company—manually entering work hours in the system or enabling the automatic time tracker to capture work hours in real-time. Regardless of how you choose to do it, Harvest ensures that work hours are accurately recorded. It also eliminates the guesswork that goes into remembering which tasks are processed during the day and how much time was allotted to them.
It boasts of additional features as well, including task scheduling and expense management. Reporting tools also provide you with critical information about each employee’s billable hours, project expenses, budgets, and totals that do not have invoices. Plus, it allows you to manually fill up a free-form invoice so you can calculate the billable time and expenses you have tracked.
Detailed Harvest Review
Hubstaff offers a wide array of features for employee monitoring and time tracking. It’s one of the best tools to consider for home-based office management as it provides all the essentials a remote team needs. Tools like time tracking, GPS tracking, online timesheets, productivity monitoring, and team scheduling empower your employee management efforts despite your team’s physical location.
Another helpful feature of Hubstaff is its project cost management feature, which allows you to effectively budget and manage your expenses. It helps you set project budgets depending on pay rates, bill rates, or the number of hours spent on them. Also, Hubstaff offers a payroll feature that lets you create invoices and pay employees on time.
Detailed Hubstaff Review
With the many benefits that remote work brings, it’s no wonder how this setup appeals to many companies. But to work effectively from home, you have to make sure that you are using the best remote team management tools required for your business.
Because of ever-evolving technologies like monday.com, RingCentral Video, Slack, and other modern tools, anyone can work wherever they are. Having a distributed workforce is no longer a disadvantage. It could put you in a better position to keep your business running amid the constraints of a physical office environment. Taking advantage of these tools is also an effective strategy for being a more successful remote worker.
No matter your reasons for implementing a work from home policy, keeping the lines of communication open and prioritizing project transparency can help your team collaborate effectively. For more tips about remote office management, you can also check out our remote team management guide.
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