Remote-Work Tools Every Distributed Team Needs
Before 2020, remote work existed but was not as prevalent as it is today. Truly remote companies, like Basecamp, were few and far between.
Then the pandemic arrived and everything changed. With people in lockdown, companies had no choice but to adapt. Everything from meetings to collaboration to informal chat was now done remotely. There was an adjustment period, but two years later, the remote-working model has proven to be successful.
By allowing employees to work from their home offices, co-working spaces, or even coffee shops, companies gave employees the freedom to work more productively. For example, people who work from their homes were able to reduce the interruptions and noise that traditionally happen in an office. People with children were able to pick up their kids from school and finish their workday later at home.
Obviously, remote working doesn’t come with benefits alone. When employees could just walk to a colleague in the office, communication now requires a Slack message or an email. If employees are not quick to reply, there can be delays. Loneliness and disconnecting from the mission of the company is something that managers also need to be aware of.
That’s why distributed teams need to have the right tools to keep working effectively. From organizing and carrying out meetings to collaboration, this article discusses seven tools that can help your team succeed in a remote-work environment, including Zoom, Status Hero, and Jira. These tools have been chosen due to their ease of use, customizability, and support for different time zones.
Since the pandemic, a slew of tools have been created to assist companies and their teams in a remote-work environment. However, not all of these tools are easy to use or customizable. In this section, you’ll learn about the tools that will help your remote team function well.
Conduct Meetings with Zoom
It’s hard to talk about work without mentioning meetings. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur working from your basement, you’re probably subjected to meetings on a regular basis.
Thanks to the pandemic, Zoom quickly became the preferred videoconferencing tool of companies across the world as they needed a way to continue meeting remotely. It offers features like waiting rooms to allow hosts to decide when participants can join, breakout rooms to divide participants into smaller groups, and the ability to record meetings.
Breakout rooms, in particular, are very helpful. In a remote environment, it can be hard to have informal chats with your colleagues unless they are scheduled. This is why if you have a weekly meeting with your team for a status update, for example, it can be helpful to start with a small informal chat. If you have a big team, breakout rooms can be a great tool to divide and let them chat about their weekends for a few minutes before starting the meeting.
The recordings are also beneficial for people who are in different time zones or weren’t able to attend a meeting for one reason or another.
Overall, Zoom is easy to use and comes with a lot of additional features even on the free plan.
Organize Your Daily Updates with Status Hero
Most companies have regular check-ins to follow up on projects and touch base on any questions team members may have. What tool you decide to use will highly depend on your team’s communication style. If you work remotely but synchronously, then your stand-up is probably done with everyone present at a specific time. In this case, Zoom is your best option.
However, if you want to reduce the number of meetings and push asynchronous check-ins, then consider using Status Hero. The goal of Status Hero is to turn long and sometimes unnecessary stand-up meetings into a concise report for all team members to review. What would normally be a twenty-minute meeting where people list what they have done one by one is instead turned into individual reports where people clearly list out what they have done and will do and, more importantly, highlight blockers. With Status Hero’s numerous integrations available, you can integrate data from your other tools such as Zoom, Asana, or Jira and see what your colleagues have done in the last twenty-four hours.
Manage Your Project with Jira or Asana
When it comes to project management, there are so many tools to choose from that it can feel overwhelming. In this article, you’ll look at two options: Jira and Asana.
To say Jira is easy to use would be an exaggeration. The learning curve to getting used to this tool is not negligible. However, once you get used to it, what Jira sacrifices in ease of use, it definitely makes up for in features.
Jira is highly customizable, letting you create fields and automated processes. For example, you could set up a process such that when creating a bug, the technical support has to fill out a few fields like the number of customers impacted or which area of the product is impacted. Once created, that bug could automatically receive a priority (low, medium, or high) and be assigned to the right development team. This kind of process saves a lot of time in the long run, which is why Jira is a popular product among big companies such as HubSpot, Zoom, Bloomberg, CBS, and more.
However, if you’re a smaller company, Asana might be a better fit. While not as feature rich as Jira, it’s very easy to use. It has an aesthetically pleasing and intuitive user interface. Whether you work in IT, marketing, or sales, it comes with a bunch of templates for you to choose from. It’s an excellent project management tool for companies who don’t need all the bells and whistles of Jira but want access to straightforward boards, lists, and timelines.
Collaborate with Google Products
Google products need very little introduction. With Drive, Docs, Sheets, and more, Google offers tons of tools that are great for collaboration. Whether you’re working on a proposal or a presentation, Google has a product for you. Many people use it in their personal lives, so introducing Google products to your team is painless.
With Google Docs, you can even leave comments and suggestions, making the collaboration process easy for teams working asynchronously.
Document with Confluence
While Google is a great tool for collaborating, searching through Drive can get complicated. This is where a tool like Confluence is a great option for documenting processes and more.
When a company reaches a certain size or age, it’s important for employees to start documenting company knowledge. This can include product knowledge as well as processes, technical investigation, and internal decisions. This documentation will be helpful not only for new employees but also for older employees as they leave the company. It’s important to have this knowledge written down to have a better overview of how your product works and why certain decisions were made.
Like Google Docs, Confluence is easy to use. You can quickly create pages, format them, and leave comments to collaborate during the documentation process.
Communicate with Slack
When it comes to communication, it’s hard not to mention Slack. Even before the pandemic, Slack was an incredibly popular communication tool. With its attractive interface, Slack is very intuitive and easy to use. On top of their chat feature, they have recently started introducing more features such as calls and huddles to allow you to organize meetings without leaving.
Slack also supports a lot of integrations, including Jira, Google products, Salesforce, and GitHub. Regardless of the tools you use, you can probably integrate it with Slack.
[Remote working is a great model] (https://draft.dev/learn/becoming-a-remote-technical-writer). It has given more flexibility for workers to do the job in a way that is most comfortable to them and provides for a better work-life balance. However, in order for things to run smoothly, certain tools are necessary.
In this article, you learned about tools like Zoom, Status Hero, Jira, Asana, Google, Confluence, and Slack. All of these tools can help you organize your remote team.
In addition, every tool in this article can be integrated with Status Hero. As mentioned previously, Status Hero reduces the number of meetings by prompting teammates asynchronously for daily check-ins. By integrating various tools, you can automatically get a high-level view of what each team member has done.
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