Seven online tools to handle remote work like a boss
Remote work is constantly increasing. Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population (source on flexjobs.com).
With the rise of the COVID-19, started in January 2020, we have witnessed a lot of companies transitioning to a fully remote environment and trying as much as possible to adapt to a new way of work.
Here are some useful tools to adopt while working remotely. In this list, you will find a short description of what are these tools, what problem they tackle, and some insights to make them a real game-changer if correctly used.
No needs to introduce one of the most popular chat apps to help you communicate faster in one single place. The onboarding is easy and short, you can set up Slack in a few minutes. Slack integrates with the tools teams use daily — from finance and marketing automation to productivity and video conferencing. You can create public and private channels to gather people in the right place and keep some conversations confidential. It is also possible to make calls and video calls to conduct your daily meetings, touchpoint, etc.
💡 Tips for using Slack efficiently:
Don’t hesitate to mute channels.
Define guidelines for channels your company uses to post important information.
When sharing resources, always add a short description to help your teammates understand what it is about and who should check it.
Turn notifications off when you need to focus on work.
Use emojis as reactions to get rid of endless threads and notifications.
Slack has a free plan to help you easily try it. However, the group video call feature is limited to the standard plan and plus.
2. Microsoft Teams
It can be easier to adopt Microsoft Teams if your organization is already using Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Teams offers all the most popular features a chat app can provide: hosting audio, video, and web conferences with anyone. There are key features such as scheduling assistance, meeting note-taking, screen sharing, meeting recording, and instant messaging.
The Live Event feature makes it easy to reach large audiences with video and interactive discussions across the web and mobile apps for up to 10,000 attendees.
Zoom is one of the most solid and scalable apps for your video meetings. They offer a free starter plan where you can host video conferences up to 100 participants and 49 videos on a screen. You can scale the number of participants up to 1 000 with the enterprise plan. A participant doesn’t need a Zoom account to join a meeting.
They offer features like screen sharing, video recording (on Cloud or locally). Multiple participants can share their screens simultaneously and co-annotate for a more interactive meeting.
💡 Tips for using Zoom efficiently:
Just like scrum masters in retrospective meetings, it helps to have someone to orchestrate your video meeting.
Use the chat to ask questions without interrupting speakers.
Mute your microphone when you are not talking.
Link the Zoom meeting URL to your meeting invitations.
4. Google Hangouts Meet
Hangouts Meet is part of the applications available in the Google Suite plan. Google has made it simple to set up a meeting and share a link to your teammates, clients or customers without worrying if they have the right account. If you are using Google Calendar to plan events, it is even easier to directly add a link to your video call invitation. Just like Zoom, you and every participant have access to chat functionalities, video and microphone controls, and screen sharing features. If you are concerned about security, all video and audio streams in Meet are encrypted.
Product management tools
There are a lot of product management tools. Jira is one of the most famous, but you can use Asana, Monday, etc. No matter which tool you use, it has to be a management tool to keep your team aligned and organized. Jira offers Scrum and Kanban boards, a Roadmap feature to communicate plans with teams and stakeholders. Plus, you have access to more than a dozen Agile reports updated in real-time.
💡 Tips for using Jira efficiently:
Always add descriptions to issues.
Link issues to epics and Jira’s boards.
Use the Roadmap feature to plan and visualize future iterations.
Use your team’s board as a support for dailies and reviews.
Trello succeeded in the Product Management market because of its simplicity. The free plan gives you access to the most powerful features, unlimited personal boards, and ten team boards. If your startup needs to share its application progress or roadmap, Trello is a good tool to generate public boards available to all of your customers.
Neatro sits between the two previous categories: Collaboration and Product Management tools. It helps your team grow through retrospective meetings, one of the four basic ceremonies of the scrum framework. Retrospectives contribute to continuous improvement, which is one of the biggest benefits of working in an Agile environment.
Whether you’re leading remote or in-person retrospectives, Neatro provides built-in activities that match your team’s context. Create action items and assign owners in real-time. Every time you start a new retrospective, Neatro will check if there are incomplete action items, so your team will never lose track of their improvement tasks.
If you are curious about remote work in 2020, there is an interesting post about the state of remote work in 2020. This report is fed with a lot of data about remote work trends, benefits, and struggles.
I hope this article helped you choose the right tools for your remote team, or at least, gave you some tips to better use these tools. Try your first retrospective with Neatro, and feel free to reach out to me if you want to share some feedback about the app!