The research is in. Remote workers are more productive, turnover less, and save businesses money. And that’s good news as many companies move their workforce online during this time.
However, change is never easy. Organizations face unique management challenges as they go through this digital transformation and become comfortable allowing their employees to work remotely.
How do managers in this virtual office environment ensure team cohesion, encourage efficiency, and boost morale?
Beyond hiring self-motivated people with strong communication skills, when it comes to employee engagement, you need the right tools — the ones that will help bridge both the physical and psychological distance between you and your team.
Fortunately, there are tons of amazing apps out there that can help you do just that.
If you want to keep your remote workers efficient, productive, and happy, you should start with this quick list of incredibly useful (and remarkably cheap) apps.
Slack is a chat tool that allows employees to connect instantly with each other, both one-on-one and in groups. In so many ways, Slack is a better alternative to traditional texting, file sharing, and email.
But what really makes Slack stand out is its seamless design and ability to install apps, bots, and plugins that automate tasks, report on business activities, and keep employees engaged.
2) UniTel Voice
UniTel Voice is a virtual phone system that allows you to run your business from anywhere, on any device. It includes all the features and functionality of traditional business phone systems — without the complexity, high cost, or need for equipment.
Because UniTel Voice is completely cloud-based, you’re no longer chained to the physical office phone on your desk. With the UniTel Voice mobile app, you can turn your personal smartphone into your office phone and take it with you wherever you go.
Managers can track sales calls, assess marketing ROI, record support calls for quality assurance, and make instant phone system changes.
When it comes to social media analytic tools, BrandMentions is an indispensable tool. It’s designed to effectively monitor your brand across the internet and measure the success of your marketing campaigns.
BrandMentions continuously searches the internet for keywords related to your brand. When it finds relevant brand mentions it alerts your team so you can follow up and build a relationship with the source.
You work hard to build awareness. BrandMentions helps you take advantage of that buzz.
Hootsuite makes it easy for your entire team to create beautiful, engaging posts for any social network. You can schedule and publish content, track effectiveness in real-time, and identify top-performing content.
Hootsuite is especially useful for teams because you can view and manage all your social content in one single collaborative portal. You can add as many users as you need, assign tasks, and automate content curation and posting so your aways in front of your followers.
InVision allows you to quickly create interactive clickable prototypes, mock-ups, and wire-frames, so you can gather instant feedback from your team and stakeholders. But it’s not just great for designing websites, landing pages, and products. You can use it as an online whiteboard to present ideas and brainstorm concepts.
InVision is the perfect online platform for collaborating with your remote team. It makes presenting designs, workflows, and ideas a real experience, infinitely better than sending dozens of PDFs, screenshots, or relying on a simple Google Doc.
If you’re looking for a video conferencing alternative to Zoom, Lifesize is a great choice. It’s a fully cloud-based 4K video conferencing and collaboration platform that can be used across your devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.).
And unlike Zoom, Lifesize offers optional features at a-la-carte pricing, allowing customers to customize their plan and only pay for the features they’ll use. Features like Microsoft Teams video conferencing integration, 300-way calling, and live streaming can be added to basic plans.
Asana’s delightful usability has made it the Slack of project management. In a nutshell, Asana is a tool that makes it easy for remote teams to track projects, tasks, and progress. It gives you everything you need to stay in sync, hit deadlines, and reach your goals.
Try Asana, and you’ll instantly see how incredibly intuitive and incredibly powerful it is. You can use it to manage basic to-do lists or complex team projects. You can map out each step of your project and organize all the details of your work in one place.
Sync it’s like Dropbox, but less expensive and more secure. It allows you and your team to easily store, share, and access files from just about anywhere. Most importantly, Sync protects your privacy with end-to-end encryption — ensuring that your data is always safe, secure, and 100% private.
Sync allows multiple users to work from the same set of folders. It automatically backs up files and keeps them synced across your team’s computers and devices. With apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web, your team will never lose a file again.
9) Tap My Back
Many times, the biggest challenges to managing people remotely are the things you do naturally when working side by side in the office, such as providing work recognition and real-time feedback. Lucky for remote teams, there’s an app for that.
With Tap My Back, you can provide your team with real-time appreciation and continuous feedback no matter where they work or what time zone they’re on. You can track your employee’s mood, feedback, and engagement.
Tap My Back uses an automated check-in system that gives people on your team the ability to share how they feel on a continuous basis, so you can keep your fingers on the pulse of your organization.
Author: Greg Roth is the Head of Marketing at UniTel Voice and the Editor of Startup Stockpile. As a marketer and an entrepreneur, he loves helping businesses discover new apps and use technology to grow.