30 tools to Manage a Team Remotely

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So you are leading a distributed team with members who live all over the place from Hong Kong to Kalamazoo. Congratulations, you are one of the first group of people in history to work in this way. Since you are the first generation to work remotely, there is no manual - but there are many questions, such as;

  • How do you make sure that everyone is on the same page if you are not in the same room (or even on the same continent) at the same time?
  • How do you manage time across multiple time zones?
  • How do you work together and brainstorm?
  • How do you recognize and reward team members?

21stCenturyProblem

Just because there is no manual does not mean that there are no tools. In fact, there are at least 30 of them. Below we have listed our preferred tools for remote team management. The great thing is that most of these team management tools are affordable and easy to use across multiple devices anywhere in the world.

The best communication tools

Sqwiggle - There is nothing better than face-to-face communication, and Sqwiggle gives it to you in a distant form. Unlike the others on this list, Sqwiggle is always on and provides random snapshots throughout the day to keep you connected. With one click, you can also chat with any member instantly.

Join.me - Instant screen sharing and free audio and video conferencing make this app insanely useful.

Google Hangouts - Google Hangouts gives you free access to voice, video and messaging - individually or with a team. Sync across multiple devices. Record calls and save them as YouTube videos.

Skype - even your grandmother has a Skype username. It's an old G when it comes to internet communications. It's free to use locally and globally. Instant messaging, video calls, voice calls and group calls - all from the Skype desktop or a mobile application.

Slack - Slack is the undisputed champion of team communication. A constantly active chat interface allows teams to communicate publicly through channels or privately via instant messaging. It is easy to exchange files, access archives and create private and public reminders. A number of applications integrate well with Slack, including Clubbie.io, which bridges the gap between Slack and email.

Jell - If you work remotely, especially across multiple time zones, it's quite difficult to organize a centralized meeting. Enter Jell. Have your team answer three key questions. Get a good overview of the status of each team member. You can even integrate Slack into your team for easier use.

Quip - Use quip to keep all your communication in one central location. No need to send e-mails back and forth. Share tasks, spreadsheets and checklists both online and offline.

Best tools for time management

Hubstaff - Do you want to ensure that your remote team is focused on the real work? Hubstaff regularly takes screenshots and manages activity levels to create accurate time reports.
When I work - Schedule your hourly team members with this easy tool. See a weekly overview of the schedule of your entire team. You can drag and drop to customize the schedule to suit your needs. This application helps you minimize scheduling conflicts and maximize efficiency.
Paymo - Manage your time with this robust application Track your time automatically by logging into the app and counting it in the background. Access performance and statistics with one click.
Harvest - Use Harvest to track the progress and daily activities of your team. Run reports for individual team members, tasks or customers. Get approval for timesheets, log expenses and integrate with other fabulous applications like Trello and Stripe.
FunctionFox - Manage your projects and your timesheets. Keep scheduling and task assignments clear and on time.
Teambook - This beautiful and simple planner allows you to design your team planning. Track and tweet the availability of members in real-time.
Freckle - Track the time your team actually spends with this simple and lightning-fast tool.

Best tools for project management

Google Apps for Work - Give every member of your team a professional email address. Grant access to a centralized storage center. Synchronize from anywhere in the world to any Internet-enabled device.
Canva for Work - Need to work together on visual graphics? Use Canva for Work for beautiful, cohesive and easy to create designs. Work together across multiple devices and time zones.
Trello - Create boards to manage your entire project. See at a glance who is working on what and when tasks are due. An indispensable organization tool that can be used for the basics at no cost.
Asana - What do Uber, AirBnB and Pinterest have in common? They all use asana to plan and track their project. You can organize your project tasks, communication and team progress within the asana tool.
Workamajig - Use this app to store everything related to your project(s) in a web accessible system. Get updates, get an overview of pending project tasks and organize the availability of team members.
Master Task - Free, intuitive, did I mention free? It's flexible, easy to use on multiple devices, and allows instant conversations between team members.
Apollo - Organise and plan your team's tasks, track time and collaborate easily.

Best tools for safety

Meldium - Use LogMeIn to manage passwords securely across teams. Team members can share access without having to use the same password, making it easy to add or remove team members.
1Password for Teams - Create strong passwords that your team does not need to remember. You can easily add new team members and view a summary of their permissions. Currently free in the beta version.
Best tools for employee rewards

WooBoard - Celebrate the achievements of your team. The team members are rewarded with a transparent points system.
Awesome Boss - Do you want to recognise and reward your team members because they are amazing? Set yourself up with this tool that gives you a better insight into your team, such as individual birthdays, work anniversaries, preferences and reward activities.

Best tools for file management

Dropbox - Dropbox is easy to use and offers the possibility to download files to your desktop via drag & drop. Enable automatic synchronization to migrate files while you sleep.
Box - With Box, you can securely share files with your team, starting from as little as $5 per user. Documents are encrypted, and you can grant and revoke user permissions at your discretion.
Google Drive - Need to share working documents, presentations and spreadsheets with multiple team members? No problem with Google Drive. It's free, fast and accessible from any Internet-enabled device. Turn features on and off, enable sharing and change access rights.
Huddle - This file management application has earned the trust of organizations like NASA and the Department of Homeland Security and offers enhanced security.
One Hub - Team up with companies like Starbucks, Whole Foods Market and Dell to securely host, synchronize and share your files

Concluding remarks


Most of these tools are either free or offer a free trial version, so it's easy to test multiple tools to find the one that works best for your team. So what are you waiting for? Clear the way!

If you're looking for an HRIS system to increase productivity of your remote employees, we suggest you IceHrm which is one of the best HRIS systems which has so many HR functions automated into one system.

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