The world of work as we know it is quickly changing. This evolution is due to the adoption of remote work setups and digital tools that help enable virtual workplaces. Many companies have started shifting towards remote work arrangements, with more saying they intend to follow suit.
The main reason for this shift has been the discovery that virtual arrangements can streamline operations and improve workplace productivity. One study showed that 94% of hiring managers said productivity stayed the same or improved since shifting to a remote work setup.
But what aspects and features of remote work help streamline operations, and what tools do you need for that? Here are the five most common remote work software features that can make business operations more efficient and effective.
1) Project Management
One common remote workforce software feature virtual teams use is project management software. These tools allow supervisors and managers to effectively assign tasks and monitor feedback and progress with relative ease.
With project management tools, you can assign tasks to your teams, assign deadlines, provide details, collaborate with other employees, and so on. Most project management tools have a dashboard with tasks categorized according to departments, projects, or campaigns. Implementing project management features into your remote workplace tools helps improve team collaboration and ensures that your remote team delivers despite not being in one physical location.
Communication is now no longer limited to physical interaction. Chat apps, email tools, and other online communication channels have made it easier for teams to stay in touch even when they’re not in the same city or time zone even. These communication tools enable conversations through direct messaging, voice calls, video conferences, and more.
Some of the best communication tools for remote teams are Zoom and Slack. These two software systems have become the most popular tools since the COVID-19 pandemic's start. They allow direct messaging and video calling. Many integrations make communication through these platforms more effective. One other Slack alternative is Facebook Workplace, which has also become widely used for team communication.
3) Time and Output Tracking
One of the challenges of the virtual work revolution has been accountability. With managers and their teams not being in one place, companies must find ways to keep a cadence of reporting. The most common remote working tool for this pain point is time and output tracking, which virtual teams use to monitor and evaluate team performance.
The most common type of tool is a time tracker, which lets teams clock in and out and provides daily retrospective reports to their managers. Sometimes tracking tools have added features like geolocation tagging and screen recording to see if workers are doing what they are supposed to.
For teams that want to provide their employees with more freedom, you can make further ado with task automation that simply reminds teams to send end-of-day work reports. One good example of this is Geekbot, which integrates with Slack and asks teams to send a list of their deliverables at the start and end of the workday.
4) File Sharing
Documents and files are essential to many team activities. We send proposals, spreadsheets, graphics, video files, and all types of files to our co-workers. The best remote working platforms also provide some form of file-sharing capability, which gives teams a cloud-based dashboard to upload and share files remotely.
Most file-sharing tools have some limit to uploading, but they can be more than adequate for small operations. Google Drive, for instance, gives you up to 15 gigabytes for free use when you create a Google account.
You can also pay for more storage on cloud-based file-storage systems. Most project management systems also allow you to share files, but there’s also a limit to how large your files can be.
You also want to use a file-sharing platform that enables you to organize and search for files so you or your team can access them quickly.
5) Workflow Management
Companies should keep a standard operating procedure for most if not all, of their workflows. This can be difficult for remote teams if you don’t have the right tools. The feature that you should be looking for in these cases is a workflow management system (WMS), a tool that documents and presents workflows to teams.
With workflow management software, you can create visual aids and charts that show processes your team must maintain. You should also be able to document and share these systems with other people to make onboarding of new team members easy. Workflow management software can also be updated, so you can revise workflows when they change with time. Check out this compilation of workflow management software you can use for your virtual team.
Remote Work is the Future
Some 43% of employers intend to maintain some form of remote work arrangement in their organization. That said, it’s safe to assume that remote work will continue to be the norm at some level for workplaces. Adopting remote work software will do great things for your company. So if there are any features or systems in this list that you haven’t implemented yet, now is the best time to do so.