6 Tips to Find the Right Collaboration Tools for Your Remote Team

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Not so long ago, remote working wasn't considered a norm for most people. You’d only associate this setup with freelancers who relied on chats and emails in communication with their clients. However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, companies had to make sudden changes in their workflow to accommodate the safety of their workers. 

What made this easier for employers to implement? One word: Technology. With a variety of software applications available for increased collaboration and connectivity among the company's workforce, the question is, how do you find the right collaboration tools for your remote team?

You can search for the most recommended tools for remote work on the Internet. However, this takes a considerable amount of time, and finding the perfect mix of tools can be tough to gauge without trying them with most if not all tools having unique features and functions. To speed up your search, we’ve gathered 6 useful tips to help you:

1. Determine the tools that you need

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s no such thing as a foolproof set of collaboration tools for remote work. Each of them focuses on one aspect or a narrow subset. It can be communication, online meetings, project management, knowledge management, or file storage. There are even applications that center on information security and remote IT support.

Maybe you’ll need them all, maybe you won’t. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Take time to figure out your needs in terms of managing your remote team and make a list. If you’re worried you might leave something off the table, make sure to get the basic tools first and adjust accordingly.

2. Find tools that are easy to use

Keep in mind that not all your remote team members may be tech-savvy. So, look for software applications that are easy to learn and use. This will let your employees easily transition into this setup instead of spending too much time figuring out the tools; therefore increasing their productivity in doing tasks and producing high-quality outputs.

However, don’t sacrifice missing out on a tool’s features in pursuit of finding an easy-to-learn tool. Strike a balance between a user-friendly interface and functionality so that you won’t have to use more applications than you should. You’ll be utilizing different applications for several reasons, so keep your tools to a minimum to avoid overloading yourself, your team...and your computers!

3. Focus on the important features

Going back to the features… all of these software applications have a lot of whistles and bells to choose from. This may be a good thing as you can have all the things you need. However, this can also be confusing, especially since you may even see the same features in different applications.

So, focus only on the features that your team can benefit from. Make sure these features are available across all mobile devices and compatible with different operating systems. 

*Useful tip: It would be a bonus if the tools are customizable and load quickly.

4. Check how many people can use the tools

You may be surprised to learn that many remote work tools can only accommodate a small number of users. Some tools can onboard a lot of people, but with limited access to certain features. These limitations can affect employee workflow - make sure to read the fine print before buying a tool especially if yours is a large company.

If you have a small team, look for tools that can accommodate more people as your team grows; they should also allow you to cut back if your workforce decreases in size.

5. Look into a tool’s security measures

Security is one of the most important factors when choosing the right collaboration tools for your remote team. Keep in mind that your employees will be using their devices when working, so unless you impose your own security measures, they’ll also be using their computers for personal reasons.

Since you don’t have any control over how your teams use their computers and mobile devices, there’s a huge risk of a security breach. So, if you have a tool in mind, take an extra look at how the developers secure a user’s account. One method for establishing the legitimacy of a tool is by checking if they’re being used by well-known brands.

6. Choose the best customer service

Software applications, no matter how efficient, can encounter glitches from time to time. Sometimes, there are even configuration issues that you can’t seem to fix no matter how much you try. In these instances, getting in touch with their customer service representatives is the only choice you have.

Check reviews online to see the quality of their customer service. Many users are willing to share what their experiences with these providers have been. Moreover, maximize your investment by availing of tools that offer round-the-clock assistance. This will be highly beneficial, especially when you have employees working from differing time zones.

Forming a remote team can be challenging - communication barriers, different time zones… it would be almost impossible to achieve optimum efficiency and productivity without the help of collaboration tools. Be sure to ask your team what they’ve used in the past to avoid a steeper learning curve and to innovate when appropriate. 

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