Managing your teams can be challenging — especially if you’re managing remote teams. It’s even harder to provide the right resources for each job and ensure all tasks are completed on time. 

Respecting everyone’s time is also a factor — with everyone working from home, it’s even more challenging to ensure team members aren’t experiencing burnout by using too much of their free time outside of work hours.   

While these components of your team’s success are more challenging when working with a remote team,  the right tools can help you increase communication,  optimize productivity, and maintain a sense of cohesion among all members in your organization — regardless of their role. 

In this article, we’ll highlight eight essential digital tools that all remote teams should have access to in order to enhance collaboration and improve productivity. From video conferencing systems and project management platforms to collaboration software and task-tracking programs, these tools can help keep every member connected while providing transparency within the business.

Tips for working with remote teams

Remote teams can be highly effective and efficient, but managing them requires different tools and strategies than onsite teams.

Set clear, consistent expectations

Setting clear expectations is essential when managing a remote team. It's important to communicate the company culture, working procedures, and project guidelines to your team members so they know what you expect from them. Ensuring everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and the rules they must follow while working remotely will help ensure everyone is on the same page and that time is used efficiently. 

Additionally, it's essential to be consistent in your expectations and make sure that everyone follows the same rules and guidelines for their work. Doing so will ensure that everyone is getting the job done properly.

Establish regular communication

Another critical factor in working with remote teams is a reliable strategy for communication. Creating efficient communication channels and processes allows you to inform your remote teams of crucial updates such as project changes, new resources, and schedules.

One common way to communicate with your team is to set regular check-ins with each employee. However, when considering your check-in cadence, figuring out what works best for everyone is essential. For example, daily check-ins may be ideal for management but can be challenging if multiple team members work in different time zones. 

Alternatively, you can schedule check-ins once or multiple times a week, depending on your team’s workload. 

Utilize collaboration tools

Collaboration is crucial in team projects and can be another hurdle with remote teams, so providing access to tools that help your team manage tasks and communicate effectively is critical. In addition, using the same tools and shared company documents ensures that everyone on the team is on the same page and has access to the same information. 

Being able to collaborate in real time will be the difference between meeting your timelines and getting off track.

The 8 digital tools you need for managing your remote teams

When working with a remote team, it is important to understand the needs and expectations of the project members. Your remote teams may have needs that differ from one another, and communicating those needs is essential to enhancing workflows for everyone on a project. 

Providing your teams with digital tools that make their roles more clearly defined and their tasks easier to complete is essential for your team’s overall success. These eight digital tools make it easier for your teams to collaborate, communicate, and stay on task so that they — and your projects — are completed on time and on budget. 

1. Video conferencing software

This is an ideal tool for conducting meetings and providing training sessions with employees who are located in different parts of the world. In addition, virtual meeting software allows for video conference meetings between multiple participants. 

A few options include: 

  • Zoom 
  • Microsoft Teams 
  • Skype
  • Webex Meetings 

With this technology, teams can communicate face-to-face as if they were in the same room, as well as review documents collaboratively and share screens. 

2. Project management software 

Project management tools allow managers to assign tasks and monitor progress in real-time, ensuring everyone stays on track with their assigned tasks.  ClickUp provides project management tools all at-a-glance enabling you to build total alignment on your project and move ideas to action faster. 

There are many project management tools to choose from, including: 

  • ClickUp
  • Jira
  • Wrike

3. Time tracking software

Time tracking helps managers track employee hours worked and identify areas where they can improve efficiency and productivity. Harvest monitors your team’s work activity so that you can gain insights into how much time your teams are spending on specific tasks. 

It will also provide key insights into productivity-draining actions they may be taking, like checking social media feeds throughout the day instead of engaging in productive activities related directly to their goals and objectives.

Harvest’s time tracking tool also allows you to: 

  • Track time from browser, desktop, and mobile
  • Gain insights with a wide selection of visual reports 
  • See who’s overworked and who’s under-utilized with capacity reporting
  • See which projects and tasks are consuming your team’s time 

4. Collaboration tools

These tools enable effective communication between team members and allow them to share ideas without any geographical limitations. For example, with a collaboration tool, you can create boards with tasks, prioritize them with labels and checklists, and get alerts when work is complete. 

Here are a few helpful tools: 

  • Trello
  • Zapier
  • Notion
  • Confluence

5. File-sharing platforms

File sharing allows teams to securely store and share files from anywhere in the world without physically transferring data from one location to another. In addition, with the use of cloud storage, these tools make it easier for remote teams to access files no matter where they are located.

Useful file-sharing platforms include: 

  • Dropbox
  • ProofHub
  • Box
  • OneDrive

6. Instant messaging apps

Instant messaging apps provide quick communication between employees even if they are not in the same room or city, allowing them to stay connected during work hours — and after hours, if needed. 

Here are a few good examples: 

  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Ring Central
  • Zendesk

7. Employee engagement platforms

These platforms help managers track how their teams feel about their jobs, giving them insight into how motivated or unmotivated their team is. Many of the platforms even allow you to recognize and reward your team members for contributing to essential projects and highlighting your core values. 

There are many employee engagement apps to choose from, including: 

  • Bonusly
  • Lattice
  • 15Five
  • Vantage Circle

8. Virtual office platforms

Virtual office platforms enable teams to feel like they are in the same office even when they are not by providing a virtual space for employees to collaborate and work on projects together. 

Here are a few good options: 

  • Google Workplace
  • WorkInSync
  • Teamflow
  • Kosy Office 

With the right digital tools in place, you can ensure that your remote teams are productive and efficient, regardless of where they are located globally. And with an effective task management system, your project managers and team leaders can easily assign tasks, monitor progress, provide feedback, and track milestones, keeping your team members on track. 

By integrating these digital tools with Harvest’s time tracking software, you can help your remote teams stay organized and on top of deadlines. In addition, challenges of misunderstanding and miscommunication between team members can be eased with integrated digital tools. And regular video meetings with all team members will ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Harvest makes digital integration easy, allowing for better collaboration among remote teams. With features like task management, time tracking, and project management, Harvest helps team members stay organized and on top of their tasks providing greater visibility into how much time is being spent on each task. With its time tracking, project management, and task management capabilities, Harvest makes collaboration seamless among remote teams.

Ready to get started? Try Harvest for free and give your team the digital tools they need for meeting timelines, enhanced collaboration, and overall projection success.