With more tools and programs than you could count now available to connect people from around the globe, remote teams are more in touch and telework is easier than ever. We talked to 14 entrepreneurs to find out what tools keep their remote teams productive and on the ball, from communicating across a country to ticking off tasks with ease.
I love using Asana to manage tasks for my team. We work very closely with each other on projects, so when employees are remote, Asana helps divvy up tasks, create timelines and keep us on track. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
Basecamp has brought transparency, structure and accountability for our teams across time zones. For various types of projects, we have defined sample to-do lists in Basecamp; every time a new project is kicked off, teams can replicate those steps. I love the automatic check-ins that one can set up to remind team members. Also, via the Schedule feature, you can quickly spot whether your team has missed any milestones. - Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.
A. Bookend Meetings
We start and end every week with two critical meetings. Monday is focused on planning out the week, delegating tasks and ensuring everyone has a game plan. Friday is focused on reflecting on the week, noting any lessons learned and areas of improvement. This regular check-in cycle is critical to keeping everyone on track. - Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark
A. Cloud Tools
We’ve been managing remote employees since 2002, and cloud-based services (public and private) have kept this productive. Using online customer relationship management tools like Salesforce.com or Pipedrive, communication tools such as Skype and Slack and infrastructure services like AWS and Ring has made it possible to keep our team of over 30 members cohesive even though we’ve never shared an office. - Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot
A. Confluence Wiki
We use an active Confluence wiki to keep everyone connected and focused on the tasks at hand. It provides us with one written record of the decisions from our meetings and one version of product specs. If anything changes, everyone gets automatically notified because Confluence sends out an email for wiki edits to the relevant parties. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
A. G Suite
We set up remote teams for a number of companies and we then integrate into the platform that they use. G Suite is definitely the most used platform among the companies that use our services. When we ask our employees which platform they most enjoy using, G Suite is the winner there as well. Google has done a great job of integrating everything our employees need to work with the companies. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct
JIRA has been the most effective tool for managing team members by departments, improving our development workflow and allowing us to keep communication centralized to increase accountability. It's the single best platform for managing a team with multiple skill sets and with integrations for numerous other business applications that we utilize daily. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
I love the Podio management software for engaging with our remote team members over multiple locations of my business. It enables us to come together on projects, assign tasks and troubleshoot issues as a group with all of the knowledge in one place. I also love using it for company culture; we have a book club through Podio! - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg
Slack is one of the best tools for keeping team members connected, but it can be distracting without the right organization. If you want to use Slack for your team, I really recommend making full use of channels to separate different clients/topics/projects, because that will make everything more efficient. I recommend getting the subscription, because it allows you to keep old messages. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate
Teamweek is a great tool that lets you know what your team members are working on and vice versa. It's especially great for osmotic teams whose work may overlap more often than not. When your team has a tight deadline, you want to make sure that you're gelling all on the same page and being efficient, and Teamweek makes it easy to synchronize with one another. - Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
We have found that the simplest and fastest ways to communicate are the best. Telegram is a great and secure way to communicate in small teams if you're running time-constrained day-to-day operations, because you can organize into groups, easily find past conversations and quickly share files and information. It's also very easy to onboard new people. We complement that with Asana for ongoing projects. - Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote
We use Timedoctor to define project tasks and track the time and activity of remote teams. Timedoctor is a very strong tool: It can capture screenshots, track keyboard activity and pauses taken by remote workers. It will automatically detect a break and also analyze the type of websites and applications used. This helps us manage the team as if we were all in the same office, and it is also a very affordable tool. - Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
Hands down, Trello wins for us. Their free plan is more than enough for our team, but we organize every project using it. Nothing is better than content teams knowing where development teams are without having to ping them for an update. It's fantastic for a meeting-less culture, but it takes discipline to truly make it powerful. Our team of 20 remote workers has fully embraced it, and we aren't looking back. - Nick Reese, BroadbandNow
Zoom is the best and most stable conferencing tool that I've found. It's very good for video conference calls that won't take forever to set up because someone's sound is not working. You can also set Zoom up in the background and everyone can "co-work" from different locations, but be virtually together in a room. - Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS
These answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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