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Making Remote Work: Now, the Tools

This is part 2 of a 4 part series on Making Remote Work.

Yesterday we talked about the changing climate of working remotely and how to be productive. Today we’ll talk about the online tools that you can use to meet your work objectives. 

Remote working requires a new set of tools, but luckily those tools have gotten very good over the past few years. While no tools can replace speaking in person, you will quickly find that in-person discussions are not nearly as effective as you thought they were. In fact, using these tools effectively can improve your productivity. 

  • Video Conferencing. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet provide reliable, instant, high-quality video, and audio that doesn’t require complex set up. As such, anyone can start using them to join scheduled meetings or impromptu discussions. In some ways, they are better than live discussions since you can leave one and join another in seconds, so travel time between meetings is non-existent. 
  • Collaborative Documents. Notion, Google Docs, and Dropbox Paper all allow groups to write, edit and comment on documents in real-time. These replace meetings and discussions since everyone can see the history, respond to comments and come back to review in the future. This is the secret weapon for remote work. 
  • Email. Yes, good old email. While chat apps like Slack are useful, real-time communications quickly become a productivity killer with a distributed team. Email, by comparison, allows everyone to decide when they want to respond so they can manage their time more effectively. 

There are many more specialized tools around communications and remote work that may be right for your company. Luckily, most of these tools offer free trials, so you can try a few of them and decide what works best for your team. Beware overloading on too many tools, however, or you might find your team spending too much time trying to figure out which tool to use for which purpose or where to find something that might be in any one of a dozen places. 

Tomorrow we’ll cover how to manage and measure your remote team’s performance.

The Making Remote Work series