Many businesses are becoming remote, allowing them to hire the best talent regardless of location. Not only does this allow you to assemble a killer team, but it also cuts your operational costs significantly, eliminating traditional, office-related expenses. Many experts also attribute remote environments to creating more productive teams. But if you’re going to go remote, you’ll need the right collaboration tools to help you succeed.
While the concept of building a remote team sounds enticing, it can be very challenging. Without solid communication and collaboration, tasks and direction can quickly become derailed.
Personally, I’m a huge supporter of going remote. My two marketing agencies are 100-percent remote, and we’re constantly launching additional projects and brands under our umbrella, like our law firm directory and teeth whitening brand, both of which are managed remotely (thanks in part to some great tools).
There is an endless supply of online collaboration tools available, and to help you better manage a remote team, I’ve partnered with some entrepreneurs and business owners to come up with a list of 11 helpful collaboration tools.
11 effective collaboration tools for a remote team
Whether you’re managing five people or 50, there are tools out there that can help you streamline your business and keep projects on task.
World Time Buddy.
Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy.
By using collaboration tools like these, you can set up your remote business for success. Read on to hear what other professionals have to say about each one of these products.
“When you have a team that is located all over the world, it’s important that you make all internal documents, from company policies to procedure guides, available in one convenient location. SlimWiki allows you to create a private wiki that contains this type of information and documents in an organized, eye-appealing format. Its drag-and-drop page creation is easy to use, and you can assign editor and read-only rules to each team member.” ~ Michael Tario, Founder of Tario & Associates
“Customer support is such an important part of any business, and when you have a remote team it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to all support-related inquiries, both open and closed. Groove is help desk software that is very easy to use and has all of the features that help to stay on top of all customer support-related issues. Team members can make notes on each support ticket that are not visible to the customer, and it allows you to assign tickets to specific team members. With this tool, no customer support issues slip through the cracks.” ~ Ken McDonald, Chief Growth Officer of TeamSnap
“While team chat tools are great, sometimes you need face-to-face communication, which is difficult when your team is located in different parts of the world. Zoom allows you to hold video conferences with your entire team. I’m a big believer that regular face-to-face interaction, even if it’s just a Monday morning five-minute call with the entire team, maintains a much stronger team bond. You can also access the video calls from mobile devices for extra convenience and it integrates with several third-party applications.” ~ Adam Steele, Founder of Loganix Citations
“When your team is in the same office, it’s easy to get your point across because they are sitting next to you while you speak. Visual communication is very powerful, which is why whiteboards are so effective, but what do you do when everyone is remote? Skitch lets you use shapes, text, arrows and stamps on documents and screenshots and share them with your team. While it’s a very simple tool, the visual enhancement really helps you communicate an idea in a remote environment.” ~ Ariel Chiu, Owner of Wonderstruck Weddings
“Wiggio is a tool that keeps your team’s communication in one place. It allows your team to share calendars, tasks, conversations and documents or files. You need to allow your in-house team and offsite remote workers to collaborate, and this tool makes it extremely easy. It’s replaced several tools we used previously — having all communication conveniently in one place has helped tremendously. Increased production and performance is a byproduct of simplicity when it comes to team communication.” ~ Scott Grossman, Founder of The Grossman Law Firm, LLC
6. World Time Buddy
“When your team is located in different time zones, it makes scheduling calls and collaboration meetings a bit daunting. World Time Buddy is a simple time tool that acts as a time zone converter and world clock that makes it simple to see all of your team’s locations when planning calls or video conference meetings. If your remote team meets on a regular basis, it can also help when scheduling travel.” ~ Aaron Haynes, Owner of Fenix Pro
“Automation helps improve the productivity of any business, and any time you can make the work flow easier for your remote team it’s going to benefit the business in a positive manner. Zapier is a tool that streamlines your entire workflow by connecting and integrating the tools and apps you currently use. It’s especially helpful if your team uses multiple tools for the same task, as some team members will have apps and tools they prefer to use. All you have to do is select what apps and tools your team uses and Zapier connects them all.” ~ Steve Kappel, President of Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
“When you have a remote team working on a project together, sometimes you need to describe a particular feature or explain a goal or objective. Screen recordings are a great way to explain exactly what you are referring to, and RecordIt is a simple solution. After recording the screen, it gives you a link that you can share it with your team via chat or your task management platform.” ~ Todd Tinker, Founder of The Tinker Law Firm, PLLC
“I have found Trello to be the easiest to use project management tool for a remote team. The simplicity of the program and the way everything is laid out makes it a tool that any business can introduce to their team and quickly take advantage of — without a steep learning curve. You can create a board for every project and then create sub-tasks that you can list in order of importance. I like being able to prioritize every component of a project so the team knows where to devote their attention and focus.” ~ Matthew Willens, Founder of Willens Law Offices
“Virtual meetings can quickly go off track and waste your team’s valuable time, and that’s where AgreeDo helps. With this, you can create a meeting, share the agenda with your team, take notes, create minutes, and then set a follow-up meeting. When you are able to keep your team on track the entire meeting, time isn’t wasted and everyone remains 100-percent focused on the task at hand. You can also create trackable tasks and assign them to any team member you wish, which really improves task execution.” ~ John Morgan, Co-CEO of Stillwater Dwelling
11. Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy
“I discovered Office 365 when I was looking for a reliable collaboration tool for one of my eCommerce businesses. In my case, Office 365 offers the benefits of collaboration that are key to efficiency — and my business’s viability.
Businesses of all sizes need an easy way to join forces with employees, clients and other stakeholders on important issues, events and projects.
The Office 365 suite of tools offers an elegant solution.
Now when I update sale campaigns and start to plan promotions, those who need to know are informed and able to respond accordingly. A planning calendar accessible by all necessary parties has proven invaluable in making sure everyone is on the same page. And those are just a few examples of how my business has enjoyed the benefits of collaboration with Office 365.” ~ Judith Kallos, Founder of The IStudio
Collaboration tools for success
Using reliable and effective collaboration tools makes all the difference when it comes to managing remote teams. Even though you could be worlds apart, your work doesn’t have to be. Take the advice from the above entrepreneurs and pick and choose your favorite tools for success.