The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our work environment forever. It has shown the importance of flexible and remote working, regardless of whether you own a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, or a major corporation.
A Gartner, Inc. survey reveals that nearly half (47%) of employers intend to allow employees to work remotely full-time. If fully remote working is not feasible, they’re exploring the option of hybrid teams.
In this changing workplace, as an employer, you must tweak your team management strategy to mentor staff working on-site and working remotely.
This guide will discuss seven remote team management tools to improve collaboration and productivity while analyzing their highlight features, pros, and cons.
Let’s dive in!
Top remote team management tools
1. Time Doctor
Many businesses choose Time Doctor—a cloud-based time tracking and management platform to monitor their productivity. Time Doctor has been empowering more than 140,000 companies globally.
With desktop, web, and mobile components, the platform helps freelancers and businesses analyze their working habits to determine where time is being spent. It’s suitable for freelancers, enterprise companies, technology providers, agencies, business process outsourcing, and hybrid workplaces.
- Time tracking & employee monitoring. You can track how much time you and your employees spend working at the computer vs. away and how long your breaks last. Time Doctor summarizes the time spent on each task, project, and client.
- Online timesheets & payroll. You can quickly review and approve timesheets while paying employees based on fixed salaries or hours worked.
- Project management & budgeting. It’s simple to create projects, assign tasks, and review progress—all in one spot. Admins can set and change permanent tasks, while users can add, turn on, or turn these off if necessary.
- Productivity measuring & summary reports. With daily and weekly summary reports, you can view screenshots of real-time progress, who’s working on which task, and how they’re spending their workday. These insights let you identify improvement areas and increase productivity instantly.
- Offline time tracking. Even if you’re working offline, Time Doctor will continue to track your progress. Once you’re back online, the data will sync to your account.
- Integrations & APIs. Time Doctor integrates well with leading accounting and project management tools like Quickbooks, Slack, Asana, GitHub, and Salesforce. The API (Application Programming Interface) lets your software app interact directly with Time Doctor.
- Easy to use
- Accurate and comprehensive tracking capabilities
- Numerous customization options
- Detailed and valuable reporting
- Secure and private data protection
- Quite easy-to-reach customer support
- Initial learning cure to optimize your tasks and projects
- Idle time alerts can be distracting
As a cloud-based work management platform, monday.com helps enterprises automate their workflows and manage their tasks, projects, and resources in one place. You can use this platform for any workflow type, like project management, human resource management, customer relationship management (CRM), or software development.
monday.com was established in 2012 to make work collaboration much easier for teams. Since then, the company has expanded rapidly, empowered more than 152,000 paying customers, and made its IPO (Initial Public Offering) in 2021.
- Project management features. The platform offers project management features to help you plan, track, and execute your projects. Some of them include project planning, project tracking, project reporting, and project templates.
- CRM features. monday.com’s CRM features help track your leads and customers, manage your sales pipeline, and close more deals. They include lead management, contact management, deal management, reporting and analytics, and development tools. The platform also offers many templates for different sales and CRM workflows. You can use them to create your sales pipeline boards or build one from scratch.
- Content marketing features. With content marketing features, you can plan, track, and execute your content marketing strategies effectively. Some of them include content planning, content creation, and content curation.
- Reliable project organization and management
- Robust tracking and communication features
- Highly customizable
- Modern, intuitive, and visual dashboard
- Forever free plan for up to two seats
- Confusing pricing plans due to per-seat (user) pricing
- Limited mobile app features
- Limited integrations
One of the biggest struggles of remote working is ineffective communication. It’s straightforward for you and your employees to work together in the shared physical space of an office. However, working from home makes things more challenging, especially when your team members are in different time zones.
As one of the most important remote team management tools, Slack is able to solve this problem. Slack provides an always-on digital communal space for you to chat instantly, exchange, and share thoughts and ideas. You can create various channels for different subjects, thus keeping all your conversations easy to search for.
- Conversation channels. Channels are Slack’s signature feature, serving as a dedicated space where team members talk about a specific project or topic. In each channel, messages are organized into threads where participants share files, mention each other, and use emojis to make conversations more engaging. Public channels are open for everyone at the company to join, while private ones are only for those invited.
- Team collaboration. Slack offers collaboration tools to unite team members around everyday tasks and projects. For instance, Slack Huddles are lightweight audio calls that allow you and your team members to talk to each other in real-time. Meanwhile, you can create short audio, video, and screen recordings with Slack Clips.
- Workflow builder. Slack allows users to build custom workflows for routine tasks, such as onboarding new members, collecting time-off requests, updating their status, and gathering feedback.
- Slack Connect. You can work and collaborate with customers, external partners, and vendors using Slack Connect. It helps replace long email threads by moving conversations into channels, enabling you to work quickly and securely. You can discuss work, book meetings, and share files within a shared space using channels or direct messages to communicate.
- Integrations. Slack offers 2,500+ app integrations, including popular software like Google Drive, Zoom, and Salesforce. In addition, Slack lets you build custom apps that integrate with your solutions, with or without code.
- Simplified and intuitive user interface
- Robust team collaboration tools
- Multiple customization options
- Impressive integrations
- Free plan with basic team collaboration capabilities
- Pricier annual subscription fees than similar competitors
- Limited audio and video conferencing capacity
- A bit hard to keep track of fast-paced communications
Fyle is a global expense management platform with happy customers across 83 countries. It’s founded to end your expense management and reporting worries—no matter your industry, business size, or specific needs.
With Fyle, you can track and submit business expenses from apps like G Suite, Slack, and Office 365 with a click. The platform also runs automatic policy checks and helps you fix any errors, thus shortening reimbursement cycles from months to several days.
- Expense tracking. Fyle can capture expenses you might need and analyze how they move in your business. Its split expense feature lets you get reports on cost centers, departments, or expense categories. Besides, Fyle has a dedicated property for tracking billables, so you will keep them when it’s time to invoice clients.
- Corporate cards. Unlike other expense trackers that offer in-house cards to users, Fyle accepts any card program you have and tracks all card expenses. You can connect with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Bank of America, Diner’s Club, Chase, and many more.
- Approvals and compliance. When employees don’t follow expense rules, you can count on Fyle to keep those irregularities filtered and checked. It’s simple to set rules so specific expenses beyond limits can’t go through the approval process. Furthermore, Fyle lets you set policies to prevent employees from using corporate cards for nonbusiness-related purposes.
- Budget management. Fyle’s dashboard of actual-to-budget comparison lets you see if you’re still within or beyond budget. You don’t need to check the dashboard frequently because the platform has alerts that will prompt you when you’re nearing the red line.
- Integrations. Fyle integrates well with many accounting and productivity software, such as Quickbooks, Sage, NetSuite, G Suite, Slack, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
- Seamless expense tracking for staff and automated compliance for employers
- Direct transaction feeds for Visa cards
- Multiple integrations with prominent accounting software
- Unlimited receipt storage
- Easy to connect with different card programs
- The initial learning curve for someone new to expense management
- Limited features in the Standard plan
It’s difficult to overstate how big an impact Zoom has had on the global workforce during the pandemic. Even though many people may never have given this web conferencing tool a single thought, Zoom has become a lifesaver for many enterprises with employees remote working in the aftermath of forced shutdowns.
While it’s true that the platform witnessed its usage skyrocket during the last few years, Zoom has always been on an upward trajectory. It ultimately owes success to a robust platform that offers excellent webinar and video conferencing tools and other top-quality services.
- Zoom whiteboard. The Zoom Whiteboard has new features, such as image dragging and dropping, sticky notes, and advanced connectors and shapes. It also offers intuitive sharing controls and incorporates existing workflows to empower teams to share ideas and collaborate. Whiteboards automatically save after virtual meetings.
- Automated captions. Zoom offers various options for creating closed captions in webinars and virtual meetings, including manual captioning, Zoom’s live transcription, or a third-party closed captioning service. Supported languages include Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and Italian. While the host determines which caption language to use during the live session, participants can enable captions and choose their preferred language.
- Screen sharing. You can share different content from your screen in a webinar or virtual meeting, even while your video feed is on. All attendees can share their screens; however, the host controls the participant’s ability to use screen sharing.
- Zoom chat. The instant messaging feature helps streamline communications between your team members and external users. You can start a one-on-one conversation or create a private or public channel based on specific teams, topics, or projects. Within chat channels or individual message threads, you can send emojis, share files, or mention other members to get attention.
- Desktop Client. This feature lets users schedule and start video meetings directly from the Zoom app. It shows all the details of your upcoming meetings, so you don’t miss out on your appointments.
- Unlimited group and one-to-one meetings
- Intuitive and modern-looking user interface
- Robust entry-level features, such as virtual background and screen sharing
- Free to host up to 100 participants
- Extensive integrations
- No download is required to join meetings
- Limited language options for real-time captions
- Unable to delete inappropriate comments caused by trolls
- Restrictive time limits for the free plan
- Limited mobile app features
- Spotty history with security
TeamDesk is a low-code platform for creating online databases. You can build a one-of-a-kind web database app to organize and store information in your daily job while providing your team with an easily accessible data source.
TeamDesk caters to businesses of all sizes around the world. Small businesses, large enterprises, and nonprofits can build their online database according to unique needs. Essentially, TeamDesk gives unlimited data storage and streamlines custom database creation with zero technical knowledge required.
- Online forms. The platform supports adding, viewing, and editing records through forms. This feature allows managing form behavior and adjusting layouts depending on field values.
- Database template library. You can start building your online database by choosing from ready-to-use templates or designing from the ground up. TeamDesk offers templates for diverse industries, such as education, health care, and professional services.
- Records and storage space. You only need to pay a flat rate to use unlimited storage space and records. TeamDesk’s back-end database can process massive data volumes because Microsoft SQL Server powers it. Some customers use databases containing as many as ten million records.
- Role-based user access. You can share your database with others and assign their access to any information part. You can manage their permissions to perform any action by appointing appropriate roles to members.
- Little or no technical skills. TeamDesk operates in the cloud on secure servers, so you don’t need to mess with anything technical. It runs on a PC, Mac, iPad/iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone through web browsers.
- Easy to save, synchronize, and distribute data in real-time
- Unlimited records and storage space
- High availability of 99.8%
- Low-code/no-code development
- Various ready-to-use templates
- Fully customizable to your business needs
- Straightforward pricing scheme and stable rates
- Limited third-party integrations
- A bit challenging to migrate from the cloud
signNow is an electronic signature platform that helps businesses accelerate processes involving signing and filling up paper forms. Whether you want to occasionally sign a PDF or require a robust solution that allows your clients to sign electronically, signNow can help you with that.
The platform has garnered many awards for its simple and mobile-friendly interface. Thanks to its extensive integration and focused features, it’s a reliable option for every business.
- Document management. signNow makes it easy to create and send documents for signatures and store them securely in the cloud. You can import documents from external sources, such as Microsoft Word, or create new ones within the app. Besides, you can configure email reminders for each document, along with an expiration date.
- Team collaboration. You and your team members can collaborate on specific documents on signNow. Create a shared folder for team members so they don’t need to send files back and forth each time something needs to be signed.
- Automation. signNow lets you create unlimited workflows for all of your documents. You can use automated workflows to build forms, collect signatures, and accept payments. For instance, suppose you have an invoice team; you can ensure invoices and all related documents are automatically sent to them using automated workflows.
- Branding. You can add your business or individual logo to every document your sign. This feature makes your docs look professional and works as an advertising form.
- Integrations. The platform boasts a decent number of integrations to help pool data sources into one place. Some include Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Google Sheets, HubSpot, and Dropbox.
- User-friendly interface
- Able to collect an endless number of signatures
- Numerous templates of documents
- Numerous integrations
- Strong security features
- Limited customer support
- Unable to add comments or other materials
How to choose the best remote team management tool
Here are the crucial points to consider when picking a remote team management tool for your company.
Usability & compatibility
No matter how professional the remote team management tool is, it becomes all for naught if you and your team members are not inclined to use it. Ensure the tool is user-friendly, simple to learn, and easy to connect with just a few clicks.
Moreover, you should pay attention to devise compatibility. Let’s say you’re excited to use your newly purchased remote tool. However, your entire operation halts because half of your team can’t install the app. It turns out the software only works on Apple devices.
Frustrating, right? And not to mention a complete waste of time and money.
Security & privacy
What should a secure and private remote team management tool look like?
- Customers trust the tool from different parts of the world and various countries.
- It utilizes reliable networks of geographically-distributed servers that ensure the connection between you and clients is stable and secure.
- It provides convincing information regarding its security features and adherence to the latest industry standards.
Technical & customer support
When comparing different tools, look into the types of support channels the provider offers. Here are some of the most familiar types:
- Community forum – non-critical questions and issues.
- Chat – immediate responses.
- Phone – time-sensitive concerns that require complicated solutions.
- Email – specific questions or minor after-sales problems.
- Ticket – upgrades, escalations, and other issues that need tracking.
- On-site support – assistance in hardware configuration, installation, and related business needs.
Best practices to maximize these tools
The best practices below will help you make the most of remote team management tools.
Set expectations beforehand
First and foremost, you should explain all the norms regarding working hours, mode of communication, office attendance, and everything else to your team members. Lesser the ambiguity, the better would be your team coordination.
Create a common information source
It’s always best to keep all vital files, resources, and tools in one easily accessible place. It’ll reduce mix-ups while helping hybrid team members access the same information.
Train your employees to use tools
Before empowering your team members with remote tools, you should thoroughly assess current employee skill sets. This assessment will help you understand where they’re lagging. Then, you can strategize and plan training programs accordingly.
Consider organizing team-learning programs and group video conferencing sessions to motivate your employees to learn more. This way ensures that their overall training experience becomes more fun. In addition, remember to enable self-paced learning, which helps employees to learn wherever and whenever they want to.
Collect your employee feedback and act on them
Knowing your employees’ views and opinions about remote tools is essential. Conduct surveys or one-on-one interviews to collect comprehensive feedback on the pros and cons of these tools.
Gather the data and look for common patterns. For example, most of your team members may find the file storage capacity is limited. Then, it would be best if you upgraded to a higher pricing plan or switched to another remote tool.
Focus on outcomes rather than output
Focus more on the results than controlling every process. If you empower your team members with the right tools and strategies, on-site or remote, they’ll deliver results.
So, that’s it! We’ve compiled seven remote team management tools to boost your productivity and collaboration.
Each business is unique, so it’s hard to say which tool is the best in your case. However, from our experience, it’s best to store as much of the data or information in one single place, especially when your team members are working in different locations.
Make sure you look beyond the first software you come across. Take advantage of free trials to find the best tools to help you and your team reach goals efficiently and effectively.