2020 is nearing its end and we’ve seen some major improvements in the work from home culture since its inception in March. The technology is not fairly new but even minor league businesses adopted one or other remote team collaboration software to enable their employees and pre-built teams to have a shared connectivity medium for work. The usage of remote team collaboration software blew up significantly than before and is now the most common or the only dominant source of office collaboration in the digital space.
Bringing together all the employees on a platform is easy, just create a workspace, send an invite link and you are all set to manage and monitor the workflow of the business. But it is not as easy as it sounds as a lot of effort has to be put into scout the best remote team collaboration software that is easy to understand and work on by all the employees, without facing any hindrance. Since the word remote is stressed on the software must include robust communication channels to allow easy cross talks from managers to employees and vice versa.
What is remote team collaboration software?
Remote team collaboration software. The name is pretty suggestive of what it does. It brings all the participants of a task force on a single digital working platform that can be accessed remotely by each of them via a computer or laptop, with relevant hardware requirements. The primary feature of a remote team collaboration software is to ensure seamless, unobstructed pathways of communication that ensures complete privacy and provides no room for error. It can be through a variety of mediums text, call, video call, conference calls, etc.
This medium of communication is not enough to handle the business operations as a lot of information sharing in form of documents, images, audio, video is required to fulfill the project’s requirements. That is why only a portal for communication will not suffice. It needs to be able to handle the easy sharing of data and ensure its integrity right from the start of the share until it reaches the consumer. This aspect is quintessential in business operations as the project is only briefed to the members until it is finally ready for an audience. Till that every information be it benign or extremely crucial must remain accessible to the team manager and the members only. All this, along with the 24/7 availability of the software as members may hail from different locations and time zones and work in different shifts in a day.
What aspects does a remote team collaboration software must have?
Small and medium-sized businesses do not generate a huge chunk of data in a matter of a few weeks. But as the workflow becomes fluid and the projects become complex the remote team collaboration software must be scalable so that it can dynamically adapt to the unforeseen changes in the size of the data generated between communication, file sharing, log generation, and much more. Enterprise-grade remote team collaboration software must have the option to handle the complexity that is associated with managing a large business and must be prepared for the same.
The remote team collaboration software must be accessible by different modes of technology that must include all the popular operating systems of both computers and mobile devices. This ensures prompt access to any notification as well as participation in virtual conferences and seminars with ease. The software must not be region-blocked in any country if you have a diversely integrated team from different continents and countries so that all members are on board once you choose any one of them.
The remote team collaboration software is mostly based on cloud infrastructure now. They are much more reliable than ever with multiple redundant backups in different geolocations that ensure online availability round the clock. Even if one location fails or it is temporarily unavailable you can still access all your project data and iterations done to it with ease. But it should be confirmed before making a purchase.
The remote team collaboration software varies according to the pricing and offers limited member size as per the plan structure offered by them. So the user size can vary from a small to medium-sized business that may have less than or up to 100 employees max. Some teams can even be below 50 or 30 in number. So, choosing a plan by confirming the member size is necessary before opting for a software.
The remote team collaboration software must have a centralized database that can be accessed as per the permissions appointed by the managing authority. Centralized database’s importance can vary along with different industries such as for example an IT team which is building software requires frequent access to published modules that can be used for reference as well as knowing what the other team member did on the projects. Having a centralized database limits the unnecessary piling up of data in form of text messages, repetitive upload of documents, and acts as a sole destination for all the project-related data.
The virtual conferences require a lot of patience as well as can generate a lot of confusion if not executed properly. The remote team collaboration software must have a video conferencing module that can facilitate easy access to desired members via join links, enable or disable voice inputs, log the active time spent on the meeting as well as enable comments or voice inputs if required by the meeting manager.
The remote team collaboration software cannot function without an active scheduler module that helps to plan every meeting and appointment in advance. This minimizes the commotion and gives ample time for each member to communicate with the managers about the project. The appointments ensure that a lot less time is spent in prepping for the appointment and more focus is on the persisting tasks at hand. Since the appointments are virtual and can be done remotely the time spent in transit is also utilizable by the professional.
Many remote team collaboration software offer free services (trial and long-time) with restrictions on the storage size, services, and member size. But checking out a free plan gets you hands-on experience of what the software is capable of and if it does contain the necessary functionalities that your business requires currently. A paid version brings in more enhancements, useful API’s and tools, as well as a reliable service round the clock.
You have to understand that remote team collaboration software can be a one in all or you may have to opt for a combination of services in order to function properly. What’s important is that the software must have tool integration that helps you combine services and use them to their full potential. Different businesses have different priorities some may be in search of robust communication software while others may be interested in a centralized file-sharing repository software. Some may require active time tracking for performance evaluation while others may want an easy mode of task delegation and planning. All that is solely dependent upon the type of industry.
The Best Remote Team Collaboration Software 2021 are as follows-
Wrike is a full-fledged remote team collaboration software that includes task management and active time tracking features to provide a 360-degree view of every task happening inside a project and that too in a very visual way. Wrike tries to stay away from confusing statistics and has an inbuilt tool to analyze data as per different metrics. It is a useful trait for an enterprise-level business that have to take performance and time into consideration in order to continue with a project.
You can have single or multiple projects running concurrently and can even compare the performance between them using the diagrammatic pie charts bar graphs that the application offers to its users. Wrike also pays attention to the assigned workload and measures the team member’s performance against the designated time period. This can help in the identification of members that are over-burdened and require some time to cool of in-order to maintain productivity and quality together.
Wrike Integrate is another feature that makes it a sound remote team collaboration software is the ability to integrate multiple apps and their data flow as per your requirements. This level of integration with pre-built pathways enables the user to connect multiple applications as per the project’s demand and bolster the information sharing process. It is also possible to include as many applications as you would like to work within a single project, a feature that is rarely found in most remote team collaboration software. It offers a free trial run if you want to see it in action and comes with an active 24/7 customer support service.
Slack is another remote team collaboration software that makes this list due to the abundance of features that the application has added over the course of its time. Slack serves as your digital headquarters from where you can easily manage multiple teams and projects using it. the first thing it does is allows the creation of channels of communication using which the messages can be grouped together that are related to a single cause. It also smoothens up the flow of data across the database as one channel is not bombarded with a ton of message that may not be even relevant to it. This data flooding is avoided using channels as the messages are directed to their relevant channel by the sender so that the team assigned to it can work on the problems.
Slack makes communication easier by removing using these channels where members can post a query or an update regarding the project. They can share documents, videos and can stay updated with what other members are posting about the project. It is different from a traditional messaging system as only selective employees or members can contact you and thus making the communication more coherent. These channel managers can further relay the information to top-tier authorities about the project ongoing and sites of improvement.
Slack is a remote software based on a cloud platform and supports the integration of over 2200 plus application that may or may not concern you but includes the most popular ones including google drive, office 365, etc. Voice calling and video calling is a feature too and the app now supports a free trial plan.
3. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams makes collaboration effortless by providing every functionality that you need to remotely work on the project while maintaining seamless contact with your team regardless of the geolocation you are residing in. The app is backed by the industry’s leading software giant and provides a robust server availability round the clock so that no day goes wasted. A quick dive into the application makes you feel how easy is to virtually work together without any confusion or discrepancies with workflow management and multiple application integration that includes all the Microsoft applications.
Microsoft Teams brings in the most common communication features such as chat, call, and video conferencing. Using the meet option you can switch from a video conference to a full-team meeting in a second and can clear the air between a group of members, or even a group of teams. The server reliability is what pushes most businesses towards Microsoft Teams with the level of functionality it offers with a lucid interface. The security aspect guarantees complete privacy whether you are communicating with a team member or teams in general.
The application also supplements screen sharing and can help you become the perfect mentor to the team members by guiding them through the actual process that they have to replicate. Screen sharing also eliminates any chance of misinterpretation of how the task needs to be performed. Several customization features such as different background and themes that do not divert your focus while maintaining a perfect color scheme. It offers file-sharing of different formats along with permissions to allow the intended user to view and modify it. Microsoft teams currently offer a free trial so that you can test it before investing a huge sum in it.
Want to keep everything and every employee in check with precision monitoring to generate relevant performance metrics? Then Hubstaff is your best choice. The application was initially designed to manage the time put in by the employees and freelancers and has evolved much from its base edition. The latest version enables time tracking the effort and logging in time of the employees and the actual amount of time invested in the completion of the project. Not just the project but every single task that you allot to a member or employee can be time tracked and logged for performance reviews. a very useful tool if your work is under remote management and you want every employee to put in the work they are chosen for.
It sounds very authoritative but isn’t as slacking off during work hours is very common when no one is monitoring your efforts. Unlike physical offices, virtual offices need Hubsatff to continuously monitor the overall time and improve productivity in the process. Hubstaff offers staff scheduling features to keep the shifts assigned according to the orders and log the attendance of the concerned employees when they start working on the project. Once the schedule is in place you can easily view the attendance percentages, plan shifts, and eradicate any miscommunication of work timings among the employees.
Other quirks of Hubstaff include geo-tracking the presence of the employees on-site, generate automatic timesheets about each member, prompt report generation based on productivity monitoring, and even an integrated payroll system to keep payments timely as per the hours put in. All these features make Hubstaff a great time tracking and performance measuring tool in the remote work environment. It currently offers a fourteen day free trail and three different pricing tiers based upon team size.
Zoom is a widely used video-conferencing application that gained traction in early 2017 and has seen a high-rise so far. The application was primarily focused on video conferencing, conducting meetings, and chats. But recent security exploits raised some questions about the privacy issues pertaining to the platform. Nevertheless, the application is still the dominant video conferencing application due to its capacity to connect a large number of people via video conferencing and offer minimal lag in the process.
Zoom is available across all platforms making it very easy to hop into a meeting if you currently aren’t on the system. It is the perfect alternative for home employees and freelancers to have a healthy conversation about the project and the changes needed to be done to it. The newer security features include invitation links, waiting rooms, and passcode to offer utmost privacy to the managers as well as the participating employees.
The webinar feature offers great customizability options for the attendees that can allow 100 interactions at a time. The maximum number of attendees is 10,000, a number that few organizations seldom require. The application offers complete control over the participants with continuous monitoring of active participants and granting permissions for interactions with the manager conducting the meeting. Zoom rooms is another area of investment by the company that manufactures devices that can be used to create personal conference rooms and then connect with the other teams on a single conference. The idea is practical and needs the device to join the zoom rooms feature. It is a perfect solution for an enterprise-grade system that wants to brief a huge amount of staff spread across different geolocation and record their input in one go. Zoom has made the remote work possible with crystal clear conversations on how to get the task done.
Wrike is a flexible solution for both small/medium as well as large scale enterprises to manage a remote team collaboration with minimal possible effort. Slack is equally good and offers a large number of apps integration with their software. For secure and seamless communication Zoom, as of now, is a great alternative although few of these apps support in-app communication. Hubstaff is excellent for monitoring productivity and effective time tracking to find the scope of improvement.