More and more agencies are moving to flexible work arrangements to attract the best talent and make it easier for their team members to work whenever and wherever they feel most creative. But this set up can be problematic for the agency and its clients if it doesn't have the right tools in place.
And with so many new tools to choose from for managing projects, streamlining communication, and making teams work better together, it can be confusing knowing what you need to facilitate remote working, especially if you need to manage large-scale or complex projects as part of your role.
We've put together a list of some of our favorite tools that make managing and collaborating with a remote team easier. Here are a few to try out to make your team more efficient outside of the office.
10 Useful Apps to Make Remote Work Work
Tools to Stay Connected
One of the main challenges of working remotely is staying connected -- to clients, your team, and any other stakeholders involved in a project. Some of my favorite tools to enable this are:
This “Facebook for business” messaging service is an easy way to message large groups and quickly post team updates. It gets a bit clunky between individuals, so use it primarily for one-to-many communications.
The cool new kid on the block, Slack’s already achieved a devout following. There's a ton of integrations to make it easier to streamline your project management and communications. Use it to brainstorm, collaborate, share files, and provide everyone with a transparent view of everything that’s going on.
3) Google Hangouts
I love the simplicity of hangouts. We use them extensively at Xero, for everything from large business meetings to individual and group chats.
Tools to Work Together Better
Collaborating across remote teams used be a pain until we were blessed with apps that suddenly made the entire process so much easier. Try these tools:
I used to work at an agency with a hugely inefficient paper-based system, so when I found Trello, it immediately won me over. It's a great top-line project management tool and to-do list tool that you can use to visualize projects and assigned tasks. You can customize the cards as appropriate (e.g., by status of completion: “in progress”, “ready to start,” and “done”). Say goodbye to long and confusing email chains.
Creatives, this one’s for you! If you prefer working visually, this tool lets you create moodboards and add project notes so there's never any miscommunication about what style and approach to take on a client's project.
Tools to Manage Your Projects
WorkflowMax is an integrated project management software, that gives you complete visibility of jobs from end to end. There's also an iPhone app that lets you manage jobs easily, get on top of time tracking at the touch of a button, view and complete tasks, and tick off milestones as you meet them. The best part? All your information syncs automatically with the desktop app so your team can see updates in real-time. (Disclosure: WorkflowMax is a HubSpot integration partner.)
7) Google Drive
With Google Drive, you can share and upload files, collaborate on documents, and “star” the important folders or files you need quick access to.
Tools to Get Inspired
If you can’t bounce ideas off your team in another part of the world (they’re hitting the bed as you’re waking up) or if you have a particularly long commute and need some mental stimulation, check out the following apps:
This tool is an easy-to-use RSS reader to subscribe to all your favorite blogs, publications, and websites. Use it to declutter your inbox so only the most important emails take your attention away from your work.
Struggling to find the perfect playlist? Don’t chuck those headphones out in frustration just yet. Download the latest business and marketing books to learn best practices and stay ahead of new trends. Your clients will thank you!
I don’t know about you, but my browser's Bookmarks is an endless list of folders upon sub-folders, which despite my best efforts to label appropriately, end up never being used. Thanks to Pocket, however, I can easily save and revisit articles, videos, and webpages. It works with a range of browsers and integrates with more than 1,500 apps, and you can tag saved content or group similar items so you can keep things organized.
What tools do you use when working remotely? Let us know in the comments below!