With the emergence of a global pandemic this year, businesses were forced to choose between temporarily closing their doors and adapting to a remote work style. For many small businesses, this came as a big adjustment to their current operations, and the need to adopt new strategies and technologies became increasingly more apparent.
Collaboration, accountability and engagement tools are becoming fundamental to the success of small businesses as the rate of remote employees continues to increase. Many of these tools have even been adapted to fit the growing needs of today’s workforce.
As a small business owner, however, it can be difficult to finance the various tools and technologies that are required to operate a business at maximum efficiency. By working the proper tools and technology into your budget, you can better protect your business and ensure a smooth and affordable pivot to a remote work environment. Leaning on the resources available to you — whether that means taking out a small business loan or home equity loan, or cutting back on other business expenses — can increase your liquidity to assist you in financing vital tools you may need in order to remain competitive.
Though these expenses may seem like a large undertaking, they will shortly begin to prove their value post-implementation. Having these tools accessible for all employees to utilize will help ensure both their success and the success of your small business as you navigate the new territory of developing a successful remote team.
Increasing the ability of your employees to collaborate effectively among one another helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and project deadlines are being met. There are several tools available in the market that offer both free and paid versions of their software. These tools can help teams remain in contact with one another, even when they may be spread around the city or country. Here are a few examples of collaboration tools that your small business can use to keep communication going:
- Slack – Used as a communication tool, Slack is designed to help teams communicate across a virtual chat platform. You can create private and public channels to make communication easier, or you can send direct messages to individual team members. This tool also has the ability to integrate with many other tools that your team may already be using.
- Zoom – Zoom is a videoconferencing technology that allows you to host video calls with your team throughout the day. It is easy to use and provides team members with the ability to have face-to-face interactions. Often, messages can be perceived wrong when sent through a message or email. Hopping onto a video call provides team members with the ability to present their screen, discuss ideas and see their colleagues’ facial expressions.
- Google Drive – This tool allows teams to work together on the same documents, presentations or spreadsheets. With the ability to have all team members connected to the same document, the process of virtual collaboration is simplified and allows for a more convenient sharing of information.
- Troop Messenger – Helps office teams to communicate and collaborate over a rich interface and feature-stack. Most of the work conversations happen across groups. Here is where everyone gets access to the project updates and files shared. Work teams can take their inter-office communication to the next level with Troop Messenger’s group audio-video calling facility and remote screen sharing with controlling. Also, the application admin has full control over the application users, for instance, wherein he/she can delete the entire chat history of the groups in just one go!
It’s important to ensure that all team members are held accountable for their work in order to meet customer deadlines and expectations. With the assistance of accountability tools, the process of project management and time tracking becomes more efficient.
- Hive – This project management tool is used to submit tickets for projects and tasks that need to be completed. You can either assign them to an individual or an entire team and move them throughout the project as they reach each stage of completion. You can also integrate this software with other software and tools.
- Trello – Trello is an example of another project management tool that you can use to track progress and completion of individual projects. Team members are able to see the overall goal and each task that needs to be completed in order to meet that goal.
- Toggl – This tool was created for simple time tracking. It allows employees to track the amount of time they are spending on various tasks and for you to identify any areas where efficiencies are lacking.
Keeping your employees engaged when working remotely is a difficult task to manage. With the use of engagement tools, you can help ensure your employee’s productivity and satisfaction. Identifying the areas of engagement that your company needs support with can help you choose the option that is right for you.
- Bonusly – This is an employee recognition tool that helps managers and employees recognize each other for a task well done. When team members are rewarded, they can earn points, which can then be turned in for a reward of some value. This can be useful for employee recognition, which is an important factor in engagement and job satisfaction.
- Confluence – Another way to increase engagement is with Confluence, which works as a virtual board for employees and management to post notifications, company information, shoutouts, and watercooler notifications. Having a central location for accessing information of this type can be useful for engaging with company notifications and important news.
No matter which tools you choose to invest in, your team will be thankful for the ability to collaborate, remain accountable, and stay engaged with one another. As a business owner, these tools can help you develop successful remote employee skills that are necessary to work together as a cohesive organization.