Fostering communication among remote workers is often easier said than done. A study from Axios on the 2023 State of Workplace Comms showed that only 46% of employees feel they’re getting the communication they need from leaders to do their job well – and these employees also say they can’t quickly find the goals, directives, and insights they need.
Digital management tools are the best solution to bring your team together. Social intranets, productivity tools, and video conferencing solutions provide the features you need to improve communication among remote employees – and some platforms combine all three!
But which does your organization need? Below, we’ll explore the top five tools you need for better remote team management.
1. Employee communication/experience platform
Employee communication platforms use many remote work tools to cater to both office-based and frontline teams. They often have both a mobile app and a desktop app, they have two-way comms features such as chat, and the best ones combine internal communications, employee engagement tools, and intranet-like features that become a central hub for employees no matter where they work from.
Workvivo is the best platform on the market for virtual team management. This all-in-one platform has everything you need to reach and engage frontline teams – like top-down and two-way messaging, employee recognition features, culture amplification tools, an intuitive mobile app, and much more.
Simpplr is another example of an employee communication platform. This software is designed mainly for tech businesses that want a top-down approach to communication. It uses a bulletin board style of communication to help you highlight your most important updates to your teams.
Workplace is another employee communication platform. It’s like Facebook for work. It combines chat, video, groups, and emoji reactions to help your team communicate with each other.
2. Team messaging platform
Team messaging platforms or mobile apps help employees stay connected without having to check their email. Instant messaging apps are easy and intuitive to use, and with push notifications and the ability to categorize messages, they’re often able to boost productivity and organization in a way that email can’t. Response times are quicker, and teams also appreciate the real-time factor.
Widely used by companies around the world, Slack provides a faster way to communicate with your team. Create different channels for different teams, departments, or simply different topics. Outside of messaging, you can also use audio and video calls. And Slack is easy to search, letting users access shared knowledge.
Use Microsoft Teams for video conferencing, meetings, calling, and instant messaging among your employees. The messaging features on Teams include file sharing, one-on-one chats with customized notifications, and even a ‘chat with self’ functionality where you can draft a message or store important notes or files to access and share at a later time.
Chanty’s user-friendly team collaboration tool helps you get more work done with secure unlimited messaging that’s free forever. The simple user interface makes it easy to get started. A feature called Teambook serves as a single hub for content like tasks, conversations, and pinned messages. You also have quick access to your entire message history.
3. Video conferencing tool
The ability to easily hop on a video call and see each other face-to-face is an absolute must for team communication. Video conferencing improves communication and collaboration, strengthening employee relationships as they’re able to talk in a format that text messaging doesn’t provide.
A platform with video conferencing capabilities will often include an option to hold live events, too, helping further connection in real time.
Most employees are familiar with Zoom, a popular video conferencing platform. Start with a basic video meeting, or use the platform’s more sophisticated features like Whiteboard (great for remote brainstorming and collaboration) or Connected Conference Rooms. Zoom Events also lets you host webinars or single-session events.
As part of Google Workspace, Google Meet provides secure video meetings for teams and businesses. This enterprise-grade video conferencing is highly secure, and it’s easy to set up a meeting and share a link right from an email invitation. Live captions, low-light mode, and noise cancellation help with accessibility and productivity.
Another video conferencing platform is Webex by Cisco, an enterprise platform designed to bring a hybrid workforce together. Calls, meetings, messaging, webinars, event management, polling, and more are included in one unified platform. In addition to real-time video meetings, use video messaging to record and share short videos of you or your screen.
4. Project and task management tool
Keep everyone on the same page with a project management software or task management solution. This type of software makes it easy to forecast availability and plan out your next project. Assign tasks, collaborate on each one, and then approve the final iteration – all from a remote office.
ClickUp’s customizable views and templates make planning a breeze no matter how you like to organize your work. Break down projects of any size into tasks and use the dashboard to visualize progress. Other features include Docs, Goals, and Whiteboards.
Trello uses a kanban-board-style view to help your team stay organized. Add files, checklists, or automation to help manage a project, workflow, or task tracking. Team members can communicate with each other directly on task cards.
Asana helps remote teams improve productivity and collaboration. Clearly assign tasks, and break them up into subtasks for easy organization, group tasks together to match your workflow stages, and keep everyone on track with due dates.
5. File sharing and knowledge base tools
Improve productivity by providing employees with all of the information and resources they need to do their job in one centralized location.
A remote work software with a knowledge base eliminates the need for people to spend long minutes or hours searching through their computers for the information they’re looking for. Instead, everything is in the same place, facilitating quick and efficient work.
Guru serves as a wiki, intranet, and knowledge management software that works well for remote teams. Create knowledge automatically by letting Guru’s AI features summarize information, turning it into a company resource. Share verified information across teams for greater visibility. Or let Guru take over, identifying things like company experts or internal FAQs.
Self-described as “your connected workspace for wiki, docs, and projects,” Notion keeps all your work in one place, helps you communicate efficiently with next-generation docs, and includes project management. It does take some time and effort to set up your customized Notion on the front end. But once you’re up and running, your employees can access everything with ease.
This remote-friendly team workspace provides an organized, visually engaging way to centralize information. Use Confluence to create a single source of truth and walk your employees through the project process. What’s more, you can create plans with text, tables, images, timelines, and code.
Tips for managing remote teams successfully
Getting the right tools in place to support your remote team is important. But it’s only half of the battle. You also need to know how to use these tools, supporting your team as they collaborate on projects together. Follow these tips to better manage your remote team.
Set clear expectations
Make everyone’s life easier by setting clear expectations around all things work – the deliverables of a project, when it needs to get done, and how the work should happen. A social intranet is a great way to communicate these expectations. Upload your guidelines to your wiki or knowledge base so employees can access them at any time.
Foster open communication
Encourage your team to take advantage of the communication methods available to them – like instant messaging, video conferencing, or whatever else works for them – to communicate on a regular basis.
Make sure you’re communicating frequently, too! The best way to set up a culture of communication is to model transparent and honest communication yourself.
Establish a communication protocol
Outline protocols for communication – such as how often to communicate or what method to use to communicate about a certain issue. You can also define protocols for certain communication tools. Then give everyone on the team access to these expectations.
Have regular check-ins and team meetings
Your need to devote time to team meeting on a regular basis. Depending on your company size, industry, and goals, a daily stand-up might not be necessary. But make sure different teams and departments are meeting at some regular cadence throughout each week or month.
Recognize and celebrate achievements
Employee recognition goes a long way in helping your employees feel more satisfied and engaged with their work experience. But if part or all of your team is remote, you’ll need to be more intentional about saying thank you for a job well done. Consider an internal social platform shout-out, providing gift cards for lunch on you, or planning a fun virtual event for the team.
Skillfully guide your remote team with Workvivo
Managing distributed teams and their remote work can be a challenge. But with the right tools in place, you can streamline communication for remote team members and freelancers alike, making sure that anyone and everyone who works with your company can feel like they’re part of a strong work environment.
Improve your remote collaboration with Workvivo. This employee communication platform can help with employee communication via personalized activity feeds, podcasts, live streams, articles, social posts and comments, and more. Request a free demo today to get started!