Building a strong remote team takes more than just a powerful internet connection. Effective team management is an art, especially when the team is spread across borders and different time zones.
For example, some of the top challenges of most remote teams include:
But good news! There are various team collaboration tools, productivity tools, task management software, and status update tools to complete your team management software stack. Use these to add structure to the chaos. Get familiarized with the best practices for remote teams and follow them as much as you can. And of course, use a team management tool mentioned below to build systems and processes for maximum productivity and collaboration.
How can you keep up with your remote team, even if you’re not working in the same place or at the same time? Friday automates status updates, provides routines and check-ins, and helps teams feel connected while avoiding another meeting. Your team will have a solution that they love to use, while also integrating with your specific tech stack, including team communication, calendars, and project management tools.
Friday provides a structure to your team that layers on top of Slack, Teams, and other tools like Trello that you already use.
Work with your team on goal setting, and then connect your work via your preferred project management tool.
With the Planner, you can individually plan your day, see your meetings, and the top tasks that you need to complete.
“Friday gives us a way to ensure that we are aware when things aren’t going as well as we think. We can then action those messages, improving engagement and overall well-being in GoodCall." - Blake Whittman, CEO of GoodCall Recruiting
Toggl is a time tracking team management software that makes it incredibly easy for you to manage remote teams. You can plan projects, assign tasks, and collaborate effectively with your team across different time zones. It integrates easily with all your popular team management apps such as Slack, Asana, G-Suite, and more.
“We use Toggl to track time per customer for ongoing projects. We track actual hours spent on a project compared to the estimated hours for many reasons. This allows us to make intelligent decisions on future bids and allows us to demonstrate to clients how their hours are being spent and the value in those hours.” - TrustRadius
Clockify is a free team time management app with some wonderful features. It helps you track which team member is working on what, track their process and overall productivity level across weeks.
It has a simple interface where you can add unlimited users to unlimited projects. Assign tasks, set timelines, and let your team members track their progress and time spent on each task as they complete their assignments.
One of the key highlights of this tool is its dashboard--as a project lead, you can see the weekly breakdown of your team’s tasks, and know who worked on what and who was most active during the week.
Harvest is an online time tracking and team management software. It’s a great tool for remote teams to track time and generate professional looking invoices. You can use the tool to communicate with your clients and update time/data on your weekly timesheet in a seamless manner.
“It just works. Creating an offer, turning it into an invoice, setting everything up... it just works easy. In contrast with many software you can use for invoicing, Harvest doesn't try to do it all, it just keeps things simple. Probably too simple at times, but I never ran into any issues as we have straightforward product & services lines to add to our invoices.” - Capterra
Asana offers the best of both worlds. It gives you a kanban board and a listview depending on what you prefer. You can either assign your team members to cards (kanban board) or assign tasks (list projects). Whatever option you choose, you get features such as attachments, sub-tasks, labels, descriptions, and comments to add to your tasks
You can also mark certain tasks as milestones, define dependencies, and add deadlines to your tasks. To further enhance team communication, Asana offers a “Conversation” section where you can post updates and discuss the progress of the tasks. It also has a “Files” section that stores all your attachments that are added to the tasks for easy access.
“What I like the most, when it comes to team collaboration in Asana, is the task assignment function as we can simply assign tasks to each other and combined with Slack integration we immediately get notified about that in Slack as well. That way we really improved task tracking and execution. One thing that I find very useful is that Asana enables both list view and Kanban view, as later is especially appreciated by some of my coworkers.” - Capterra
Trello is one of the most popular and well-known free project management software solutions. It follows a “cards' ' system in a kanban board. Assign tasks or “cards” and then track their progress as they move their cards to appropriate sections. Trello allows you to set a step-by-step process of how a task is supposed to move from inception to completion.
Your team can create as many columns as they like and make the process as detailed as possible. For example, if you’re launching a marketing campaign, then you can add columns such as “Ideation,” “To-Do,” “Updates,” “Launch,” and “Completed.”
You can organize your projects and cards by adding tags, attaching files, and defining deadlines. Use it as a collaboration tool, and track your progress and also get a comprehensive view of how the work is progressing.
“Out of all the work-related applications that we've tried, Trello is one that has really stuck. We're huge Trello users and I love it's easy to use interface. The best thing about Trello is how it's structured - mainly incorporating boards and cards as the foundation of its system. The raw simplicity of creating cards and dragging them across boards to indicate progress is a brilliant way to organize work. On top of this, Trello comes with a giant array of add-ons and extra features (paid and free) that are designed to help users with various tasks.” - G2
ClickUp is one of the popular team management apps for productivity and project management. It helps remote teams manage workflow in a more efficient and collaborative manner. It offers all the important features to enhance productivity such as task management, project/time tracking, Gantt charts, collaboration, recurring tasks, and more.
“ClickUp is awesome! I don’t know how I worked without it before. If you have a small team, ClickUp is the best way to collaborate on large and small projects. The free version is excellent and offers everything you need. If you are a larger company, you may go to upgrade for additional features, but regardless you will be satisfied because it’s a life-saving software for my team.” - TrustRadius
Slack is a real-time mobile and desktop app that helps you streamline team communication. You can create private and public channels, send direct messages, files, plan and discuss your projects in a seamless way.
The app allows you to send notes, files, documents, videos, photos, feedback, audio messages, or anything you need to communicate effectively. You can pin important messages for easy access for all your colleagues.
“Our entire company is on Slack, which is great since we have employees located in different countries. I particularly like the sense of transparency it gives to our organization: We have a lot of different channels for business areas (marketing, engineering, etc) but they're all open for other employees to join and see what's being discussed.” - TrustRadius
Microsoft Teams is a great collaborative tool and team management software. It provides a true chat-based hub for seamless teamwork and collaboration. It’s a straightforward and user-friendly tool that requires little to no set. You can have a real-time conversation on chat or do a video call and screen sharing--all from one platform.
“Microsoft Teams has become our organization's global collaboration platform. It addresses the need to work together - esp now that everyone is socially distant. We use it for text, meeting management, and video calls on a daily basis. File sharing has some use as does the Planner function, but these are still shared with other applications as well.” - TrustRadius
The video conferencing app, Zoom, gained immense popularity in 2020 when the world was forced to adopt remote work. It’s one of the most widely-used web conferencing platforms and team management apps for remote companies. Zoom has an easy to use interface that supports audio/video calls, chats, and interactive features such as reactions.
“Zoom has been the most interactive and user-friendly video conferencing and chat software that I've used so far. Zoom is widely integrable with most calendar apps and makes it easy for you to schedule meetings with your clients and invite others to screen sharing sessions. We use it across the organization. We use Zoom internally for chat purposes, we love the client zoom app and all its functions.” - TrustRadius
Loom takes team communication and screen sharing a notch up. It turns non-productive meetings into productive hours. Loom users can record their screens, generate a custom URL for every video recording and share it with their team members for easy access.
“I love how easy it is to record help videos, troubleshooting videos, and demos with Loom! I also love that I can simply share the URL with someone, and they can watch the recording instantly. I know some other software requires you to login with your account or with a password in order to access the recording, but with Loom you do not need anything other than a browser to see the recording!” - G2
For a remote team, Twist is a great communication app. It helps you organize your conversations by storing important information, points, and comments in subjects within threads.\
Twist is more or less similar to Slack wherein it offers features such as creating specific channels, sharing files, photos, videos, audio messages, and more. The only difference between the two team management apps is Slack offers real-time communication, whereas, Twist offers a slower, more contextual approach to conversations.
This makes it easy for your remote team members to check-in on specific threads and gets up to speed on topics that are most relevant to them.
“Twist is based around threads which is great. It really helps keep conversations focused and on task. No other software has thread support quite like Twist. If your team is looking for the best thread support then Twist is a good choice.” - G2
15Five helps you establish consistent and standardized processes to support the development of your team. It gives team leaders the resources to manage their teams and stay on top of tasks and improves employee engagement.
“15Five is a great tool for interacting with remote team members. With not being able to interact on a daily basis, 15Five helps keep us in the know about the overall "temperature" of each employee. It's a great way to build community and boost morale, even from a distance. This provides a platform to raise concerns/challenges we are facing so we can connect to resolve any issue.” - TrustRadius
Notion is a knowledge management and collaboration app that not only helps you streamline your tasks and notes but also offers a unique office Wikis feature to detail your company’s values, cultures, and rules. It’s a great resource for new hires to understand company workflows, as well as notes on vacations, PTO, reimbursement, and Healthcare information. Read more on how to build a good company wiki.
Along with most other task and project management features such as a kanban board, adding files to your to-dos, and more, Notion also allows you to manage customer relationships through the app’s CRM features.
“Notion is absolutely brimming with useful features and is the Swiss army knife of note-taking applications. The overall software is so minimalistic and intuitive to use that I personally learnt it within a few days... I find that the simple and uncluttered UI helps clear my mind and focus on the current task. The data management is superb with extensive sorting, classification and customization features for the spreadsheet and database functions.” - Capterra
Tettra is an internal knowledge base team management software. It allows you to document all your important processes, policies, and procedures in one centralized place.
“Excellent, fast customer support (in hours) - Easy to set up, configure and use - Simple design makes it easy to navigate for new employees - Constantly adding new features - Integration with Slack makes looking up information easily. - Very reasonable pricing for what you get (makes Tettra an easy choice).” - Capterra
When it comes to choosing the best team management software, there’s obviously not one option. You’ll have to build your team management tech stack carefully and deliberately. you can go in either of these two directions:
Every company and team is unique. So, it’s difficult to say which option would be better. As a leader, understand the needs and dynamics of your team and then come up with solutions and tools that best suit their needs. This way you’ll know that you’re addressing the right challenges and every team member is on the same page.