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7 Essential Collaboration Tools For Remote Workforces

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43 percent of the U.S. workforce works remotely at least some of the time. Here are the technologies that are powering their productivity.

The number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased by 115 percent between 2005 and 2015 and a new study found that 43 percent of Americans work remotely at least part of the time. The primary driver of this trend is, of course, technology, which has made it easier than ever for people to collaborate and work from home or even far away lands, as indicated by the growing digital nomad movement. Some companies, like Buffer and Zapier, have moved to fully-remote models.

Why? For one, studies have shown that remote workers are happier and more productive than their non-remote counterparts. In one study, 91 percent of workers claimed they have become more efficient since going remote. Secondly, remote work options allow for greater freedom and flexibility, serving an important perk in industries where “clocking in” is seen as archaic and counterproductive.

Benefits aside, there are also many obstacles to navigate when it comes to the remote workforce when it comes to communication, time and project management, customer service and more. Here are seven tools and technologies that are supporting the remote work movement.

LogMeIn

LogMeIn is a cloud technology company on a mission to create more seamless interactions between individuals and companies. The company offers a variety of tools for business-wide and personal use that make it easy to safely connect to remote computers. LogMeIn’s products include remote password managers, remote backup software, live customer service technology, and the desktop sharing and presentation tool join.me.


Image via LogMeIn

Trello

Trello is a visual project management tool that helps remote workers “show” ideas while keeping on project deadlines. Utilizing a simple drag-and-drop interface, projects are managed by creating and adding team members to boards. Specific assignments can be made by creating individual tasks, delineated by lists/cards, and dragging individuals to a card based on what they are responsible for owning. Comments, checklists, and attachments can all be included with a card or set of cards allowing for easier communication and tracking throughout a project.


Image via Trello

Slack

Slack is a desktop and mobile app that makes communication and archiving for remote teams a breeze. Conversations are organized by channels which can involve the whole team or only certain team members depending on the topic or project. While in a given channel, you can share, comment on, and archive files whether they be Word docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, or photos. The app also syncs with anything you may need to share from your Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.


Image via Slack

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file storage system that helps keep information of individuals and businesses safe and organized in a single, convenient space. Whether you are looking to back something up or simply switch from your computer to a mobile device such as a phone or tablet, Dropbox houses all of your documents, photos, videos and more for easy access. To share any item, you can either send a link to the person to a specific file or folder, or invite them to any folder in your Dropbox.


Image via Dropbox

Zendesk

Zendesk is a customer service software focused on improving communication between businesses and customers through its wide array of features that enhance productivity and increase satisfaction rates. These include the option to enable self-service support in addition to a ticket management system in which tickets can be created and addressed through a variety of platforms such as phones, mobile devices, email, social media and more for greater convenience and flexibility.


Image via TechCrunch

Google Hangouts

Hangouts is the Google-owned and operated instant message and video conferencing service. Since users are communicating virtually, Google makes it easy to use media, like photos, videos, emojis, and GIFs, to bring some fun to the virtual conversation table. For remote workers, a tool like this is indispensable for communicating regularly with team members and managers that are dispersed across different locations.


Image via Zapier

AND CO

For remote workers who contract for multiple clients, AND CO is a free mobile app that takes the headache out of tedious but necessary operational tasks like time and expense tracking, task management, submitting invoices and more, the app creates more hours and energy for users to put towards their work. AND CO also offers a contract feature, created in partnership with the Freelancers Union, to make it easy to create bulletproof service agreements and SOWs.


Image via AND CO

Which tools would you add to the list?




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