9 Tools to Manage Remote/Hybrid Work
What do the following names share in common, outside of being some of the most successful and widely recognized brands: Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, Ford, and Amazon? If you answered they are all executing either a fully remote work environment moving forward or have given their employees the option to do a hybrid model, then you are correct. The remote option allows all employees to work from their home offices and the hybrid model is designed around having employees share some days at the office and some from their home work spaces. This paradigm shift leaves many companies trying to make sense of how to best manage those decentralized employees. Everything from company news to team building to operational meetings now needs a new framework and sometimes a cadence to insure all pertinent information is reaching the employee base. It is critically important because as I identified in my earlier blog, “Trends in IT Talent Solutions 2022”, it is a hold-over from the pandemic that companies now have to accommodate.
I revisited this in my article, “10 Ways to improve Employee Engagement”, as employees have decided to not make nearly as many concessions simply at companies’ behest.
With so many companies choosing to embrace the decentralized workforce, what are some of the tools your organization may choose to leverage to become good at this? In this article I will identify 9 tools to help with Remote and Hybrid work management and share that there may be many competitors that you may seek out categorically after you finish here. I hope that you hear something here that you hadn’t heard or considered, and as always, I welcome your comments and questions –
1. Zoom (zoom.us)
Very quickly, video communication took a front-and-center position on the corporate stage when the pandemic began. It shed light on the effectiveness of the toolset and showed an impact to the bottom line of many companies, as travel and expenses were curbed greatly. Zoom not only offers a video conferencing and messaging that is simple to use, but it also offers management utilities to allow tracking and utilization statistics to be captured and, if desired, Zoom can support your VoIP needs as well. A key in this video conferencing and collaboration space is robust integrations with other tools. Zoom presents with key integrations with Slack, Watson Works and Microsoft Teams. Zoom is a great option among many video conferencing and collaboration tools, you should try its “Vanishing Pen”, “Focus Mode” and “Immersive View” in the latest version of the tool.
2. Slack (slack.com)
Slack is a proprietary business communication platform that offers many IRC-style features, including persistent chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Why should you care about that? Well, immediacy has become a major priority in our world and in our businesses, and many tools now are not supporting the speed of business. Slack aims to bridge the gap and provide instant and organized communications and an array of tools to add things like CRM or ERP support, HRIS and Production support, and even improve employee engagement through social and cultural support. With communication being at the heart of business, Slack does a nice job of integrating tools and providing channels to share and communicate with distributed teams.
3. Lucid Chart (lucidchart.com)
Lucidchart is a web-based proprietary platform that allows users to collaborate on drawing, revising and sharing charts and diagrams. Collaborating on everything from a simple workflow to a complex approval-driven methodology will help your staff get input and updates from the entire team. But why would you be interested in using this tool? Well, I would never get the answer right for everyone, but for me, not a designer or process flow guru but someone who knows how I want something to work, I found the tool intuitive, easy to learn and with ample templates. Also, like many tools on this list, it integrates with many of the other tools you need to make your business run smoothly. There are many choices in the workflow tool space and finding the one that fits your exact needs may take a try or two, but Lucidchart should be on the list.
4. MindMup (MindMup.com)
MindMup is a mind-mapping application designed to run in browsers. A mind map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps with structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas. The maps can be used to create argument maps and concept maps and I have found it to be an elegant way to deliver a concept or presentation. It has a many integrations including:Google Workspace and Drive, Microsoft 365 and Slack. If you have never used mind-mapping tools before, there are a number of tutorials you can use to get the basics down, and then you may find yourself using it for a great number of planning sessions and for execution purposes.
5. Trello (Trello.com)
Trello is a web-based, Kanban-style, list-making application and is owned by Atlassian. The visual work management tool that allows teams to conceive, plan, manage, and execute their work together in a collaborative, productive, and organized way. Regardless of how you approach your work or its organization, Trello adapts. It is easy to learn and the visual nature of the work boards and it makes even a novice capable of understanding the state of a project simply by noting the cards on the board. There are some features in Trello that you may find useful for managing a decentralized workflow like mobile device management, team management views and a robust ecosystem of integrated apps. On course for the tool in 2022 is an expanded enterprise feature set included enhanced admin controls.
6. Okta (okta.com
Okta, Inc. is an identity and access management company that provides cloud software that helps companies manage and secure user authentication into applications. It enables developers to build identity controls into applications, website web services and devices. A major feature of all of the tools that I have shared in this blog is the need to keep your company’s data safe and secure. The integrations make all of the workflows and execution much easier but make keeping the data safe and managing proper access gets harder with each new tool. Having a way to leverage single-sign-on and identity management that supports all of the tools necessary to manage a remote or hybrid workforce makes a tool like Okta something worth reviewing.
7. Range (range.co)
Range was built in response to the challenges with communication and collaboration brought about by hybrid and remote working. Range is an asynchronous communication tool that remote teams use to be more effective. At the core are Check-ins — asynchronous, insightful status updates that show what teams are doing, what they need, and how they’re feeling. Range relieves the burdens modern remote work places on teams so they can operate at their best. Managers get the ambient layer of context they need without spending hours in meetings, checking tons of tools, or urgent Slack messages. Range handles async stand-ups, team meetings and goal tracking and they have even built in some team building tools to make the tool more personal.
8. TMetric (tmetric.com)
TMetric is time tracking software that offers time tracking service for freelancers and small business owners who want to optimize their business processes and increase personal productivity. The solutions they provide include a variety of tools all predicated on capturing time against client projects. Like nearly every tool on the list today, TMetric supports a variety of integrations so the time keeping data can be shared with the other toolsets you have chosen. Time keeping is still at the heart of nearly all work and represents the key factoring the amount a resource is to be paid. TMetric also has a range of tools including Project Management, Team Management, Task Management, Billing/Invoicing and Time Off. Like any time keeping system, the data is as correct as the input of the resources, but making it easy for time to be kept and reported and even billed may be a key for managing your remote and hybrid workers.
9. Happeo (happeo.com)
Happeo is a community-powered employee communications platform. The tool combines intranet, enterprise social networking, collaboration and targeted distribution of news into one single platform. Happeo is like a digital headquarters and is designed around making remote and hybrid workers feel like a part of something bigger than the actual work. The tool supports a number of features mostly centered around making resources feel vital to the company and to the team. Things like personalized organizational charts, departmental intranet pages and enterprise search helps employees, old and new, find the things they need to make the work life simpler. It also has a robust offering with regarding to integrations and training to help you and your team succeed.
Managing remote and hybrid workers has become a hot topic in 2022 – I hope that in some way one or some of these list items helps you improves your company’s efforts. As always, I hope you find them interesting, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.