Remote work is here to stay, in one form or another. But it takes time to adapt to working remotely, and in 2020 few people had that luxury. As millions of people try to adjust to this new way of working long-term, companies are looking for ways to translate management to the virtual space. Work management software plays an important part of this, especially as companies look to build a remote tech infrastructure. They help to provide essential team visibility, helping to align efforts, balance capacity, recognize achievement and provide timely support. So what is the best work management software for remote teams?
What is work management software?
Before we delve into the best work management software, let’s clarify the specific function these tools serve. There are dozens of tools out there that promise to help teams work faster or smarter – so what’s special about work management software, and how does it differ from project management software, or task management software?
Work management software is essentially a digital tool that enables you to create, track, manage, and review both projects and non-project tasks, always with an underlying aim of enhancing team performance and business results. It’s a combination of technology and management that aims to makes it quicker and easier to adapt workflows, and crucially, there’s also a focus on the human element. “[Work management software] is not just how people get their work done,” a quote in a Harvard Business Review article read. “It’s how we connect with them.”
As we move into a more human-centric way of working, the tools and software we use has had to adapt too. And work management software isn’t just about keeping remote teams connected, or figuring out new ways to automate processes, or making sure all project deadlines are hit on time; it’s about making sure the whole process is a positive one. So with that in mind, which are the best work management tools for remote teams?
When it comes to facilitating remote team management, Timely is much more than a time tracking device. Aside from keeping everyone’s work visible, it helps remote teams keep collaboration thoughtful and effective by comparing schedules and learning how long different tasks usually take. You can visualize all planned work in one intuitive timeline for months into the future, so colleagues can isolate the best times for collaboration and independent work. It also lets you allocate, edit and reassign tasks with a couple of clicks across multiple projects, and real-time team dashboards keep everyone’s hours, overtime and capacity in focus. Best of all, the app is completely automatic – it tracks work activity and drafts timesheets for remote workers while they work. Everyone can focus fully on important tasks, safe in the knowledge that their efforts and plans are visible, and that no no personal data will be shared without their consent.
For a remote team to work, you need to have trust, and employees need to feel supported – but if you can’t meet people face-fo-face or check in on employees in person, achieving this can be tricky. This is where Officevibe comes in. Billed as a “simple engagement platform for managers who care as much about their people as performance,” Officevibe gathers information about your team by sending out surveys – which have the option of being anonymous. The information gathered allows teams to understand each other, build trust, strengthen relationships and ultimately succeed as a unit. If there are problems, or certain things you can do better, Officevibe will bring these to your attention, helping you make sure remote employees are satisfied and your team stays motivated.
One of the biggest perks of working remotely is having the freedom to structure your day as you like. By keeping all your to-dos in one place, Todoist helps remote employees plan their schedules and ensures nothing slips through the net – whether it’s a video meeting or a personal appointment. You can create sub-tasks for shared goals that will take a while to complete, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to knowing which tasks are still outstanding. Since remote teams often work at different times – and on different timeframes – Todoist also makes it easy for you to get a clear overview of what everyone’s working on, allowing you to keep projects on track. You can plan projects, assign tasks, share files, track progress, and check your team’s activity stream – all of which ultimately help you deliver good work, on time.
Wimi is a tool that brings your team, projects and data together in one place. With unified workspaces for each project or task, you can invite entire teams to collaborate or select just a few participants. Each workspace centralizes your data, team activities and tools so you can prioritize what matters the most. The communication capabilities are strong, so remote teams are able to collaborate together easily and efficiently; you can use the messaging channels to organize team conversations, so everyone’s in the loop, use direct messages when appropriate to keep things clutter free, and take advantage of the real-time interactions to express yourself, react to team news and progress, and strengthen relationships between colleagues.
Trello is another great tool that helps remote teams work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists and cards allow teams to instantly see who’s working on what and when projects are due, and it works just as well for group projects, side hustles, or personal commitments – so it’s ideal for remote workers, whose personal and professional lives often intertwine. Collaboration becomes easy when you can organize projects in a fun and flexible way, and add comments, attachments and due dates whenever they’re needed. Another big plus of Trello is its built-in workflow automation, which boosts team productivity by removing annoying, low-value tasks from your to-do list.
When you’re working remotely, the onboarding and employee training experience quickly becomes complex. Introducing a new team member to unfamiliar software when you don’t know them (and often can’t even see them) can prove challenging – which is where Userlane comes in. Offering a fully interactive experience from the get-go, Userlane provides step-by-step guides, onscreen and in real-time, that allow remote employees to get to grips with new software without prior knowledge or any formal training. Because this allows new team members to begin working efficiently, it’s a great way to quickly increase productivity levels and team performance. It’s particularly useful for enabling your remote communication structure, ensuring new employees know how to format, flag and post different messages from the outset.