Remote team management software – the best of the best
Remote work, and its occasional office-visiting cousin, hybrid work, are the two post-pandemic work models that, like genies of work-life balance, refuse to go back into their bottles now the conditions of the pandemic. But if remote and hybrid work mean anything, they mean the maintenance of in-office standards while staff work largely in outside environments.
Than in turn means the necessary rise of remote team management software, and remote team management software comes in a dazzling variety of forms, not to say brands, because no-one was entirely aware – until the exigencies of the pandemic drove them forcibly home – how many different types of software we would actually need if we were to replicate the in-office management experience entirely with remotely-available programs.
What is hybrid working in 2023?
What follows is a basic run-down of what we consider to be some of the best remote team management with which you can replicate the experience of in-office working for your remote and hybrid workforce. All of them together can change what hybrid work means in your organization.
Team meeting software.
First, you need a way to hold team meetings.
When the pandemic started, Skype was fading into the background in the video conferencing sphere, as other contenders made significant strides forward in terms of ease of use, stability, potential call quality (depending on network connection speeds) and more.
Undoubtedly one of the contenders to make itself a worldwide name during the pandemic, Zoom has since gone on to diversify into a thousand other areas, but as a video conferencing tool, it still sets the standard by which all others are judged. Still delivering stability and relative ease of connection, You can now have anything up to 300 people in a single Zoom meeting, which is frequently enough for many companies.
Other contenders, like Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are sometimes overburdened by their multiple connectivities and integrations, and while, to be sure, you can integrate the living daylights out of Zoom, too, at its heart, it has a more inherently reliable functionality that means you don’t get the “Will it/Won’t it” moment of dread with moments to spare when you go into a Zoom meeting that, for instance, Teams can sometimes give you.
A relative newcomer to the video conferencing game, Zoho Meeting has taken some leaves out of Zoom’s book in terms of stability, but comes with its own instinctive operating system, brings strong security to the party, and is particularly easy to scale.
As with Zoom, it’s a remote team meeting software that reliably does what you want it to do – connect everyone, deliver strong video and audio quality, record if necessary, share screens and so on. And it does it with strong reliability and an easy-to-operate interface.
Customer relations management.
If you have remote and hybrid teams, you need them to be able to access things like campaigns, web pages, documents and the like, and to be able to collaborate on projects, be they sales, marketing, creative, or any other type.
HubSpot is one of a handful of CRM systems that claims to lead the industry, and it’s not by any means an idle claim. The flexibility of HubSpot puts it head and shoulders ahead of most of the pack, and the ability to data sync between staff using remote access is especially useful.
With more potential connectivity and productivity tools in its arsenal than Batman has gadgets in his utility belt, HubSpot has grown to a position of pre-eminence largely by having if not the perfect solution to everybody’s problems, then at least a workable one, which means it can do more than most CRMs. It may not do all – or indeed, any – of them in the most brain-friendly way, but the fact that it does them all is enough to make it more or less indispensable.
The other option that can credibly claim to be leading the industry, Salesforce takes a slightly different approach to the job of delivering as much connectivity as possible. It integrates with lots of other programs and tools, meaning while it starts off as a CRM, it can quickly build to a kind of Transformer-style mega-CRM, with a whole range of other functionalities besides.
The reason it’s our honorable mention here, rather than ruling its category – as there’s little doubt many of its users would argue it should do – is because its integration principle can feel comparatively complex, compared to the likes of HubSpot.
Much like the great Mac/Windows debate, the two systems could probably slug it out for days, and the result would come down to the individual needs of particular businesses, and the personal preferences of the owners and managers.
For us, HubSpot takes the CRM laurels, but your mileage, as ever with these comparisons, may significantly vary.
If you’re running teams and workflows, hybrid work means you’ll need a project management tool to replicate the in-office experience, and to ensure everyone knows where they stand in the daily workflow.
In a crowded market, Trello stands out by virtue of its simple, intuitive operating system, and an at-a-glance workflow builder, so however complex your team projects or individual projects within the team, you can create, progress, complete and sign off each job, and get an instant appreciation of where everybody is in their productivity-stream.
As with CRMs, Asana and Trello will appeal to different people with similar needs. Asana is what might be considered a more “traditional” project management program, significantly less visual, but arguably more ordered, so you get a more timeline-style appreciation of what team members are doing – which in Asana can be broken down into team projects or indeed to overall business goals, and achievements that move the company towards those goals.
As such, Asana can be more useful to higher-level managers and business owners, while Trello can deliver more day-to-day productivity drivers.
There is of course remote team management software that are geared towards particular job roles and teams. One that can’t be ignored in the tech industry is:
The remote team management for developers, security teams, and operations teams, Gitlab is essentially a remote collaboration team for engineers – including the savior of many engineer’s lives, careers and projects: version control.
It’s a tool from Github, so it’s from a stable that has familiarity to most developers and engineers. That means it’s accessible to the people who need it, and can help deliver projects and coding faster, and more creatively, than would be possible in its absence.
There are of course a forest of other remote team management softwares out there – and if some work for you that aren’t on our list, you should absolutely go with your instincts. After all, it’s your business, you need to equip it with software that works for you. But using the ones on our list will give you a solid primer in most of the things you need to ensure that hybrid work means a standard of output and team management you could get from an entirely in-office team.
30 November 2023
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