Under ideal circumstances, managers have a long lead time to establish robust systems, train employees, and identify the necessary tools to succeed with remote work. This is certainly not the situation if you’re quickly transitioning your team to collaborate remotely because of COVID-19.
Given the rushed timeline to help your employees get as productive as possible within this particularly stressful environment, it’s vital to provide the right tools and training.
Here are some of the top user-friendly remote work tools that will help your team achieve strong results quickly.
#1: Cirrus Insight
Cirrus Insight is a robust customer relationship management application with several features to make life easier for your work-from-home employees and make tracking progress easier for your Sales Managers.
With remote work, it’s vital that everyone (including management) is on the same page.
In the office, this is easy enough as daily meetings and quick check-ins keep everybody aware of what’s happening. For a remote workforce, it becomes essential for your emails, calendars, and sales-task data to be accounted for in Salesforce.
Not only does Cirrus Insight’s Salesforce integration help everyone stay on the same page, it also helps managers keep track of employees’ productivity and ensures client follow ups don’t slip through the cracks during this difficult transition.
Scheduling meetings is still an essential part of sales. Cirrus Insight’s once click scheduling makes it easy to find mutually beneficial times with prospects. It allows sales representatives to insert their availability directly into their emails — cutting down on a potentially annoying back and forth email chain.
You can boost team productivity by giving them the right tools to track emails. By being able to see exactly when a potential client opens an email or clicks on a link, your sales representatives can strike when the iron is hot and tailor follow-up messages to customers based on their engagement.
One of the advantages of working from home is schedule flexibility. Though employees aren’t going to have a wild social life with COVID-19 keeping everyone socially distant, they might want some “me” time to balance all the stress.
Cirrus Insight keeps everyone on the team aware of each other’s schedules and activity thanks to a sync between your email inbox and Salesforce.
This list of remote work tools really wouldn't be complete without Zoom!
Just make sure that you spend some time going through the settings to create your optimal at-home video conferencing experience. Since Zoom has become increasingly more popular in the past few weeks, you'll also want to take the time to set up Zoom according to new security best practices.
People communicate beyond words — written and spoken. Facial expressions, tone, and body language ensure clarity and video makes that happen.
By giving your team access to Zoom, you open the doors for better communication between management and team members, as well as sales representatives and clients.
Trello is a powerful project management tool that allows your teams to organize and prioritize projects. It’s based on a straightforward system of boards, lists, and cards.
Trello’s workflow automation takes care of tedious tasks that bog your team down. You can speed up your workflow with calendar commands, due date commands, and rule-based triggers, as well as custom card and board buttons.
Trello can even function as a robust intranet for your remote team after you create a solid knowledge-base within the system.
An alternative project management tool worth considering is Todoist. It’s also extremely straightforward and user-friendly.
#4: Pomodoro Timer
There are a variety of tools that promote Pomodoro time management. The Pomodoro technique breaks work up into intervals (usually 25 minutes) with short breaks in between (usually 5 minutes).
This system is designed to help in a variety of ways:
Increases the determination to meet goals
Refines the process of estimating how long it will take to complete a project
Improves the work process
Improves focus by minimizing interruptions
Alleviates anxiety about starting a project
Boosts awareness of decisions with regard to workflow
Both the Pomodoro Tracker and Tomato Timer are satisfactory remote work tool options if your employees plan to implement the Pomodoro Technique.
The internet is full of distractions, from social media notification bings to hours long deep-dives on Reddit. RescueTime
is designed to help your team members avoid these pitfalls, which can become gaping wide issues when working from home.
RescueTime provides automatic time tracking and distraction blocking software to facilitate productive habits and focus.
Basically, RescueTime will measure internet consumption and find potential problems based on how employees spend their time online — it also comes with access to additional productivity training.
If you’re using a web-conferencing platform, such as Zoom, give your team access to Fireflies.ai.
This remote work tool records meetings, and transcribes them, so it’s easy to review the minutes and identify key takeaways. You can add notes and save specific soundbites for easier recall.
Fireflies.ai also integrates with several popular CRMs so that you can automatically share extra-detailed call notes.
#7: G Suite
G Suite is an invaluable tool for remote workers. The suite of cloud computing products allows your team to access documents, spreadsheets, forms, slides, app scripts, and more — from anywhere they have internet access.
The real-time collaboration allows everyone to see changes to a document as they are made, as well as who is making them. Additionally, the history of the documents can be quickly recalled to hunt down essential pieces of cut information or review changes made while you weren’t watching.
Using Gmail as your team email host also has the added benefit of access to tons of useful Gmail extensions — like Cirrus Insight, which can create a sync between Google Calendar and Salesforce.
Though Biscuit is by no means essential, it’s a really solid remote work tool. It allows users to quickly and easily shift between their favorite apps — like Gmail, Slack, and Trello. The idea is to boost productivity by avoiding the hassle of digging through piles of tabs for the app you need.
A bonus of Biscuit is fewer distractions because your team members will more easily adopt the use of the apps they need for work. You can download this tool for free directly from Biscuit’s website.
Quick and simple, WiseStamp
is a web browser extension that creates a stylish, professional email signature in under a minute.
All your sales representatives have to do is plug their basic information into a form, add professional social media links, and then choose a template.
From there, you can further customize your signature to add focus to a particular company initiative or offer.
WiseStamp is supported on Firefox, Google Chrome, and RockMelt.
Even in personalized emails, team members reuse a lot of phrases — up to entire paragraphs.
With TextExpander, your team can avoid wasting time typing the same things out again, and again, and again.
TextExpander lets your team members choose chunks of text from a repository of snippets to quickly drop them in their current message. You can also customize your own rich snippets to act as email templates.
#11: Screenshot/Annotation Tools
Sometimes, it’s just easier to show than tell. This is especially the case when talking about design or the user experience. Or explaining a concept to a colleague when you’re both working remotely.
We'd be remiss to end our list of useful remote work tools without mentioning Slack. To be sure, Slack has somewhat of a steep learning curve, which isn’t ideal for rolling out to a remote sales team quickly.
However, in a pinch, its most straightforward functions (like messaging individuals or multiple contacts) are easy enough to use that it’s worth stumbling into instead of expecting complete mastery from the get-go.
Final Thoughts: 12 Useful Remote Work Tools You Can Use Immediately
Getting a remote team up and running is a huge undertaking under the best conditions. However, it’s a task increasingly more companies recognize as worth the growing pains. In the current climate, it’s even more of a challenge to get employees and managers up to speed on being productive while working from home.
However, with the right tools, you can give your teams the best chance of success. From simple tools like Biscuit to Cirrus Insight’s robust suite of sales productivity tools, you can quickly get your suddenly remote team up to speed and running smoothly.