Managing Distributed Teams

15 tools every people operations manager needs when managing remote teams

Engage and support your remote team with these tools.
May 9, 2022
Oyster Team
15 tools every people operations manager needs when managing remote teams

People operations managers are responsible for creating a work environment that encourages collaboration within and across departments. In order to achieve this, they rely on a myriad of communication, project management, and collaboration tools to overcome the challenges of a remote workforce. 

These tools can have a significant impact. For example, companies that leverage technology to automate repetitive tasks benefit from 90% fewer payroll errors and 67% faster new hire onboarding

This article will help you navigate the many tools that are available for communication, project management, collaboration, productivity, and training. There is no one-size-fits-all tool, and it is important to consider what combination of tools will best fit your company’s needs. 

Companies that use tech to automate tasks benefit

Challenges people operations managers face with remote workforce management

Managing a remote team can present some unique challenges for people operations managers. For example, in a remote work environment, collaboration and communication that were once facilitated in person must rely solely on technology and tools. It’s important to find the right tools for these tasks so that individuals on the team feel connected.

Employee onboarding and training is also impacted by the shift to remote work, but employers must find solutions to provide effective professional development and learning opportunities despite these challenges. 

Companies that can intentionally address these challenges will see a cost reduction and overall increase in productivity. Fortunately, a good remote working policy and training program can be successfully supported and implemented with the right tools. 

The right remote team tools for a people operations manager

Every people operations manager will rely on a different set of tools depending on their setup and needs. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which tools to use. Here are some of the top tools, broken down by function, for you to consider: 

Tools for employee bonding and team culture

Remote teams need opportunities to foster relationships and have fun in the workplace so they can feel connected.

1. Clockwise

If you have employees that work across time zones, digital tools like Clockwise can help with scheduling meetings. By keeping track of the local time zones for your employees, you can develop best practices for working synchronously and asynchronously. Co-workers can also use this information to help plan for informal virtual lunches or hangouts.  

2. Tandem

To help employees that miss the in-person interactions that an office provides, consider how you can re-create the office experience using digital tools like Tandem. Tandem is an app that promotes virtual collaboration. Employees can even create a virtual co-working space to mimic working alongside colleagues in the office. 

3. Kona

When teams feel connected, they’re more effective and collaborative. Tools like Kona that provide daily mental health check-ins can provide opportunities to engage with co-workers, thus increasing team bonding and decreasing loneliness. 

Communication

Using the right tools will remove the communication barriers that remote teams sometimes face. The fast-paced nature of communication requires that companies use the latest tools to stay connected in real time. Both video conferencing software and instant messaging platforms can achieve these goals. 

4. Zoom

Video chats provide a synchronous form of communication that can help remote employees feed connected. Unlike instant messaging, video allows you to pick up on tone and visual cues to interpret important messages. Zoom is one of the most popular tools for video conferencing, with useful features—reactions, screen sharing, meeting rooms, scheduled calls, and password protection—that are easy to use. Because of its popularity, it is also able to integrate with many other digital tools.

5. Slack

Slack is an instant messaging platform that teams can use for internal and external communication. Messages are more informal than emails and can allow for faster response times and conversations. Teams can separate conversations into different channels based on topics and projects, as well as send direct messages. Slack integrates with other apps to make it easy to share files, search messages, and host video calls. This is a very useful supplement to other communication tools. 

6. Loom

Sometimes it’s easier to explain ideas over video rather than type out long paragraphs. Videos can capture nuances better than text and can be a more dynamic method of communication for complex topics. Loom offers a digital tool for easily recording and sending videos to colleagues and clients.

7. Airmeet

Airmeet offers a hybrid events platform to host engaging and interactive experiences. As conferences and trainings move online, employers can prevent digital burnout and fatigue by offering immersive experiences. When employees are engaged, they are better able to retain information from a webinar or conference. 

8. Officevibe

Officevibe helps employers get a pulse on what their team needs are. It is important to offer a safe space for remote employees to deliver feedback. When teammates feel heard, they are more likely to remain active and engaged with their work and can build stronger relationships with their managers. 

Project management

When employees and teams need to collaborate on a project, it is important that all parties can track the progress of the project and clearly communicate who is responsible for each task. Project management tools help with the full project cycle, from planning to execution and delivery.  

9. Asana

Asana and similar project management tools make it easy to track projects and break down departmental silos. Employees can easily reference projects to identify who is involved with tasks at different stages of the process. There are multiple project views available to accommodate different types of projects, as well as templates for those looking for some help getting started. With Asana, team members can clearly understand what needs to get done to keep a project moving forward.

Collaboration and document-sharing tools

When teams need to work on a deliverable together, it is necessary to find a tool that will allow for live document editing, commenting, and shareability. Online cloud storage solutions make it easy to create, store, and share important files with team members. 

10. Dropbox

If you need to find a fast and secure location to store and share files, consider Dropbox. The shared drive offers a secure space to collaborate and streamline remote work. Dropbox can quickly sync and integrate with third-party tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google, and Asana, just to name a few. 

11. Notion

Notion offers a centralized workspace that makes it easy for teams to collaborate. It integrates with many tools and applications so your team can create and share a variety of files—from documents to spreadsheets and presentations. Live editing capabilities further encourage collaboration. Notion can also sync across devices so you’re always updated.   

Productivity and goal-tracking

Productivity tools can make it easier to keep projects and tasks on track by creating checklists, assigning tasks, and creating accountability for each member of the team. When the breakdown of responsibilities is made visible, employees can be more efficient at getting tasks done. 

12. Doist

Managing a global team can require a lot of coordination. Tools like Doist make it easier to check in with different team members and track the progress of their work. Employees note their accomplishments each day as well as any barriers they faced. If a project gets held up, there is a clear pathway to move the project along. 

Training and performance-management

People operations managers can set their team up for success by ensuring that employees are effectively trained and able to work efficiently. Companies can also retain strong talent by encouraging ongoing professional growth. Setting up a process for performance management and continuous feedback can help employees identify areas for improvement. 

 13. Workramp

Workramp helps remote managers provide effective training and coaching for their employees. Employers can use Workramp to onboard new employees as well as provide ongoing training and coaching to help current employees develop new skills. Workramp even lets you build modules to create customized lessons.  

 14. Kallidus Learn

Remote teammates can benefit from receiving structured feedback since there may be less opportunity to receive informal feedback. Without a structure in place, remote employees can struggle to know if their performance is satisfactory. Kallidus Learn ensures that employees receive continuous feedback.

15. Lingo Live

It’s important to find tools that are built with distributed teams in mind. Lingo Live offers skills-based coaching specifically for distributed teams. Employees receive customized curriculums and can track their progress through their dashboard.

Conclusion 

As our ways of working continue to evolve, it’s important for people managers to explore new tools that will help their teams collaborate more efficiently. What worked for your team in an office environment two years ago might not cut it for your globally distributed team. This list has some great ideas for getting started! 

What’s most important for you as a people leader is to take a look at the areas where your team is experiencing challenges, then prioritize tools that will help alleviate those issues first. Remember that it’s an iterative process, and you’re all working towards the same goal—a happier, more productive team!

Looking for more on how to work better with your team? Check out Oyster’s guide on how to manage remote team members across multiple time zones

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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