What tools do you need to make Remote Work Productive?

Remote work tools
progress bar, funny design with concept of productivity loading

Yesterday, I wrote about the first steps you need to take your company remote. One of the key steps in the remote work process is to find the right tools to help your team stay productive in the new setting and achieve results. In crux, there are 4 kinds of tools that you will need:-

  1. Communication
  2. Documentation/Storage
  3. Project Management
  4. Discipline
  5. Performance Management

1. Communication during remote work

Communication is vital and it’s even more important in a remote work setting. Finding the right tool to foster team collaboration is very very important. There are essentially 3 tools that I would like to highlight here:-

a. Slack

b. Facebook Workplace

c. Microsoft Teams

All these 3 tools are similar in functionality with certain key differences. Slack is the oldest of the three and mostly preferred by small teams. Slack provides some really useful integrations, helping you keep everything together. However, Slack’s free version lags behind the free versions of Facebook Workplace and Microsoft Teams.

Facebook Workplace takes a little different approach to the idea of a team collaboration tool. The product resembles Facebook in many ways. I personally like the power Microsoft Teams bring to you. It allows you to collaborate with the team as well as with team members individually. It also lets you create wikis. For the heavy users of MS Office, it provides smooth integration. Even the free version of Teams offers handsome storage, integrations, and calling. The paid plans start at Rs. 125/user/month.

2. Documentation/Storage

Paid plans of Microsoft Teams come with One drive subscription. In that sense, MS Teams is a complete tool. Google drive is another contender in this space. Slack offers integration with Google Drive. Dropbox too is good but expensive. MS Teams is my pick for a communication/documentation/storage suite.

3. Project Management for remote work teams

Having the right project management tool is essential to your remote work success. When it comes to a project management tool, one size doesn’t fit all. So, my advice would be to list your requirements first. Are you a team of individual contributors or collaborators? Do you work on multi-stage projects? Do you need the tool to track progress and send reminders? Or do you need it just for recording?

Here are a few tools that can help you manage your tasks and projects while working remotely.

a. Trello

b. Asana

c. Notion

d. Basecamp

I use Trello extensively because my requirements are simple. I need a tool where I can see the tasks/projects I’m working on and the status of each. Trello does a good job at representing, thanks to its ‘card’ based UI. You can also create checklists and add powerups (integrations) to your Trello cards. Other tools (Asana, Notion, and BaseCamp) are more complex and work best for more collaborative teams and complex projects.

Asana Vs. Basecamp

Trello Vs. Asana


4. Discipline while working remotely

Switching to remote work is not easy. It needs discipline. Thankfully, there are tools available to minimize distractions and stay focused. If you are a mac user, SelfControl can help you block unwanted websites (read- Facebook!). Self Control also has a Chrome Extension. RescueTime and TimeDoctor also do a good job of helping you focus.  This article by Zapier (a fully remote company) can help you choose the right discipline tool for you.

I don’t recommend this, but if you track time, this article can help you find the right tool. Time Doctor, discussed above, also offers time tracking functionality.

5. Performance Management

Measuring performance and feedback in a remote work setting can be cumbersome. In my previous article, I have recommended switching to OKRs. OKRs need to be well documented and tools like simpleokr help you with that.


About me

After building and managing remote teams since 2014, I decided to start NomadGao, a coworking/coliving space in Goa, last year. The idea is to make India popular among digital nomads around the world and to make remote work mainstream in India. I would be happy to help in transforming your team to fully remote. You can reach me at mayur@nomadgao.com.

By Mayur Sontakke

I wear many hats. I run NomadGao, advise companies on strategy and remote work, manage various communities, advise people on finances, and write about the future of work and the world. I live in beautiful Goa with my wife and 3 wonderful kids.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need help?