Economic uncertainties will always be with us; the thing is, we cannot predict when they will hit us, what shape or form they will come in, or how long they will last. In light of this, the important thing for businesses is to ensure that teams are supported and have the agility to adjust to changing working environments. You need to prepare your team to work remotely, not just now when the world has to grapple with covid19, but in the future as well.
There is a common misconception that remote work is all about conference calls. While video calls and chats are an important part of getting work done remotely, when we talk about finding tools to support remote teams, we have to look beyond conferencing. Supporting remote working is about team empowerment, and to do this, your company needs to create a tech stack that guarantees team efficiency and effectiveness regardless of their location. Your team needs to feel confident that they don’t have to be office-bound to deliver on business objectives.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 ai technology tools that will help your team stay organized, increase efficiency and collaborate better while working remotely.
Slack is best known for its “channel” approach to managing communication.
The thinking behind channels is that when running projects, it can be difficult to track communication, attachments, and tasks via email. Slack seeks to solve this problem through channels that bring teams together around a common purpose.
Slack organizes work based on projects, topic, or team. This way, anyone in your organization can find how to best contribute by being a part of a channel that supports their role.
The great thing about slack is that it can also incorporate external teams, fostering collaboration with your partners.
Other features include:
- You can communicate with team members directly on the channel and get instant alignment
- Save and search messages and files on slack
- Save time by getting all people in one place
- Achieve business-critical tasks such as: setting budgets, see budget approval, work on projects, etc.
- More transparency through public channels, or increased security through private channels
- Pin messages or documents that you want to call attention to
- Star channels that are important to you
- Integrate with other workplace tools like google drive or one drive. You can also connect to CRM tools like JIRA, Salesforce, Zendesk or own software so that you never miss important alerts and notifications
- Work on the go with slack on mobile
Enterprise grid: contact the sales team
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft teams help teams to not only communicate instantly while working but also reduce email clutter.
Microsoft Teams is a remote work tool that combines powerful communication capabilities of chat, voice and video, with collaboration capabilities such as document storage and office 365 integration. It can also integrate with third-party software through extensions, making it a must-have for enterprises or large teams.
- Record meetings for future reference and to keep absent members in the loop
- Pause recordings to answer questions
- Allow teams to join from anywhere
- For educational institutions, create a virtual classroom and bring all assignments and files in one place, to collaborate virtually in real-time
- Have one on one meetings or meet as a group
- Keep your team connected in the following ways:
- Use the chat, to have “water cooler” talks with colleagues.
- Brainstorm on Microsoft whiteboard
- Have team building through virtual coffees
- Have fun, encourage teamwork and reward performance through teams
Microsoft teams free: $0
Microsoft 365 business basic: $5/user/mo
Microsoft 365 business standard: $12.50/user/mo
Office 365 E3: $20/user/mo
Zoom is a chat, audio and video conferencing app that has become almost synonymous with remote working. It allows people to communicate by joining a zoom meeting or zoom room. Zoom room refers to hardware that allows you to convert your conference rooms to a zoom-meeting.
Despite zoom’s popularity, incidents of “zoom bombing” have raised concerns regarding its level of security particularly for teams that need to safeguard their work. However, as team Zoom maintains that it offers AES 256-bit GCM encryption, you should contact them before purchase, to ensure that their security protocols are aligned to your organization’s requirements.
Zoom has the following features:
- You can use chat during meetings without interrupting others
- Hold meetings with large groups of people without compromising call quality
- Record calls and distributes recordings after your meetings
- Integrate with your calendar and CRM. Zoom also integrates with slack
- Control your meetings with host options
- Stream live on Facebook and YouTube and other proprietary software
- Get meeting analytics
Business: $19.99 /mo/host
Enterprise: contact sales
4. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a calendar, task organizer, appointment setting, and meeting scheduling tool all wrapped in one. It simplifies time management by helping individuals and teams to keep busy days organized. To use google calendar, you need a google account (Gmail address).
Google Calendar has the following features:
- It allows you to have a remote meeting through google hangouts
- If you want to know what you have scheduled on specific days, type, or voice search “what’s my calendar” on google search. The results are private
- You can sync your personal and work calendars into google calendar to get a holistic view of your day
- Add colleagues’ calendars to your google calendar to enable you to organize meetings with teams. Note: you’ll need to as your colleagues’ permission before you add their calendars.
- Share attachments when scheduling events
- Set event reminders and notifications
- Use drag and drop function to schedule meetings in no time at all
- Automatically schedule events straight from your email
- Track projects by adding and monitoring tasks and sub-tasks
- Send daily agenda via email
- Embed your calendar into your website so that your clients can book meetings with you
Google calendar can also integrate with most meeting tools including zoom, Aira, Slack, among others. You can also sync your google calendar into your iPhone calendar by enabling that function in your phone settings.
Meeting management can be quite tricky without an intelligent tool like AIRA. This state of the art AI technology meeting assistant:
- Records and transcribes meetings
- Highlight keywords in meeting notes to make tracking action items and topics easier. Teams can search for notes and action items based on keywords.
- Organizes actions points and automatically emails them
- If you have scheduling conflicts, Aira will join meetings for you
- AIRA syncs with popular calendars like google calendar
- Has intelligent analytics that allows you to improve future meetings and drive organizational performance
Pricing: Contact team Aira for pricing and demo
Internal systems, intranets, and printouts do not work when it comes to managing projects remotely. Remote project management is best accomplished with a tool like Asana, whose features enable teams to stay organized, communicate and get aligned.
The transition to remote work can create silos, but Asana’s design ensures that teams work and collaborate transparently.
Asana has the following capabilities that make remote project management easy and enjoyable:
- Get an entire view of project timelines, to keep you on schedule for each task in real-time
- Easily identify problems in task scheduling and fix dependency conflicts at project start
- Give everyone visibility to get easier buy-in
- Adjust aspects of the project as you go and keep everyone appraised of such changes
- Import spreadsheets into asana to make project tracking simpler
- Manage team workload to ensure everyone remains productive
- Manage new project requests through forms, to avoid getting overwhelmed
Enterprise: Contact the team
Trello is also a great project management tool and is a great addition for teams that handle lots of internal projects, such as a software creation company. Agencies that need to work with external clients could also make their work easier with Trello, as they can give visibility of projects to their clients.
One great thing about Trello is its Kanban-based approach to project management, whereby task organization falls under lists, cards and boards.
If you are an agency or run a consultancy, you can create a Trello board, where customers can track progress in areas of interest to them.
- Simply create a board and invite a team to collaborate
- Add details to Trello cards, such as attachments, comments or due dates
- View at a glance, progress on all your tasks
- Automate to eliminate tedious tasks
- Sync across all devices so your teams work from anywhere
- Integrate with the tools that your team already uses
Business-class: $9.99 per user/month
Enterprise: $17.50 per user/month, on a sliding scale.
Remote work can result in diminished support for your customers.
Hubspot is a CRM software that will come in handy when you need to ensure that your customers are being contacted and given the support they need. Through HubSpot, you can create a log of your interactions with customers at different touchpoints, and in this way:
- Address any red flags before they become problems
- Pursue opportunities that arise during interactions with customers
With HubSpot, you can ensure that customers barely notice a lack of face to face interaction.
But HubSpot isn’t just a tool for customer support. It has powerful marketing capabilities such as lead scoring, email marketing, ad management, etcetera
You can also manage your sales organization from HubSpot by tracking deal pipelines.
In addition to offering a free subscription, HubSpot offers the following paid subscription options:
If your business model is primarily in-person, or if you have a dedicated customer service function, Zendesk will ensure your customer service team continues to offer uninterrupted support through phone, email, chat and social media.
Zendesk is easy to use and tracks customer queries through a ticketing system.
Other features include:
- Analytics to track issue response, logging and resolution
- A full sales suite to help your teams’ close deals. The sales suite is supported by live chat, voice, SMS, and automated email sequences that make deal closing easier.
You no doubt have a workflow in your company and to achieve your goals, that workflow has to be synergistic. That’s where Unito comes in.
All work processes, including launching a marketing campaign, lead generation, order management, holding meetings, providing customer care, etc., are all one-stop processes. As each of these processes operates within a different function in your organization, you have most likely invested in dedicated tools for each one. This, in itself, could create silos. Silos break down team synergy and transparency.
Unito helps you create complete workflows by interconnecting your various tools. This way, your remote teams can have a smooth flow of information and collaborate transparently with each other.
Business X: $225
Enterprise: Contact the team
Next steps: Explore these ai technology tools
That’s it for now! We urge you to try these tools (some of them have free trial periods that last as long as 2 weeks long), and if you find that they support your way of working, give them a go.
The tools you choose need to support what your company does and how it does it.
- Do you, for instance, interact a lot? In that case, you should lean more towards investing in the best communication tools.
- Is your company sales oriented? If yes, invest in tools that will empower sales capabilities.