Best Productive Tools for Work From Home Managers

Manage Your Teams while Corona-virus Lock-down Present and still Achieves Your Target

remote work
KEY POINTS
  • Managers need productive tools for their remote team management.
  • During Coronavirus Outbreak it is advisable to go for work from home  mode for employees.
  • Tools can help managers to keep the bondage and keep the goals high.

Working from remote is already a  highest growing trend for many startups and big companies. The latest research shows more and more new entrepreneurs preferring to provide remote working option to their employees. The employees also started to prefer this approach of work because they are able to save time and provide quality time with family. Employees can save long distance travel, and spend that time in the gym to achieve good health together. But while this is making sense for both employees and employers, the leadership team of the project are seeing some red signals about proper management of the team while all the.

In this post, you can get this as below:

Managers also need tools!!

Managers also need tools

As a Manager a startup or company, there are many roles you need to play to keep your performance metrics at competitive level. The key tools for a manager is generally is like below :

    1. Task management Tools
    2. Code and Design Management Tools
    3. Document management Tools
    4. Communication Tools
    5. Time management

Every these management topics are required to conduct some activities day to day basis. Earlier you may be used to use generic tools like MS Office (Excel, Power Point) to log these activities and monitor the progress, but now you can have easy and dedicated tools to support your day to day life. Most of  the tools these days are hybrid kind of means it has web version and app version (for Android, iOS) and desktop versions also. This will not only help you to streamline your regular activities and also will make you to become super productive. So, let us look into more detailed use cases of the different tools.


A. Task Management tools

The creation and proper distribution of tasks  to the designers and developers are the main responsibility to the program managers. Earlier the MS Excel tools were most famous for this type of management activities. But in remote team scenarios the managers need more features like multi user facility, having the revision history etc. The top tools which are preferred by the managers these days are like:

1. Asana

Asana as productive tool

 

Asana is a web and mobile based application focused to integrate teams organize, track, and manage their work. Asana  was launched in 2008 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google-and-Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein. While in facebook they both worked on improving the productivity of employees at Facebook.
Asana can be used for not only engineering team, this can be effectively used for the other departments like HR, Marketing, Design, IT and even cross functional teams also.
Let us see some examples, which you can figure out for your suitable usages :

Features

    • Customizable Dashboards
    • Multiple Project Manage, Tracking.
    • Multiple Workspace Management
    • Timetable Tracking, Calendar.
    • Advanced Notifications
    • Mobile based Graphical Interface.

Benefits

    • Easy Project Management for Multiple Teams, Segmentation and Project Prioritization.
    • Easy and Customizable Dashboards.
    • Team based Communication Portals.
    • Secure Storage for Multiple Accounts.
    • Cloud Hosted , not need to host on your server.

Pricing

    • Free Plan for upto 15 users.
    • Premium Plan payment $9.99 per member/month billed annually
    • Enterprise Plan for customized for your team.

2. Trello

How to use trello as task management system

Trello Logo blue

If you are having small size team or  if you are a freelancer then trello can be the best choice for managing your work. You can create your own workflow, task assignment etc for this. The major good point of trello is the very short learning curve. You can configure and start using it in your projects very quickly and start checking the progress.

Features

    • Easy to use Front/Back Cards with detailed view.
    • Edit easily with Drag and Drop Interface.
    • Easy to Organize with Labels, Tags and useful comments.
    • Progress Meter For each task and overall task-list.
    • Archive support for history Card Records.
    • Sync data upload with Local Devices, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.
    • Multiple File Attachment and upload support.

Benefits

    • Easy to use project assignments with team members and organize those tasks and track the progress easily.
    • Customizable lists of tasks for each and individual users, developers in the team and give them notifications when updates happen in their following task-lists.
    • Easy to use collaboration feature to involve the entire teams in important group discussions, sending Minutes of meetings, notes, and also share files, comment on individual tasks for other team members.
    • Easily upload files directly from different cloud hosting services like Dropbox, Box or Google Drive accounts.

Pricing

    • Forever Free: $0/month (annually)
    • Business Plan: $9.99 per user per month when paid annually
    • Enterprise Plan: $20.83 or less per user per month when paid annually.

B. Code/Design Management tool

If you are technical manager and having the ownership to launch the product to the market then you need to use some kind of software management tools to check the growth rate every day and sometimes every hour. While development of any product or platform, the implementation of the review process has to be very effective to keep maintaining the quality of the product.

 The tools you will require to manage the coding process can be maintained as below :

3. GIT : Code Maintain Effectively

Github Application

git logo

GIT is one of very famous tools to manage development and release management in recent years.  Like any other version control system, it has very powerful code branching capability, so that developers can implement their own features set. After completing the coding work, the developers can raise pull request to ask admin to take their features to the main source code. The features like rebasing, merging, reset, hard reset etc which can be really helpful while multiple developers are working in the same codebase and making changes very frequently.
To integrate the GIT tool in your work-flow, you can install the git server in your own premises server also. Otherwise you can buy the GIT repositories from companies like Gitlab, GitHub, Bitbucket etc. They provide the monthly plan for the business organizations in reasonable rate. The many companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple uses GIT as their mainstream development management platform in recent years.

Features

    • Code branching capabilities.
    • Model of Distributed Development
    • Raise Pull Requests for code administration model
    • Very large Community support.
    • Quick and faster Release Cycle.

Benefits

    • Provided better performance while managing large code bases.
    • Git provides high level security with cryptographic method SHA-1 to manage your release versions, directory, files.
    • Git has advanced branching model than the older version control systems.
    • Git has new methods for Staging Area where you can commit  before pushing to master codebase and also can be formatted and modified.
    • Git is completely Open Source tool which makes it mass adoption in the global software development marketplace. This has very big community today. 

Pricing

    • Personal Account: $0 per month
    • Developer: $7per month per User
    • Team: $9per month per User
    • Business Hosted on GitHub.com : $21per month
    • GitHub Enterprise : $21per month

4. InVision: The best design collaboration app

InVision APp

adobe in vision app for design collaboration tool

In the app centric and platform centric application development often you need to target the very wide spectrum user base. Think of applications like Instagram or WhatsApp, the user based age group  be anywhere and anybody who are using the smartphone. So, as a manager we often needs to review, rework in the GUI development of the applications. To prevent the rework, the InVision App is such a platform which your designing house can use to design, collaborate, and design the workflow for the rest of the developers. With the 15$ subscription package you can easily create big size applications very effectively, which is worthy of investment.

Features

    • Design Prototyping.
    • Design Sharing and Presentation.
    • Design Feedback and Commenting.
    • Real-Time Design Meetings and White boarding.
    • Design Organization and Collaboration.
    • Project Management for Designers.
    • User Testing and Research.

Benefits

    • Presentation is everything
    • Control of Your Design
    • Real-Time To-Do lists
    • Mobile
    • Version History and Syncing
    • Hover States
    • Live Share!

Pricing

    • Free.
    • Starter Plan :  $15/month.
    • Professional Plan : $25/month.
    • Team Plan : $99/month.
    • Enterprise Plan : By quote.

 


C. Document management tools

While managing a remote team, the managers face lot of trouble for managing all the documentation required for the team and the clients. To maintain the payroll and on boarding of the team members you need to get the all documents from the employees, freelancers. Also, every-time you sign up any contract you have to sign different documents etc. For managing different documents you need different tools like –

5. Docusign

Docusign GUI exmple Docusign GUI exmple (image courtsey https://docusign.com/)

Dosusign can be effective for getting signing from different peopleDocusign can be very excellent way to collect signatures and send different important documents from an easy web based interface. You can Just upload a PDF or Word Document and also you can make your templates, sign them and send them to anyone!

Features

    • Supports vast type of documents like PDF.
    • Integrate seamlessly with your application to get signature done from the clients.
    • Supports good and enhanged authentication methods like email based authentication, SMS based, access code based etc.
    • Just send the document to your clients to get the sign and they can easily do that with easy interface.
    • Advanced reporting for analysing the data.
    • Legally compliance with most businesses around the world.
    • Supports 43 languages.

Benefits

    • Sign any document without any charge
    • Remotely Works from almost anywhere
    • Email and Send documents to get signature
    • Drag & drop your eSignature and other information
    • Good security while handling sensitive documents.

Pricing

    • Free Trial
    • Personal Plan : $10/user/month
    • Standard Plan : $25/user/month
    • Business Pro : $40/user/month
    • Advanced Solutions : Contact vendor

6. Google Suite

Gsuite tools (google sheet, google powerpoint, PPT, Google Sheet)


Google Suite has become the kind of lifesaver if your team is location independent, particularly if you need to put the focus on the  collaboration regularly with the all coworkers. As a fully-distributed cloud based solution, the most used Google Suite applications are Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides,  Google Forms, Gmail, and Google Drive. Google Suite can help your team members with the ability to edit documents and spreadsheets together in real time, to leave comments for coworkers, to tag people when action  needs to be taken. Where everything can be done in a shared, online folder. Google Suite works as mainstream documentation management for many organizations. As a result, our platform, works and the items we create are consistent and accessible, no matter who owns them.

Features

    • Business email with standard Gmail interface.
    • 30GB google drive for storing data and other informations.
    • Support for the Google Sheet, Google Docs.
    • Google provides more strict spam filtering in the GSuite.
    • Google Calendar support for team scheduling.
    • Use Google Keep for shared notes.
    • Use Google Task for task management in single interface.

Benefits

    • Security in Google server is better than your own server setup.
    • Safety with data backup and no headache interface.
    • Similar gmail graphical interface easy to manage and handle.
    • On Android/iOS system basic Google Mail client can be used here also.

Pricing

    • Basic ₹210 INR / user / month
    • Business ₹840 INR / user / month
    • Enterprise ₹1650 INR / user / month

D. Communication tools

Instant communication is very important the remote working environment. There should be proper management in place to equip developers to constantly connect with the other team mates. The most popular tools that you can choose  as a manager us like below :

7. Chanty

chanty AI based chatting interface

chanty ai based communication app

Chanty is a very simple team based chatting tool for small and medium-sized teams that doesn’t limit its searchable message history. WHile this application is quite similar to Slack, your team mates can communicate in public and private channels and through one-to-one  conversations. Using the Chanty you can organize all your files, links, tasks, and conversations into folders. This important feature is called Teambook.

In general, Chanty also has a built-in task manager and very intuitive interface which makes the chat tool a solid Slack alternative for the less tech savvy. But if you’re a techie, you can easily connect Chanty with a ton of apps through Zapier, making the team chat platform more robust.  Chanty’s free plan is limited to 10 people on a team while its paid plans start at $3 per user for each month.

Available On: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Web

Features

    • Task Management
    • File Sharing
    • Push Notifications
    • Chat / Messaging
    • Searching
    • Video Conferencing, Screen Casting
    • Activity / News Feed

Benefits

    • Easy interface to team communication.
    • Sync information with your team with text, voice or video.
    • Screen-casting facility and files sharing to other members.
    • Manage multiple apps in a single app interface.
    • Manage, browse, search all team activities.
    • Push notifications
    • Easy to use invite-only team interface, data encryption & data export.

Pricing

    • Free.
    • Enterprise : 3$ Per Month while billed Annually.

8. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams also another business chat tool mostly targeted towards enterprise. This can be very suitable for the small size Companies and startups which are in growing phase. If you have  subscription to one of the Microsoft Office 365 plans, which are Business Essentials or Business Premium, you’ll already have access to Microsoft Teams. If you don’t have any one of these plans, you can start with the freemium version of the tool. It also have very powerful collaboration features like instant chats, audio/video calls, and team chat. It  also offers integrations across all Office 365 products and more than 180 custom apps. If you have a large remote team, you’ll enjoy Microsoft Teams’ voice and video calls that can host up to 80 people. The Business Essentials plan starts at $5 per user for each month  while the Business Premium plan is $12.50 per seat. It’s also important to note that we have found that Microsoft Teams is not the easiest app to deploy, so make sure your team admin is tech-savvy.

Features

    • Supports for Activity feed management.
    • Inbuilt Assistant bots.
    • Available Built-in & custom tabs.
    • Easy Call management.
    • Supports Channel monitoring & following.
    • Users Chat/instant messaging.
    • Control Commands.

Benefits

    • Easy to use communication tool.
    • Keep focus on your work while working with multiple team.
    • Easy to seamless move to a digital workplace.
    • Easy interface to team members can more quickly.

Pricing

    • Free Trial.
    • Enterprice Plan : $5.00 per month, per user.

9. Facebook Workgroups

Facebook also recently came up with the workplace services and launched their Workgroups platform to the users.  They tried to combine next-generation technology and easy-to-use features to transform communications, culture and workflows inside organization of all shapes, sizes and industries. using the Facebook workgroups you can do chatting, group chatting, , develop your organization chart etc. Also you can setup Live video sessions there too.

Features

    • Workplace Chat
    • Video Chat
    • Groups
    • Groups
    • News Feed
    • Org Chart
    • Live video
    • Auto Translate
    • Mobile app

Benefits

    • Easy to handle workplace chat interface.
    • Mobiles Apps support.
    • Advanced API for bot development.
    • Good Options for IT Team.
    • Security : SOC2, ISO27001 compliance
    • Single Sign On.

Pricing

    • Essential $0 USD Free Sign Up for Free
    • Advanced $4 USD per user per month
    • Enterprise $8 USD per user per month
    • Non Profit Plan Advanced Plan with $0 USD

E. Social Engagement tools

As a manager, if you have any marketing team, the tracking of the funnel is going to be key activity for your daily routine. You may option email marketing, social marketing as base product promotion and selling option in your company. But it turns out that online lead generation process becomes very difficult until you start generating proper report from the exact scenarios are happening. You need to really get all data and create proper metrics to understand your sales number, your cost per acquisition etc. There are some tools which can try out :

10. Buffer

Buffer is very famous and already accepted tool in the market for scheduling and managing the posts in the social media particularly. Using the buffer you can manage different social media accounts in a single dashboard. You can schedule posts etc in the multiple platforms from the single window. As a manager this can be very useful for you when you have a marketing team who are reporting to you. This can give you very proper big picture how does your marketing campaign working for you in the different platforms altogether.

Features

  • Schedule Posts and Tweets.
  • Social Posting analytics.
  • Schedule Different posts and tweets.
  • User Profile management.
  • Rich Multi-media format sharing.
  • Team Management for Agency/business.
  • Deep Analytics and insights.

Benefits

  • Easy to schedule posts throughout the day over multiple social media.
  • Easy to post in different format with option of ‘share now’, ‘share next’ or ‘schedule post.
  • Advanced and Easy to Use Analytics.

Pricing

  • Free Plan
  • Pro Plan $15per month
  • Small Business Plan $99per month
  • Medium Business Plan $199per month
  • Large Business Plan $399per month

F. Time management tools

11. TimeDoctor

Timedocor

Automatic  time-tracking can be life saving for a remote working manager. This can be very effective if your employees are working in pay per hour basis.  It basically tracks the websites and applications that an employee is using while working and creates a report of how work time is used. As a Manager you can see what tasks are being  done during the workday, and reveal potential poor time usage. The app also has functionality to take screenshots of employees’ workstations and allows managers to review them. The tool can work both online and offline, and  sync the data with the cloud server.

Features

    • Time & Attendance Tracking.
    • Calendar Management For Employees.
    • Employee Alerts, Notifications.
    • Office Clock Management like Bio-metric Recognition.
    • Easily Manage Billable & Non-Billable Hours.

Benefits

    • Timedoctor can accurately monitor the time spent on the work.
    • Silent and Interactive Version.
    • Screencasting feature.
    • Alert mechanism for time use.
    • Extensible platform for different purposes.
    • Easy to setup and easy to handle.
    • In built security features.

Pricing

    • Free 14-day trial
    • Business Plan : Up to 5 Users $49/ month
    • Enterprise Plan : Up to 5 Users $99 / month

Conclusion 

This is a basic list of tools which I have been using as a remote working manager of 25 people of remote working. Initially I was really skeptical to use long list of tools with the employees and freelancers.

But slowly I started adapting this tools and seen a huge potential of changes in my management skills to get the best results from each and every employee. Even though it has helped us to save thousands of dollars in return.


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