6 important tools to boost your remote team productivity
New companies and veteran corporations alike have a new frontier in employment. The introduction of the ‘digital workplace’ has expanded the talent pool to virtually all corners of the globe.
If you’re hiring, this means you’ve gained the ability to find the perfect candidate for a position regardless of location. For talent, this means having the capability to live anywhere and flexibly work for the best company for you. Recruiting, overhead, commuting, and operational costs can be cut down or cut entirely as ‘digital workplace’ tools improve.
Within our company, Hibox, remote work has been a centric part of our organizational structure since the beginning. We’ve grown from two co-founders in Argentina to a company operating in seven languages from three different countries. With our headquarters now in Barcelona, working together productively as a remote team is more vital than ever to our growth and success. Keeping personal connection and culture strong as we expand is a challenge but we’ve found some of the best tech tricks to do it.
Here’s what we use to keep culture and productivity growing with us
1. Join.me: screen sharing with clients made easy
First off, almost all of our client demos and negotiations happen over online calls. Hence, we all know about Skype but there are some cons. With Skype, there is no ability to easily invite multiple clients to the same call. We’ve fixed this by using Join.me. It’s a call and screen sharing service that allows us to create and send a single link to customers to get them on a call right away. This tool saves us critical time with new prospects. The worst way to start a new client relationship is with technical problems and communication breakdowns. Due to this, Join.me has worked great for us helping to eliminate both.
2. Festify: everyone votes on the next song on our Spotify playlist
We have a team Spotify playlist that we work to in the main office. After some heated disputes, we’ve decided to take a democratic approach with Festify — an app that allows everyone to vote on the next song on Spotify. It’s entertaining and we’re creating something that we can share with our team members no matter where they’re logging in from. Tools like these, though they may not be ‘productivity related’, are brilliant for keeping our company connection and culture growing as our team does. Don’t know who the Chilean Princess of Pop is? Don’t worry, if you’re as lucky as us, your international coworkers will let you know…
3. Shared Documents On Google Drive
We collaborate on anything we need written on shared documents and sheets on Google Drive. These act like “living documents” that never really get printed but pieced apart, used in numerous ways, and updated regularly with information everyone has access too. This is a big one for us because we’re working in seven languages and across multiple timezones. As a result, translations are best kept on shared documents we can all edit simultaneously without worrying if it’s the latest version.
4. Google Cal and Fio app: time zones and holidays handled
We share and cross-reference employees’ Google Calendars for scheduling meetings and calls with clients. Of course, having most of our team working across multiple time zones means scheduling can be complicated and messy. Fio app gives us a quick view of everyone’s timezones. Furthermore, we take advantage of the “Interesting Calendars” Google offers and share international holiday calendars which let everyone know when employees in other countries will be off.
5. Intercom: customer service in seven languages simplified
Using Intercom to chat with visitors on our website and app allows us to ‘distribute’ new leads to the team as they come to the site. This is ideal when your company has a small headcount but you are serving a large client base from across the world. Equally important, employees can delegate who handles which inquires based on language without leaving a visitor hanging which could cost us sales. In addition, we keep ‘auto responses’ to commonly asked questions on our client list and customer chat saved in Intercom. Our team can respond quickly to questions in a variety of languages.
6. Hibox (We swear it’s true)
Of course, we seriously work almost entirely on our own platform. We built it from our experience working as a team of 40+ remote programmers creating online banking solutions for Latin America’s biggest banks. Everything we needed, we created in Hibox. We use the public stream for general information, jokes, GIFs, and other social things. We like to think of it as our ‘virtual water cooler’.
There are streams for each area of the company: Growth Hacking, New Features, Sales etc. Streams are only small, relevant teams so the ‘noise’ level is at a minimum. Additionally, one of the biggest benefits for remote teams is the ability to track tasks for each stream and employee. You always know exactly where your team is on a project. Hibox also has built-in videoconferencing so we do not need to use Skype anymore. We don’t have to wait for everyone to log in. Hibox’s video is instant and just a click away.
For us at Hibox, those are some of our favorites. We keep updated on Product Hunt for new fun and helpful things to try with our team. In conclusion, every company will differ in terms of what capabilities they need and what practices work best. Maybe this gives some useful ideas for successfully going remote!
-The Hibox Team