June 11, 2020
Great Tools to Empower and Connect Your Remote Workforce
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, OST began hosting virtual roundtable sessions on relevant topics with organizational leaders in IT, healthcare, manufacturing and a wide variety of other industries. Our hope was to connect people with each other, recognize the common (and unique) challenges we are all facing, help find solutions and share knowledge.
Throughout these discussions about the impact of coronavirus on our organizations, the topic of useful tools for remote employees came up repeatedly. We noticed teams finding interesting ways to quickly adapt to remote working conditions, and that often means finding the right tool for the specific job. So we wanted to share some of the thoughts and insights other organizational leaders had about the tools they have found to be especially useful for remote collaboration and productivity.
At OST, we are not partners or affiliates with any of these providers, and we do not receive any compensation or other benefit by referring to them here. They were simply tools that came up as being helpful for coordinating remote work.
The Tools Organizational Leaders and Teams Are Using
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard space. This tool came highly recommended across the board. Essentially an infinite blank canvas, Miro is a flexible tool that can be utilized in a wide variety of ways. Some of the use cases that came up during our virtual roundtable discussions included Kanban boards, code archives, user journey mapping, and even client reporting.
Zoom is a virtual meeting and webinar platform. Even the free version of this tool has helpful features, and it allows you to see up to 20 participants at once on screen. Another feature that came up was Zoom’s ability to host breakout sessions as part of a larger virtual event. People also mentioned using Zoom’s virtual background feature to display graphics, whiteboards, screen captures and other images instead of having to continually upload and share attachments.
Bluescape enables users to hold interactive meetings, share content in real time, whiteboard and more.
Basecamp can be helpful for project teams to keep work organized and moving forward. One of our attendees also suggested checking out Remote: Office Not Required, a book written by Basecamp founder Jason Fried.
Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize projects in a fun, flexible way.
Slack is a collaboration and conversation tool. Attendees appreciated how Slack could help keep side chatter, especially during large planning sessions, down to a minimum.
What Software and Platforms Does OST Use and Recommend?
Rather than wholesale recommending tools, we prefer to take a close look at the unique needs a specific team or business has. Then, we can find the right solution. At a high level, we use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and its suite of productivity and collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, and other software. Our organization also makes use of Slack, though we all recognize it is not a standalone source of truth for official communications.
Different teams within OST also utilize tools and software that makes the most sense for their specific needs. Trello, Asana, and Miro are on that list across several teams, as are an enormous variety of specialized software for the highly technical work our developers, architects and other experts do every day. A few examples include Parallels Desktop, GitHub, Sketch, Zeplin, DAX Studio, Tableau, Xcode, Postman, the terminal and others.
On the support side, our team has found a great deal of value in TeamViewer to provide remote assistance—especially while so many staff members are working from home. This software makes it incredibly easy (and fast) for IT to connect with employees, troubleshoot and resolve the issues they’re struggling with, sometimes even in the middle of meetings.
Are You Struggling to Make Remote Work Work?
From high-level strategic business development consulting to the nitty gritty logistics of device provisioning and management, OST can help your team succeed in any environment, whether remote, on-site or a hybrid of both! So if you’re struggling to keep up with shifting conditions and new workplace dynamics and you want help, contact one of OST’s experts today.