Remote teams are among the most valuable resources available to a modern startup, especially in emerging industries such as blockchain.
DREAM relies on the versatility of a decentralized, remote team for our own success as well as the success of the projects and startups we intend to help.
It is vital for remote teams to have the right tools to make this style of work most effective. Some issues that commonly arise are lack of face-to-face communication, timezone differences, and project management. Luckily, smart companies have seen these problems and created solutions to make remote work run smoothly, even for teams spread across every corner of the globe.
Below is a list of 14 tools (and a few alternatives!) that can help ensure your remote team is running efficiently and consistently. Members of the DREAM team use nearly all of the tools listed below, and the ones we don’t use have strong backing from startups and remote teams worldwide.
Slack is a chat software that forms the communications backbone of many teams globally. It allows users to create unique teams with secure channels while maintaining a user-friendly interface. Beyond the user-friendliness, Slack allows for threaded discussions based on one message, or a private channel for discussion on a few topics.
Slack also integrates with several task management softwares, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. For a complete list of Slack integrations, please see their website.
Meeting channels allow team members to come together and discuss their progress, pain points, and upcoming deadlines. Simply going beyond the weekly conference call can be stressful when there is a new application every week, time zones are spread out, and a million other issues crop up.
These four apps keep it simple. VoIP and video/screen sharing are the core of their use, and they do it well. Each has user interface differences and different intricacies, but we prefer Skype as a team.
Skype is the most well known audio video calling software, but it strains weak internet connections. It has the capability hold up to 25 participants, but cannot go any higher without enterprise support, according to Microsoft documentation.
Hangouts is an excellent platform for communication and live collaboration, but chat rooms max out at about 25 concurrent members (formerly 15). It places less strain on connections than Skype and features slightly better call quality, but it does not have the same screen sharing and collaboration options as Skype (e.g. control my screen).
Zoom provides smooth meeting quality and a simplistic user interface, but a small amount of up-front setup. Download the app, click the meeting host link, and wait until you are let in.
Join.me provides a simple user interface, easy set-up, and no software to download. Join.me also provides useful team management analytics, such as number of meetings, number of participants, files sent, and more.
World Time Buddy/Figure It Out (FIO)/EveryTimeZone
To address the time gaps that are a fact of life with a global team, these three services allow you to get a global view and see where you and your team have overlapping hours. One of the biggest challenges that worldwide remote teams face is finding a time they can meet that is convenient for everyone
It is substantially easier to schedule meetings with an overhead view of everyone’s time zone at a glance. Unfortunately, in the early days of DREAM, we had a few misunderstandings because Google’s time zone displays were an hour off for some of us.
FIO (Figure It Out) provides a view of each timezone you specify in every “New Tab” window within Google Chrome.
World Time Buddy and EveryTimeZone both provide an offset sliding scale of each time zone you specify.
Google Drive allows teams to collaborate on specific documents, perform joint analytics, and share documents with other teams by generating a permissioned link. Google has support for virtually every file format found in a Microsoft Office program (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, PDF Viewer, etc.) with as many, if not more, functions and tools in each. There are also free and premium add-ons for Drive to suit a user’s specific needs, but all major functions are available. Plus, every work document and version no longer has to consume hard drive space since documents are stored securely on the cloud.
HackPad allows teams to share notes, add comments, and collaborate live on documents. This is especially useful for providing training sessions within a team. A presenter can add text to a document and their colleagues can post questions during live training sessions. This can easily be paired with a screen sharing/VoIP program like those listed above.
Dropbox allows users to upload and share documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and more, but does not have all of the same built-in collaborative options as Drive suite. Dropbox works very well for sharing non-Microsoft or Google suite files, such as code snippets, videos, and more.
GitHub is referred to as the world’s largest code repository because it is the home of everything open source. GitHub also works for closed source, private projects for teams to collaborate on. After code updates have been made and tested, a new version can be posted to GitHub for users/teammates to download and use or test.
Pomodoro is widely revered as an excellent way to boost individual productivity, but it can be pesky keeping up with a timer that is covered up and has no display. Additionally, it is easy to become lost in a task and forget about the timer altogether. Tomighty provides a taskbar timer display, optional ticking white noise, and an automated taskbar pop-up when the timer has ended.
Tomighty also has these same features for tracking short and long breaks. The timers for all three: Work, Short Break, and Long Break are all adjustable within the application as well.
NOTE: Tomighty requires a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) download to function.
TrackingTime allows its users to collaborate on teams, delegate tasks and time limits, assign deadlines to tasks, and more. It can also be used to calculate billable hours for accurate billing and productivity evaluations.
IDoneThis lets users jot down each of the tasks they have during the day so that they have a running record of their accomplishments from any given day. This can be especially effective following important events, or to monitor peak times of day for each contributor.
Ever run into the issue of having so many tabs open in Chrome that your PC is dragging to a halt? Done for the day and don’t want to look at your work research any more but need it again in the morning?
OneTab is a Chrome add-on that lets users collapse their innumerable tabs without losing a record of their sites visited, tasks completed, or information related to a specific topic. Each time OneTab is used, it creates a list of links within a unique tab. These link lists are stacked and remain until they are deleted.
For ease of link management, OneTab also lets users delete tabs according to the window they were stored in, sometimes 20 or more at a time.
Telegram is a great method for communicating not only with your team but also with your community. Telegram is a secure communication method with servers worldwide. In order to log in to a Telegram account, you must have the phone number it was registered with as well as the original device.
The cryptocurrency community has transitioned from Slack to Telegram for community engagement because it is more secure for large numbers of users, more user-friendly in large teams, and allows for similar functionality (pinned messages, message history, enormous teams, etc.)
Telegram groups can be upgraded to a “supergroup” to accommodate up to 10,000 participants at a time. It also offers VoIP and video chat with a 2017 update.
Project management software is vital when it comes to task completion, organization, and team collaboration. Asana and Wrike both provide an exceptional amount of flexibility, task delegations, and progress tracking options.
Asana works based on nested lists and task delegation as well as status updates.
Wrike provides several views as well as task delegation and status updates for tasks. Among the views included in Wrike are a list view, Gantt chart, and timeline.
Both tools provide users with the ability to create task lists and subtasks, Wrike also allows users to create dependencies between tasks.
Keeping up with all of the news in any given industry can mean browsing multiple sites, a process that can be time-consuming and often yields little value. Feedly helps resolve this issue by offering a single point of connections with every source of media they can find which is industry relevant.
Within Feedly are snippets of information about each article, such as view-frequency statistics, as well as keyword-generated lists of topics.
A DREAM team member might have a Feedly section for startups, entrepreneurs, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, recruitment, and freelance, for example. Feedly pulls information about each of these topics and shows us the most relevant, popular articles for each category at a glance, or everything in each category with a simple click.
Password sharing is a practice which every security expert on the internet would scorn, but sometimes it is necessary within teams. In order to reduce the vulnerability it creates, teams normally use password managers, change passwords frequently, and guard their communications closely, but that is not always enough.
LastPass further mitigates this vulnerability by issuing team members a single sign-on (SSO) certificate to access the shared accounts or by having the passwords stored in an encrypted format, which team members access with their own unique password.
Do you have any preferred tools that aren’t listed here? Let us know in the comments below!
Of course, the best way to have an ultra-productive remote team is to have the right team members, and DREAM can help with that.
To learn more about DREAM and how we’re working to help more startups succeed through the use of AI and decentralized reputation, get info about our token sale on April 14, or read our whitepaper.
Please go to our site here or chat with us on Telegram here.