The business world has changed dramatically over the past few years. Employees moved to remote and hybrid work models, supply chains were disrupted, and businesses were forced to find creative ways to communicate with customers during the pandemic. To accommodate new expectations and conditions, many employers are turning to technology. Several currently available tools are affordable, easy to use and make work more efficient. Learn about some of the best tools available to connect your employees and customers while maximizing productivity.
As teams settle into long-term remote and hybrid work environments, the need for digital communication platforms has become essential. Whether communicating with teammates in an office, at home or from anywhere else, these tools boost efficiency and collaboration.
Best for in-house communication: Slack
Slack is a searchable communication tool that’s become insanely popular in the business world. More than just a chat client, it provides a collaboration platform where users can share files and work together in a shared space with other team members. Whimsical details – including a colorful interface and a personable bot that sends lighthearted reminders – set Slack apart from competitors.
To add to its functionality, Slack is available for multiple platforms and devices, and it integrates effortlessly with other popular software, including Dropbox, Google Drive and MailChimp. Slack offers a secure environment and an interface as friendly as a social media platform. When you incorporate Slack into your remote work plan, teams can communicate effortlessly from desk to desk or across continents.
Best for video calls and conferences: Zoom
One company, in particular, blew up when the pandemic hit: Zoom. As remote and hybrid work arrangements expanded, employers needed a way to communicate face-to-face (virtually) with their staff, clients and other stakeholders.
Zoom was already one of the best video conferencing services around, but amid the pandemic, it became a technology staple for employers and team members worldwide. Zoom is available on desktop and mobile devices. It’s straightforward and makes it easy to run a successful virtual meeting.
Free plans allow meetings with up to 100 participants and 40-minute group meetings. Businesses with more extensive video conferencing needs may benefit from a paid plan, ranging from $149.90 to $240 per license per year.
Best for remote access and support: RemotePC
If your company has a dispersed staff, you’ll likely need remote access and support software so employees can access remote devices from various locations. Remote access software also plays a crucial role in facilitating remote technical support.
If your remote or hybrid employees have a problem with their device, use the aptly named RemotePC tool to provide remote technical assistance and resolve problems.
Read our review of RemotePC by IDrive to learn why it’s one of the best remote PC access solutions on the market. The platform has an easy-to-use web browser interface, multiple collaboration options, and drag-and-drop functionality. It’s a great way to keep your remote and hybrid employees connected.
Bottom Line: Effective internal communication applications like Slack, Zoom and RemotePC can help your hybrid or remote office stay connected, regardless of location.
Human resources tools
Employee management has become more complex, but several tools and applications can simplify the process.
Best for employee monitoring: Teramind
Employee monitoring software increased in popularity over recent years as employers looked for a way to monitor and track user activity and ensure remote worker productivity.
Teramind is an excellent employee monitoring tool. Check out our Teramind review to learn how this platform outperforms the competition due to its comprehensive feature set. For example, Termamind offers customizable content filtering, video and audio monitoring, and insider threat detection.
FYI: In addition to improving employee performance and productivity, the best employee monitoring software helps maintain company security.
Best for time and attendance tracking: QuickBooks Time
If you need to track how many hours your remote staffers work, QuickBooks Time is an excellent solution and one of the best time and attendance software options around.
Our QuickBooks Time review reveals how valuable the software is for its employee scheduling, project tracking and multiple remote-punching options to simplify clocking in and out for work. You can also track and manage employee locations with geofencing and geotracking features.
Best for performance management: BambooHR
Instead of guessing how your employees are doing, turn to one of the best HR software solutions, such as BambooHR, to track employee performance accurately. BambooHR’s dashboard is easy to use, so you can start managing employee performance in no time.
BambooHR can help you manage employees with essential HR functions, reports, workflows and approvals. Read our BambooHR review to learn more about using the tool to create and monitor employee goals, gather employee feedback, and assess company performance reports.
Bottom Line: Popular HR tools like Teramind, QuickBooks Time and BambooHR can help you track and manage employee performance.
Marketing and sales tools
The way consumers use technology to connect with brands is ever-changing. Although your specific marketing and sales techniques will be unique to your business, here are some tools that can help you reach your audience.
Best for email marketing: Constant Contact
Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment for digital marketing efforts. It’s a valuable tool that can help you connect with your audience and increase sales.
Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing services for small businesses that need an affordable platform with robust campaign features. Our Constant Contact review found that it has a simple drag-and-drop editor and integrates with several other marketing applications.
Best for customer relationship management: Salesforce
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is valuable technology that helps sales teams manage new leads, track client communications and build sales campaigns. Those looking for one of the best CRM solutions with an intuitive interface, lead scoring and a training resource library should check out our Salesforce review. This powerhouse CRM solution is an excellent way to keep your sales team and clients connected and on track, regardless of where they’re located.
An excellent way to reach customers in the digital era is through texting. Customers are likely to see and open a text message, making this communication platform highly desirable for marketing.
If you’re looking for one of the best text message marketing tools that can also manage customer reviews, Podium is a great option. Podium lets you communicate with customers via text message and view and respond to all your customer reviews from one central inbox. Read our Podium review to learn more.
Bottom Line: Popular marketing and sales platforms like Constant Contact, Salesforce, and Podium can help you connect with your audience and increase sales.
Implementing new remote-work tools
To get the most out of your new remote and hybrid work tools, be strategic about your implementation process. Some software will take longer to implement than others. Although this can be frustrating, it’s essential not to rush the implementation process.
Speak with your staff before using a new platform so that they understand its purpose. If you are debating on a few new software options, survey your employees to see which platforms they prefer. Eliciting your team’s help during the decision-making process can increase their buy-in and acceptance.
When transitioning to a new tool, provide your employees with ample training and answer any questions or concerns. This makes for a smoother transition and can help employees feel more comfortable with the tool going forward.