7 Best Gadgets and Online Tools to Boost Remote Work Results
Managing a remote team can be quite challenging. Because of the pandemic, many businesses had to readjust and switch to remote work, which is not necessarily ideal for specific organizations.
On the other hand, the trend of working from home has been quite noticeable even before the pandemic. For some, the idea of not needing to leave home to work is too good to pass up.
However, it does not necessarily mean that the desire to work from home translates into productivity. No, supervisors still need to put a lot of effort into making sure that the process is smooth.
One can argue that it all starts with giving your employees the right equipment. There are multiple examples of great software and gadgets that make remote work more manageable.
Below, you find a list of such gadgets and tools. The list might give you some ideas on how to improve the workflow and keep the employees happy, which will translate to better productivity and fewer obstacles for you—the manager. Let’s start with gadgets and accessories.
Remote Work Gadgets and Accessories
#1 – Webcam and Microphone
A computer for work is a given, but the device would not be that useful without the proper accessories that go with it.
Laptops usually come with integrated webcams and microphones, but the quality might still call for external accessories.
Custom-built desktop computers, on the other hand, are different. If you want to communicate with others using voice and video, you will need to have a webcam and a microphone.
#2 – Ergonomic Office Chair
Working from home and sitting in front of a computer’s screen is not ideal for your back. At the very least, you should have an ergonomic chair that:
- Improves blood circulation
- Relieves hip pressure
- Reduces neck and back pain
- Supports posture
These health benefits lead to better productivity. There is a significant difference between employees who are not distracted by aches and pains and those who do. And it is clear what you want to see as a manager, right?
#3 – Monitor Stand
A monitor stand is another example of a good accessory for remote work. Some employees might need to adjust the height of their screen. Others might be interested in a dual-monitor setup, and a stand can help them modify their work desk.
Considering how much time you need to spend looking at a screen, it is only fair to set it up in a way that makes you comfortable.
#4 – Powerful Wi-Fi Router
Poor internet troubles are a hindrance, especially when you have to do most of your work online. Be it email communications, research, data entry, or another task; you will not have a good time if there are constant disconnects from the network or if the internet speed is not good enough.
One of the ways to circumvent the internet problem is to have a powerful Wi-Fi router. It is common for employers to provide their workers with these gadgets because the overall work efficiency depends on the internet so much.
Pro tip: switching to an ethernet cable is worth a shout as well if you are using a laptop that is static on the desk.
#5 – External Hard Drive
There are a couple of reasons why employees might need an external hard drive. The first is to utilize it as a means to back up data. Both work-related and personal files are important, and there is no need to take a risk by neglecting to back up the data.
The second reason is data exchange between teammates. These days, it is common to share files via cloud storage or communication platforms. However, if the size of the data is too large, it might be more efficient to copy the files to an external drive and mail it to a colleague.
#6 – Smartphone
Most people should already have a smartphone, but if one of your employees does not, or they have an outdated model, it makes sense to provide them with a new smartphone.
Certain types of remote work require more than just being online from 9 to 5. A communication channel that lets you reach and check in with an employee is just one of the reasons why everyone on the team should have a smartphone.
The second advantage is that you can carry out certain tasks without relying on a computer. For instance, answering a client via email or checking and sharing your schedule if someone asks is pretty simple while you are on a smartphone.
#7 – Wireless Charger
A wireless charger is the last accessory suggestion. The need for one comes down to digital device reliance. Smartphones, laptops, earbuds, tablets, and other devices have a battery that you need to charge to keep using the device.
Wireless chargers are great because you do not have to rely on outlets as much. In other words, you can quickly plug the device in and leave it to charge while focusing on your work.
Remote Work Tools
#1 – Slack
One of the biggest downsides of remote work is the lack of communication. Or rather, no communication in person.
Remote team supervisors need to emphasize communication so that everyone is on the same page and avoids mistakes.
Slack is arguably the best communication platform for remote work at the moment. Teammates can message one another instantly in private conversations or dedicated channels. Reacting to a message with an emote shows that the message has been seen by the intended recipient.
You can also pin important messages at the top of the channels and use Slack integration with applications like Loom to record and share videos. The tool also lets you use voice chat.
#2 – Google Drive
Google Drive is great when you want to create an environment to share documents with others. There are plenty of examples of when a project has multiple people working on it.
When necessary, you can create a sheet document and share it with everyone who needs it. And since Google Drive is reliable and free to use, you do not have to worry about losing documents or paying to store them.
#3 – Zoom
As already mentioned, communication in remote work is key, and it is possible to make do with texting or voice chat excluding video feed.
However, there are certain exceptions. Some managers believe that it is necessary to have group conversations in a video call. Whether it is a sense of recreating an in-person experience or making sure that everyone is there and paying attention, a demand to participate in a video call is justifiable.
Zoom is the go-to tool for video conferences. It is common to see it used not just in remote work but in other industries, such as education.
One of the biggest standout features of Zoom include:
- High-quality video
- Intuitive recording feature
- Option to hold webinars
#4 – Trello
Having a visual for every single task involved in the project can go a long way if you want to be more productive.
Trello is quite popular because it comes with “boards” to organize workflow. Users create columns and add task notes to them. And as soon as the task is finished, they mark it as complete and move to the next step.
Management sees clear progress and which stage a project is at, meaning that they do not have to waste time sending follow-ups to employees working on the project.
Asynchronous communication has its drawbacks, and some people might find it tedious to bother with to-do apps, but organizing tasks is part of the job, and Trello offers a great solution to it.
#5 – Time Doctor
The time spent working on a project is a commonly used metric to decide whether the team is doing good or not.
Naturally, if a project is new, then it can be difficult to determine how much time you realistically need to finish it.
To improve, it is helpful to identify exactly how much time was spent on a specific part of the project. Time Doctor is a great choice for that. Creating reports and sharing the details is a part at which the tool excels at.
As a side note, you can also use it as a way to track work time for those who work on an hourly rather than a day-by-day basis.
#6 – Screenflow
Screen-sharing also helps solve potential issues. For example, one of the teammates might struggle to get rid of MacBook malware, and they need help from a more tech-savvy colleague.
Explaining how to do things is easier when you have the visuals. Moreover, sharing a screen also means that you can have a live conversation and answer questions immediately rather than needing to bother recording a separate video.
Screenflow is a solid option. In addition to letting you share a screen with others, the tool comes with a one-click publishing feature and file sharing to keep the video as a reference for the future.
#7 – Assembly
Rewards and a little bit of competition go a long way to keep the employees motivated. Assembly is an all-in-one consolidation tool that lets you manage recognition, rewards, and even corporate discounts for employees.
The tool also comes with its own analytics feature that provides insight and evaluates employee engagement, which makes it easier to assess how everyone is doing and who deserves recognition.
As you can see, there are multiple gadgets and software to make things easier on you as a remote team manager.
You should prioritize the happiness of employees because they are the backbone of a successful workplace. So long as they need a new work accessory or software, and their demands are reasonable, you should accommodate their needs.