According to Oxford University, happy employees are at least 13% more productive. It should not come as a surprise.
Spending time in a friendly work environment is a big morale boost. On the other hand, if you are stuck in a toxic environment, the odds are that you will struggle to find motivation and be productive.
Of course, there are factors other than the work environment that affect one’s happiness. Personal life, society and culture people experience every day, and mental health are other examples of what dictates whether someone is happy or not.
For someone who manages a remote work team and wishes to make their employees more productive by increasing their happiness, the odds are that affecting areas outside of work is out of a supervisor’s hands.
However, there are ways to make one’s employees happy. And one of the suggestions is to provide useful work tools.
1 – Slack
Slack allows you to eliminate tedious email communication and have more concise messaging with coworkers.
The messages can be delivered instantly or scheduled for later. For a communication platform, the asynchronous messaging feature is quite useful, especially when a team consists of people from all over the world working in different time zones.
Using Slack provides remote teams with an all-in-one communication hub that simplifies it for employees who wish to avoid feeling frantic while exchanging information with coworkers.
- File sharing between users
- Application integrations
- High customization capabilities
- Video and voice calls
- Screen sharing
- Web and mobile application availability
- Instant messages and notifications
- A bit expensive, especially for larger teams
- Sound quality during calls could use improvements
Slack has 3 different payment plans:
- Pro: €6.25/mo if billed yearly and €7.50/mo if billed monthly (per person)
- Business+: €11.75/mo if billed yearly and €14.10/mo if billed monthly (per person)
- Enterprise Grid: pricing available upon request
2 – Dropbox
It is hard to imagine working remotely without a cloud storage solution. Even if you can use a tool like Slack to exchange files, there are certain limitations in terms of file size.
To overcome these limitations, utilize cloud storage to share data. Dropbox also lets you edit documents directly without needing to transfer them on your device first.
If you want, you can also sync cloud storage on multiple devices simultaneously, which means that you can quickly check a file on your smartphone instead of needing to use a computer.
- Compatible with virtually every operating system
- Great for collaborating
- Excellent features for paying subscribers
- Digital signing tool
- Free account offers only 2GB storage
- Paid plans can be expensive
Billing yearly saves you 20 percent on expenses. For businesses, there are 3 available plans that you can also try for free:
- Professional (for individuals): €16.58/mo with 3TB storage for 1 user
- Standard (for smaller teams): €10/mo with 5TB storage for 3+ users
- Advanced (for larger teams): €15/mo with unlimited storage for 3+ users
3 – Zoom
Zoom is a cloud-based video conference tool that lets businesses organize video calls and stay in touch that way.
Certain things are better explained via video feed. Not to mention that there might be some employees who wish to communicate with one other using video chat.
In addition, Zoom can also be used as a means to provide training. Businesses often hire guest coaches or speakers who can teach remote teams. An opportunity to learn and improve your skills motivates employees and makes them happier.
- Supports large audiences
- Allows you to host webinars
- Supports Google Calendar
- Good video quality and few frame drops
- Scalable for different teams
- Offer cloud storage syncing
- Subscriptions and add-ons
- Lack of comment control
- Inconsistencies in cloud file sizes
Zoom has a free plan, but there is a 40-minute limit for a single meeting. To make the most out of the tool, you will need to go with one of the available paid options:
- €139.90/y for hosting up to 100 participants
- €189.90/y for hosting up to 300 participants
- €223.20/y for hosting up to 500 participants
4 – Trello
Trello utilizes its kanban board app to simplify project management. It is easy to organize and track tasks in the Trello environment.
Users can drag and drop blocks, leave comments, complete tasks and proceed forward, and it takes very little technical knowledge to figure out how to use Trello.
Even if you need to onboard a new member and get them familiar with the project that is well on its way, the process is pretty straightforward.
- Simple to use
- Automates workflow
- Extended functionality options
- Great mobile app
- Great value for its price
- Limited project views
- Lack of reporting
- Not ideal for more complex projects
As most of the other similar services, Trello offers multiple plans depending on your needs:
- Free plan for basic use
- Standard: $5/mo
- Premium: $10/mo
- Enterprise: $17.50/mo
5 – CleanMyMac X
Working on a struggling computer is not ideal, to say the least. It is the opposite of what you want to see as a supervisor.
Since drive clutter is one of the main reasons behind poor computer performance, it is worthwhile to provide employees with cleanup utility tools.
For MacBook users, CleanMyMac X is arguably the best option. This utility app also functions as a security tool, which is an added benefit when it comes to cybersecurity concerns.
- Easy to use
- Is part of the Setapp’s app subscription plan
- Great for Photoshop users who want to empty scratch disks
- Smart Scan feature to improve the computer’s performance
- Might be too much for an average Mac user
- Some of the tool’s features feel lackluster when compared to the rest
CleanMyMac X has a 30-day money-back guarantee policy. The plans are yearly and differ depending on how many Macs you want the tool for:
- €39.95/y for 1 MacBook
- €79.90/y for 2 MacBooks
- €199.75/y for 5 MacBooks
6 – Time Doctor
Time Doctor might be primarily used to track employee time, but it can also be utilized for project management.
Some employees might be unhappy with how much they are working and need to justify getting paid more because of how much time they spend. A report with time-tracking is solid proof of that.
Another example is a friendly competition between colleagues. You can compete with one another to see who finishes a project faster and provide a report from Time Doctor to show your results. Friendly competitions are great for employee engagement.
- Invoice creation within the app
- Employee monitoring
- Ample integration options
- Outdated UI
- Stopwatch needs a separate application to work
Time Doctor has a free-trial option that lets you test the tool first. If you are happy with it, you can go either of the 3 available plans:
- Basic: $7/mo
- Standard: $10/mo
- Premium: $20/mo
7 – Klutch
A hub to keep track of frequently asked questions and relevant company information helps with onboarding new employees and answering customer queries in a timely manner.
Not needing to waste time, thanks to a well-prepared knowledge base, is great for productivity, and Klutch sounds like the perfect tool for that.
- Easy to use
- No real technical knowledge requirements due to simple UI
- The option to cancel your plan any time you want
- You need to use it as a Chrome extension
Klutch has a pretty straightforward idea for its pricing model. It offers 2 plans:
- Free: $0 with up to 2GB storage
- Pro: $4/mo with up to 100GB storage
8 – NordVPN
Cybersecurity concerns are common, particularly now when so many people are working from home and not bothering to invest in security too much.
NordVPN is a worthwhile consideration if you wish to provide employees with an extra layer of security. In addition, it also blocks intrusive ads and lets you access geo-restricted content, such as streaming platforms, which is an extra benefit for those who like to watch movies and TV shows.
- Utilizes WiredGuard
- Tor and multi-hop connections
- Multiple server locations
- Reliable customer support
- Lack of router app
- Linux client is missing graphics interface
- Can be expensive
NordVPN’s pricing model is a bit complicated. If you opt-in for a monthly option, it will cost you €10.49. However, cheaper options are available:
- €69.36 for a 2-year plan and €87.48/y after the first two years
- €52.68 for a 1-year plan and €87.48/y after the first year
9 – TeamViewer
TeamViewer runs under all mobile and desktop operating systems. It is primarily used to share your screen with others.
In a remote work environment, explaining and helping colleagues is easier when you can show your computer’s screen and talk in real-time.
Whether it is someone needing to solve a problem or taking over tasks for a coworker who is going on a vacation, TeamViewer has you covered.
- Beginner-friendly UI
- Easy to set up
- Multiple security layers
- Supports multiple monitors
- Can be expensive
- Lacks support services
- Redundant features can be annoying
TeamViewer offers a free plan for non-commercial use, but businesses are likely to skip that and choose one of these 3:
- Single User: €29.90/mo
- Multi User: €59.90/mo
- For Teams: €129.90/mo
All in all, it makes sense to provide remote workers with the necessary tools if you want a happy and productive team.
If someone is unhappy because they cannot complete tasks or have to find workarounds and waste time, it will not take too long before they have complaints.
Tags: dropbox, klutch, knowledge base, nordvpn, project management, slack, team productivity, teamviewer, zoom