How to Choose Effective Tools for Your Remote Workers

How to Choose Effective Tools for Your Remote Workers

By: Jeff Robbins

Creating a simple, working system for your distributed company communications beats implementing a complex and confusing system with all the bells and whistles. It’s all too easy for us to get caught up in the latest and greatest tools. While a new tool may promise to provide a better platform for something like daily team check-ins, are there ways that we can do the same thing using the simpler, more flexible tools we already have?

Let’s start thinking about picking tools based on the lowest common denominators for the company, rather than focusing on needless sophistication. “Tool creep” can quickly get overwhelming as we add a new exciting tool to our workflow every few weeks. Before we know it, our employee onboarding process includes a list of 20+ tools, websites, accounts, and logins remote workers need to learn before they can be productive.

Don’t forget about all of the amazing things you can do with some of the basics:

Email. It’s ubiquitous. Yet, I see many companies touting their anti-email internal communications policies. Just because we technically can eliminate all internal emails—using a plethora of tools and processes—doesn’t mean it’s efficacious.

We are always going to have an inbox, whether those communications are spread across messaging apps and project management tools or end up directly in our email inbox. Email is one of the lowest common denominators because all tools sync to email. So, why are we avoiding email at all costs?

Phone Calls. This technology goes back to the 1910’s and has few complications. Every team member can figure out how to dial a telephone number, no matter where they are located. On the other hand, it can be challenging to get everyone onto a video call. Technology glitches. Software to download. Video quality and connectivity issues. We’ve all been there. If video is not absolutely necessary, why not just schedule a good old-fashioned phone call?

Keep in mind, the more that can go wrong, the more that will go wrong.

It may be time to simplify your suite of communication tools. Don’t be afraid to go old school, when it makes good communication sense.

Remotip #12: Choose communication tools based on the lowest common denominators.