Working remotely is becoming more common than ever. According to Wired, 43% of workers in 2016 work remotely, so you probably have someone on your team who does – we certainly do!
Working remotely has its benefits and its drawbacks. By opening your company to remote team members, you are inherently optimizing for talent, skills, and fit, rather than geography. The world is your recruiting oyster. The flip side is that a geographically dispersed team can pose a risk in productivity, team unity, and vision to any team that does not actively and purposefully manage their local and remote staff.
About half of the founders we’ve interviewed at Stacklist have remote teams, so we thought we’d share some of the tools we recommend to finding and working with your remote team.
Hiring for remote workers can be very different than hiring in-office employees. Luckily, we’ve located some tools and resources specifically geared towards hiring remote talent. Check them out below.
“We’ve found awesome resources in Upwork,” says Kate Marsh, director of service and operations at Smart Lunches. Upwork is great if you are looking for freelancers or people to perform specific tasks. Like the other resources listed here, Upwork lets you pick from a global pool of talent.
Toptal is like Upwork, but more elite and exclusive, accepting only the top 3% of freelancers. “We use Toptal, and those people are rock stars,” says Lauren Foundos, founder and CEO of FORTE. Toptal is a better tool if you are looking for software developers.
We Work Remotely is a tool specifically designed for hiring remote workers. “We used We Work Remotely. It worked well for us for finding people to work remote,” says Jennifer Shoop, co-founder and COO of Fizz. We Work Remotely has a lot of categories, so it’s easier to find someone in your field.
“PowerToFly has access to highly skilled women across tech,” explains Milena Berry, co-founder and CEO of PowerToFly. PowerToFly is a great tool to diversify your team. Women are underrepresented in tech. Crush the patriarchy! Hire from PowerToFly.
For larger companies, Jazz is beneficial for tracking long-term employee performance and applicant tracking. It also is pretty useful for spreading the word about open positions. “We use Jazz, but more for applicant tracking than recruiting. It seems to work fairly well, and is very configurable,” says Travis Todd, co-founder of FullContact.
Sometimes a home office or coffee shops don’t cut it. When they don’t, you might want to look into coworking spaces for your remote members. If you are looking for coworking spaces in your city, some of these websites may be just what you need.
Finding a coworking space is now easier than ever. Using tools such as PivotDesk, Deskpass, and Croissant, and short-term, coworking locations can be located in the click of a button – check them out to easily identify an empty desk or several in your city. This holds true in cities across the country.
You can find plans tailored to your needs. Whether it’s an hour, a day, or a month, these coworking spaces will work to accommodate your employees’ needs. Often times, there is no real need to rent an office for a whole month. Many times you only need it for an hour or a day. LiquidSpace and ShareDesk are great tools to find hourly space.
When you all are not in the same office, you have to work harder to communicate well and develop a team culture. A breakdown in communication can lead to a less productive office, missed deadlines, and product issues. We’ve found some tools to ensure that you and your remote team are always in the loop.
Here at Stacklist, we use Slack, which is one of our most popular tools, currently on 65% of stacklists. Slack enables you to convey personalities with emojis, hashtags, and pictures, so you can get to know each other even from across the country. “We really like Slack--it is organized in channels, it’s fast and responsive,” says Henry Xie, co-founder of Simple Fractal.
For video and video conferencing, we recommend Zoomand Skype. Zoom integrates with Slack and lets you video from the app, saving you hassle. Skype is its own platform, but widely used for video needs. While it can be buggy, when it works, it works.
If you have conference call needs – and let’s face it who doesn’t – then UberConference could be just what you are looking for. “UberConference made calling in and holding meetings easy,” says Aaron Dallek, co-founder and CEO of Opternative. UberConference enables you to seamlessly conduct conference calls without worrying about getting everyone on the phone.
For collaborating on ideas and documents, we recommend you go with the industry standards that your team is probably already comfortable or familiar with: Google Drive and Hackpad. Both these tools allow you to collaborate with your coworkers in real time and edit each other’s work, which is key to a functioning, evolving team.
For working together and project management, we think you should check out Trello and Basecamp. Trello’s card system makes it easy to see where everyone is in the project and what needs to get done. Basecamp, which caters well to non-technical project management, has practical features like a calendar, timelines, file-sharing, and discussions.
For tech development, we say take a peek at GitHub, which focuses on software. GitHub is great because it helps developers working together and allows for workflow organization. “The vast majority of our collaboration is on GitHub--it’s our main source of truth,” says Vlad Magdalin, co-founder and CEO of Webflow.
When everyone is working in different offices, it’s more important than ever that everyone is on the same page in terms of priorities and that those priorities are matching with time spent. Additionally, some of these remote employees might be hourly, so tracking when they’re working is essential for payroll.
Harvest is a great tool because not only does it track how many hours you’ve spent on a project, but it also shows you how much of your budget you’ve spent. It tracks your costs and your time in one easy interface. “Harvest is a great tool for time tracking. It’s so easy that people actually use it!” says Christopher Duskin, VP of marketing at Extole.
Hubstaff helps remote companies operate more effectively by providing time tracking, activity tracking, in-depth reports and staffing. “We use Hubstaff’s time tracking software for the support team,” says Jiyan Wei, co-founder of BuildZoom.
“If you look back at your calendar, Hours helps remind you of things you may have missed,” says Tom Limongello, CEO of Truffle. Hours lets you easily segment your time and has a creative, engaging UI that is easy to learn. This is a great way to make sure you are spending time on what you need to.
Xero, which is a good payroll tool for domestic and local employees, doubles as beneficial for paying your remote workers who don’t always accept USD. “Xero is absolutely brilliant. We’ve been a customer since it originally launched in the UK,” says Ash Young, managing director of Evoluted. For foreign transactions, Xero supports where many software companies fail.
“We use SpeakUp for idea sharing and team problem solving. Since we’re a remote team, we can’t just tap each other on the shoulder to suss out an issue,” explains Ray Gillenwater, co-founder and CEO of SpeakUp. SpeakUp is great for collaborative thinking and problem solving. You can post an issue or question you have, and your teammates from across the world can help you.
Kanbanize enables you to manage developers and product development like a story from great distances. It allows you to track a project like a narrative and automate responses, saving a ton of time. “We use Kanbanize to manage our team of remote developers and stay on top of what they’re working on. It’s really simple and easy to use,” says Kate Marsh, director of service and operations of Smart Lunches.
“Breather is really awesome. You can rent conference rooms on an hourly basis,” says Brian Frumber, founder of VentureOut. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean that you don’t need conference rooms or to meet with coworkers. But investing in a conference room can be expensive. No longer! Breather means you only pay for a conference room when you need it.
Beanstalk allows you to post code from anywhere and review code from everywhere. This makes working with remote developer teams – like we do – that much easier. “Beanstalk allows me to see what’s been deployed, and all of the information also goes into Slack. It’s a good way to show the entire team what has been checked in,” says Alex Cote, founder and CMO of Cloze.