We all need virtual tools and software products to make our remote work smoother. From increasing productivity to conducting virtual engagement sessions, there is a remote work tool or resource that can come in handy to make remote work more efficient. These resources are also useful for better team collaboration and most importantly, facilitating employee engagement.


We keep hearing the words ‘employee engagement’ but why is it so important for businesses? In a nutshell, employee engagement helps retain the best people, increases productivity, reduce absenteeism and of course, it is a great company culture booster.


So, what exactly does a company with high engagement look like? According to Forbes, an engaged workplace is one that's designed, first and foremost, around its company values. If organizations value collaboration, they’ll provide their employees with the space and technology to collaborate.


But is remote work really here to stay? According to 10to8, 41% of companies worldwide already offer remote working opportunities and this number is expected to increase to 78% by 2028. Such figures and trends tell us how choosing the right remote tools is essential for employees since they want flexibility and transparency when it comes to their work. Before, we deep-dive into the best tools for remote work, let’s look at some quick tips to increase remote team engagement.


Keeping the basics of employee engagement in mind, let’s look at ways how companies can increase their remote team engagement.


How to increase remote team engagement?


Here are some employee engagement ideas for your remote team to keep them charged up and productive.


1. Ditch 9-5 mindsets


A lot of managers still expect their employees to work with the same traditional 9 to 5 mindset. However, one thing that we all need to realize that it’s time to embrace change. Change comes in the form of working asynchronously and with loads of flexibility. As long as the work is done, it doesn’t matter if an employee works during the designated office hours or not.


Managers should shift away from this expectation and start trusting their employees to avoid friction and a toxic working environment.


2. Hosting short Virtual games & activities

We don’t mean long Zoom meetings with a designated day just for virtual events. While this might be fun for a few people, it may drain out the energy of a lot of other employees. You can look at short virtual Airbnb experiences like Pasta making, scavenger hunt or even a trip to Taj Mahal!


A better way is to play quick games and icebreakers in between work as a quick break. You can even make these games asynchronous to avoid work disruption during focused work. Some apps like Ricotta Games & Trivia on Slack can be a great way to bond together while working asynchronously.


3. Pulse surveys


This is a great way to get anonymous feedback from your employees and get feedback on how to improve your company’s work culture. You can get feedback for just about anything like:


  • Views about company culture
  • Concerns relating to team communication and processes
  • Views about the current management
  • How well they fit into the company culture
  • Overall improvement suggestions (optional)


This feedback can then be used to improve processes and address grievances for a healthier team culture. If you want to make it personal, you can also do one-on-one calls to talk to your employees in-depth.


4. Showing appreciation


Working remote has a major con - making employees feel socially isolated and unrecognized for their efforts. To avoid making them feel this way, giving out rewards and recognitions are very important. There are a bunch of tools that you can use to appreciate them and give out rewards.


To avoid disengagement, this should be a regular practice and should be ingrained in the company’s culture.


5. Open communication


When it comes to working remote, transparency and communication is key. It is very critical to understand your employee’s needs. Always have a culture of an open door where employees can reach out whenever they need to. Keep yourselves informed of small things like providing freedom in choosing their work schedule, work satisfaction and meeting their work-life balance needs.


6 Best tools for remote teams


Keeping the above points in mind, let’s look some of the best tools for remote workers to help improve your workplace collaboration.



1. Slack 


Slack is our preferred tool for day-to-day communication at Ricotta. It is simple and effective, with options to make it non-distracting and intrusive.


With Slack, communication becomes easy since you can create both private and open channels to share your files and communication. The best thing about Slack is the Slack app directory which has the best Slack apps out there. With apps like Ricotta Games & Trivia, your day-to-day virtual activities and icebreakers can become even more fun.



Image source: Slack | https://slack.com/blog/news/say-hello-new-logo



2. Trello


Trello is a great way to manage your team projects easily, especially for facilitating asynchronous work. It is a task board app that works on the concept of Kanban boards and showcases an overview of your project - right from the deadline to the project owners.


An effective work management app with boards, lists, and cards to make collaboration easier. A great tool for remote work management!



Image source: Trello | https://trello.com/


3. Miro


Want to avoid super long Zoom meetings? Miro is a godsend to conduct brainstorming sessions with your team. It is an online whiteboard on which you and your team can discuss ideas, collaborate visually with your team. An effective way to have fun ideation sessions while working remote.


Image source: Miro | https://miro.com/



4. Timely


Timely is an automatic time management and tracking app. It can track the time that you spend on web and other desktop apps. It can give you a daily cumulative record of how much time you tend to spend on which activity.


The tool’s artificial intelligence creates a timesheet by category and source thus helping you track and manage your time better.


Image source: Timely | https://timelyapp.com/



5. Nectar


Nectar is an employee recognition and rewards app that is helpful in building camaraderie and keeping employees engaged. You can send recognition directly from Slack or Teams and also integrate it with other HRIS and SSO software programs.


To send a recognition you simply need to mention the co-worker, add a reason or a personal message, give points and select a core value for which you want to recognize them. As employees keep collecting points, they can redeem them for rewards. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Image source: Nectar | https://www.nectar.com/


6. Ricotta


We touched on this one above as a Slack Add on, Ricotta is worth making the list as number 6 in it's own right  Ricotta is a Virtual Team building platform, with lots of fun built in. From check in surveys, to goal setting tool, and fun games we've found it's a great way to refresh the team and engage everyone especially when we're far apart. Culture in a business is an elusive beast to track, manage, or improve and we found with increased levels of remote working that Ricotta is a great contributor to a good company culture.


Play games and trivia together as a team with Ricotta Trivia. 


Conclusion


This is our compiled list of apps and integrations that can help you complete your remote work stack. These tools have the potential to make your work collaboration seamless, more organised, and with more connectivity than ever before.