With most companies around the world now fully-remote (and remaining that way for the foreseeable future), the tools you use are more important than ever. While just having the right tools will not make the transition to remote work as effective for all teams, it definitely helps set the foundation.
There are countless tools, apps, and resources out there, but after many years of working remotely and building a fully remote company, our team has learned a thing or two about the tools that work best.
For newly remote teams to really succeed, these tools should be coupled with management best practices that help newly remote employees and leaders feel comfortable and confident with their work. As there is a lot of uncertainty around how long teams will need to be remote, we encourage you to find the tools and practices that work best for your team to set a good foundation for remote work. It’s also worth noting that it’s important to understand how to use the tools in order for them to work for you and your team.
Here’s a list of our favorite tools that we use at Microverse to manage our fully remote team, spread across 12 countries, and why we chose them.
- Google Docs
- Process Street
Our Must-have Tools for Remote Teams
Zoom is our favorite tool for video conferencing. We’ve talked about Zoom numerous times, as it has the best audio/video quality and allows for cloud recordings and breakout rooms to split into smaller groups. We use Zoom for all our team calls and our student assemblies (with hundreds of people) and more. Zoom has been a remote work essential for years.
We use Notion for all our company documentation. As a remote team, we need to document things obsessively. Notion makes it frictionless and enables us to create pages, sub-pages, tables, and more within one workspace.
It is our go-to tool for documentation and if documentation on a particular topic doesn’t exist, we’ll be sure to create it in Notion then share. It also enables us to organize things based on the department and search for topics across our workspace to reduce duplicate content.
Twist is an asynchronous tool that we use as a replacement for Slack. It forces us to organize conversations in channels and threads. Each topic gets discussed in a new thread that is named accordingly.
We’ve found Twist is the best way to keep our conversations organized and to ensure we can notify those that should be involved in the conversation. Twist allows us to organize conversations by threads inside each channel, and each thread has a name. This makes it easier to keep track of the conversations you need to catch up with and find things in the future by using the search function.
We use Loom for one-click asynchronous and high-bandwidth communication when text is not enough, such as for giving feedback, discussing complex topics, and more. It enables us to share our emotions and expressions when we think they are critical to the message we’re trying to get across.
We also use Loom to record intro videos so new team members can visually see and be welcomed by our team as seen above. Loom videos can also be sped up and rewatched which makes them great for explaining processes or working through more complex steps asynchronously.
Tools We Use for Culture
Having a great culture is something that we continuously strive for, especially as our team is remote. We use a number of tools to help us foster remote relationships and hold meetings, such as our weekly “Beverage, Brag, Beg (& Blunder)” to get the team together and share some wins - and blunders - of the week.
At Microverse, we use Slack for informal communication. We have a lot of different channels for things like birthdays and work anniversaries, pets, workouts, books, and more. We keep this tool and the kinds of conversations we have separate from the formal communication we have in Twist.
In Slack team members share things they did on the weekend, Friday shoutouts to other team members, random things, articles, news, and more.
We use a tool called Donut, that integrates with Slack, to randomly pair team members each week for socialization and informal communication. Every two weeks, Donut sends us and another team member a Slack message to let us know to schedule what a ‘micro-meet’ half-hour meeting.
This is a great way to randomly connect team members across the organization, especially those that don’t get a chance to interact very often. Donut also reminds you to schedule meetings offers conversation starters and more.
Officevibe is a tool we use to help us measure our culture engagement every week and see trends: eNPS, peer relationships, management, feedback culture, health and more. Every week, team members are sent an anonymous survey where they are prompted to answer a few questions about our organization.
It’s a great way to see how team members are feeling as it always anonymous. We use the information to make the necessary adjustments to ensure we have a happy and productive team.
Other Tools We Use
We use Plai to organize and keep track of our quarterly Objectives and Key Results(OKRs). As a remote company, it’s important to have transparent, aligned and focused goals. We encourage new team members to learn about OKRs and get familiar with them if they haven’t used them before.
At Microverse, we set top-level OKRs then OKRs for each department to make sure we are well aligned across the organization. We track our OKRs on a weekly basis and can adjust whether they are 'On-track', 'At Risk' or 'Behind' in Plai.
A classic, google docs is our go-to for meeting agendas, action items and notes. This is always helpful for meetings but even more so for remote teams. We are able to tag and assign action items to team members, take thorough notes and outline time frames for each topic in Google Notes.
For every group meeting, we encourage you to also set a designated Note Taker and Timekeeper to ensure you’re staying on track and recording all helpful information from the meeting.
We use process street for well-structured and documented processes so team members are more autonomous and work is consistent. When fully remote, it's even more important to make sure there are well documented processes and workflows.
As you can see, there are a lot of different uses for Process.st - onboarding new team members is just one of the many ways we use this tool.
There are many other tools we use to keep our remote team productive and connected, but these are our top 10. Depending on your industry you may need many more, or more specific, tools but we’ve found this core list works across industries and businesses to help remote workers stay focused and maintain a healthy culture. And, if you have any questions about going remote or managing remote teams we created this ultimate FAQ for building and managing remote work teams.
If you're looking to expand your dev team remotely, learn more about Microverse developers below!