The top 7 SaaS tools for remote working employees
Remote working has been shifting the UK’s working patterns over the past few years. Many businesses are moving away from operating in a physical office space. Nowadays, operations and resources are outsourced, from payroll to marketing, deliveries to printing.
Whether companies officially employ or subcontract their workforces, monolithic office blocks are becoming less relevant. A large proportion of professionals, such as designers and writers, already work from home, staying in touch with the office and clients via email, phone and collaboration technology.
Some studies conducted indicate that remote employees are more productive than in-house staff, for example, taking fewer sick days and answering more calls. Remote working also means that companies lose fewer employees when they become parents or experience a physical injury preventing them to travel to and from work.
The migration to remote working is enabled mostly by SaaS. The cloud makes software and company information available everywhere and allows staff to communicate and collaborate effectively and conveniently. The added benefit of SaaS and remote working employees means companies save on rent, insurance, electricity, furniture and equipment.
However, many firms are still unprepared for the SaaS revolution. Some companies are yet to think through the cloud resources that could benefit their business. To help, here are seven SaaS packages that could play a role in creating smoother business operations for staff working both externally and in-house.
1. Trello interactive project management
Trello makes it easy to communicate with colleagues, collaborate on documents, track and reorganise workflows. Both employers and team members can see what other employees and stakeholders are working on at a glance. New tasks can be easily added or transferred, and assets, checklists and labels appended where needed.
Trello is often praised for its ease of use, allowing any virtually connected teams to remain up to speed on business activity in real-time.
As with most SaaS packages, Trello is extensible and works with standard document formats and other packages. A common addition to Trello is InVision Freehand, a whiteboard that assists with design presentations and interactive planning.
2. Slack team communication platform
For many remote-teams, Slack acts as a “virtual office”. It enables employees to connect with their colleagues one-on-one or in groups and staff can obtain immediate feedback and news.
However, Slack is a lot more than a communication service. Additional plug-in applications can automate reports about business activity and progress and generate alerts about new product reviews or feedback. These features help employees to stay focused and engaged with what they are doing, all the while keeping an eye on the collective goal.
Slack teams can set up chat groups known as channels and post emojis or GIFs to let others know how they’re doing. Slack also integrates with applications such as Skype, MailChimp, Zoom and Basecamp.
3. Calendly meeting and conference scheduler
Even in an office environment, scheduling a meeting that suits everyone can be challenging. Calendly is designed to minimise the work involved with arranging meetings. Just input when you’re available and let Calendly work everything out for you. You don’t even need to be in the same time zone as the colleagues you want to meet with. Calendly easily integrates with other diaries and planners such as Outlook or Google Calendar.
4. Basecamp project management tools
Some modern business models are far too entrenched in process control, and both their employees and their clients dislike this. When you are working under the same roof, processes can make you feel distant from people sitting a few feet away. However, when co-workers are miles apart, many will complain that they lack transparent processes.
Basecamp is easily one of the most popular platforms for keeping all employees on-track. At its root, it tracks and ensures sign-off on the tasks that lead to the completion of the project. The core functions of the software are easily extended with additional tools.
Some basic features include message boards for team discussions, a chatbot called Campfire for less formal messages and simple questions, a scheduler that tracks everything from project milestones to holiday leave, to-do lists and a collaborative file manager.
5. Zoom video conferencing
You can use Zoom as an instructional webinar tool or conduct an online meeting. A free account lets 25 people participate in a single event. Depending on your type of subscription, you can increase the number of attendees. There is no limit to the number of conferences you can have once you have an active account. The platform comes with a screen sharing feature, making it easier to discuss and show visually different processes or aid in resolving any issues.
Again, as with most SaaS tools, integration and extension of the software’s core function with other tools is a possibility. These include file sharing and cross-platform messaging. Another benefit of Zoom is that it helps employees to feel more connected with colleagues.
6. Encrypt.me security software
Business owners are legally responsible for protecting any personal staff or customer information that might be exposed while communicating remotely. There usually is a basic level of security built into SaaS packages, but if you prefer added protection, this is something to talk over with your SaaS provider.
While each of your employee’s devices – laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones – should be individually secured, Encrypt.me establishes a VPN (a virtual private network) that unobtrusively protects everything that passes between them.
7. Adobe Document Sign
Authenticating forms, letters and contracts with a signature have become problematic due to most documents now being digital. This is where Adobe document sign can be a great solution, and there is no need to have an Adobe account to use it.
Other useful collaborative SaaS tools include Hubstaff, Canva, Bit.ai, Time Doctor and Process Street. Many of these platforms are extensible so that tools specific to your business can be added, such as logistic trackers, design canvases and resource databases. Remember to speak with your SaaS provider to get the most out of your software.