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It’s safe to say that the ongoing pandemic has affected every single industry, as well as every single business in existence. We’ve all had to make changes in order to adapt and survive, and with social distancing and limited gathering restrictions still in place across most of the world, companies have had to get creative. Remote work has become the go-to solution to help companies stay afloat, and even more so, to enable employees to stay connected and engaged, both with one another and with clients and customers.

The issue of business productivity, however, cannot be resolved with a switch like that. It takes time and effort to find the most optimal solutions and tech to increase productivity as well as employee focus. Some tools are more promising than others while introducing too few or too many can have dire consequences for the efficacy of your operations.

To help you choose wisely, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of must-have tools that enable seamless remote work, help your employees stay engaged, and allow you to continue building your company culture remotely in 2021.

Chat tools to the rescue

Employee engagement and satisfaction will play a vital role in their ability to be productive every day, and under so much stress during the pandemic. Just imagine one of your employees accustomed to working at the office, now having to adjust to working at home, with two kids running around at all times. Yes, it’s an adjustment, so why not let your employees connect on a more human level, even during office hours?

This is where chat tools step in to save the day and help teams connect. They can share their lunch breaks, and create unique chat groups that are not related to business and their tasks. This will elevate their satisfaction, provide them with stress relief, and enable them to be more productive once they break and all the cute cat videos are over. Employee satisfaction in 2021 will be empowered through bonding and connections made simpler with the help of such tools.

Creative collaboration on the cloud

For creative staff, remote work might not seem like an easy transition because they need to collaborate to deliver results. This is especially vital for content marketing and SEO since writers, designers, and analysts are always looking for creative ways to improve existing content and find authentic solutions to represent your brand well.

Luckily for your creative teams, you can leverage cloud-based collaboration tools as simple as Google Drive to exchange files and work on them together in real-time throughout 2021. The built-in chat feature paired with a wide array of other cloud-based tools helps keep the process simple and seamless, allowing your employees to be efficient and productive wherever they are. Presentations are also great for remote team collaborations. Tools like visually appealing PowerPoint themes can help in developing effective remote presentations enhancing overall remote team communications.

Project management done right

One of the most vital tools needed for most organizations today is used for project management – a wide term to encompass everything from handling different clients and all of their unique needs. For example, your IT team can easily allocate tasks with the help of your PM platform, while marketers can collaborate, graphic designers exchange ideas, and all will have a transparent view of everyone’s workload, deadlines, and expectations. Software tools can boost productivity for your business when handling multiple projects at the same time so that your customer relationships never suffer.

This provides a clear path for productivity no matter where your employees are and the amount of work that needs to get done. You can monitor their ability to keep up with each project’s schedule so that you can adapt on the go and manage your expectations better.

CRM to build relationships

Customer relationship management tools (CRM) are vital for today’s companies, especially the ones that will be focused on growth and expansion in 2021. Even in times of the pandemic, if you are experiencing a boom in your sales or just interest in your products or services, you need a comprehensive tool to keep your leads in check, regularly communicate with potential customers, and maintain all of your customer relationships.

The right system should be able to integrate well with other tools that your employees are using, and it should be fairly intuitive so that the learning curve isn’t too steep for those who join while working remotely.

VoIP-empowered conversations

For companies small and large alike, communication is essential for success, customer relationships, but also employee collaboration. Instead of traditional and outdated landline phones that once occupied every single cubicle and served to help improve customer service, businesses are opting for VoIP-based solutions that are more versatile and easier to use remotely.

Your employees can use the app on the phone and their computer alike to communicate with other team members, track customer calls, record and analyze those calls, and receive voice mail over their emails. In addition to making phone calls over the internet, VoIP tools are incredibly useful for staying connected, collecting and sharing data, and keeping customers happy on a global scale. In 2021, when remote work will be the predominant form of collaboration, your communication systems need to match your employee needs.

Video conferencing simplified

While your employees will be working primarily from the comfort of their homes, you still need to organize weekly meetings and review your projects and assignments. This also allows you to provide advice and guidance to your teams during such difficult times and when they find it tough to focus. The best and most engaging way to do that is to use a video conferencing tool that will help your teams get together online on a video call.

Most of the modern-day conferencing software solutions aren’t just equipped for video calls. You can use numerous other features such as built-in chat, screen-sharing, and recording, too. Most apps offer a mobile version for those who might need to take the call away from their computers, but still want to enjoy the full experience of video conferencing seamlessly.

Automation in marketing

Getting more done sometimes means doing less. Let’s clarify: for most of your employees, especially those dealing with marketing, social media, and email, there are so many little chores they need to do every day. What if, instead, there was a tool to automate a portion of those tasks so that they can have more time at their disposal for mission-critical assignments?

Everything from scheduling automating, yet personalized email campaigns, all the way to social posting, tracking campaigns, analytics, and reporting can be handled by different tools. Your marketers can then seamlessly work on the collected data and reports via the cloud and use them to fuel future campaigns without any time wasted. Automation in 2021 will be an even more relevant trend, allowing your staff to focus on what’s crucial and automate everything else.

Remote work can be difficult especially if you’re new to the practice, but with the help of the right tech tools, you can help your teams remain productive even at home in the following year. With an abundance of options available, investing in the right software and tech can make all the difference for your remote employees, so use these tips to help them thrive.