How to choose the best tools for remote work

Remote work is about communication, process and trust, but it’s also about having the right stack of tools. 

Choosing the right work tools and software is always important, but when you're working remotely, it’s critical. Our tool stack has a direct impact on things like process, efficiency, and happiness at work. But rather than thinking about tools and choosing them thoughtfully, most of us tend to use tools that we already know — even when they don't really work or fit the needs of our team.

Input has always been a remote team, so we've given a lot of thought to different tools and how they impact remote work. We wanted to share a few steps that we think are important for all teams to take to optimize their workday.

Take a critical look at your team’s current tool stack — does it actually fit your needs and goals? It could be that your team is using a standard chat app to communicate, but should actually be using something with more security and encryption. Maybe you're using expensive and robust marketing software that actually isn’t needed, and you can simplify to something more affordable. 

More often than not, we inherit tools and software from former employees, choose something out of habit, or just go for the most commonly-known solution. Rather than blindly using tools, think critically about how much they’re actually contributing to your team’s workday.

Do your research

Once you’ve identified any gaps in your tool stack or issues you want to find a solution for, do the research. There are countless tools out there, and plenty of powerful alternatives to commonly-used tools like Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, or Asana. Look up your ideal tool on Google, find new software on Product Hunt, or ask around for any suggestions. 

Thoughtfully introduce the new tool to your team

Once you’ve decided on a tool that you believe will help your team, be thoughtful and intentional about how you share the news. Be sure to communicate how this new tool will not just benefit you, but make work better for the majority of your team. Recognize that people are often wary of change, so make it easy — send out an email with all of the information needed, and help them get started. 

This is also where the advantage of having a super simple, easy to set up tool comes in. With so many tools overbloated with features and integrations, it pays to consider the ease of onboarding and simplicity of a tool during your decision process.

Whether your team has just recently moved to working remotely, or if you've been a distributed team for years, it's never too late to evaluate your tool stack with the goal of making work better for your team. And, if you're curious to find out more about remote work and how to make it successful (besides just having a great tool stack), we're fans of Zapier’s guide to remote work or Buffer’s yearly state of remote work.

Input is a powerful tool that uses docs to help you actually get things done. With Input, you can turn everything — including meeting notes — into an actionable, assignable task, helping you lead projects from start to finish in a smart doc. Signing up for Input is free.