The global workforce has made the move to remote working despite the opening up of many economies. Companies, both large and small are adapting to these changes to ensure everyday processes, responsibilities and requirements are met. This has led to the fast growth of tech tools to help teams stay productive and connected at work.

We got Ranganathan Balashanmugam from Everest Engineering, to share what tools he uses in his day-to-day work. Ranganathan or Ranga as he’s known brings more than 18 years of experience building software and is passionate about people, innovation and both personal and business growth.

Ranga is ranked as one of India’s Top 10 CTOs and has been at the forefront of Everest’s success in being a human-centric software engineering agency and “great place to work”, developing innovative technology for Xero and Envato. The team doubled their hybrid workforce during the pandemic last year.

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Everest Engineering is one of the world’s most respected software development agencies connecting high-quality, scalable, innovative and distributed development teams with leading organisations.

Here are the 5 tools that Ranga uses and how he uses them in his words:

Notion (paid)

Notion is an amazing tool, application and collaboration platform that brings staff into one digital workplace where you can manage projects, take notes, visualise ideas, add tasks, build roadmaps and capture workflows. This is how we are able to effectively work together across borders and deliver impact at scale for our clients.

We also treat it as an internal wiki and canvas for everything from Operations, Sales, Engineering and Design, and is a blessing for automating the onboarding of new staff. Each staff is given their own personal workspace within the database where they can run through checklists tailored to their role and create a profile visible to the rest of their team that dives into their interests, fun facts about them, their career journey and mission in being a part of the team.

Teams can collaborate in real-time, share and comment on projects and set automated task-flows and reminders. With Notion’s API, you can also pull information for other apps, including Gmail, Slack, Todoist and set up your own triggers depending on your team requirements.

Slack automations for onboarding (free)

So many workplaces use Slack but we haven’t met many business leaders who use it to automate laborious manual tasks that cost time and money. Automating processes using Slack plugins has made a significant impact on our business, giving staff and leaders countless hours back into our weeks. By automating workflows, it allows people to be more successful in their roles.

Before the pandemic, when a new staff member was onboarded, they could have their accounts generated, get set up and meet staff and their new teams, all within a physical setting. But this has changed.

We help new starters get on a good starting point by helping them discover where to explore, and create a workflow that starts from notifying the onboarding team to the internal IT team, and back to the onboarding team to check-in with them once they’ve completed tasks on the task list and have welcomed support.

Slack for automating timesheets (free)

Timesheet tracking is a critical part of our business and we quickly realised that filling in timesheets manually creates opportunities for manual errors, inaccurate data and people forgetting to fill them in, so we added an internal tool that automates this process.

Staff can use simple slack commands to add a daily reminder for all of the projects they are assigned to. The app will then prompt them at the end of each day to fill in a timesheet with just a click of a button with preselected hours or they can customise depending on the hours they worked.

The data is then fed into a timesheet database which is used for invoicing and billing by the finance team.

Video Facilitator to provide an office-feel (paid)

To encourage spontaneous and coordinated meetings, Video Facilitator is an innovative tool that replicates a physical office in a Zoom-like environment. People can meet in the digital lobby and break out into smaller meeting rooms and collaborate at scale – across the world – through an experience that allows staff to remain engaged and excited about working alongside their colleagues.

This is an incredible tool for conferences and workshops. Our workflows involve the facilitation of staff across multiple regions, so it’s important we can lead a remote group of individuals through an experience that helps staff stay engaged and excited to create the rapid innovative outcomes that a structured workshop enables.

Facilitators can create any amount of meeting rooms on the fly with a click, reducing friction and enabling staff to drive smaller group discussions to foster better connections and commitments to outcomes.

Often on Zoom or Google Hangouts it’s easy for some people to dominate the conversation and those on the periphery to engage. You can also access simple broadcasts or rapid polls in a few seconds or set break-out room times to keep conversations focused.

Optimising asset management with Airtable (paid)

After many months of searching for an asset management tool and being unable to find one that suited our needs, we decided to build our own internal asset management using our existing project management tool and some automation and integration using Slack.

How it works: we created a simple Google form to import data into the Airtable Asset Management Register which automatically creates an entry, tracks assignment, maintenance and service history, and notifies the relevant teams via an automated slack channel.

These are just some of the simple, and affordable, tools we’ve used well before the world moved to a new way of working. We tried and tested many different tools and software for all departments of our teams, and can confirm that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to recreate the physical office in an online environment. Automation processes are much easier than you might think!