If you run a remote team then you’re at no shortage of tools and systems to use to help manage them.

The key is not finding remote tools, then, but knowing which ones are the really worth your time and which deserve to be thrown out before even beginning.

To help save you the time and hassle, then, we thought we’d bring you — based on knowledge from collaborating daily with companies that run remote teams — what we’ve found to be four of the best tools for managing remote employees.

1. Phone Tracking Software

Just because your team works away from the office doesn’t mean you can’t keep them safe, monitor their activities and behaviour, and increase their overall working efficiency.

With phone tracking software, you can do all the above and more. As a result, many companies are investing in the technology as a way to not only help manage remote employees but also significantly improve their bottom line.

Whereas phone tracking systems work on an individual level, when used in a team, their benefits come on a group level, too. That means you can track, record, and crunch masses of data over time to improve working patterns and increase efficiency of your remote teams.

2. Communication with Slack

Slack is the 21st century’s answer to email. But more than that, it’s the 21st century’s answer to the office — complete with virtual water cooler and virtual meeting rooms.

As such a virtual powerhouse, Slack has become known as one of the best communication tools for managing remote employees. Some of its features include direct messaging, team huddles, company-wide and project specific channels, and, importantly, it is free for small to midsize teams no matter how long you want to use it.

There are many other communication tools out there that do similar things, but what makes Slack so popular is its easy-to-use and informal nature — hashtags, emojis, third-party integrations. Such playful additions enable company culture to develop, no matter where the members of your team are based.

3. Project Management with Basecamp

Anyone who has managed remote employees for a while will have heard of Basecamp. They’ll also probably have realised that no other project management comes close to it.

Effective for collaborating with internal teams, contractors, and clients, Basecamp is one of the top tools for managing remote employees for the simple fact it has a light and mobile-friendly interface that can be quickly accessed and used from any device.What makes it is so user-friendly and suited to remote teams is that it was created by the company to help better manage its own remote team that works away from the office. The result is a workspace that makes running and reviewing projects, uploading and sharing files, and in-house and cross-team collaboration, just as easy as being in the same place.

4. File Storage and Sharing with Evernote

Evernote is one of the most successful free note-taking apps on the market. But the service has many more strings to its bow and is particularly beneficial as a tool for managing remote employees.

From their mobile devices, remote employees can use Evernote to store and share any type of file they need to — whether it be a photo, a text file, a PDF, voice recording, or a video. In an instant, all this information can be in the cloud and at the access of managers and other members of a team.

It may sound similar in function to Dropbox, but Evernote has some unique advantages. For one, it allows users to upload images that can then be digitally transcribed. Another key and related advantage is the tagging, notebook, and “stacking” features. These ensure all captured data is efficiently organised and can be stored and categorised according to a common system.