We’re exaggerating, of course, we could probably live without these, but our lives and work would be bumpier, less streamlined, and definitely sadder.
The Livit team has been remote-capable since its inception in the early 2010s. We are not developing software or a tech team per se. But we are a support system and a service provider for tech teams. We’ve always employed amazing technologies to move faster and work smarter, and an important part of our work is teaching other teams how to get streamlined and organized.
We use a few dozen tools on a regular basis and test at least a few new ones each week for our own projects or for our clients.
So we surveyed all of our team members to find out what their favourite tools are and put together this list for you, otherwise known as our “tool stack”.
Getting stuff done & collaborating (team-wide)
A versatile and intuitive suite of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google. Among the services we use most: company email, cloud storage (good practice we recommend: no files stored on computers), collaborative documents (sheets, docs, slides), Hangouts/Meet, shared calendars that keep us organised, allow us to seamlessly schedule meetings when our colleagues are available and book time for deep work & learning without being disturbed.
Having all of these functionalities in one is extremely convenient.
Our project/task management software of choice. It allows lots of flexibility and each team and individual can customize how they use it (views, boards, custom fields). It makes it easy to add subtasks to a task and attachments, updates, comments that streamline collaboration. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing, this encourages transparency and accountability, and helps us to spend less time in meetings just to get updates. Asana replaces your to-do list and your internal email. The rule of thumb we use is: if it can be an Asana task, it shouldn’t be an email, to save both your time and the recipient’s.
We use Slack for on-going team communication and team calls. Our workspace is structured in a variety of channels where specific topics/areas are discussed, which keeps things neat and organized, as well as easy to find and refer to any time in the future.
An important mention here is that while Slack can become quite “noisy” and a source of interruptions, we primarily practice asynchronous communication, so we highly encourage our team members to make heavy use of the “Do Not Disturb” and “Away” features, to create space for focused work for a few hours before coming back to catch up with Slack/email.
A great alternative for those who prefer asynchronous communication is Twist.
We do not think centralized time tracking and surveillance is a good way to go about work. However, we occasionally need to figure out what time was spent on what when we bill clients on evaluating the time invested in a particular project. So we have encouraged each team member to open their own Hubstaff account, that they fully control and no one has access to, to enable reporting when we need to. And also, to figure out when we’ve worked too much :).
A wonderful tool that allows you to record your screen, voice, and face to create an instantly shareable video in so much less time than it would take to type an email. Super useful for anyone who is onboarding, mentoring, teaching, especially in a remote format (wait, that’s all of us now!). Our Talent Management loves it 🙂
Managing passwords and access to shared tools is really important in a remote setup, and Dashlane is arguably the best one there is. We used LastPass for many years, which worked well for a while, but started being really buggy and difficult lately. We recently switched to Dashlane and we’re happy with it.
Apparently, no one ever wants to get stuff done without great music 😀 Some of us have specific lists for a certain mood or type of task. We have a Livit Hub account which you can follow and get playlists/inspiration from, too. You can also create collaborative playlists with your peers, which is great for remote team building.
We use Zoom to run public online events & classes. It’s always stable and reliable, with easy to use features such as breakout rooms, co-hosting, etc. Downside: has apparently had some security breaches recently, but they’re reportedly working on them as we speak.
Livit is a flat hierarchy and runs on a holacratic* system.
We document our internal structure, roles, accountabilities, domains via Glassfrog, as well as structure our meetings so they can be short and efficient. If we’re unsure of who’s in charge of what, or want to add topics on the agenda for the next meeting, it’s all there.
*Holacracy is a method of decentralized management and organizational governance, in which authority and decision-making are distributed rather than centralized.
We run our performance reviews, 1on1s, feedback & more via 7geese. We also work with OKRs (objectives and key results) and we track them via 7geese.
Must-haves from our marketing & business development peeps:
Makes design and video editing amazingly simple and fun! A visual that used to take you hours and hours to complete is now easily done in half an hour or so.
Easy to use email marketing/automation/newsletter tool, with thorough reporting and a generous freemium plan (free up to 10,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers).
A popular alternative is ConvertKit.
Our webmaster put it in place a while ago, and we are thankful for the intuitive interface that makes publishing articles and making changes to pages super smooth.
Allows you to visually plan, schedule and analyze posts for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. And enjoy a picnic or cocktails on Sunday instead of sitting by your computer to post at the perfect time on social media 😀
If you care about grammar, spelling and writing well, but you can’t afford the expense or the time needed for a native speaking proofreader/editor to have a look at everything you write, this is for you. A free online writing assistant that helps you write correctly, clearly and effectively. Some of us use the Premium version, a paid upgrade that offers over 400 types of checks and features, among which vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detects plagiarism, and provides citation suggestions.
It allows us to (both personally and as a company) connect with audiences and potential leads, stay up to date with what others in our industry and beyond are up to, have access to and produce ourselves thought leadership and curated content.
Must-haves for finance
Cloud-based small business accounting software with tools for managing invoicing, bank reconciliation, inventory, purchasing, expenses, bookkeeping and more. QuickBooks is another good alternative to this.
Powerfully simple financial analysis, management reporting, dashboards and consolidations. If you’ve ever racked your brain and squinted your eyes trying to figure out the “bigger picture” of an excel file with multiple sheets, you’ll love it.
Bonus: team happiness
A great tool to measure and increase team member engagement, develop trust and drive team performance. Officevibe does this very simply: each week, everyone in the team gets a pulse survey to assess 10 Key Metrics of happiness and engagement. This is done anonymously unless a certain team member prefers otherwise. The questions are short and enticing to respond (e.g. each person spends around 5 minutes per month on this). With all that data, Officevibe generates a full dashboard of metrics and suggestions. We integrated this with Slack so our team members get the questions directly on our communication platform.
What are the tools powering your team and making your life easier? What are your favourite apps? We’d love to hear.
And if you need help figuring out any of the “tool stack” bits for your team, let us know, we’d be happy to help!