The remote working setup, with your team working from home or locations other than an office is quickly becoming the new normal, accelerated by the changes in online connectivity and the applications and services that support it. Harnessing these tools and using them to both manage your remote team and collaborate successfully on your common goals and projects is essential to be as productive, or even more productive while working remotely. Here are our five picks for the most important tools for managing remote teams effectively.
Document storage and document management system are some of the first things you’re likely to look at, and naturally, this means you’re going to need some cloud storage. This might take the form of a more vanilla cloud storage solution like Google Drive or Dropbox, or a more comprehensive solution that offers strong versioning tie-ins to productivity suites like Microsoft OneDrive does for Microsoft Office.
Other newer tools like Dropbox Paper offer a hybrid solution for both cloud storage and document versioning, and if your business uses Google G-Suite, you’ll get the same out of Google Drive.
The ability to collaborate on documents or workflows will also rank high in your need to perform well as a team and manage your team’s output while working remotely. Tools like Asana and Trello offer solid organizational foundations and can be used as a visual task board to effectively stay on top of what needs to be done and who might be doing something specific at any one time. Stronger collaborative notetaking options like Evernote might be more suited to what you need if you often work on and reference the same notes as your team.
As we spend more time working remotely, the need for meetings and catch-ups doesn’t go away and here we enter the realm of video or voice conferencing. Being able to interact face to face and quickly discuss and align yourself and your team is much easier with a video meeting. If you’re a Microsoft house, you’ll likely want to look at a tool like Microsoft Teams, while G Suite users will get familiar with Google Meet and Hangouts. If your video conferencing suite can tie into your VOIP or telephone system, then all the better.
A shared calendar and scheduling tool will also be incredibly useful when you’re managing a remote team. Having a full view of each of your team members’ day and when they might not be available will make the collaborative effort easier to manage. If you’re using G Suite, using tools that allow you to do things like link Sheets with Calendar can improve your workflows and improve this even further, particularly if you’re tracking time for billing.
Billing by the hour is made incredibly easy if you can automate your workflow or use a dedicated time tracking application. It allows you to quickly and easily see not only how long each of your team is spending on specific tasks and projects, but how much extra capacity your team might have for new projects. Even more, a niche is applications like Toggl that offer features like idle detection and the ability to break down tasks by the project and client.
It’s true that moving from managing a team in an office to managing a remote team takes some real effort. With the right planning, tools, and team, working and managing remotely need not be a challenge. Harnessing our interconnected world and the power of the internet and the cloud will make it a breeze.