Managing a remote workforce is one of the top challenges facing startups today. The internet has made it easier than ever for businesses to nix the traditional office and utilize a staff that works remotely. Employees love it because they get to work from home, and businesses love it because they don’t have to pay rent on a large office space.
But having a remote staff comes with its challenges, mostly that communication can be a lot more difficult. Thankfully, there are a few great tech tools out there that you can use to make sure there’s great communication between your staff and that everyone’s being productive. Here are 5 tools that will help your remote workforce stay connected.
1- Messaging Apps
A good messaging app is the single most important tool to help your staff stay connected. A messaging app enables your staff to:
- Easily communicate with one another in a non-intrusive way
- Ask questions about tasks and projects
- Keep up-to-date on project or company changes
While email is a great mode of communication, a messaging app is a better way for employees to engage in quick conversations and get fast responses from their colleagues. Slack is one of the most popular messaging apps because it allows you to create messaging channels in accordance with projects and departments.
Here’s another great thing about messaging apps: they enable employees to be social! One of the downsides about working from home is that you won’t have the same kind of social connections you’d have in an office. Messaging apps allow your employees to build connections with each other.
2- Scheduling Apps
For managers, one of the biggest fears about working from home is that your employees won’t be as productive when they’re not working in the office. If you’re going to utilize a remote workforce, you’re going to have to let go of micro-managing. Instead, you should assign your employees with a weekly or monthly list of tasks. Emphasize that each tasks needs to be completed by the assigned due date, and trust them to get their work done.
Use an easy-to-use scheduling app to assign tasks and projects to employees. Hive is a great scheduling tool because you’re able to assign tasks and due dates to your employees, and your employees can choose which organizational interface to use.
Learn how to make an effective schedule for employees here if you don’t have a lot of scheduling experience.
3- Time Zone Management
The nice thing about having a remote staff is that you can hire the best employees all around the globe. But you’ll find scheduling and communication can be difficult if you have employees who are working in different time zones. In that scenario, you’d need to have tech tools that assist you with time zone management.
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Every Time Zone, in particular, gives you a helpful world clock that you can reference whenever you need it, but it also lets you set up meetings with staff who are located in different parts of the country or world. If you need to conference with someone who’s in a different time zone, the software will help you pick the meeting time that’s best for both of you. This is also a great tool for when you need to set up meetings with employees who work at different hours of the day than you.
Every Time Zone is an essential management tool if you have employees working from different parts of the globe.
4- Remote Conferencing
Remote conferencing is one of the best technology solutions for remote workforce management. Email and messaging apps are efficient, but communication is always faster when you can speak directly to your employees. Digital conferencing is preferable to phone calls because your remote employees are going to be on the internet anyway.
Voice conferencing gets the job done most of the time, but use a video conferencing app like Skype if you need to share your computer display with your staff.
5- Cloud Storage
If you’re going to have a remote workforce, all your employees need to be able to quickly access digital documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You should definitely have a work-oriented cloud storage program so you can share project files with all of your staff.
A remote workforce should make your business productive and cost-efficient, so use these 5 tools to make sure your employees remain on task.