We live in a world where technology has evolved to the point where the walls that once defined our work spaces have been replaced by a simple laptop and an internet connection.
And though ideal in many ways, remote work has several challenges, especially when it comes to managing a remote team. How to measure performance and ensure that all tasks are done can be a little bit overwhelming, luckily there are some great tools out there that can help:
Project Management Tools
This is the ultimate tool for organizing all of your task objectives in one convenient place. Basecamp provides the functionality to assign tasks, add projects, and engage in discussions with remote employees. This is an excellent project managment tool that will ensure that your remote team is always connected with you. Basecamp offers a completely free 45 day trial and then a minimum fee of $20 per month. Twenty bucks will be an investment well spent, since it will help you save many valuable hours otherwise spent in assigning tasks via email.
This tool is almost like your own private social network. Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg built your team their own personal Facebook to increase productivity! Yammer allows you to collaborate, share files, and connect with customers. They have a free option as well as upgraded features for $5 a month per user. You have to see it to believe it.
This is a unique pm tool because it allows you to break all of your projects down into boards. They also have options for allowing access to clients so they can track progress as well. Trello has a feature where you can turn your projects into fun and exciting internal competitions! They have free as well as business and enterprise pricing options.
Tools for File Sharing
With this program you are able to sync files and share them in the cloud. It makes sharing complete folders with others a breeze. There is no size limits for sending files and the program even supports online signatures for document signing. If you stay within the parameters YouSendIt outlines it is all free. If you need more than what is provided, they have paid options as well. What could be more convenient?
- Google Docs
Google Docs is a free resource for storing and sharing all of your team's files in one place. It eliminates the needs to email files or use any other tool. Team members can scroll through and find documents easily. All for a price that is difficult to beat: absolutely free! Two or more participants can work on a document from different locations, hence why it is better for remote teams compared to Microsoft Office.
Tools for Communication
If you have a Google+ account then Google Hangouts is a completely free way to easily connect with your remote workers throughout the day. They have a 10 person video chat feature that is very similar to Skype. It is a very good option when you are remotely managing a small team. Google really does think of everything.
Hall has a private group chat function, file sharing options, and notification capabilities. They also provide a free "War Room" where you can chat with your workers and share notes and files. It provides one single location where you can always remain connected. Business may not be actual "war," but it is a fun way to motivate your team to "get ready for battle."
Slack is the team communication resource for the 21st century. It allows you to create open channels for team communication, private channels for sensitive team projects, and direct messages for a private conversation with an individual team member. They also have file sharing and notification options. It is completely free to use with affordable monthly tiers if you need more than the basic options. Even though it is called slack, the exceptional features they offer will make sure that your team does not slack off!
With these tools you will be well on your way to managing your remote employees smoothly and efficiently, all at the click of a button.