Technology has made it significantly easier to communicate with people all over the world, with the click of a button you can be connected to your team no matter where they are. But, at a time when many companies are working remotely, effectively managing your employees can be difficult.
Remote workers and short-term contract workers are becoming a popular solution for entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as for workers themselves. The ability to reduce expenses on rent, tools, and equipment, while finding talent from across the globe are indispensable for small to midsize business owners. Plus, for employees, it provides flexibility for working where they want and when they want.
However, having remote employees has a unique set of challenges and disadvantages. It relies heavily on employee motivation and management has limited control in how closely it can monitors employees’ responsibilities. But with the right tools and knowledge, and a bit of ingenuity, remote workforce management can be a breeze.
Collaboration tools for remote workers
Emails alone won’t cut it while working from home; it isn’t an efficient means of remote workforce management. Here are some tools that can help ensure everyone does their job efficiently:
Asana is a cloud-based service that offers various features you’ll need to keep track of your team’s progress. In one simple solution, you can use it to manage tasks, track conversations, archive projects, and assign responsibilities to team members.
If you need a simple tool to oversee your remote staff, Basecamp provides basic but useful functionalities. With Basecamp you can monitor discussions, perform scheduling, create milestones, collaborate, check tasks, and much more within a user-friendly dashboard.
Facebook is too casual to be used as a messenger for work purposes while other software requires a reliable connection to keep communication clear. Slack is a simple online chat service that offers a less formal feel without sacrificing professional appeal.
Nothing beats the handiness of pen and paper when taking down notes as well as comments. What if you could do this in a virtual way and be able to share your notes with your team members? Hackpad allows you to easily share concepts and ideas with your offshore employees and do collaborative work in a simple manner.
Communicate effectively with remote workers
While employees are working remotely, good communication is key to maintaining your team’s success. Luckily, there are plenty of communication tools readily available for virtual meetings.
Although it’s a paid telephone service, it’s equipped with various features needed by small business owners. It has toll-free numbers, calendar integration, desktop sharing, private chat, and much more.
Affordable and easy to use, ClickMeeting is a dedicated video conferencing tool for managing remote workers. There is a free trial available for 30 days so you can try out their features before deciding to subscribe.
For those on a tight budget who need a simple program for virtual meetings, Join.Me is a great option. The free basic plan comes with screen sharing and VoIP calls for up to 10 users.
No need to download, install or subscribe, your remote team will truly appreciate the flexibility and usefulness of Google Hangouts. Offering direct video calls with the ability to notify other attendees of meetings via emails and calendar notifications, it’s easy and simple to use.
A pioneer in virtual communication, Skype has been around for almost 20 years. Skype provides video chats, phone calls, and instant messaging services for free.
Another great option of businesses is Zoom. It features video conferences, webinars, chat, and collaboration functions.
Effectively manage productivity for remote workers
Freedom and flexibility to do work according to their schedule are the topmost reasons why talent from all over the world chooses to work remotely. But most business owners tend to forget these things, making it hard for them to effectively handle remote workforce management.
Keep in mind, employees working abroad are in different time zones and it can be challenging to monitor the amount of work they are doing. If productivity is an issue, there are several things you can do to motivate your workers to increase efficiency. Make sure to connect your goals with theirs, and let them feel that they are part of the company. Additionally, try to do the following:
- Build a rapport with employees and empathize with their feelings outside of work.
- Give positive feedback for good work and praise them for accomplishments.
Build a unified work environment
While working remotely has a lot of benefits, two of the most critical factors that affect team members are loneliness and disconnection from team culture. Working from home doesn’t yield the excitement of going to the office and seeing your coworkers face to face. As a business owner, you need to address these things and provide solutions to battle isolation.
The key to creating a unified company culture is none other than open communication, which can be accomplished through video conference calls. Video conferencing allows team members to feel that they are welcomed, valued, and indeed part of the company. By providing them with an avenue to share their thoughts, questions, and comments with other team members, it creates a sense of an office environment. During conference calls make sure everyone has a chance to speak and voice any concerns.
Working from home can benefit businesses by allowing them to recruit top talent from around the work. But, remote workforce management comes with a unique set of challenges. It can be difficult to monitor your teams’ productivity and a lack of face to face communication can lead to feelings of isolation.
However, with the right tools in place, you can still stay up to date and connected with all of your team members.