The 7 Essential Tools For Managing Remote Workers
Considering allowing your team to work remotely, huh? I mean, why not?
It boosts morale, saves costs and empowers your employees. Lots of articles by some very smart people have been written about the benefits. So, it’s a win/win/win situation… right?
Yeah...but it’s still a scary proposition. You trust your employees, but how can you be sure that you’re still getting the most out of them while they're at home? How can you be sure they’re staying productive while they're in their pajamas?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our 7 Essential Tools for making sure your team stays just as productive at home as they are at the office.
Pick a Project Management App
A major fear that managers have when their company goes remote is that their team will lose focus and give in to distractions. Good thing a bunch of people thought ahead and created project management tools.
Project management tools allow you to lay out all of your department’s current and upcoming goals with deadlines, notes, and relevant documents attached. You can even assign projects to different team members so everyone knows who to contact if they have questions or need input.
Our team uses Monday to schedule our content and make sure no small stuff gets left behind. However, different teams around FluentStream have found better matches for their workflows with Trello, Wrike, and Aha!. Review your options, and we’re sure you’ll find a project management app that fits your style.
Keep Your Calendars Up-to-Date
Whether you use Google Calendar or a business-specific calendar app, a critical part of keeping a remote team together is making sure everyone knows each other’s schedules.
When you’re all in the office together, it’s easy to take a walk over to a coworker’s desk and ask for clarification. But when you’re all working from home, lag time in someone else’s replies can be frustrating and impact your own productivity. With a well-managed company calendar however, it’s easy to see when your team members are busy and when you can grab time with them.
On the flip side, it’s important to not over-schedule meetings and presentations when your team works from home. Scheduling a conversation that could be handled over chat or email keeps that time slot from being used for something more productive (and will probably annoy the heck out of your coworkers).
Invest in Quality Headsets for Your Team
Nothing makes a call with a frustrated customer go downhill faster than answering them on a cheap headset that sounds like you’re in a fish tank.
Quality, VOIP-ready headsets make sure your team can answer every call professionally and without worrying about compatibility issues. For a detailed breakdown of which headsets fit your specific needs, check out this comparison article by our friends at DailyRemote!
Get a Good Remote Desktop App
Explaining complicated metrics or pointing out specific data is hard enough when you’re sitting right next to each other, but it's nearly impossible when you can’t show as well as tell. Cut out the digital middleman and set your team up with a remote desktop app like FluentStream's Meetings.
Remote desktop apps make it easy to share your computer screen and even add notes or visuals that drive your point home. When you’re working remotely, they’re much more convenient than inviting your boss over to your house so they can look over your shoulder.
When you’re at the office, it’s easy to have IT look at your computer and fix whatever you (allegedly) broke. But when you’re curled up alone on the couch, explaining and fixing technical issues is a far more daunting task.
Luckily, remote desktop apps also make troubleshooting a breeze. Simply share your screen with your company’s tech guru. Give them mouse control, and watch all your problems disappear.
Treat Conference Lines as a Necessity
At the office, you probably have a conference room or two that every team uses. However, when no one’s in the same building, those same conference lines fill up fast.
Don’t be stingy with your conference call availability, especially if your team’s remote work is temporary. Set up dedicated lines for every department and manager. If you usually meet with customers at the office, you should also add a few PIN-less entry conference lines for easy negotiations or sales demos.
Tip: FluentStream Meetings is completely PIN-less. That means all you need to do is dial the initial 7 digits and you're in!
Connect Everyone with a Live Chat Service
Having your whole team work from home doesn’t mean you need to communicate any slower. Live chat services such as Slack or Microsoft Teams keep everyone on the same page no matter how far apart they are.
Instead of waiting for emails or constantly answering calls, live chat allows you to instantly send messages from your computer or mobile device. You can also create channels for specific teams and projects to make sure communication stays focused on the work that needs doing.
Video Conference Whenever Possible
When you work from home for an extended period of time, it’s easier than you’d think to get cabin fever. Make sure your business has a video conferencing tool like FluentStream’s Meetings.
Routine video conferences help you keep faces to the emails and usernames always asking you to do things. Having face-to-face conversations also reminds your team that they’re all in this together.
Another under-appreciated benefit of video conferences is that they give you an event to be professional for. When working from home for long stretches, there’s the danger of becoming too comfortable, too casual.
Knowing you’ll have to look presentable and show off all the work you’ve been doing helps keep your professionalism sharp.