There are massive advantages to having your team spread remotely, especially that you can take advantage of the talent you need without geographical restrictions. On the other hand, it poses challenges. How does a group of people scattered across the country, or even internationally, gel as a team? And how do you manage them effectively?
Here are six tools that can help.
An effective messaging app, Slack offers a team communication system that allows you to create open channels for the projects your team’s engaged on.
It also allows team members to coordinate their tasks on a day-to-day basis, posting their schedule first thing and what’s done the last thing. This will allow you to monitor their work, giving you the opportunity to both feedback and measure expectations against achievement.
One of the perils of a remote team working is that “stuff” is scattered across email inboxes, Word documents and many other locations. At best, this creates extra work. At worst, it can lead to catastrophic errors.
Basecamp is an effective project management tool that allows you to plan projects and communicate with your team. It also gives you the space to organise all that “stuff” in one place, so that you and your team members can find it easily.
Trello is a project organisational tool that gives you the capacity to bring together information, documents and tasks for easy access. It’s created in a very visual basis, allowing you to create boards for your workspace and workflow, as well as dragging and dropping cards between different parts of your board.
Basecamp is easy to sync between devices. That’s obviously vital for remote teamwork, allowing all team members — not to mention you as manager — to see exactly where everyone is in the project.
Love it or loathe it, Microsoft has the great advantage of being the industry standard, and their Teams app will dovetail seamlessly with all the other Microsoft software you use.
It allows you to have online meetings, web conferences and group chats with your team, wherever they are in the world. It can also be customised by adding apps and services, both from Microsoft and from third parties.
An essential part of building a traditional team is the capacity to chat, which can inspire creativity in work. WhatsApp, with its ease of communication and flat hierarchies, can offer remote teams an excellent substitute — a virtual water cooler.
That said, it’s a tool that you as a manager need to keep on top of. When unchecked, it can throw up problems ranging from wasted time to bullying. However, if you formulate a robust oversight system, it can be an excellent team-building tool.
Communication between remote team-members is essential, but often you need more — stimulating shared creativity. This is where Mural.ly can be valuable.
Mural.ly can be used to help with research, sharing ideas and creative thinking. It provides tools for brainstorming and mapping ideas between the various specialisations in your team.
Of course, even with a remote team, you’ll need somewhere to run it from that’s set up to facilitate all these interactions. That could be a serviced office space in Hertfordshire, and you’re welcome to ring us on 01920 460000 and find out how this could help you.