If you currently manage a remote team, you’re probably aware of the challenges that come with managing workers scattered across different time zones and geographic locations. This disconnect has also made it harder to find and retain talented people.
As workers and workforces have made a move towards location-independence, technology has followed suit. In recent years, many new tools have been developed to help companies more effectively manage remote and freelance teams. These tools also improve communication between teams, making both employers and workers happier.
Here are six tools you can use to successfully manage your mobile workforce:
Businesses with good communication practices experience a 50 percent lower turnover rate than other companies, even within the same industry. That makes good communication the most effective way to reduce employee turnover. Good communication is also key to maintaining and managing your mobile workforce.
Without a dedicated communication channel, you’re probably relying on a patchwork system to communicate that includes emails, text messages and phone calls. Your team, which might be spread across multiple time zones, can experience real frustration when trying to communicate project information promptly.
Slack is an all-in-one communication tool for teams. It allows your team to communicate in group channels and send private messages. You can even do voice and video calls when a text-based message isn’t sufficient. Slack eliminates the hassle of multiple communication channels by putting your team’s communication in a single place.
Training new employees is always a time-consuming task, and it can be made even more difficult when everyone is in different locations and time zones. Jing is a video capture program that allows you to add voice recordings to video screen captures. You can use it to create training videos and share them with new people on your team. Jing can save you time as you won’t have to repeat the same training over and over for new team members. Plus, you can be sure everyone receives the same training and information when they come on board.
Virtual Private Network
No matter what product or service you’re offering, it’s likely you’ll have some proprietary or sensitive data you need to protect. That can be a challenging prospect when you have workers scattered across the globe. Everyone associated with your company who has access to sensitive data should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when working on company projects.
A VPN encrypts all of your data, making everything you and your team do online virtually invisible to potential hackers, no matter what type of device you’re working with. Requiring the use of a VPN ensures no matter where your team is working or what kind of internet connection they’re using, all of your data will be shielded and secure.
Tracking employee time and managing timesheets can be a very time-consuming task for managers. Toggl is a time tracking software that makes it easy for freelancers to track, manage, and bill time.
The program features a simple online timer but includes in-depth reporting. While being easy to use, the software is rich in features that make it easy for you to monitor your team’s efficiency and better direct your organization’s resources. It also helps freelancers to be more focused and has been shown to increase productivity during work hours. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to effectively manage your freelance team’s billable time, Toggl is a great choice.
Of the 53 million Americans who currently work as freelance professionals, 42 percent said they chose freelance work because they liked having a flexible schedule. Being able to choose their schedule is a great perk for a freelancer, but it can be difficult for managers to keep track of who
is working when.
ResourceGuru allows you, as the manager, to see the availability of everyone on your team at a glance. Freelancers enter their individual schedules into the calendar and then you can assign tasks and projects based on their stated availability. You can also manage time-off requests directly in the app.
It makes scheduling simpler and eliminates the time-consuming hassle of back and forth conversations regarding availability with individual freelancers.
Trello is a visual project management tool that allows teams to collaborate on projects in a simple and organized way. Using Trello, you can separate projects into tasks and track individual contributions and overall progress quickly and easily. On each project, you can add comments, upload attachments, create checklists, assign due dates and more.
As a manager, you control the invitations to each project. At all times you control who has access to sensitive project information. Also, the program records everything in real time, so all team members see the same information at the same time, across all devices. Having every detail of every project stored in one place is virtually guaranteed to make your job easier.
As more companies recognize the benefits of the mobile workforce, your company will probably begin to employ additional freelance workers and remote employees. As your remote team grows, you’ll find you can use these tools to manage them as easily as if they were onsite with you.
Do you have any favorite tools for managing a remote team? Share them with us in the comments.