We’ve talked at a high level about how technology can help you communicate in remote workplaces, but what does that look like in practice? These apps and software platforms put those core concepts we previously discussed and make them tangible. Each offers transparency into your business and assists you on your goal to effective coworking even when you can’t be in the same office – or even the same country.
We’re huge advocates of using chat clients to improve productivity, whether with a remote office or even if you’re sitting in the same room together. But these aren’t those AOL chat rooms of the early Internet. Tools like Slack, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Teams give you seamless communication that integrates with your other apps and allows you to archive key conversations for later. You lose the clunkiness of email and gain immense flexibility. With mobile apps for all these tools as well, you can keep the conversation going while on the go.
Building out a remote team comes with its own risks. Particularly, it can be hard to track when and if your employees are getting their work done within the time you have available. Toggl, a time tracking app, can help both you and your team. It gives them an effective means of tracking their hours when they’re working and provides you with the transparency you need to assure your money is being spent appropriately.
Previously known as Google Apps, G Suite provides you with access to collaborative docs, spreadsheets, calendars, and storage. With how ubiquitous Google has become in the last couple decades, your employees may already be familiar with some of the features like Google Docs and Google Calendar. And when we say collaborative, we really mean it. Multiple users can access the same document simultaneously, see who else is looking at it, and even chat together on the side bar.
If you’re a tech-based company, you likely already know about GitHub. The platform allows you to host your code, privately or publicly. For developers, it’s a key mode for collaboration. It allows them to share code back and forth without worry of any lines breaking.
Managing tasks gets trickier when your project manager isn’t in the room. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution. Basecamp gives you a clear overview of all the projects your company is working on at any given time. You’re able to organize by project and individual to-dos, schedule and assign tasks, and get status reports on what’s done and what’s not. Your remote employees will have clarity in what’s needed from them on any given day and also provides them with context of what their coworkers are working on as well.
Likewise, Trello gives users an overarching view on the status of projects in a clean and simple way. It’s not nearly as robust of a solution as Basecamp, but it’s clean and minimalist dashboard makes it incredibly intuitive to new users. It’s a great asset to have when you want a quick and clear overview of what’s going on while your employees are out of the office.
Have you ever found yourself trying to explain the location of something on a website via phone or chat, and the other person is just not getting it? Conversations typically play out like, “It’s right there! No to the left of that icon. No, not that far left.” It can be a frustrating and time consuming process. Enter Skitch. The program is a simple concept – it allows you to write and draw on screencaps and photos. You don’t have to have masterclass art skills either; Skitch provides arrows for you to use. This helps get your point across immediately rather than playing Marco Polo with your day-to-day work.
There are countless other apps to add to your digital toolkit – the ones listed here are just the beginning. As an outsourced IT consulting partner ourselves, we know what it takes to get your remote team work and communicating excellently. Let us help you setup your business with the solutions you need, starting with a formal technology assessment and plan. Being remote no longer means being on an island. It’s time to get connected.