Discover the Tools Used to Successfully Manage Remote-Employees
Today, a large portion of an organisation’s workforce is made up of remote employees. Whether they have teams located in different parts of the world or have outsourced labour such as freelancers, almost every company is familiar with this arrangement. While remote-working has become the ‘norm’, it has certainly challenged the HR department, managers and leaders. How can team collaboration be achieved? Is team culture affected, and what can be done to manage it? Can productivity be effectively monitored? These questions have forced organisations to consider alternative solutions, invest in technology and implement a variety of organisational processes to make remote-working, work. While this may sound like a costly affair, you’d be surprised to know most of these solutions are currently being used in-office.
Improve communication and collaboration through the use of technology
Technology has made the world much smaller. No matter where teams or individuals are located in the world, technology makes it possible for each person to come together and collaborate as if they were in the same room. If remote-work is to work, organisations ought to invest and make use of technology and communication platforms:
Collaborative platforms (Trello, Monday)
The challenge with remote-working is aligning individuals with present and future projects. It’s time-consuming to address the ‘plan of action’ with remote employees (i.e what needs to be done, the timeline, and the KPI’s of each project). It’s for this reason, managers and leaders ought to make use of smart tools so they needn’t relay this information twice. Collaborative platforms such as Trello and Monday help teams schedule tasks in a detailed, collaborative manner. Individuals are informed of the tasks they’re required to complete, and the timeline in which to do so. Every team member can see what other team members are working on; their progress with each project, and their deadlines for tasks. These platforms create a fully-functioning, ‘digital team’, that should be able to maintain/enhance team performance. These tools are also incredibly useful for the monitoring of productivity: Members have to track their progress, and so productivity can be easily detected. The entire process is made much more transparent – in fact, more so than could be achieved if all members were working together in one location.
Communication platforms (Slack, Whatsapp)
Instant messaging platforms are critical to digital teams and for the monitoring of productivity. There needs to be open, instant communication between team members as if they were all sitting in the same office. Although emails are instant, they’re not always responded to instantly, and there’s no way of knowing whether the person has read the mail. Slack is a professional communications platform used by many organisations, and is an instant messaging app and file-sharing platform in one. Team members are added as contacts, and public or private messages can be sent between members. Although these messages are instant, members can go on and offline – but during working hours should be online so as to communicate with other team members. Whatsapp is another great tool, though is seen as a more personal communication platform.
Video conferencing is great for important team meetings, and there’s a number of ways for remote employees to gain access to them: Skype is one, Zoom Conferencing is another. This makes it possible for everyone to have a ‘round table discussion’ no matter where they might be based. Video conferencing certainly reduces the time it would take to inform team members of the discussions and the minutes of the meeting, and achieves optimum collaboration between members.
Focus on results
It’s often difficult to monitor the productivity of remote employees, though the above points will certainly help. Another sure-fire way of detecting levels of productivity is by looking at individual results of both the in-house and remote-employees and weighing them up against each other. Numbers cannot lie, and if the numbers reflect stagnancy and are much lower than the rest of the teams’, it’s likely the remote employee is not aligned with the team.