How To Effectively Manage Your Remote Team And Employees
The growth of outsourcing has called to light the value of integrating a remote team in the business development agenda. A remote team by definition is composed of individuals from dispersed locations and have been qualified and selected to become part of a collective with the purpose of providing technical, creative or administrative services for the company or business that recruited them. These are virtual workers; or people who render services online. If you want to learn more about managing a remote team for your business, you are on the right place.
The challenge for businesses that incorporate a remote team is largely organizational. There will always be logistical issues to consider if the team members are from locations with widely varied time zone differentials. But technology has evolved to an extent that there are a number of dependable online platforms available we can use to bridge the gaps in communication.
Best tools for managing a remote team
- Trello– This is a project management program that is very user-friendly and downloadable for free. Trello uses a bulletin board format where lists can be posted to help team members keep track of each project’s progress. Once a task has been completed, a team member can move that task to another stage or level of completion. With Trello, the company can assign specific tasks to each member as in a sequence. The next team member would not be able to work on his task until the previous task has been completed. This format allows for greater transparency and accountability within the team.
- Skype– Despite the evolution on online working platforms and the evolution of technology, Skype continues to be a standard medium for online communication. Skype has a very user-friendly interface that makes the program comfortable to navigate. For most, if not all prospective clients require potential candidates to have a Skype ID. Here are four of the most beneficial features of Skype:
a. Voice Calls– As long as you are making calls to another Skype ID, calls are free. The quality of the audio is clear although it would generally depend on your bandwidth and possibly your hardware. You can also make international calls through Skype and the charges are fairly reasonable. Another great feature is the ability of Skype to provide inbound numbers from preferred locations. For example you have remote agents from India who are calling New York. Through an administrative account, you can request Skype to provide your agents an inbound number with a New York area code. This way, when your agent calls a prospect from New York, the inbound number with the New York area code will appear in his or her caller ID. Finally, you can also set up group calls with Skype.
b. Video calls– An important aspect of qualifying candidates from remote locations is being able to see them during the interview. It’s easier to have a feel of who the person is through video and not just through audio. There may be latency issues with Skype’s video channels but it works well enough consistently to have a productive interview. With the video feature, conference calls are not possible unless you opt for the paid upgrade.
c. Chat Service– When you’re working with people from remote locations, often you just want to send them reminders without disrupting the flow of work with a call. Chat messaging is a great option and it also allows you to discreetly message a specific team member without informing the others.
d. Screen Share– If you need to conduct training or meetings with the team, the screen share feature of Skype is a valuable tool. It allows one or more virtual workers to view your screen while on a call.
- Google Drive-This is a wonderful program to use for creating, editing, storing and sharing files. Google Drive has two functions that are valuable for virtual workers.
a. Documents– This is where you create MS Word-like documents to share with your virtual workers who can simultaneously view and work on it. You can also designate specific restrictions on the document as to who in the team can only view it and who will be assigned to work on it.
b. Spreadsheets– Similar to documents, here you can create MS Excel-like spreadsheets for your team members to view and edit if so required.
The benefits of hiring virtual assistants and creating a team are endless. Managing a remote team does not have to be a challenge as long as you have the right technological tools in your arsenal.