Also called a distributed team or a virtual team, a remote workforce is a group of employees working outside the office at different locations. Rarely having all team members together in one place requires adapting the traditional office environment to serve the changing needs of the modern workforce. Using web-based and mobile organizational apps simplifies time management and collaboration to improve productivity and meet the unique challenges of any business. Here are four apps to help you manage your remote team.
Simplicity is the name of the game with Trello, a project management and productivity app available for web, iOS and Android. In the app, projects are arranged in a series of “boards,” and individual tasks are represented by “cards.” Checklists, links, document attachments and comments allow team members to quickly share ideas and keep information linked with cards for future reference. Color coding and labeling makes it easy to create groups of similar tasks and identify these groups at a glance. Supervisors can add specific team members to each card and set due dates for completion.
When team members need to have a face-to-face meeting or conference call, Google Hangouts provides a free platform with functionality across devices. Users with iOS and Android have access to the mobile app, and the interface also works in browsers via a plugin. Video calls, phone calls, and text messages are free in Hangouts for groups of up to ten people. Users must have Google accounts to participate, and this offers access to several other Google productivity tools, including Calendar, Drive and Gmail. After signing up, team members can add each other as contacts to stay in touch on the go.
Designed for project management and time tracking, HiveDesk combines useful tools for supervisors with an employee-friendly platform. Supervisors create projects with specific priorities and deadlines, assign project leaders and manage user permissions. Team members “log in” to each project to complete tasks, and HiveDesk tracks time spent actively working. Screenshots give employers a visual way to monitor progress along with time. The remote worker client is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux systems, so employees can work from any PC or laptop.
Anyone who used an instant messaging service or went to chat rooms when they were younger can appreciate the concept behind Slack. Instead of sending emails and scrolling through endless streams of nested messages to stay on top of what’s going on during a project, team members are able to connect in real time through a series of channels. Channels may be public and open to all employees engaged in remote working, or they may be set up only for specific team members. Quick communication through Slack removes the delay occurring with traditional email and facilitates greater productivity.
Innovations in technology have changed the way employers manage their remote employees. Organizational apps simplify remote working by keeping all members of a distributed team connected and allowing supervisors to track progress. The result is a consistent level of productivity, high-quality work and happier, more flexible teams.
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