Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / AUG. 13, 2014
version 7, draft 7

5 Essential Tools for Managing a Remote Team

Working remotely is a growing trend in the business world, especially with the myriad of technology available for those who choose to skip the office experience. However, managing a remote team can be a tricky task, especially if your field is more group oriented. Every manager should investigate these three essential tools to ensure that each remote employee feels like a team player.

Skype

Skype has completely changed the way that managers and employees interface with each other. When I was working remotely with a company, my manager and I used Skype every single day to catch up and deliver task results. Skype allows you to see your employees every day, and if you purchase a membership package, you can use Skype’s group video calls to connect your entire remote business from the comfort of home.

However, more importantly, Skype (or other video conference tools) allow you to create a habit of interfacing with employees. One major downside I experience in my remote working is that there were periods where I wouldn’t talk to anyone from the office—and sometimes it spanned over a couple of days. Keeping in touch is essential for employees and businesses to be successful, and video conferencing once a day is a great habit to get in to.

Google Drive

My life vastly improved upon discovering the flexibility of Drive. Not only can you store and share documents within a company email group, but the ability to edit a document live while someone else is viewing it is an incredibly efficient way to teach employees new processes or get things done.

Sharing documents such as Excel sheets or PowerPoint presentations is as easy to creating or uploading them to Drive then sharing access with your group. You can set different permission levels for each individual and set custom privacy rules so that no one outside of your group can see your work. Plus, you can attach Drive documents directly to any email sent through Gmail.

Jing

Jing is a screenshare software that allows you to see the desktop of your employees if they run into a problem or need help with a task. It also allows you to select which portion of your screen is shared, so you’re not showing employees sensitive or irrelevant information.

Jing allows you to also share the images or video directly, so there’s no having to press “Print Screen”, then go into a photo editing program to create and save the image to your computer. You can share these images through social media or through email.

It also allows you to create how-to videos, so if you have a new piece of software or a new type of task ready for your employees, there’s no need to send out a wordy email that might be confusing. Instead, make a video using Jing to show employees exactly what you want them to do. No fuss, no muss.

15Five

This cloud-based platform allows for employees to spend 15 minutes a week writing down their achievements, successses, challenges, thoughts, ideas, and morale. More importantly, these reports only take a few minutes for most managers to read, so it’s the perfect way to spend a Friday morning with your remote team.

This app allows managers insight to where remote employees need support and help the most. It also allows managers to include comments on employee reports and vice versa. Whenever an employee responds, both the employee and the manager receive an email notification, so there’s no way for communication to break down between you.

Intuit Online Payroll

Sure, PayPal can be a really convenient way to pay employees, especially when they’re remote. However, if you’re a smaller business looking to invest in direct depositing and so on, Intuit Online Payroll is a smart route. Managers can export data to platforms such as Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online, which is perfect for small businesses. They also assist managers in initial setup, so there’s no worrying about learning a new product on your own.

Depending on which monthly subscription you choose, you can access data through your favourite browser, phone or tablet. The Enhanced version generates paychecks, automatically fills in W-2, federal, and state tax forms, and reminds you when to pay your employees.

Working remotely can be difficult, especially if you’re hoping to create a team that works like well-oiled machine, but it doesn’t have to be. There are hundreds of tools you can use to help your team stay connected and productive without having to worry about things getting lost in translation. Video conferencing tools, document sharing and creation tools, payroll, feedback, and screenshare tools are all technology that will make your remote management far easier.

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