The remote workforce is growing exponentially. Corporate global companies and first year startups are all turning to remote teams to get the job done.
The question, however, is how do you manage your remote team as effectively as your in-office team?
This is a question many CEOs, directors, and managers are facing more often as workers want remote possibilities. In fact, a Gallup survey found that 43 percent of Americans already did some remote work in 2016. This number is up from 39 percent in 2012.
Much of the shift toward remote working can in many ways be attributed to the continued rise of the mobile workforce. The advancements in mobile technology has made remote working seamless for companies and workers alike. From smartphones to tablets, remote working has become easier than ever.
The benefits of managing remote teams effectively
The value for companies taking the remote approach is also very enticing, especially when it comes to the bottom line. Most remote teams are more efficient, put in more work hours, and can decrease company overhead by millions.
Did you know that American Express saves $10 to $15 million annually in real estate costs alone due to their remote workforce?
What’s the secret? How can you build an effective and productive remote workforce of your own? They answer lays, unsurprisingly, with emerging tech that facilitates the management of remote teams. “It works best when a company has developed a plan, including the best technology to use,” Alina Tugend of The New York Times explained.
Let’s take an insider techie look at what up-and-coming collaborative technologies you can integrate into your remote plan for growth and success.
1. Use Slack
Bringing the office to your remote teams is easy with Slack. Even though Slack is a messaging app, it can serve up big time communication benefits that ultimately boost team efficiency and productivity.
Having a Slack virtual office space allows you and your remote teams to discuss projects and tasks that are organized and prioritized just for them. Your remote team can also share files, and has the capability to sync other tools with it as well. Brent Freeman, CEO of YogaClub, shares how using Slack has enabled him to outsource work to freelancers effectively, saving significantly on overhead costs.
2. Remote team Slack apps
Slack certainly has a lot to offer when it comes to managing your remote teams. Another efficiency tool they offer for the remote workforce is team dedicated Slack apps.
You can install internal integrations exclusive to your remote teams, make messages actionable, thus increasing productivity, and define your own permission scopes for each app and user. It is also fairly easy to build a Slack app.
3. Keep up with time zones
Having remote workers or remote teams spread out all over the world can make keeping track of everyone’s time zone challenging. Luckily, you can track time zones a lot easier with online platforms like EveryTimeZone and Freckle.
These little time tech platforms allow you to quickly view the time zones of your remote teams, and the time zones of your clients. This allows you to see who’s schedule fits a client in England, or if you need to have a virtual meeting with your remote team in Spain.
4. Get Glip
Increasing productivity can often seem daunting for managers of remote teams. After all, how do you bring the in-office workflow to the virtual space? Like Google Docs, Glip can facilitate this.
It allows you and your remote teams to share documents, set up deadlines via shared calendars, share documents with clients, start a group chat, and even annotate images. Glip is also compatible with Outlook and Google Calendar.
5. Monitor your remote team
With so much on your plate as a CEO, director, or manager, managing your remote teams effectively can be difficult. What is going on with your developers in Bangladesh? What about the marketing team in Buenos Aires?
To keep track and monitor everyone you can use Hubstaff. It is hailed as one of the best remote management tools on the market. You can monitor specific team member, or entire teams in just one app.
From tracking hours worked in real time to viewing a few screenshots every so often, you can ensure productivity is at its highest. Since it is an app, you can monitor while you are mobile as well.
6. Enhance remote collaboration
When it comes to remote work, collaboration can be tough. Your team is everywhere in the world, on different schedule, living in different time zones, how can you make collaboration happen?
Using platforms like Quip is one option. Like Google Docs, but with far more collaboration capabilities. Compatible with Android and iOS, it is great for your mobile workforce as well.
You and your remote teams can mention one another in tasks and they will be pinged instantly. Team members can also collaborate via chat right in the document, making switching screens a thing of the past.
7. Delegate with Asana
Asana offers up some exceptional delegation opportunities for managers of remote team members. You can create projects and organize them for specific teams. This is very helpful if you don’t feel like staying up late to send a project to your SEOs in the Philippines.
You can also use Asana with Google Docs and Dropbox to make file, image, and video sharing even easier. You can also track team progress on projects as well. There is a free option with Asana, but the paid platform may meet larger business needs better.
8. Keep everything secure with LastPass
Have you ever had a remote worker need access to a platform you use in a hurry? Did you have that user and password handy? Probably not, and this is a big issue for many remote teams.
You can have a long-winded excel sheet of usernames and passwords vulnerable to a potential cyber security attack. Or you can use LastPass. You can generate unique passwords for your remote teams and keep you and your clients’ projects safe.
There are numerous emerging technologies available online to make managing remote teams easier. The key is to find the ones that work best for you, your team, and your business. What remote management tools work best for you?
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The landscape of the modern workplace has changed a lot in the past ten years. Once upon a time you had to find shady crafting companies or secret shopping positions if you wanted to work flexibly and from home.
Now we’ve seen a powerful trend emerging. In 2015 the number of US workers who had moved to remote (or telecommuting) jobs had climbed to an unprecedented 37%. That is a number that continues to grow as more startups and even large scale companies open their workforce up to those who act as office vagabonds, putting in hours from home, coffee shops, and even while traveling.
Content marketing is being impacted by this trend most. You no longer need to find and move talent to your office: You can work effectively with content writers from all over the world.
1. Use a good task management platform
There are so many task managing apps out there that it would be hard to find a single one that works best. You will want platforms that deal with business management (so your team can stay on board at all times), and communication (so you can always keep in touch, no matter where you all are.
From personal experience, managing a productivity tool still takes plenty of time. So unless you have a reliable project manager in-house, it makes sense to rely on a project management company.
It may actually save you money and minimize your headache with dealing with multiple to-do lists and processes. Distributed is a good example of a company that actually specializes in managing distributed teams all over the world. Hiring a virtual assistant is another option.
2. Use a reliable editorial calendar tool
I am a big proponent of using a year-long editorial calendar that lets you and your content marketing team get properly prepared for big holidays, seasonal trends and even fun days that can be turned into solid promotional material.
By preparing your content in advance, you’ll be always ahead of the game. It’s exceedingly important if you deal with an international teams when not everyone is aware of your local trends and holidays.
My all-time favorite editorial calendar management platform has been Coschedule that’s also perfectly set-up for distributed teams: You add your team members and watch everyone do their own thing:
If you are looking for a higher-level solution, take a look at NewsCred. It gives you a nice color-coded dashboard of your content marketing plans:
3. Invest into solid writing tools
Your writing team is as effective as the tools you provide them with. You want them to brainstorm, research and write productively. Different workflows may require different writing tools. I always encourage writers to use the following tools:
1. Google Docs to create content. It’s easy for editing and it’s real time, so teams can work on content assets while discussing it on Skype or in a Slack group.
3. Plagiarism Check to quickly check for any instances of copied content. This is especially important if you have new writers. Believe it or not, but many writers would just copy some parts of content (these could be too long quotes) without realizing it’s not an advisable digital content marketing tactic.
4. Use an effective social media sharing solution
It’s very important to engage your content writing team into the marketing routine. It’s obvious that they will be much more excited at seeing their articles succeed (after doing their brainstorming, research and writing tasks) than the social media team who may see the completed content assets for the first time.
Thus it’s essential to have a unified multi-user cross-channel social media sharing and scheduling solution that would enable cross team marketing incentives.
I use DrumUp to scale my social media marketing tasks. It has all the features I need:
- Easy one-click scheduling (for my articles to go to my social media channels repeatedly for more exposure)
- Multi-user support (for team members to see what they need to be shared)
- Leaderboard feature to encourage friendly competition among the team members
- Content library feature to store my promotions, ever-green content and seasons greetings in categories for convenient reuse
5. Use a marketing dashboard to monitor stats
Cyfe is a great customizable all in one business management software that allows you to create your own widgets to handle any aspect of your business, all for $19 per month. For higher-level content marketing stats monitoring I use the following boards:
- Growth of traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
- Recent traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
- Social media traffic analytics (Google Analytics)
- Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest account growth
6. Use productive communication tools that spur creativity
Properly set-up communication between your remote employees helps creativity, experience exchange and marketing collaboration. It also helps your brand consistency because your team can properly discuss every content asset before they start working on it.
Slack is an awesome communication tool that lets you create channels and speak to different groups, or on different topics. Think of it as a more professional version of Discord.
There’s one reason I prefer Slack over emailing: It gives a centralized platform for your team communication but unlike a project management solution, Slack fosters a more relaxed environment which is so important for creative teams. Slack helps creativity and gives writers a place to brainstorm freely without being accused of cluttering the board.
Create your super team!
Don’t let your workforce get limited by borders. These days we have tools in place that empower you to build the content marketing team of your dream without investing time and money into moving everyone into a single office. How are you managing your remote content marketing employees?