Building a productive remote working environment is a challenge. Team members can feel disconnected from one another, day-to-day work tasks can be tough to manage, tracking productivity is tricky, and it is difficult to maintain a strong company culture when team members are not in contact in a physical space.
The good news is that there are a plethora of tools and technologies available to help overcome some of these challenges. By applying the right mix of apps and processes, businesses can thrive by fostering a remote environment and culture that boosts creativity, collaboration and productivity.
At BACKBONE we have been working this way for years, way before the global pandemic hit and although we use countless tools throughout our organization, in our experience, there are few key platforms that can have the biggest impact on your remote team.
1. Quick and easy communications
Email is a necessity for any business, but it’s slow and impersonal for the fast day-to-day pace of any remote organization. New generation messaging apps for business can bring people together in a unified team environment and dedicated message groups connect team members with the information they need, in real-time. Along with making work more productive through more efficient communication, these messaging apps allow for the nuanced conversations and banter necessary to maintain strong relationships between a group of people.
Slack is a messaging remote work tool that we absolutely love and is one of the most popular professional chatting programs. It brings team members together into the same virtual workspace, providing a sense of togetherness that is typically lost in remote environments. It can be integrated with hundreds of apps and includes many useful remote working tools. It brings all team communication into one place, helps to manage remote teams and offers fully native apps for iOS and Android to give you complete functionality.
If you don’t use Slack, you should try it. We consider it a must for any remote working environment.
2. Share information and promote transparency
Being able to share and manage information in a centralized and structured way is key for any remote organization. Cloud storage platforms empower a culture of transparency and provide a structured, secure and easy way to handle company files. Relevant teams are always informed and up to date and can collaborate live on company documents, spreadsheets, presentations.
We use Google Drive as our cloud storage platform and keep all our files in one secure and centralized location. We consider it as one of the most essential and flexible tools out there. You can decide on who can see what items and what access level they should have, or even share items directly via a link. Teams can leave comments on each other’s documents or work together simultaneously editing the same document.
Furthermore, Google Drive is just one of the many apps in Google’s Suite of Apps, so the fact that it integrates with Google Calendar and Google Meet make this one of our most loved solutions.
3. Have creative and productive workshops
The move to virtual meetings has been a challenge for many, especially for those who were so used to working in the same conference room and brainstorming together around a whiteboard. Creative workshops that bring people together to solve problems collectively are important especially in technology driven businesses. Being able to bounce ideas off one another and collaborate to find creative solutions is critical for businesses trying to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that brings remote team members together. You can draw on it, add virtual sticky notes, connect work items, and invite teammates or others to collaborate on the board. Every remote team should have access to this futuristic feeling whiteboard experience that in many ways is more effective than traditional whiteboards since multiple people can collaborate on ideas simultaneously. This tool works brilliantly with a touchscreen too.
4. Organize and track your productivity
Last but not least, project management platforms are designed to help virtual teams with everything from communication, planning, time tracking and team management. These apps allow all parties involved in a project to manage and track the status of each task, resources allocated to tasks, scheduled dependencies, and important milestones. It’s a way to monitor productivity and ensure that everyone is aligned and working in the same direction.
ProofHub is an online project management tool trusted by hundreds of remote teams around the world and our choice for running our global projects. Team members can have seamless interactions with fellow teammates and clients and the platform comes with plenty of features that contribute to the successful running of projects online. It’s an all-in-one remote project management software and is a must-have for teams that strive for a higher level of productivity.
Agile businesses that work in a remote or hybrid manner need to invest in tools to build a virtual workspace. With these first steps you will have made a great start in addressing the challenges in open communication, productivity and the difficulties co-workers face as they struggle to build a good rapport with one another.