4 Tools For Managing Remote Work Teams

by Sherry Hart

Do you have groups of employees that work remotely? Does your entire workforce operate from home? If so, having the right technology is critical for managing that team effectively. While working remotely can certainly offer flexibility, it can also pose serious challenges. When your team works remotely, you miss out on the kind of impromptu, face-to-face communication that can happen in an office. If not managed correctly, a remote team can also lead to a less-than-professional image.

Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome with the right technology. Here are four types of technological solutions that make remote work easier:

Instant messaging or chatting software. One of the great things about working in an office is the ability to have casual, off-the-cuff conversations with coworkers. Those conversations can generate new ideas, build camaraderie, and develop personal and professional connections. However, it's hard to have those conversations via email. A messaging or chatting software can help you and your team have short, casual, personal-or-business conversations. It can be a great tool for collaboration with the entire team.

Project management software. When you work remotely, it's impossible to pop into a coworker's office and ask for a status on a project. Rather, you need something that allows you to get statuses and outstanding items with just a few clicks of the mouse. There are a wide variety of project management platforms that allow you to collaborate with others, develop new projects, assign tasks, and update status reports. Give your whole team access so everyone stays on the same page.

Video conferencing. Avoiding meetings is one of the best benefits of remote work. However, sometimes meetings are necessary. Bringing your whole team together in-person could be costly and a logistical nightmare. Instead, use a video conferencing system that allows everyone to get together online. Ideally, you want something with voice controls so you can manage the communication flow in the conference. Also, software that lets team members share their screen with the group will facilitate the sharing of information.

VoIP business phone systems. You may all work remotely, but you also may want to have a professional appearance. Having a unified phone system can help give you that image. Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems use the internet to transmit phone calls. The benefit of this is that you can have phone calls come into one number and then have them distributed to your force. For example, when a caller puts in a team member's extension, the call could go right to the worker's cell phone. You could also have voice mails transcribed to email to make sure no messages are mixed.

Talk to your business phone system supplier (such as Hi Country Wire And Telephone) about a new system for your team. Many suppliers offer packages that include all of these functions.