Over the past few months, the business landscape has gone through a massive shift. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many organizations needed to close their doors and switch to remote work. For some, that is the first time ever to allow remote work arrangements.
What many companies did not expect is the positive side of the Coronavirus lockdown. Many businesses managed to reduce expenses and make their employees happier and more productive. Experts predict that the work-from-home trend will continue even when the economy reopens.
However, to allow your employees to work from the comfort of their homes, you need to equip them with the right tools.
Here are five ways technologies can help you manage remote workers.
Using spreadsheets to organize employees is possible, but it requires time investments. It may also lead to many inaccuracies, since it is easy for you and your team to overlook tasks and deadlines. That is why you should consider investing in project management tools, such as Basecamp, Asana, or Trello.
These tools allow you to centralize project stakeholders, assignments, and documents in a single platform. That way, you will streamline communications, enhance remote employees’ collaboration, and ensure faster project completion.
Project management tools offer drag-and-drop features, which makes them easy to use. Managers can create multiple projects, add new tasks, and delegate them to the right team members. Tracking employee performance and the progress of each project is simple. These software platforms consist of customizable dashboards, project timelines, progress bars, and calendar views.
Project management tools will improve employees’ productivity, too. They eliminate the need for cluttered emails and mountains of spreadsheets. Remote employees will be able to keep track of their assignments in a single dashboard and prioritize tasks.
When managing a remote team, maintaining successful employee communication is one of your main challenges. Your goal is to invest in the right technologies that will eliminate geographical barriers and make your employees feel like a part of your team, irrespective of their location.
To centralize business communication, many businesses decide to make a switch from landline phone services to VoIP solutions. With VoIP, employee interactions are delivered over the internet. They come with desktop and mobile apps, allowing your employees to communicate across multiple devices, as long as they have fast internet connections.
Apart from traditional call features, most hosted VoIP vendors also offer comprehensive employee collaboration suites. They allow you to host proactive online meetings with your remote staff, share screens with them, chat in real-time, upload documents, and schedule meetings with up to 250 people.
The main benefit of VoIP lies in its affordability, as you will pay for the monthly package you choose. Most importantly, the costs of long-distance and international calls are significantly lower, compared to traditional analog business phone systems.
Better Team Work and Collaboration
When hiring remote employees, it may be challenging to enhance their collaboration and build a unified company culture. That is where investing in the right tech can help.
For example, with VoIP technologies, your remote staff can now talk for free from both their mobile and desktop devices. Apart from work-related calls, why not encourage remote staff to spend more time together? For example, they could use their softphone apps to host casual video meetings and take coffee breaks together? That may be a superb team-building activity and help them get to know each other.
With cloud-based IM software like Slack, remote teams can create multiple channels to communicate. For example, they could have a channel where they would chat leisurely, wish their teammates happy birthdays, share funny memes, etc.
Tracking Employee Success and Motivating Staff
While good pay and benefits may be great employee motivators, they are usually not enough. Your remote employees want to be appreciated for their commitment, as well. However, in remote work arrangements, traditional performance reviews may seem unfair and biased, given that there are no daily in-person interactions between managers and the remote staff.
Fortunately, with employee performance tools, employee evaluations, reporting, goal-setting, and rewards are handled automatically. As a manager of a remote team, you can now have better insights into your organization and its remote staff. That way, you will be able to increase the overall workplace transparency and identify areas that need improvements.
You can choose manager-to-peer recognition software, where you would rate employee performance, send detailed employee performance feedback, and create rewards for employees. There are also peer-to-peer recognition tools that allow your remote employees to recognize and rate each other.
With a wide range of features, such as easy feedback management, cultural alignment, and goal management, employee performance tracking software helps you boost your employees’ morale and productivity.
Maximizing Data Security
Cloud technologies have made modern workforce mobile, flexible, and decentralized. However, the rise of these technologies has also led to the growth of cyberattacks.
Statistics say that employee negligence is the main cause of online hacks. And, that is particularly true for employees working remotely. Using private devices for work, they will install social media apps, read their private emails, visit entertainment sites, and click on suspicious links they receive.
If your remote employees’ computers are not safe, your business is at risk. Cybercriminals will use any security gap to break into your employees’ devices and steal your company’s sensitive data.
To prevent that, businesses hiring remote staff need to adopt new cybersecurity policies for their remote workers. Above all, they need to invest in the right cybersecurity tools, such as:
- A VPN
- Antimalware software
- A firewall
- A password manager
- Content filtering solutions
- Pen testing tools
Over to You
With the rise of sophisticated technologies, you can manage your remote staff more effectively. You can track project progress in real-time, enhance their communication, encourage unbiased peer-to-peer feedback, and improve information security. Above all, you will motivate teams to get to know each other and build stronger relationships between them.