Business Management / Culture

5 types of technology to better manage your remote team

Jessica Thiefels

Oct 23, 2020 · 6 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

5 types of technology to better manage your remote team

As we continue to shift into the evolved workspace environment and deal with various pandemic-related fluctuations, remote work is the new norm. A new report from OWL Labs and Global Workplace Analytics found that 70% of U.S. workers worked from home due to COVID-19, and 77% would be happier to stay remote permanently.

The good news is, 75% report similar or better productivity levels while working from home. For businesses that can operate with a distributed workforce long term, it’s likely remote work is here to stay. As such, managers need to implement the technology and digital tools needed to level up their remote leadership. Consider the following five options to better manage your remote team:

1. Communication platform

Communication is essential for distributed teams, yet it’s not as easy as when you’re collocated. Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work report confirms this, listing “collaboration and communication” as the number one struggle for remote workers.

Find a communication platform that connects your remote team and allows for multiple types of interactions. If you choose to piece together a communication stack using multiple channels, i.e., Slack for instant messaging and Zoom for video chat, ensure that your team understands the proper channels and processes for communication.

Alternatively, if you select a unified platform, which can help streamline your workflow. Some popular all-in-one communication platforms include:

  • Google workspace: Use the well-known Gmail platform, along with Hangouts for chatting, and Meet for video conferences.
  • Microsoft Office 365: One of the original business communication platforms, Office offers all of their own programs, including Outlook for email, and Teams for chatting and video conferencing.
  • 2. GPS tracking software

    GPS tracking software is more than just the name implied. While it does allow you to locate employees via GPS, there are other valuable features for teams that frequently travel, such as timesheet capabilities, mileage tracking and third-party integrations.

    You may feel like this infringes on your team’s privacy. However, it actually offers safety and productivity-related benefits and can allow for more remote flexibility because of accountability. For example, this technology could help with:

  • Keeping in touch with your sales team when they’re on-the-road and on-the-clock.
  • Assigning a new job or meeting in-real-time with whichever team member is closest in the field. (This is also useful for service-based businesses, i.e., a tech-support team for a local cable company).
  • Employees easily track mileage for work-related trips.
  • Quickly locating team members for emergency scenarios.
  • To find an option that works for your business, check out this recent review of the five best GPS tracking apps. The team at Timeero tried out 15 different apps, comparing 1000+ user reviews and driving around to live test the functionality, to give their suggestions.

    3. Project management system

    Most teams collaborate in some fashion, whether on projects, client work, sales push, campaigns or otherwise. As such, a project management system (a.k.a. task management system) will help connect all the dots with your team’s collaboration as well as serve as a single collection area for any necessary content.

    Project management systems allow for:

  • Shared to-do lists
  • Task management and prioritization
  • Easy review and feedback
  • Efficient approval processes
  • Real-time updates
  • As most are cloud-based, your remote team can all be on the same page and collaborate with ease. Refer to Zapier’s list of the best free project management software to assess the best option for your team.

    4. Employee recognition software

    One of the drawbacks of remote work is the loss of human-to-human interaction, which is often the best way to offer positive reinforcement. When you can’t swing by a desk to say “good job” or compliment someone while cleaning up after a meeting, it’s easy to forget to reach out with praise. Even before the pandemic, recognition was an issue, with 63% of employees reporting that they didn’t get enough praise.

    Employee recognition software ensures that you don’t forget to recognize your team’s effort, even while remote. Check out this list of popular software and platforms used by notable companies.

    5. Learning and development programs

    Learning and development (L&D) is a vital aspect of management that cannot fall to the wayside when you shift to remote. What’s more, employees want learning opportunities. A Udemy report found that 42% of employees say feeling empowered to learn new skills makes them more engaged in their role.

    Beyond training for your employee’s specific duties, you can also create L&D programs to help the shift to remote work and optimize overall performance. That same report found that 70% of workers agreed that training could help them with time management and focus.

    Ensure that your L&D programs are revamped for your virtual workforce. According to recent Gartner research, while 84% of L&D in-person trainings were canceled due to COVID-19, 83% made the shift to virtual trainings. Sari Wilde, Gartner’s managing vice president, offers the following advice on shifting:

    “You can’t just take an in-person program and deliver it virtually. To make it work, you may need to rethink the content, facilitator, delivery approach and possibly even change expectations for learning objectives.”

    Better manage your remote team

    With the right technology, you can connect with everyone on your team, making them feel engaged, productive and connected. Use these tips and ideas to figure out what technology your team needs and then start leveraging it today.

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