This is a guest post by Rob Rawson, co-founder of Time Doctor.
“The technology is here; it’s never been easier to communicate and collaborate with people anywhere, any time,” says Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, authors of Remote: Office Not Required.
No doubt, working remotely is bliss, and managing remote teams can be too, because technology has made it easy for managers to keep remote teams engaged, motivated and productive without micromanaging them.
Successful remote team managers leverage various online collaboration tools to keep everyone on the same page. Although there are hundreds of tools to choose from, here are few selected specifically for the remote team management tasks.
When you are not working from the same office, over-communicate and stay connected with your co-workers, using these tools:
- Slack: Be less busy. That’s what Slack is for. It is an always-on chat interface which allows public, private and one-on-one chats. Other amazing features include, file sharing, reminders, updating status, muting the channels and integration with many popular apps.
- Skype: A great free tool for online meetings, Skype can be used for sharing audio, video and also for sharing your screen. Unlike Slack, it doesn’t come with any integration but is preferred for face-to-face group meetings for up to 25 people.
- Google Hangouts: It’s an all inclusive online meeting tool. You can schedule meetings through Google calendar, send invitations, set reminders and even record the Hangout to view later, using Hangouts on Air.
When the team is distributed, it becomes very important to make sure everyone’s on the same page. This is where collaboration tools like these can help.
- Google Drive: Google drive offers secure cloud storage for all types of documents like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can collaboratively edit the documents online and share them with your co-workers, as well as check revisions and versions.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to store team-wide documents, ensuring that you don’t lose anything important on an individual computer. Everything you keep in Dropbox is synced automatically to all your devices, computer or mobile.
- GitHub: GitHub is a cloud-based revolutionized version control system. It makes collaborative development possible for remote teams. Developers can share code, collaborate on projects, edit and build upon each others’ code and give stakeholders a chance to test in-progress work.
- Basecamp: Organize your projects, internal communications and client work in one place in Basecamp. It makes it easier to effectively manage notes, files and action plans for your team members working in different time zones.
Prioritizing tasks, keeping everyone engaged, and managing workload and on-time delivery are some of the key responsibilities in remote project management. The following tools help make such tasks easier for managers.
- Trello: An incredibly simple yet powerful web-based project management software. A Trello board is a collection of cards organized in vertical lists. The cards can be considered as a simple list of to-do items. Team members can assign, update and move these cards easily across the lists.
- Asana: Asana is a task and project management solution that facilitates team collaboration and communication. You can share, prioritize and update tasks, provide feedback, receive notifications and much more.
- JIRA: JIRA is a tool for agile project management. It is primarily used for bug tracking, issue tracking and project management by remote teams.
- Zoho: An all-in-one tool where remote teams can come together, plan, collaborate and get work done faster.
- Time Doctor: Time Doctor is a time management tool that helps to record time spent by each team member on various tasks. It also records the applications and websites employees’ and also takes occasional screenshots, so that you can monitor what remote employees are doing as needed.
This is a basic list of tools for you to get started with managing your remote team, but certainly show around for online collaboration tools and choose the ones that best meet your requirements.