By Jordan Fried
Offices are so 20th century these days. Who really needs the hassle anymore? The expense of paying for rent and equipment plus the extra staff needed to keep it clean and functional.
It used to be that the benefits of having a nice office in a good, convenient location for your business outweighed these expenses. But these days, that is increasingly not the case. And more and more Canadian businesses are finding that the myths of remote working are precisely that, myths.
Some people think that remote working makes staff inefficient. In fact, the opposite is true. Cut loose from their lengthy commutes and sandwiches for lunch every day, staff are free to start and finish work at hours that fit around their lives, are more energized from working at home, and still have the flexibility to travel to meetings should they be required.
The reason that these HR benefits can be enjoyed by a growing number of companies these days is down to one thing, and one thing alone: technology. Technology these days makes communication possible from anywhere. It makes management and oversight possible even if worker and the boss are on opposite sides of the world, and it makes online resources available to everyone, everywhere.
There has been a glut of new technologies on the market in recent years aimed at the remote working market. If you are first dipping your toe in the water, it can be overwhelming.
This is where I can lend a hand. I have worked for and run successful remote-working enterprises for more years than I care to remember now. In that time, I have given most of these technologies a trial run and I know which ones work best.
4 Vital Tools to Managing Your Business Remotely
A work management tool is the first must-have bit of kit for any business using remote workers. And for me, the best on the market right now is Trello. It is a flexible tool, which can be adapted to suit different management styles and for however you want to oversee staff and work projects.
Its design makes it look a bit like a virtual pin board. It allows you to have different boards for different work streams and within those boards you can have various lists and cards to keep track of different tasks. You can upload attachments, send and receive messages, and do much more besides.
It is the perfect tool to allow you to keep track of your staff and their work. It will also allow them to manage their own output effectively too.
A big worry when considering remote working is how to communicate with staff if they are spread all over the place and build a team environment. A top quality communications tool is therefore vital and Slack is my pick for this function.
It is a messaging app, but it can also offer so much more besides. Unlike many of its competitors, it has a range of different features ideally suited for businesses. It offers different channels, private channels, direct messaging, easy file-sharing, and a simple search facility. It also has the ability to easily sync across almost every device you can think of.
You will need a flexible, easy-to-use communications tool and Slack is one which delivers in spades.
3. Group Call Software: RECOMMENDED – Zoom
Online messaging is important, but of course there will be time when face-to-face communication is needed, both for internal and external purposes. Perhaps you will want to gather together somewhere for a regular meeting, but if there are urgent issues to discuss a reliable group call software is a must.
Zoom is the market leader in this field for me. They offer a state of the art video and online conferencing service which can be used across a whole host of different platforms. Zoom is a fast, efficient, and user-friendly tool and I cannot speak highly enough about it.
4. Secure Data Access: RECOMMENDED – A VPN
Lastly, you are likely to want to keep all your data is a single secure location to ensure it is safe and to allow everyone in the team to access it. In an office environment, a local server makes this easy, but it is trickier when working remotely. This is where a VPN comes to the fore.
A VPN works by giving users a secure connection to any external location via an encrypted link and a secure third party server. Using a VPN, anyone on your team can upload and download data from your company’s central server or cloud storage service without exposing it to significant risk from hackers or other prying eyes.
A VPN will also give them a secure connection with every aspect of their work, to help ensure data security. It has a number of other pluses as well, including keeping up to date with the latest news, culture developments, and even TV in your home country. Geo-blocking can make this tricky at times, but with a VPN, your team truly will have access to information anywhere and anytime.
This concludes our rundown of the four most vital tools to arm yourself with when managing a remote team distributed all across the globe as seamlessly as possible. Give these tools a shot to see for yourself just how useful they are for saving you time, effort and miscommunication errors with your remote team.
There are plenty of variations of all the suggested tools in this guide that you can try out to see which one best fits your budget and needs. If you have any tools or apps that you personally have tried and recommend for remote team management, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments section below. Likewise if you have any general comments or thoughts, pop them down below too.
Good luck managing your remote team!
Jordan Fried is the CEO and Founder of BufferedVPN. He has traveled and worked from over 40 countries while building his online businesses. Jordan is passionate about online privacy, blogging and living a fully remote life. You can reach Jordan on Twitter @jordanfried.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.
Thanks for the tips!
It’s nice to narrow it down to 4 essentials. There’s so many tools promising so many things that I usually don’t bother with any of them.
We’re in the middle of building a company that will be totally virtual so this was a timely post for us. I didn’t even think of a vpn!