Days are gone when people had to come to the office at 10 am sharp. Now the working trend has changed. People are working remotely without having to worry about arrival time, traffic, etc. And almost every business is embracing remote working.
With the advancement in the Internet and technology, remote working has become like a company culture. People have started to choose remote work as their career. Because of its benefits, even small and large businesses are hiring remote workers.
Remote work is not only for established businesses, even a startup can also benefit from it. But it is a challenge for any business to manage a remote team. If the right project management tools and communication tools are used then it is possible to manage a remote team. So, this article gives information on different tools to organize and stay connected with a remote team.
What are the communication tools?
We all know that communication is a process of exchanging news, ideas, and information. Communication is one of the most important factors for starting and building a successful business. But how to communicate? There are tools that help in the communication process. Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack, etc help in communicating. These are not the only tools available. There are more.
Communication is a means of connecting people. And if a business has remote workers, then communication tools help to manage them. To make sure that the projects are right on track, communication tools are very important for any business.
What are the project management tools?
Project management tools are used to organize work and tasks. These tools help any business to manage projects and tasks effectively. These tools are not only for managers but are also for any individuals such as developers, clients, testing teams, etc involved in the development process.
Project management tools help in planning, scheduling, collaborating, and evaluating the projects. With the advancement in computer technology, there are tools available for managing a project. These tools are made for a smooth workflow. Tools like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, etc are used to manage a project.
Why communication tools and project management tools are important?
In recent years, remote work has become like a dream career for many people. People are being attracted to remote working. And many surveys show that remote workers are more satisfied and more productive. They have a flexible schedule and have less stress than the workers who commute to the office daily.
But there are many challenges of hiring remote teams. There is the risk of a missed deadline, low quality work, poor organization, project failure, and so on. Any business should keep in mind the challenges of hiring remote teams. So, to minimize the risk and effectively organize a remote team, different communication tools and project management tools are used. So here are some of the benefits of using such tools.
1. Improves process
One of the common problems that any business face is redoing the same work again and again. Without implementing the right tools it becomes almost impossible for the business to know about the status of the project. The remote team will be unaware of the work done by the fellow team members. It may result in the duplication of tasks. So, the team has to rework and has to fix errors again. It costs more time, money, and resources to the business.
To avoid such risks, the business should implement the right tools and improve the process. It helps the business to finish the project on time without having to worry about redoing the same task again, deploy more human resources, time, and money.
2. Budget management
Each project has its own cost. No one does work for free. A company has to focus on cost of the project. The company has to pay for the time spent on the project by the remote workers. So, the use of these tools helps to track time. It ensures that the remote worker does not spend more time on the project. It also helps to ensure that the budget does not go out of control. It helps to keep the actual cost low and maximize the profit.
3. Track project’s progress
Implementing the right tools help to track the progress of the projects. It helps in tracking whether the project is on the right track or not. It helps in preventing the project from derailing from its goals and objectives. It’s important for any business to know about the progress of any ongoing projects and relay this information to the clients. So, these tools help the business to keep the record of the status of the projects.
4. Improves scheduling
Scheduling is one of the decisive factors for the smooth software development process. Scheduling helps any business to schedule their tasks and activities more effectively. It helps in organizing a remote team. With the help of theses tools, the remote team will know about the deadlines of the project and thus encouraging them to finish the work within the deadlines.
5. Increase in work speed
The use of communication and project management tools help to speed up the work. These tools help to save time and invest these saved time in another work or spend time with their family. The remote team and the business do not have to worry about sharing the documents. It also reduces the paperwork. It helps to gather the right information and data effectively. It helps to stay up-to-date. In this way, these tools help any business and remote team to save their time and focus on different tasks.
6. Better communication
Communication is important for any business to relay the information. Without any proper communication with a remote team, the project is sure to fail. It’s not always possible for team members to be available anytime and stay connected with them in person. In such a situation, these tools help to share information, delegate tasks and responsibilities efficiently, organize tasks, stay connected with them via video calls, and so on. Implementation of these tools helps in enhancing the communication process with the remote team.
7. Employee engagement
Remote working is gaining popularity rapidly. And it is not wrong to say that it is the future of work. More and more people are taking remote work as a serious career option. The benefits of remote work tell why people are attracted to it. With the introduction of different communication and project management tools, people are working remotely more than ever. These tools help a remote worker to share ideas, information on projects, organize the activities effectively, communicate regularly, etc. These tools help remote workers to share their problems and solve them easily. Thus resulting in an increase in employee satisfaction and engagement
8. Customer satisfaction
The use of these tools helps to enhance customer satisfaction. These tools help to finish the project within the deadline. Finishing the work within deadline means customer satisfaction. If the project is finished within the budget then every customer is sure to be happy about the work done. Another thing is tha,t if the remote workers work efficiently and are happy, then they will give their best to develop quality products and services for the customer.
How to improve communication in remote teams?
Remote work is the future of work. It provides flexible scheduling, time-saving, work-life balance, etc. But working with a remote team comes with many challenges such as communication problems, time zone differences, distraction, lack of organization, and many more.
Here are some of the solutions that help in overcoming such problems and improve communication between the remote team members.
1. Define goals clearly
A goal is the desired aim of any business and thus commits to achieve that aim. The business should have its own goals and objectives that motivate them to work effectively. So while hiring a remote team, the business should communicate its goals clearly to the remote team. The remote team should know the target and objectives of the business and should act in favor of achieving the goals of the business.
Everybody should aim for the same thing which results in the success of the business. Defining the goals clearly to the remote team will help in minimizing the risk of misunderstanding.
2. Regular meetings
Having regular meetings with the remote team help in understanding each other. Video calling the remote team can be a better option. This helps in understanding team members closely. Regular meetings can help to build trust between the team members. This way team members can share their problems and solve them with the help of each other.
Skype or Google Hangouts can be used for live meetings. Seeing the face of team members closely can help in understanding the message. This helps in minimizing the risk of misunderstanding. So when choosing a tool, choose the best one that favors your business.
Daily standup process help teams to get an update on ongoing projects. This process helps to know the tasks completed today and priorities for tomorrow. It helps to know about the issues faced by the team members. This way it helps to relay important information.
3. Better onboarding process
Onboarding is the process that ensures new employees gets the necessary information and skills to become effective organizational member. The onboarding process helps in providing necessary resources to new employees to carry out their roles efficiently. In return, this process helps in increasing employee engagement and boost performance. This helps new employees understand their job and expectations from them. This helps to increase the learning curve and thus increases productivity and job satisfaction.
4. Use the right tools
One should choose communication tools wisely. Choosing the right tools helps in enhancing communication between the remote team and the company. One tool may offer only file sharing while others only video call or text message, another may provide multiple users and so on. So test different tools, choose the best one that is suitable for your business, and use that one.
The key factor is to keep everyone up-to-date and build trust between the remote workers. Without the right communication tools, it is nearly impossible to manage a remote team.
5. Set up communication guidelines
Setting up the communication guidelines is important for any business to improve communication with the remote team. Define clearly which communication tools to use. The project manager should schedule a time to communicate with the remote team. Scheduling meetings can help in making the remote team available at the time of meeting. This helps in keeping everyone up-to-date about the project.
6. Take time to know the team
It is always not necessary to know the team members right at the first meeting. Instead, take time and slowly communicate with the team member and get to know each other. At the first meeting, it is always going to be hard to know the team member. Working with the team member for a long time can help to know each other gradually. But there must be an effort to communicate otherwise it is not going to work. This helps in understanding each other.
It is important for any project manager to hold feedback and discussion session. It helps to know whether the remote team has an understanding of the situation. The remote team must be up-to-date about the project’s current status. It is important for project managers to encourage the team members to ask questions if they have any. The team members should be able to share their problems regarding the project. This helps in avoiding errors in the project. The project manager should ensure that every team member is clear about project goals, what communication tools to use, when to communicate, and so on. The project manager should ensure that everything is communicated effectively.
8. Avoid interruptions
The project manager should prevent interrupting a remote worker when he/she is working. Frequent interruptions might result in irritating the remote worker. The remote worker might be concentrating on the work but the interruptions might distract him/her from working. The project manager should try to avoid messaging the remote worker when he/she busy working. The project manager should know the time to message the remote worker.
If the project is in a critical situation and needs immediate attention then the project manager can message the remote worker. Otherwise, avoid interrupting remote workers every time.
Tools to organize and stay connected with remote teams
As a project manager, it is his/her responsibility to manage a remote team. While there are many benefits to hiring a remote team, there are challenges in managing remote teams too. The project manager has to ensure that the remote team is collaborating effectively, right on track, and so on. This can be done by using the right tools. These tools help in managing a remote team. It is the duty of the project manager to choose the best tools that suit the business. The use of communication and project management tools make it easier for the project manager and remote teams to collaborate and organize the tasks and activities.
Here are 5 must-have tools for your remote team.
Trello is a project management tool. It lets users create tasks lists and delegate tasks easily to an individual. It is a system of boards, lists, and cards. It provides a drag-and-drop mechanism that lets users move cards easily. It is one of the powerful tools for managing a project. It helps anyone to track a project and makes collaboration easier. One can easily track the progress of the project. It is based on the Kanban methodology. Trello keeps project management organized. Trello can be accessed from any device. This is one of the best options available for any startup as a project management tool.
Tools like Workzone, Todoist, Asana, etc can be other options to go for project management.
Team communication is most important for any business. So, Slack can be one of the best communication tools to collaborate with a remote team. Slack is a communication tool that allows team members to communicate in real-time. Slack allows group messaging, personal messaging, and even create a separate channel for effective communication. Slack allows users to share files easily. It is a great tool to communicate and collaborate with fellow team members.
Cisco Spark, Fleep, Hive, etc are other optional tools to choose from.
Zoom is a communication software that offers video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. It allows users to share information, video conferencing, and group messaging. One of the main benefits of Zoom is that the user can still connect to video conferencing during an Internet connection problem. It offers a unique number that helps user to dial the number and connect to the video conference. It uses cloud computing to provide remote conferencing services.
Confluence is a powerful tool that helps to create meeting notes, project plans, and product requirements. It helps in documenting the business process, projects, and tasks. It helps to store files, edit them, and automatically update the files. It helps to track team activity and give feedback. It helps to share information related to the projects and stay organized. It also helps to share news and informations as well as have active discussions with comments, @mentions, and likes. Main benefit is that the user can work with any files in Google Drive in Confluence as well.
There are similar tools like Confluence to go for such as Nuclino, Wrike, Slite, etc.
5. Google suite
Google is a popular company that focuses on internet-based services and products. Google has developed many products that are useful for any business. Google has made business activities simple as it helps to store files and documents, edit, share, update files automatically, and so on. Here are some of the products of Google that help in the simplicity of business.
Google Hangouts is a communication tool that is free for making voice as well as video calls. As its name suggests, it was developed by popular company Google. The main benefit for any startup is that it allows multiple users to communicate. The video call can be recorded and can be shared live. Video conferencing is one of the best methods to build a relationship with the remote team, the clients, business partners, etc. Whether working from home or traveling, Google Hangouts helps to connect with employees. It is one of the effective tools to communicate with remote teams.
Zoom, Join.me, uber conference, Skype, Wechat, Whatsapp, etc can be other options to go for.
Google Drive is a file storage service that allows users to store files on Google’s server and share files. It also offers users with offline options to view files. It initially offers 15 gigabytes of storage to the users. The storage can also be extended with the help of paid plans. The users have the option to set privacy to files as public or private. The users can also give access to other users too. Google Drive is one of the best tools to store files and documents as it provides high security.
With google docs, the user can write, edit, and share files and documents. It helps users to easily format text and paragraphs as well as helps to add links and images. With the help of Google Docs, the user can work together in the same document simultaneously. It helps to comment and give suggestions to the user. Every change made to the documents is saved automatically which prevents the risk of loss of information. Google Docs also offers to create spreadsheets and presentations as a primary service.
Google Calendar is a time-management service provided by Google that allows users to add and edit events with reminders for a particular event. It allows users to distinguish the events with the help of the color adding option. The user can provide access to the Calendar that allows other users to view and add events. The user can select time zone for the events as well.
Investing in a remote team is beneficial for any business. But, it comes with challenges. Managing a remote team is a challenging job for any project manager. And as a project manager, it is the responsibility of him/her to manage a remote team effectively. With the introduction of different communication tools and project management tools, it has become easier for the project manager to manage the remote team. The project manager has to test and choose the best tools for managing a remote team.
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