The business sector is going through some strange times right now, and it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought some unique challenges to the modern workforce. Of course, it is again up to the entrepreneurs and the managers to overcome these trials and enable their teams and companies to actually thrive in the face of adversity. Not only does this mean that entrepreneurs should refine and learn new skills, but it also means that you need to adopt the right technologies to help your remote employees thrive. Because chances are that at least a part of your workforce is working from home, if not your entire employee collective.
Running a remote operation without losing productivity and output, or without jeopardizing your relationship with your employees that you have been building for so long can be a difficult task. That said, there’s still plenty you can do to keep business going as usual no matter if you’re only able to communicate with your employees via chat or video. Let’s take a look at the best tech tools and tips you can use to facilitate remote work and thrive as a company.
1. Start with project management software
Firstly, you can’t expect to run an efficient and effective remote operation if you don’t have a clear way of managing all of your projects in a centralized location. This used to be your head office, of course, but now that everyone’s stuck at home, you need to run your projects on a digital platform, which is why integrating a good project management tool should be your number one priority.
Opting for a cloud-based project management tool is one of the best things you can do for your team members, as it will allow them to collaborate seamlessly and in real time. That said, choosing a PM tool can be a complex task, so be sure to do your research and sign up for that free trial to see if it really fits into your company and accommodates your every need.
2. Use a reliable time management tool
When it comes to retaining efficiency and productivity in remote teams, you have to be able to manage your time and the time of your employees like a pro. If you don’t, you can expect deadlines to get breached, and people to start slacking off in a matter of days. While you can read all the best-selling books on productivity and time management you like, there’s nothing that can replace a reliable time management tool like our very own PomoDone app.
It’s a simple yet invaluable app that integrates with any project management tool, and you can use it on your smartphone or as a desktop application to time your tasks and ensure you stay productive throughout the day. This app can be a game-changer for your at-home employees, especially the ones who have a difficult time keeping distractions at bay. You can even schedule breaks so that you and your employees can take a restorative breather to stretch and fuel up for the rest of the day.
3. Introduce VoIP into your communication system
Another crucial piece of tech that can make all the difference in your remote operation is VoIP. Voice over internet protocol is a cloud-based phone system, or at least that’s what it’s best known for – but it’s so much more than that. When implemented correctly and used to its full extent, a comprehensive small business VoIP system can revolutionize your internal and external communication, allowing you to communicate from anywhere in the world without breaking the bank.
Cost savings are probably the biggest advantage of VoIP, as it allows your team members to communicate with your seamlessly from around the world, but it also comes with various other digital features to simplify collaboration. Be sure to look for features like mobile optimization and apps, collaboration tools and virtual assistants, call forwarding and conferencing, scheduling, analytics, and more when researching VoIP providers.
4. Elevate the security of your network
Of course, one of the prerequisites for a well-functioning remote team is to ensure network and data security across the board. After all, you can’t expect people to perform at their best if there’s a risk of an intrusion or if they don’t know how to handle sensitive business data over the internet. That’s why you should invest in modern employee training technology to educate them on cybersecurity and how to stay safe in the online world.
Aside from cybersecurity training, you should also invest in some advanced security tools, such as a VPN or a network monitoring system. This is a powerful gatekeeping tool that allows you to retain complete control over your entire network, restrict access to non-work-related websites, and inspect all traffic quickly. This way, you can always stay one step ahead of every cyber-criminal.
5. Leverage gamification to gauge employee satisfaction
Remote employees can lose interest in their work and loyalty towards your brand if you’re not engaging with them in meaningful conversation and checking up on them on a regular basis. Now, one-on-one conversations are important, but most of the time you’re going to be too swamped with work to be able to engage with every one of your employees.
Fortunately, you can use gamification to engage with them automatically and gather important information about your team members. For example, you can come up with interesting quiz ideas and use online quizzes to find out everything you need about your employees, like their level of loyalty towards the company, how they’re feeling, what’s stressing them, and just about anything else.
While they might not feel inclined to fill out a boring questionnaire, they’ll probably be delighted to take a break from work and complete a quiz. You can even throw in a nice little reward for them at the end, while their answers will help you take a more personalized approach towards employee happiness and retention.
Another way you can reconnect and empower your team is using a software tool to do that for you. Pingboard gives employees the ability to search the company by name, location, skill, and interest. It features photos of employees and name games to help coworkers remember each other’s name and role. On top of that, Pingboard helps employees create a collaborative environment with their built-in peer recognition tools and increase workplace transparency by including out of office (or status) reports for employees.
6. Tracking performance and gathering data
Last but definitely not least, you should integrate a smart employee monitoring tool to help with analytics and to gather meaningful insights. Such a tool can help you monitor employee performance and productivity, make sure that all deadlines are met, but it can also have advanced features that allow you to track absence, holidays, overtime, payroll, benefits and bonuses, and much more. Use it to keep all employee information in one place and make better management decisions while working remotely.
Sending the majority of your workforce home and maintaining productivity can seem like an insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just make sure you’re using these tools and following these tips and you’ll have no problem taking your company forward during the COVID-19 crisis.
About the author:
Emma is a blogger based in Sydney, Australia, with a degree in business management. She is passionate about economy, finance and marketing. Also interested in music, books, movies.
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