Remote work has experienced a huge boom in the last few years, and people ditching traditional offices for the flexibility to work where they please is certainly a trend that isn’t slowing down.
In fact, some people have predicted that 50% of the UK’s workforce will be working remotely by 2020.
People are lured into this style of working for the great benefits, and certain draws for employers make hiring remote workers an attractive prospect as well. Some perks for both sides include:
Ten years ago, it would not have been possible to have remote workers on such a scale.
But now, the boom of technology, applications, software and hardware all make it much more feasible. While some technologies used bear similarities to those utilised in traditional offices, tools for managing remote teams do differ in some respects.
So, what are some examples of the best technology for working remotely?
In this article, we will explore the best instances of software and hardware that help remote teams communicate and be accountable.
A remote job is generally defined as a job that is done away from an office, either at home or on the road. While remote workers could also be defined as people who are self-employed, they are more often employees working for one company.
Those who are self-employed will need different technology and apps to people in remote teams; they can differ largely depending on the person’s line of work.
People in remote teams require some specific types of technology, which are mainly remote collaboration tools and remote worker software to hold employees accountable.
When putting together a remote team, several aspects must be considered.
This article by Forbes gives a useful brief. There are lots of different software opportunities for each of these fields, including programmes and apps for working remotely.
Some areas work best with a hardware solution.
Case studies by ‘The H Factor’ and the toilet roll producers ‘Who Gives a Crap’ show how the needs for remote workers can vary. The H Factor has workers spread across Australia and has scheduled meetings about once a fortnight, using remote workplace tools and technology to host these.
‘Who Gives a Crap’ are mainly based in Australia; the founders were in Melbourne, Sydney and San Francisco and were keen travellers. They first hired an employee in Manila and now still work with people from these three countries. They use half of their profits to fund development projects internationally.
They recommend this software for group chat and notifications:
‘Who Gives a Crap’ also use a variety of software for project management. When teams are virtual, it is increasingly important to have the correct software implemented to ensure that projects are organised and executed correctly.
Employee engagement for remote workers is essential. Using technologies like those mentioned above, employees have a chance to both talk and interact.
The best way for employees to engage include:
Technologies like Slack are popular for employee engagement, as are remote working tools like Zoom, which is a video chatting software where the conversations can be recorded, and Sqwiggle, which takes still photos of team members and can initiate video calls by clicking on the stills.
Slack is a form of gamification technology and Foursquare’s badge system can also be used for gamification.
It is very important for remote teams to stay accountable for what they do and have the necessary tools to report back to their teams.
A fantastic way to do this is by using the programme I Done This. It keeps remote teams accountable for what they have done each day. They reply to an email, reporting what they do daily and then each team member gets a debrief stating what everyone did on the previous day, and they can write their own comments on the tasks.
This means that there is no need for check in meetings – which are more of an ordeal when teams are spread throughout the country or even internationally.
There are plenty of other time tracking tools as well, which are great for bosses to keep in touch with what their remote teams are doing. These include:
Remote teams are sometimes in need of special hardware. This includes the best quality laptops and other devices and gear that can be used for collaboration.
Remote meetings are one of the things that still puts people off hiring or becoming remote workers. How are people expected to be able to communicate with their colleagues if they can’t be in the same place as them?
Interactive display screens are a great solution to these. People in the same room as the whiteboard can see the meeting taking place there, whereas people in different areas of the world can access it on their computer or tablet.
If you’re self-employed, your technological needs will differ. As mentioned, the software and hardware needed highly varies depending on the line of work, but some staples include:
Self-employed people may also like to use tools like Trello and Todoist to keep organised. They may also have times where they need to talk to clients, in which case, video chatting software like Google Hangouts is also useful.
The best tools for remote working vary from software to interactive displays. The most important priorities for remote workers are to make sure that remote teams can talk and be personable with each other, so it is vital that the technology that remote teams use reflects this. Using software like Slack, Zoom and Todoist all enable this further, as does the right kind of technical remote working equipment.
As the remote workforce is constantly increasing in size, the demand for different technologies will continue to increase. It is important for teams to check in with their technologies and check that they are up to date and are working well to make the remote team the best that they can be.