TMCnet Feature
August 04, 2021

How to Use Tech to Manage a Team That's Really Remote

Remote teams are becoming more and more commonplace. Companies great and small are embracing a remote work model as they navigate the nuances of the modern business landscape. This shift to a remote model can help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and open organizations up to a bigger talent pool.

While there are many benefits of remote work, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. On the contrary, managing a remote team can be a challenge.

Fortunately, technology can go a long way in helping to connect, manage, and guide a remote team in an efficient manner. Here are a few of the best ways that you can use tech to manage a truly remote team.

Set Up an Effective Payroll System

Your accounting department is easy to overlook as you tend to the rest of your team’s demands. However, the way you handle remote team finances can be a major factor that makes or breaks your team’s ability to operate over time. Poor financial management can lead to disgruntled employees, higher turnover, and more time spent investing in hiring and training new employees.

If you’re a small operation, you may be able to get away with using something like PayPal (News - Alert) to pay the occasional contractor. However, as soon as you have a legitimate remote team of employees, you have to find a genuine accounting solution that can scale with your team’s demands.

This must be able to support managing the finances for a remote team scattered across a wide geographic area. In addition, if you’re remote, there’s a good chance that you could end up having international team members as one of the benefits of a remote team is that you can source talent from practically anywhere. While it’s a powerful benefit, though, it does mean you may have to pay employees across national borders.

This requires a specific kind of software that can cover inter-country business finances. There are global payroll options available that can address the nuances that this creates.  They can help you stay compliant as you pay your talent and ensure that you do so in a quick and effective manner.

This is good for employee morale and can help you maintain a satisfied workforce. It also removes a large portion of the headache that comes with attending to remote and international accounting practices.

Grease the Collaboration Wheels

Remote work is flexible. It accommodates workers in ways that an in-person office space never could. However, it does present a unique challenge in the form of collaboration.

With a lack of physical proximity — and often major time differences to boot — it can be hard to work together on a project. Coordinating when to meet (more on that below) as well as figuring out a virtual space where you can do so can be difficult.

Once again, technology can be a lifesaver. There are countless apps and software solutions that can keep your team closely knit as you tackle projects together. These collaboration tools can take many forms, a few of which include:

  • Workflow apps: These are cloud-based platforms where your team can assign tasks, set deadlines, create priorities, and otherwise work in a shared virtual space.
  • Document sharing apps: These provide private online spaces where your team can both share and access content at a moment’s notice.
  • Creative apps: From creating content to using whiteboards to brainstorm, there are many creative tools that your remote team can use “together from afar.”

Collaboration is a vital element required for any team to succeed. Without it, you operate as little more than individuals siloed into your own remote work cocoons.

That said, collaboration is also one of the biggest hurdles that a remote team must overcome. Make sure your remote team has the best tech to help rather than hinder your collaborative efforts.

Scheduling and Communication

Another shortfall for many remote teams comes in the form of scheduling. This is difficult as you juggle project deadlines, flexible schedules, and varying time zones. Once again, tech can save the day in the form of scheduling apps.

Each scheduling app tends to work differently. However, a good app should have a few common items.

For instance, it should have a way for team members to show their availability for multiple different times throughout a certain scheduling period. This eliminates the need to orchestrate meetings via dozens of emails spent whittling down the times that don’t work.

Instead, you can find the one time that works for the most people. A good scheduling app should also automatically translate time zones depending on the location of the user so that no one gets the wrong time in their calendar.

Even if you can get a schedule on the books, you may still run into another issue: communication. Everyone has their preferred method of communication, whether that be video, text, or audio. Even then, the number of communication applications and tools for each medium can be overwhelming.

If you want to use tech to master your team’s communication, you need to be specific. Start by figuring out the best way for your members to interact. Do you need a video format or is a conference call enough? Do you need to share screens? Are texting and email appropriate for daily messaging?

Once you’ve figured out the best way to go about your team communication, select the best tools to facilitate it. Then share these with your team so that everyone is on the same page.

Using Tech With a Remote Team Over Time

As a final recommendation, don’t stop once you’ve figured out the best tech to keep your remote operation up and running. The business world is in a perpetual state of evolution, with technology speeding up the changes all the time.

With that being the case, you can’t rest on a single tech solution for too long. An application that gives you cutting-edge creativity or maximum connectivity today may slow you down tomorrow.

Make sure to cultivate a culture of continual learning throughout your remote organization. Encourage your remote team members to always be investigating the latest tech solutions for your company. Empower them by encouraging suggestions and team-inspired tech innovation in your operation.

By doing this, you can help your team stay ahead of the curve when it comes to remote business tech. This won’t just help you avoid the struggle that comes with using dated software. It will also give you a distinct competitive advantage over others as you maintain a remote team that can operate at peak efficiency at all times.

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