Your remote workers are an invaluable part of your team. They call or video into every staff meeting. They meet regularly with your clients. They provide digital support. They develop, edit, and publish the content that generates the majority of your leads. And although the majority of your staff are in-house, you know that your office culture needs to speak to the needs of both traditional and remote employees alike. And for your remote employees to feel represented and included, they need to be connected.
That’s where remote working tools can come in handy. With the right set at their disposal, your remote workers can feel connected with your office each day. When that happens, your employees are happier and can work more efficiently with less interruptions and distractions to pull them out of the zone.
With so many tools and apps boasting promises for increased productivity, it can be hard to know what you should offer your employees for optimum success. Don’t stress! These five tools for remote workers are proven to help get them get the job done right.
1. A Secure Password Manager
You want your remote workers to have access to all the resources they need to get their jobs done right–and you’ve spent a long time cultivating a robust suite of digital tools fit to complement their skills and meet their needs.
When it comes to sharing software with your employees, you’ll want to keep two things in mind. First, user experience: Your remote workers may be operating on different schedules for a variety of reasons, and may need to access tools at times when you’re unavailable. So you’ll want to minimize barriers to entry to each of these offerings and make it as simple and seamless as possible for your employees to get their work done.
Second, security. Did you know that 81% of hacking-related breaches succeeded via the use of “stolen or weak” passwords? When your employees are juggling logins to a multitude of programs, they’re likely to reuse passwords–making them easy targets for cybercriminals.
That’s where password managers come in handy. With multitudes of features, including two-factor authentication, and prices starting as low as free, these tools make sure your employees can keep track of one super-secure password while having access to all the passwords they need.
2. Team Chat
When it comes to cohesion, communication is key. Sure, email and phone calls still have their place in the remote working world, but when it comes to needing quick answers or developing team spirit, nothing works better than a quality team chat platform. Try a platform such as Slack, which has boatloads of built-in productivity features such as the ability to manage and track documents, set reminders, keep notes to yourself, and subscribe to RSS feeds, among others.
3. Branded Meeting Equipment
Are your remote workers holding meetings with clients? If so, how are you ensuring that each meeting truly encapsulates your brand’s experience? It’s important to equip your employees with the tools they need to not only tell your company’s story, but to evoke the look and feel of the experience you have worked so hard to develop.
One way to do this is through a virtual meeting backdrop. If your employees are hosting remote meetings, this is a great way to transform any environment into a professional and brand-appropriate space that can set help set the mood for the meeting you’re hoping to hold. What’s more, having the backdrop will help put your remote employees in a meeting mindset, as opposed to simply being in their home office.
4. Project Management Software
If you’re running an especially fast-paced shop–and let’s face it, who isn’t?–you’ll need some support in tracking the many projects taking place over the course of a given day. Project management software such as Basecamp can make a huge difference in keeping teams organized and oriented around project goals and deadlines, while also enabling folks to troubleshoot obstacles in real time and collaborate from afar. As a bonus, Basecamp also has a chat feature and allows team members the opportunity to “boost” each other’s contributions to projects, creating some of those same feel-good vibes you get when something great happens in the office.
5. File Sharing Software
Speaking of collaboration, if you’re hoping for teams to work together on projects, you’ll want to make sure you’ve set them up in a way that allows them to really feel like they’re sitting together in a room and hearing each other out. Good file-sharing tools, like Google Drive, can do that for you. Consider Google Docs–where you can watch each other type and edit, make suggestions, view revision history, and easily share files for consideration with the click of a button. The easier it is to collaborate, the more willing people will be to work together. And when your employees are willing to work together, that’s when the best work happens.
By setting up your remote workers with a great suite of tools, you’re laying the groundwork for success. With less barriers to communication and more room for creativity, your remote employees will feel empowered to bring their a-game to each project, and the results will speak for themselves.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle