4 Must-Have Tools You Need for Successful Remote Working
This week we've discussed why you should include remote working in your employee advantages. Most recently we've discussed how you can implement it into your organisation. Today we'll look at the challenges that can arise with remote working and the tools you can use to ensure you feel connected to your clients and team, no matter where they are.
The Challenges of Remote Working
- More need for training and review. For work to be done the way you want it as a manager, you need to ensure structured and regular training, even more so because you aren’t necessarily in the office to oversee and overhear conversations about how work is getting done.
- Work socials will be harder to organise, therefore they may happen less. With staff potentially working from London to Manchester and even India if you globally hire, it can be hard to get everyone together in the same place at the same time!
- Resistance from some clients who insist on face to face meetings (ahead of the curve). Humans like interaction, there is no getting away from that. However, with full HD video calling, video calls are a good way to satisfy this without having to travel to the offices of the client. If clients don’t have meeting rooms with conferencing, good Wi-Fi and flat screens with webcams, you may not be able to achieve the same levels of connection. In those cases, you may need to be flexible and meet in person, where possible.
- Harder to get new business (traditional networking model is still the best and cheapest form of new business). To get new business we now have to optimise our websites, and convert leads virtually which is harder (and more expensive!) than meeting someone at an event who you can speak to, explain your vision and sell your service. However, if you can set up a model which does generate leads remotely, just imagine all those early morning business meetings and late night networking events you can substitute for time with your friends and family!
Overall, we have taken a balanced approach to remote working. Staff who have worked with us for 3 years with the experience to go fully remote, can if they want to. More junior staff can start with one or two days per week and we have adopted a flexible business model, so if your boiler breaks you can work from home at short notice! This works ideal for our team, especially those that aren't from London because they can visit family without having to use their annual leave - these are the type of perks that will ensure you keep your talented team.
Tools We Love for Remote Working
- Slack - This is a must have platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. We use Slack as the new version of MSN Messenger - everyone remembers that one from school, right? We have a channel for all departments and projects so that urgent communication can occur easily, as well as having random channels for social interaction. That way we can organise our next work social, catch-up on the weekends or show the latest photo of the kids, as we would in the office.
- Workflowmax - This platform is designed to help service businesses manage their workflow. It generates quotes and then sends it to the client who can approve the quote online. This will then trigger a job which can be managed with tasks, to dos, staff allocation and timing. It also generates invoices and reports on job profitability. This tool runs our accounting practice. For a business in any sector, it is a godsend. It allows me to sleep at night knowing I have a place where all deadlines and jobs are managed and we aren’t going to miss anything!
- Asana - This should be your go to project management tool. Within Asana you can create multiple projects, assign team members, create tasks, track an individual's progress and track the project's progress overall, using the calendar feature. This is a tool which can be used to help improve your individual organisational skills, as well as organise a team within a project. We use Asana to assign tasks to other team members, to track project progress and to take notes during team meetings. That way tasks can be assigned and monitored without everyone being in the same room.
- Charlie - This platform acts as your online HR team (or in our case our only HR team)! This software currently provides 7000+ teams a safe, central location to store employee information without the hassle of spreadsheets or drawers of physical files. It even has a guided onboarding process to take new members of your team through, so you'll never have to watch someone fill in a P45 or scan a passport, ever again! We find Charlie especially useful for booking time off. The SRK team can effortlessly apply for a holiday and their manager can approve it within a minute - no matter where they are! This means no one's holiday request form can ever be lost again!
[If you have yet to read our previous blogs on remote working, check out Why Remote Working Should Be Included In Your Employee Advantages and How to Make Remote Working Work For Your Small Business]
Join us at our Birmingham office on the 12th of September for an amazing free lunch and learn on 'How to Find Killer Market Positioning! In this learn and learn, you’ll learn how to not only find killer market positioning but also how to fully exploit this competitive advantage through your brand.
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