While there are certainly perks of having remote workers, you as a manager definitely have to put in some effort to adjust your communication techniques to make sure everyone is on the same page and you know the status of work at any given time. Luckily, more and more apps come out each day to make this type of communication easier for offsite workers. Many apps serve dual purposes of communication, task trackers, and even invoicing systems. Here are the 10 best new apps you can use to communicate with your offsite workers and make sure that projects run just as smoothly as if you were working side by side.
This cloud-sharing system allows you to easily share files and documents with your workers even while on the go. It also gives you the opportunity to leave comments on the files for more than just a sharing tool, it’s truly a communication essential as well. This app also has collaboration features and content is protectable by encryption for the shared files. We love it for firms that use contractors or remote workers.
2. Chat and Video Chat Services Like Skype or Google Hangouts
Most of the time communicating through text is enough (emails, chats, etc.), but apps such as Skype or Google Hangouts are excellent tools for call and video call services when you need to clarify or discuss instruction via voice. Checking in with offsite workers through video call feels more “in person” and can help you be sure they are understanding what you need from them as this gives you a chance to read their body language to know if they truly grasp what you are saying or if they’re just saying they are. Video chat is probably the next best thing to speaking to your employees in person, so when that is not available to you, these apps are the best way to go.
Trello is a virtual work board that organizes tasks for various projects. Each task is assigned to a certain list and can be dragged to different lists depending on the project’s status of completion. Additionally, each card or task can have comments, files, and checklists attached to it and can be assigned to various employees. This app is collaborative and can be used for anything from simple to do lists to intensely complicated projects among large teams.
Basecamp is the ultimate project-managing tool for open communication with employees in one easy location. Basecamp is perfect for file sharing, project monitoring, time tracking, milestone management, and since it allows interaction within the program, there are no lost messages in long email chains to worry about. The makers of Bascamp also have an app called CampFire to keep track of conversations for easy reference later on.
This app is excellent for writers or bloggers who want to pitch ideas for their stories. This is a space that acts as sort of a virtual newsroom where writers can pitch their idea to the editor and have it approved or rejected. This app also acts as an editorial calendar, a workflow, and analytics tracker, and comes with an easy payment system to pay contributors per post.
TeamLab works as a sort of social media networking within a company. This is the perfect tool for making company-wide announcements so that everyone feels like they’re in the loop (this is especially important for communication with off site employees or managing multiple locations). This app also comes with an integrated chat feature for sort of an in-house instant messaging system so that all employees can be connected and share information about tasks and projects. For managers, this is a great project management tool to assign projects and tasks, track team activity and progress, and generate reports.
This is an excellent app for conference calls or video conference calls between two people or several. This comes with the option for just a standard voice conference call with email invitation to join the meeting via the mic and speakers of their computer or from their mobile phone. This provides the option to turn on your webcam for a video conference call, and even gives the option for screen sharing to explain products and demonstrate tasks from your own desktop.
CodeBase is an excellent tool for coders and creatives to communicate and collaborate on the same project. Software development teams can easily keep track of tasks with this system with a clean and easy to use interface that keeps track of all projects from one central location. The project manager can control the level of access of each employee on various projects in the system. This app makes reading code and organizing it simple and central. It also comes with a built in time tracker so you can determine how much employee energy is going into each coding project.
9. Google Apps
Creates an email system for your business giving you access to email addresses @yourcompanyname for a professional appearance and a reliable email hosting platform for all your employees. Email is perhaps the most important communication tool there is, so it’s important to provide a system for your employees that is reliable and is full of other features (such as chat, google docs, google calendar, etc.).
Evernote is a great tool for brainstorming and various business-related odds and ends. It is highly collaborative and even comes with a presentation feature for final projects and pitches. Evernote is perfect for sharing notes, to do lists, and online articles and is highly searchable.
Communicating with staff can be time-consuming and unreliable. Finding a replacement, filling an open shift or even just letting everyone know about the staff meeting tomorrow can be a challenge. With When I Work’s group email and TeamTxt™ service, you can communicate with your staff in one click. There are also powerful email and text message alert mechanisms in place to ensure everyone knows where they need to be and when.
What are your favorite apps to use for communicating with your offsite workers? Share your finds with us in the comments section below.10 Best Apps for Remote Team Collaboration Chad Halvorson