The wide variety of tech tools available today makes it easy for employees to telecommute and stay productive.
When you allow members of your team to work remotely, you can reduce overhead costs, boost employee engagement and help the environment by cutting down on pollution caused by commuting. Additionally, telecommuting could lead to an increase in company productivity, since employees will still be able to get work done even if they need to be home with a sick child or away from the office for other reasons.
If telecommuting some (or even all) of the time seems like a good option for your company and employees, it's important to make sure you have the right tools in place to keep team members productive and connected. Here are some tech tools that will ensure your employees are just as efficient — if not more — when they're working remotely:
Working remotely used to mean implementing a virtual private network (VPN) to extend your private server across a public network or the Internet to allow workers outside the office to access files. But today, all you need is a cloud strategy. If you're not already migrating business data and processes to the cloud, using remote workers is a good reason to do so.
With cloud technology, employees with the right sign-on credentials can access business documents from anywhere, increasing productivity and saving time for both you and your employees. Consider using easy-to-integrate cloud solutions such as Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365.
Progress Tracking Software
Eliminate the need for face-to-face progress meetings with your team by using tech tools that allow your employees to share status updates regularly and remotely. With apps like I Done This, telecommuters can respond to an email reminder each evening about what they accomplished that day — and the next morning, every team member receives a digest detailing everyone's progress. Allowing your telecommuting employees to regularly share their progress ensures that all members of your team are on the same page and aware of what everyone else is working on.
Company Messaging Systems
Working with remote employees can lead to enormous amounts of email, with everyone sharing information and asking questions via written messages rather than face-to-face interactions. To eliminate this problem, consider implementing a team-wide messaging system such as Inc, which allows everyone on your team to seamlessly share notes and files in one place without the hassle of sifting through individual emails — reducing the chances of important information getting buried in someone's inbox.
Time Zone Management Apps
If you're traveling, or if you have team members across the country (or around the world), taking all of the different time zones into account can be tricky when scheduling phone calls or web meetings.
To make collaboration with team members in different time zones easier, try an app like Every Time Zone, which automatically shows your local time in relation to all other time zones. This program also offers use of its Time Zone Converter and World Clock Meeting Planner, which help schedule meetings during work hours across time zones.