Managing a team in any business requires a specific set of skills that everybody just doesn’t have. To manage an awesome remote team you need those same special skills that you do in a brick and mortar business. You’ll need leadership qualities, you’ll need great people skills, work management skills, and motivational skills — to name but three.
For your remote team you will also need those personal qualities business expects of a manager. Confidence, dedication, focus, compassion, and being a good communicator. Truly the list can go on and on.
But, when you find yourself managing a remote team, all of these requirements can be thrown up in the air, somewhat.
Management is something which has traditionally been built around the direct personal relationship between the manager and the team of people below him. But, how do you apply these qualities when your team is not in one place? Your team might even be spread out all over the world.
As with so many 21st century problems, the answer has come in the form of technology. As remote working has become more and more de rigueur, so modern technology has moved to solve the problems it can create and provide the tools it requires to be successful.
When remote working first emerged as a concept, it was something of a payoff. It was immediately seen that there could be big benefits to be enjoyed by both employer and employee, but both had to accept a few drawbacks as well.
Today, there is no need to worry about the drawbacks and with the right tools, it is just as easy and productive to manage a team remotely as it is in the office. Several years ago I opted for a remote working model with my team.
Today, business is thriving and the staff are happier and more productive than any teams I’ve previously been a part of or managed.
Here are the tools I consider to be the 4 essential tools, to manage an awesome remote team.
The first essential tool you will need is Trello. Without a doubt, the best around at the moment.
Its works a bit like a virtual pin board. You can have various online boards for different work streams and those boards allow you to keep lists and cards for different work projects and assignments. It has plenty of functionality including allowing you to upload attachments, comment on attachments, send and receive messages, and do much more besides.
Trello lets me keep on top of my staffs workload, have input into their projects, and gain feedback on completed projects. It also helps my team manage their own workloads and interact with others. All round, an excellent bit of kit.
Communication is always one of the big challenges of running a remote team, but a good communication tool can overcome the issue. My pick of the comms tools out there right now is Slack.
Slack is in many ways an instant messaging app like many others, but this one is designed for professional users. This means it offers various channels — all in one place, including secure private channels, direct messaging facilities, and file-sharing among many other capabilities.
With Slack you can also sync messages across almost every device out there, meaning there is no excuse not to stay in touch. So for a professional and a flexible communications tool, it has to be Slack.
Cashflow and payments are a priority for all businesses, but especially small businesses and those just getting off the ground. That is why I have valued the service that Due provides in simplifying online payments.
I have used Due from day one and it has resulting in us having zero issues with any of our online payments to date. It is easy to use, fast, transparent, and for those just setting themselves up, it’s free as well.
There is no better payment program on the market today and I am speaking from experience in writing that.
4. A VPN
My fourth and final recommendation is a VPN. With a VPN you can be sure that your remote team has access secure company data and documents from wherever in the world they are, without putting your data security at risk.
A VPN does this by channeling all users online traffic down an encrypted pathway. This secures all their online data from hackers and other prying eyes.
They will also be redirected via an external server which hides their IP Address and so renders them anonymous online too.
This means that team members can upload and download data from a server or cloud storage service totally risk free.
There are other perks to using a VPN too. It will allow you to access geo-restricted data overseas. This can help your business to get ahead of global competition, as well as access local information and relax by enjoying your favorite TV shows, even if they are based overseas. A VPN also allows a person or business to evade online censorship, should you be working in a more dubious country like China.
With these four tools in place, you have all the essential apparatus to run a vibrant and successful remote team. Good luck!