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Turning The Challenges of Remote working Into Strengths

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of February 2017 Other Income Streams 18

Turning The Challenges of Remote working Into Strengths

This is a guest contribution from Nick Chowdrey.

Remote working is an attractive prospect for many people in this digital age. But it’s not as simple as packing up your laptop and riding off into the sunset – it takes a lot more effort and skill than that.

After all, there are offices for a reason. For example, when working remotely, if something goes wrong it’s not as simple as swiveling your chair and having a chat – you may have to wait hours to resolve the issue because your contact is on the other side of the world and asleep.

But it is possible to work as efficiently as an ‘IRL’ worker when you’re remote. As a remote worker myself, whose team consists primarily of fellow remote workers, I’m well suited to answering these questions.

The Two Biggest Challenges

The two biggest challenges that come with working remotely are communication and organisation. It must be visible to everyone you’re working with that you’re up to date on tasks, when these tasks will be delivered, when you’re available to take on more tasks, and when your workload is at its limit.

Ensuring your contacts are aware of any issues, that they know when you are off on leave and when you’re available for meetings isn’t so simple when you’re working across seven different timezones.

Thankfully there are a range of tools at our disposal that can help greatly:

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects allows clear allocation of tasks with team wide visibility. Need some help with something? Check who has the bandwidth to take on a task with Teamwork. It can be used to communicate on specific tasks, ensuring that objectives are clear and feedback is delivered.

There are a number of project management tools out there but Teamwork provides a suite of functions in an easy to use interface that puts it the top of the list for me. It’s best use is for keeping track of your team and projects and helping keep to time and budget constraints.

Teamwork also features an easy to use timekeeping function so you can be certain your team are performing well. It really is aptly named, it’s your one stop shop for all things “teamwork” related.

Slack

A useful communication tool used primarily for instant messaging. Best of all it’s free! Slack allows for the setup of a number of different “channels”, allowing users to chat with groups of people related to that channel. Channels can be separated per client or per project or to cater to specific roles in the team.

Depending on how fun your colleagues and clients are you may have a “random” channel for non-work related chats or a “music” channel to share playlists with other teammates. Maybe even a channel just for you and your work friends.

Slack also allows for calling, direct messaging and integrates with loads of other productivity apps such as Google Apps and Teamwork.

G Suite

Google Mail provides a useful emailing service for organising contacts, sending files etc. But it comes with so much more. Enter G Suite – a whole suite of other cloud based apps designed for productivity.

Hangouts allows for instant messaging and video/voice calls to colleagues all over the world. Similar in function to Skype you may also share your screen – useful if your team and clients also use Google products. Drive is free web space to store information in an organised manner which can be accessed by anyone in real time.

Docs ensures that the team can edit and update files on the fly. Providing a whole suite of document types similar to Microsoft Office, although slightly more limited. Still worth it considering these tools are absolutely free and can be improved with a number of add-ons.

GoToMeeting

A great tool for organising remote meetings. GoToMeeting records your video conferences in crisp HD. This function is incredibly useful for reviewing client presentations to pick up on stuff you’ve missed and to see where you can improve.

It also offers HD video calls, and screen sharing from any device type, so even if your client has a plane to catch they have no excuse not to jump on a call.

Custom URLs can be created for each meeting for clarity and security concerns are taken care of due to high levels of encryption.

Sameroom

This tool is different to the others listed so far. It is not a communication or organisation tool. However it is very useful especially for freelancers as it allows you to combine other methods of communication onto one platform.

So if you’re working for a range of companies who use all the above tools or other similar tools you can combine them together on Sameroom for ease of use. No matter what tools your clients or companies are using, you only have to look in one place to keep track of all your communication.

Ramble over

So to conclude, there are a number of tools specifically designed for meeting the challenges of remote working. I would recommend discussing with your company or clients which tools they are using, or which ones they’re interested in. This allows you to ensure you are using compatible software which makes communication and sharing information much simpler.

Nick Chowdrey works remotely from Brixton, London as Content & PR Manager for international travel marketing agency In Marketing We Trust.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
Comments
  1. Our company uses Slack. it is convenient and anyone in the company can join to have ideas roving around.

  2. I am thinking over to start working from mountains in isolation 7 these applications are in my goto list now. But, I am wondering if staying away will actually help?

  3. Zoho Projects is also a great tool.

  4. Hi Stacey Roberts,

    Excellent blog. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hey Nick,

    It’s the era of remote handling where people sit at their homes and talk to the different clients.

    G-Suite is one of the best services provided by Google. The mail function used by the web hosting is based on PHP which has some security issues.

    GoToMeeting can also be something people should try.

    ~Ravi

    • Hey Ravi I also Gotomeeting for remote working. It has been my favorite tool for handling my team. Also have you every tried appear.in. This also good for Video conferences.

  6. Hey Stacey,

    There is little doubt that a degree of remote working appeals to most employees. It provides flexibility, helps with childcare and cuts down wasted time and money spent commuting. In my opinion one of the biggest benefits of remote working is the very fact that employees like it.

    Remote working can be a great way to attract digital workers in a competitive market, as well as increase retention and improve staff morale. Trust is important in any team, but, for remote workers, it’s what keeps positive working relationships alive. Without it, teams can quickly start to fall apart. Eventually, thanks for revealing a light on this topic.

    With best regards,

    Amar kumar

  7. This is so true. Communication and organisation are essential issues to get right. As well as running Deskonnect.com I also freelance as a technical writer, working with colleagues and clients in mainland Europe and the far East (I’m in the UK).
    To ensure communication and organisation, I alter my working day timings a little and use a combination of technologies like Skype for Business, Dropbox and Adobe Cloud apps alongside the editing and content management applications I use.

  8. Hello Nick,

    Thanks for this great and informative post. Google suite is so helpful in day to day task. It also helps me in blogging.

  9. Hi Nick,

    Yes, you are right and managing the remote team/offices are not an easy task if we do not manage them systematically. We also have three offices and we use the tool Teambook to manage them. Usually, we visit them physically once in 2-3 months and rest of the time we manage them with help of this tool.

  10. Yes managing work from remote sometimes might get difficult but I use Slack for talking to my team. But trust me living laptop lifestyle is amazing and you have freedom to travel the world.

  11. Remote work is booming, whether you’re working from residence/home, your favorite coffee shop, a coworking space, or somewhere else entirely.

  12. Hi Nick,

    I most definitely hear you on the “people being time zones away” bit ;)

    I’m a digital nomad. So I usually find myself being 4 or 8 or even 12 hours ahead of fellow bloggers, including my developer. If something goes I cannot get anybody on the horn in a pinch; gotta send an email or FB message and just surrender into whatever happens, in the moment.

    Slackbot is neat. I used it for a few months as a content sharing group but see how team-wide applications are there. Instant messaging with your crew, keeping current and putting out fires pronto are all neat benefits of using such a tool.

    More than anything, remote workers must realize your dead on fact; we ain’t working in an office. The freedoms of using tech to allow us to work remotely from anywhere on earth come with taking full responsibility that we can never swivel our chair to speak with a co-worker, to resolve something in seconds.

    I am at peace with that trade off :)

    Thanks Nick.

    Signing off from Doha, Qatar.

    Ryan

  13. hey nick,

    great post for starters. Personally i think every job can come with difficulties when doing it on your own time.

    for instance, i’m building my blog in hopes to do it fulltime eventually. And now already i wonder what it would be like to do it fulltime. I built my blog from home next to doing a 9-5.

    and i already need to stay consistent to creating content. and setting up my time management. Especially when my goal is to move to thailand to be with my wife in the future, and operate my online business from over there.

    I think it can be hard to actually do work, while you’re not having a consistent workplace. And not to get distracted with other stuff, while working.

    So setting up certain times to get things done, and using apps like Asana to create a todo list is my jam.

    Thanks for writing about this

  14. I’m assuming many here are solopreneurs/entrepreneurs like myself. For you guys, controlling any employee now is more possible than ever before due to Artificial Intelligence superpowers merged with physical sensors.

    And this is the part I quote:
    “StatusToday, recently joined a security accelerator run by the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency. The company’s AI uses metadata from your workplace habits (such as the files you access and when you unlock doors) to spot unusual behavior as it happens. If you suddenly download a lot of data or venture into a part of the office you never frequent, the AI can alert the company and ask you what’s going on.”
    Link:https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/30/workplace-ai-tracks-employees/

    I don’t believe in being a control freak with my staff, but this is something you guys should be aware of that is changing even remote working.

    Just a thought guys,
    Take care.

  15. Our company consists of remote workers too from different countries. I love Skype until I learned about Slack. So easy and fast to use. Loved its channel features.

  16. The best way to keep remote workers motivated and on task is to remind they they don’t have to commute every day.

    Commuting is a nightmare, allowing your staff to remote work is like giving them a few weeks extra holidays a year.

  17. Remote working is great when it works, but people tends to take advantage of it. Recently I had a video game digital market, all of our employees worked from home.

    We used Skype chat to communicate, which was good we created a group, and we gave out work/orders that way. For that part, it worked great.

    Some of our employees took advantage by arriving late or taking longer breaks, I mean these things happen once in a while. It becomes a problem when it’s every day.

    Thank you for your article, you linked a lot of good tools, wish we had half of those when we still had the company.

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