In the era of remote work, leveraging technology effectively is key. We sought advice from top professionals, including vice presidents of marketing, CEOs, founders, creative leads and senior marketing managers. From embracing video messages for engagement to personalizing tech and maintaining communication, here are tips experts shared on managing a remote workforce using technology.
Embrace Video Messages for Engagement
Using video messages instead of mundane emails presents a fantastic approach to involve a remote workforce actively. Based on personal experience with a geographically dispersed team over the past three years, the effectiveness of video messages is endorsed, resulting in significantly higher viewing rates, engagement and responses compared to other strategies attempted in the past.
These versatile video messages can serve various purposes, such as weekly team updates, important announcements and monthly virtual town halls. The crucial aspect is to maintain authenticity, avoiding overly-scripted productions.
It is encouraged to take simple and spontaneous videos using a smartphone and share them through internal communication channels. While initially there might be some resistance and apprehension, once the rhythm is found, the experience will be highly rewarding, providing responses and outcomes that no other communication channel can match.
VP of Marketing
It’s a fantastic strategy to encourage casual chatting with Slack, Teams, etc. After all, “water cooler talk” is an important component of a productive office, as backed by research.
Create, seed and engage in non-work conversations on your communication platform. Discover what your members are passionate about (sports, food, hiking, movies, etc.) and create areas for them to discuss these during working hours.
In my “virtual office,” we set up a separate instant messaging thread for non-work-related conversations and encouraged staff to use it when appropriate. This also allowed us to monitor the chats, noting when they occurred and who was having them. Instead of performance metrics, this can provide some insight into who is productive.
Managing staff in all parts of the world is no easy feat, but we have succeeded so far. We have implemented the use of internet-based applications to make workflow seamless. For communication, all staff log onto an online platform where we can arrange tasks, and have group chats, and person-to-person chats.
We also implemented a time-tracking application that monitors the workflow of staff. Last, we use cloud-based services to share documents with each other. The best part is, these are all factors that you can implement in an offline setting as well.
Founder, The Links Guy
Using open-source software really is the optimal path. It’s all about having transparency, control and freedom with the digital tools we use every day.
Personally, I am a big fan of Focalboard because it gives us platform for project management and team collaboration.
Its self-hosted nature ensures we have total control over our data, and the freedom to customize it to our specific needs. The open-source community is also a great asset. It provides our team at Business Announcer with a large amount of value.
CEO, Announcer Inc.
Managing a remote workforce has its own unique set of challenges. What we found that really makes us gel is the spice that we add to the daily morning meeting.
Sure, we talk about our daily tasks and catch up on regular business items. And naturally, we leave room for chit-chat to replace the “water cooler” interactions that we all miss. But we found unstructured conversations are limited to a group of over 5 to 10 people.
So, on top of our morning get-together, we add an icebreaker. Sometimes it’s a game, sometimes it’s a cheesy “what’s your favorite…?” But it works! It ensures everyone has time to speak, and some responses are both eye-opening and hilarious.
There are tons of resources online, so it’s not a hard task to accomplish. And it sure makes Monday mornings a lot more lively!
CEO and Co-Founder, CultureAlly
As the owner of a web design, branding and marketing agency, my tip for effectively managing a remote workforce using technology would be to create a centralized digital hub that fosters seamless communication, collaboration and accountability.
Companies can use Slack to promote real-time conversations, share updates and keep remote teams aligned. Using Loom for asynchronous video recordings can help provide simple instructions, explanations or feedback when time zones or schedules differ across team members.
Project-management software such as Asana or Trello enables remote teams to stay organized, prioritize tasks and track progress, eliminating confusion and ensuring smooth project execution. Last, regular virtual meetings are vital to maintaining a sense of team unity, addressing concerns, and providing feedback.
Combined, these digital tools will create an effective virtual workplace that enhances communication, productivity and engagement in your remote workforce.
Creative Lead and Owner, Creative Nomads
Create a Virtual Workspace
One tip for effectively managing a remote workforce using technology is to establish a dedicated virtual workspace using tools like Google Meet. In our company, which has employees from different locations such as the US and the Philippines, we maintain a Google Meet room throughout the day.
These virtual spaces serve as a hub for meetings and individual work, simulating the environment of a physical office. By encouraging spontaneous conversations and collaboration, we foster improved communication and productivity.
This setup allows for informal interactions and appreciation of diverse cultural backgrounds, strengthening team connections. The proximity of colleagues just a tab away helps reduce feelings of isolation and facilitates efficient management of remote workers.
Founder and CEO, Civility Partners
Here’s the thing—I see way too many remote workers who spend their energy on appearing to be “online”. They bring their laptop to the gym with them and nudge it every few minutes, trying to answer Slack messages within minutes. All this is to give the “appearance” of working rather than actually working.
It’s important to build a culture of not having to be reachable. By doing so, you’re optimizing for the wrong action. Instead, prioritize outputs. Set clear weekly objectives with deadlines and give employees the autonomy to meet them.
By setting an example that it’s about the quality of work rather than the appearance of working and always being online, you’ll see not only better output but also significantly better employee morale.
Co-Founder and CEO, Moast
Fostering a sense of teamwork and community through virtual team-building activities and social events can have a positive impact on managing a remote workforce effectively.
By implementing online games, virtual coffee breaks or virtual happy hours, team members feel more connected, motivated and engaged.
This strengthens collaboration, improves communication and enhances overall productivity. Building strong relationships remotely can overcome the challenges of physical distance and create a cohesive remote team.
Operations Manager, Credit KO
Remember, it doesn’t stop at onboarding. You need to have a strategic focus on the training plans you put in place for employees at all levels.
This ensures that they have the training materials and support necessary for the adoption and proper utilization of the technology required for their job roles.
HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll
While technology significantly contributes to every remote team’s success, it’s imperative to remember the value of the human touch in every action.
Since your systems in place are tools and templates, personalize them as much as you can. Stay constantly and thoughtfully in touch with each other. Go the extra mile in understanding another team member’s circumstances; open and honest communication is a prerequisite to this.
Just as technology breaks barriers to stay efficient while working away from each other, also makes it the glue that binds your team together.
Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency
Leverage Multiple Tech Tools
As the CEO of a global company specializing in property management, including B&B and hotel management, effectively managing a diverse and geographically dispersed remote workforce is paramount to our success. Fully embracing and leveraging technology to enhance communication and streamline workflows has been invaluable.
By utilizing video-conferencing platforms, team-collaboration software and cloud-based document sharing, our global remote workforce can seamlessly connect, collaborate in real-time and efficiently manage property operations regardless of their geographical location.
This technology-driven approach boosts productivity and operational efficiency while also fostering a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among our remote team members. Through the effective use of technology, we can manage our property management endeavors on a global scale, ensuring the highest level of service to our clients and maintaining our competitive edge in the industry.
CEO and Founder, UpperKey