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As an online publishing company, every member of our team has worked virtually from their respective home offices for more than a decade. Does this sound familiar or new to you? Working from home is a growing trend that is here to stay. Companies are learning to lower their overhead and ecological footprint while creating more efficient and happy employees.
One of the questions we get asked most often is: how do you keep employees on task and team-oriented when they are not on-site? Our experts show you how to setup your virtual team for success – to build team morale and keep everyone on the same page when not in the same building.
Virtual Team Management Tools
These are our top picks for applications that help keep our virtual team efficient while maintaining a sense of community and connectedness. We use different tools for different tasks, so we’ve organized these by category.
- Virtual Meetings: Google Meet
- Project Management: Basecamp
- File Archives: Dropbox
- Document Collaboration: Google Drive
- Day To Day Communications: Slack
- Social Discussions: Facebook Groups
Possibly the most reliable tool for virtual meetings, given how long it’s been around, is Google Meet. It allows us to put faces with names and engage in real-time. It’s a solid video conferencing solution with screen sharing but few other bells and whistles. There’s also a mobile version for when you’re on the go.
Google Meet allows for great video conferencing and screen-sharing. But, sometimes, the good old fashion phone works best for having more detailed, one-on-one conversations.
What’s The Difference Between Google Meet And Google Hangout?
Google Meet is the enterprise version of Google Hangout. It supports up to 250 participants, live streaming, and recording. Free for G Suite users through 9/30/2020. More details on Meet vs Hangout here.
Not sure how we lived without Basecamp, because this is the project management tool that drives all of our timelines and projects. It allows us to communicate efficiently in one place and also assign tasks to the next person once one person’s task on a larger project is complete.
Basecamp tracks conversations and keeps everything organized by project and to do lists. Our team would not be nearly as efficient or effective without it, especially with different time zones and locations to contend with.
Learn more about Basecamp in the video below.
Dropbox allows us to share files and also creates a central storage location for all our common-use files like logos, images, research, article drafts and more. We use this tool for files that we do not edit very frequently, but want to store for the long term.
Google Drive we use for real-time collaboration on documents and spreadsheets. You can see which team members are in a document, control access by email address or link, and see changes in real-time.
Drive is a great place to create agendas for meetings and allow team members to weigh in and provide their own ideas (the documents and sheets provide a commenting feature where team members can leave notes in real-time).
Slack is our main form of communication and has become one of our favorite tools for day to day chatter. We use Slack to ask one another quick questions or just have small talk. You can create channels for various purposes – for example #urgent-notices for things you want everyone to see immediately, and #coffee-break to take a break, catch up, and have some fun.
Slack integrates with various services using apps, some of which are mentioned in this article – including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Google Hangout.
Consider starting a Facebook group for team members to stay connected, share resources and chat. This is an easy forum to share things like what people are reading, resources and recommendations, advice, and more – it helps balance the work-life equation to create a more approachable work environment.
And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention how effective leveraging social media for your business can be to grow your client base.
What Tools Do You Use To Manage Your Team?
We find that the advantages of flexibility and lower overhead associated with virtual teams far outweigh the potential downsides. But this article only scratches the surface. Learn more in our collaboration tools overview and our in-depth review of project management tools.
How much of your organization is able to operate “virtually”?
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