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The past few years have seen remote work get more traction for both the employers and employees. Companies have since adopted the remote norm whereby an employee is not required to set foot in an office to perform his/her duties. One can simply work at her comfort, whether at home, a cyber café – you name it.

Is Remote Working Plainly That?

There are nuances between remote work positions, most of which can be put into two categories: fully remote jobs and partial remote jobs. The fully remote job will involve an employee working 100% from home either on part-time, full-time or on a freelance basis. A partial remote job, on the other hand, will involve the employee having capabilities to work from a remote area but once in a while, the employee needs to visit the office.

Should I Go Remote?

The main factors that come into play before a company decides to go either fully-remote or partially-remote will include: Is traveling a necessary part of the job? Does the job require staff meetings and facetime? Are there aspects that can be comfortably done at home and/or others that cannot? Statistics show that 67% of the companies have on occasions allowed their employees to work from home while 38% of the companies allow employees to work remotely regularly. The perk promised on this rising norm is enviable to both the employer and employee, but only if the remote work is set up well for both sides. Statistics go on to show that remote working boasts of 24% better productive outputs from the workers and that they are more satisfied with their jobs.

And Yes, It’s Sort of Becoming a Trend

It is estimated that in the coming years, 50% of the US workforce will work remotely. As it stands, 8 million people in the US work from their homes. Of course, there are positives from the employers’ side when they decide to go remote. For starters, they get to cut costs in office space, supplies, and computers as the employees complete their day-to-day tasks at their home ‘offices’. Additionally, you get to hire some of the best workforces with no restrictions on the locations, in the case of fully remote work.

Now That I Want to Go Remote, What Tools Do I Need?

There is more to working remotely than it may seem.

As an employer, you will need to assign tasks, create milestones, organize conferences, real-time communication, brainstorm ideas together, recruit the team and even manage it.

It is sometimes a big challenge to effectively meet the aforementioned activities. Thankfully, technology has got you covered. Various tools have been tailored for such purposes. Let’s start with the most important: finding your remote team members.

» Recruitment Tools

There is really nothing worse than having to go through a ton of applications on your own, manually. [caption id="attachment_15407" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Recruitment Tools source:[/caption] Luckily, there are tools out there that will help you automate the process and keep track of important things. Here are some you should explore: Greenhouse is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that helps your business find the best remote talent for your needs. The platform also includes planning of the hiring process, sourcing job applications, interview management and covers post-hiring activities. Ideal is an AI automation solution that will screen and shortlist candidates based on resumes, performance data, and conversations. Indeed is a job aggregator that over 100 million resumes in its database, helping you find just the right candidate.

» Text and Chat Communication

This comes out as the most important aspect of managing any remote team. Information needs to be passed to the employees and this should be done in an easy, fast, and secure way. The following are some of the tools that will help out: Flowdock enables social collaboration through inbox and chatting by providing various features. Through the tool, accurate information is passed and at the right time. This can be used to recruit and manage the teams. Slack is one of the widely used tools which present an always-on chat interface that allows private and public messaging. You will get to centralize notifications into one searchable place accessible to all your employees. You can group remote teams by department or project, whichever works best for you, and set up notifications for mentions only to help streamline workflow. Starring messages and shared files give you a list with instant access to important points you want to remember. HipChat is a standout video and text chat tool that has an intuitive and simplified UI design and enables seamless interaction. You can also transfer files, share screens and choose between one-on-one and group or topic chat. The searchable message history makes it easy to find important messages.

» Video and Audio Communication

Video and audio communication tools help you make up for lack of physical meetings, and are a great tool during recruiting and onboarding, and for management too. Examples of software you can use to achieve this include: Google Hangouts comes as part of the whole Google product suite (Drive, Gmail, and others) which means anyone with a Gmail account will have it. It gives you access to audio, video, and one-on-one messaging with employees across all platforms (computer, phone, tablet). is a great option during recruitment as it offers free audio and video conferencing and instant screen sharing, and anyone can join in quickly without any setup at all - just click a personalized URL to join the chat/video room. UberConference allows you to easily set up conferences with your remote team. Users will not be forced to provide long dial-in PIN codes, making it easy for them to access and join the conversation wherever they might be. You can mute a caller, call another in the middle of another call and even set up hold music if you have to use the option. Skype is still the go-to video tool and most widely used around the world, especially now that it comes preinstalled on Windows 10. It’s used for instant messaging, voice calls including group calls. It covers all basics well but lacks some of the options other tools offer.

» Project Management

So far, you have only been able to handle communication among your team members. However, you will need to keep track of the work being done, once the projects and tasks start rolling out. [caption id="attachment_15410" align="aligncenter" width="628"]Project Management source:[/caption] Offices make it easier to keep track of these things, but thanks to project management software, you’ll also know what your remote employees are working on and avoid overlapping tasks. Trello is one of the most frequently used project management tools among organizations that offer remote work. Its intuitive user interface makes it stand among many others, and the Kanban system of cards and boards makes management a breeze. You will be able to organize the tasks through cards, boards, lists, and instantly see what’s going on and the status of each project and task. Drag and drop options are awesome to move around tasks, projects, and teams. ProWorkflow caters to small, medium and large businesses alike, and is best for teams of 5 to 5000. It is an old player in the project management industry, thus, you can be assured of some well-curated standards. It’s a full feature suite that goes outside regular project management frameworks and also offers invoice, time, communications and quotes tracking. Meistertask focuses on the time management aspect of remote team project management and uses the cards system for a quick overview. It comes with powerful integration options and works with Zendesk, Slack, GitHub, and others. Other tools that you can access in this category will include: Acteamo, Apollo, Asana, Basecamp, Blossom, Jira, Todo, Procore, Twoodo, G Suite, Worksection and many others.

» File Sharing and Access Control

For remote work setup to work, you need to have a great file management system that will allow all remote employees to access the files. Cloud computing made this rather easy, but it can be tricky to find just the right fit for your needs - will you use it for work, or recruiting too? Will you keep onboarding documentation there, or even training materials and videos? Here are some popular file storage and sharing solutions to explore. Google Drive stands as one of the most popularly used tools because the base option is free and everyone has access to it. It’s easy to use and gives avenues for sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, editing, adding up comments and working simultaneously on the same document. Each document will also have its very own chat that employees can use to discuss changes specific to that document. Dropbox centralizes the files in one place making them easy to be accessed and synced across multiple devices. Github is tailored for source code management. It helps in the collaboration, review, and management of codes as well as versions. Users access some collaboration features like task management, bug tracking, project wikis, and feature requests. Box is a paid file sharing service, so you might wonder why you should pay for a service if others are free. Well, Box comes with guaranteed security - high-level encryption of documents and files and is fully compliant with the most recent data processing regulations. With it, you will get a set of powerful tools that give you full transparency on access, and set up specific parameters on who has access to your business data and what they can do with it. Huddle’s main focus is secure cloud collaboration for big companies and government agencies, but its file and document request feature is its major selling point.

In a Nutshell

The era of remote working is here. And it’s just a matter of a few years before most companies adopt this culture. As a business owner, there are a lot of pros and cons you can derive from this setup. Thus, before making that big decision, look at the various factors aforementioned, train yourself on using the tools, and watch your company grow by working global.
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