In recent weeks, we have explored a range of resources that could be used to manage a distributed team. These included video conferencing, chat and file sharing platforms, and we have provided a summary of each to help you choose the most suitable option. There was a great deal of information to be considered, so we have given each topic its own dedicated summary.
Unlike the other articles we have published, this piece will focus on some of the more unconventional resources that may be useful when working remotely. These items or tools are typically single-use or involve an element of competition, but are not strictly essential. Nevertheless, they should prove helpful in improving the remote working experience.
It is widely accepted that managing a remote team does not require any additional skills than those required for any other type of management role, since the core principles of managing a team are the same regardless of the physical location. However, there are some challenges that come with managing a team that is spread across different geographical locations. It is essential that managers are able to accommodate different time zones, cultural backgrounds, and personal objectives.
It is apparent that there is no indication of productivity in this region. We believe it is advisable to assess the efficacy of your remote developer not by the duration of time they spend in front of a computer, but by the standard of the work they produce. If your highly talented programmer prefers to go to the gym at 10:30 in the morning or toil until the wee hours of the morning, then it should not be discouraged. This offers a greater potential for progress than attempting to set any other type of target.
Now that I’ve vented, I’ll provide the resources.
If your team members are located in different parts of the world, it can be difficult to identify the best times for all of them to be available online simultaneously. Timeanddate.com offers a convenient tool to help make this process easier, by allowing you to create a personal global clock to quickly check the time in all the different locations.
Timezone.me presents itself as the trendiest way to coordinate meetings across time zones. With just a basic knowledge of geography, users can make use of the slider to identify which time zones are awake and which are asleep during their working day.
If you’re looking to collaborate on scheduling but would prefer to avoid the administrative tasks, Doodle can be a great help. Simply decide on the hours and days that you would like to have the meeting, and then ask your team members to indicate their availability via a checkbox. After this, you can select the time that works best for the majority of people, or the most important individuals.
Asynchronous communication has many advantages, especially when people are located in different time zones. Slack is an ideal choice for teams who are looking for a straightforward way to keep in touch and it is packed with a range of chatbots that can help to make communication easier and can help people in different locations to feel connected. Here are some examples of what Slack can do:
- To ensure that everyone in your team is remembered on their birthday, we have developed BirthdayBot. We would recommend that you add the birthdays to your calendar and send the message yourself to ensure that no-one is overlooked, even if you are short of time.
- GameMonk provides a fun and interactive way for colleagues to get to know each other during meetings. Our tool enables teams to play 90-second games at any time of the day, providing a lighthearted break from work and helping to reduce stress levels.
- Geekbot is interested in leveraging Slack for daily stand-up meetings. With this approach, Geekbot will manage everything, ensuring that there is no need for someone to be available on the channel constantly.
- BusyOn enables you to organise your team’s work, get regular updates, and keep tabs on everyone’s progress without ever leaving Slack.
- Manage and assign tasks, boost employee productivity, cut down on repetitive tasks, and analyse team members’ Slack performance data with TaskOnBot.
- LeavesOnBot+ is a Slack bot for handling staff leave requests, daily attendance, and frequently asked questions.
- EventOnBot+ makes organising gatherings, sending out invitations and taking polls an absolute breeze. With just a single click, you can effortlessly set up your event and keep everyone informed. What’s more, you can sync your Google Calendar so that any changes you make are reflected automatically. Making sure your event runs smoothly has never been so easy!
- Greetings Taco! With the help of this software, your team can now express their gratitude to one another in a virtual way. While these tacos may not be the real thing, they are certainly an excellent and calorie-free alternative!
- Polly is the perfect platform to help you gain insight into key issues, whether it be related to your business or to settle the debate over whether pineapple belongs on a pizza. With Polly, you can create your own polls and surveys to get feedback from your target audience.
If you’re using a different chat service, check out Chatbots.org to see what bots are available for it.
We strongly encourage you to prioritise regular communication with your remote employees. Asking them directly is the most effective way to measure their morale, rather than relying solely on surveys or other methods. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you reach out to your team as soon as possible.
Despite initial reservations, there may be potential for utilising mood monitoring tools. One example of this is TeamMood, which sends out weekly emails to employees in order to gauge their satisfaction with their role. As an additional benefit, TeamMood allows individuals to submit their responses anonymously, meaning they can express their true feelings without fear of reprisal. The data collected is then compiled and sent back to the employer.
It is hoped that you have already obtained all the information that could be gained from these anonymous comments. If it is found that your staff are more willing to discuss matters without attributing them to any particular employee, then it is apparent that there are trust issues that need to be addressed. Taking the appropriate steps to rectify this problem is essential in ensuring the long-term success of the business.
The Agile practice of Niko-Niko is the source of inspiration for TeamMood, a tool which encourages employees to select an emoticon which best reflects their current emotional state. An accompanying comment is not essential but would be appreciated. To make it easier to interpret the results, a summary email with visually striking graphics will be provided.
Resources to Provide Your Group
Many people are predisposed to work from home alone, demonstrating an impressive level of self-discipline that allows them to focus on tasks for extended periods of time without succumbing to distractions such as social media. For the rest of us however, it can be beneficial to take short breaks from our work in order to provide a moment of respite or stress relief. It is important to remember that the most important thing is to achieve the desired outcome. If one of your team members is having trouble maintaining their focus, using a program such as ColdTurkey may be beneficial.
The calendar feature of the app allows you to schedule times when ColdTurkey will block access to certain websites. You can choose whether to block all websites or just social media platforms, and you can even use the feature to prevent yourself from playing games during work time. Whatever you decide, the app provides you with the flexibility to control your own access to the web.
It is important to ensure that employees on our team are taking care of themselves, both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, there can be those who become so intensely focused on their work that they neglect to take care of basic needs such as eating and drinking. To help prevent burnout, it may be worth considering the implementation of TakeaBreakPlease. This is a very considerate programme which locks the computer after a certain period of time and reminds the user to take a break.
Finally, I would suggest that you acquire a tool to assist you in your endeavours. Depending on the composition of your team, the exact tool may vary; however, organising an online game session at the end of a busy working day is an excellent way to relax and unwind, as an alternative to going to the pub.
As the popularity of online gaming continues to grow, there is a wide range of options available. However, if you and your friends don’t have the latest XBox or PlayStation consoles, you’ll need to find a PC-based alternative. To ensure that everyone can join in regardless of their hardware, it might be a good idea to pick a classic game title.
With the rise of free-to-play games, it can be easy to overlook the classic titles that have been around for decades. Quake, which was released in 1996, is still played today by teams of players who come together to take down enemies. If you’re looking for a more fantastical setting, then Neverwinter, a free-to-play Dungeons and Dragons game, could be the perfect choice. Alternatively, there are a number of science fiction video games, such as Star Wars, Star Trek and others, that capture the essence of team-building and offer a great way to spend time with friends. No matter what game you decide to play, it’s important to remember that taking time out to enjoy the company of friends is key to developing strong bonds and an enjoyable gaming experience.
So, What Have You Found to Be Effective?
Once all is said and done, you and your team are the ultimate experts when it comes to determining which tools are best suited to your project. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available that can help even the most inexperienced remote developers feel comfortable and competent when working with a remote team.
Taking advantage of Works‘s services to fill your open positions could be a great way to get a head start on the recruitment process. Our platform will provide you with qualified, experienced remote-working developers from all over the world. If you would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.