According to the latest State of the Remote Job Marketplace report by remote jobs search site Flexjobs, one thing is clear:
The traditional office is dying; the future of business is remote.
The report found that 43% of U.S. workers now work remotely at least occasionally, and 3.9 million employees are now working from home at least half of the time.
And within the next 10 years, hiring managers expect that more than one-third of their employees will be working remotely.
The tide’s definitely growing stronger, but one question remains: if you’re used to working in a traditional office, how exactly do you manage a remote team effectively?
We turned to real WORKetc users and asked them to share the secrets to their remote team management success.
Keeping Track of Time
Time tracking is easily among the most important tools for any worker. Especially for someone who works outside the typical office environment.
Time tracking has several benefits, it helps you pinpoint which specific tasks you’re spending too much time on and streamline them to improve productivity, and makes sure to keep you focused despite all the distractions that come with working remotely by keeping remote workers accountable of their time.
We asked our exclusive community of WORKetc Insiders users to share their tips on how they use WORKetc to manage remote workers, and the responses were overwhelmingly related to time tracking:
“We get our remote staff to allocate a time to every activity they complete,” said David Towers, the Technical Director of Queensland-based telecom firm ECO Communications.
By using WORKetc to track their time on a job site, the company’s techs have managed to cut down the time they spent making daily timesheets from one hour to just 20 minutes per day.
David also notes that thanks to the timesheets, they can now use WORKetc smartlists to quickly review how their techs manage their time and easily calculate billable hours.
An Eye on Expenses
Ninety-six percent of businesses fail within 10 years, according to business news website INC.
One big reason for that depressing number? A lot of those businesses didn’t keep a close eye on their expenses.
That can already be a difficult task for a regular, brick-and-mortar office, and it’s even more so for when your staff is located on, say, several different continents.
WORKetc user Karen Snead, who is the Strategic Resource Coordinator of Washington-based consulting firm Filius Bonacci, points out that while tracking business expenses can be hard when you’re running a remote team, she has found an easier way using WORKetc’s mobile apps for iOS and Android.
“My boss uses the WORKetc app all the time when he travels. He’s able to upload all of his expense receipts so I can process them while he’s out of the office.” explains Karen.
What this means is that every expense (even unexpected, last-minute ones) can be recorded on the fly and quickly attached to the appropriate project and all billable expenses can then be directly invoiced to your client.
The WORKetc mobile app, even allows users to snap a picture of the expense receipt and attach it to the expense, allowing for easier and more complete record-keeping.
“This has saved me a lot of time since I’m not bogged down doing all the expenses at once,” Karen adds. “Plus if I’m ever missing a receipt it’s easy to have my boss get it to me before I invoice the client.”
Discussions and Collaboration
Ever wonder what remote workers feel is the biggest hurdle they face? According to social media management app Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2018 Report, it’s collaboration.
You can always keep in touch with your remote workers via email, but that opens up a whole new can of worms: the dreaded email ping-pong.
Take an email chain far enough and not only will it make finding information that you need harder, it could very well devolve into a conversation that doesn’t even concern you or the subject of your initial enquiry.
Chat apps can also run into the same problem.
WORKetc’s solution for the issue of collaboration is its built-in discussions portal. Using it, you can:
- Start an online, threaded discussion using any project, sales lead, support case, or even contact
- Upvote comments and suggestions that you like
- Use requests to ensure the person you need answers from is immediately notified of your post
Bill Mullane of the Idaho-based TechHelp, a consultancy with employees spread across three universities, singles WORKetc discussions out as the one feature that helps them manage their remote employees easier and smarter.
“We love the ability to create team discussions around nearly anything in WORKetc. This helps us bring our remote team members in to WORKetc-based conversations. A team discussion might result in the assignment of a contact or lead, the resolution of an outstanding issue, or just information sharing on industry trends or opportunities.” Bill explains.
Bill’s statements are echoed by Adamu Waziri, the brains behind Nigeria-based animation studio EVCL.
As project lead, Adamu uses WORKetc to assign tasks to his animators, who can then discuss the project and provide creative reviews.
“Somebody in Lagos can make a design, upload it, copy everybody in on the discussions, we provide critiques and feedback, and boom — it’s all there in the system,” he explains.
Managing remote workers is nowhere near as easy as you may think, but with WORKetc powering everything from time and expense tracking to collaboration and project management, you stand a good chance of keeping your remote team – and your small business – on the road to success.