Virtual teams are becoming increasingly popular as the globe shifts toward a more distant working environment. As a result, virtual team leaders (VTLs) must have the necessary tools to manage their employees efficiently.
Someone has already completely switched to working remotely, and someone is still in search of convenient tools for organizing the work process. This is especially true for teamwork because you need to ensure full interaction between all members of your team.
Here are the top five tools that every VTL should consider.
Most people do not like to mix personal correspondence with work, therefore, for communication within your team, it makes sense to get away from the usual WhatsApp. Fortunately, there are plenty of convenient alternatives.
Communication is essential in any team, but it is especially important in a digital workplace. A virtual team leader must have tools that allow for simple and successful interaction between teammates. You can choose from convenient email, chat, or video conferencing software for this.
Slack is a corporate messenger that positions itself as a single platform for team communication when organizing the work process. This is where you can exchange instant text messages, make voice calls (both internal and phone numbers) and video conferences, as well as create separate private or general communication channels to replace long chains of emails.
The platform allows you to attach files and tag channels or individual participants. There is a convenient search box for messages and attachments. A special advantage of Slack is its ability to integrate with many popular apps if you need to, say, coordinate vacations and requests for business trips with AttendanceBot or Google Tables, create reminders of important tasks from Google Calendar, etc. In addition, the solution pays a lot of attention to data protection, which will be especially relevant if you are worried about your personal data privacy.
If you’re used to hanging out on this famous social network, you’ll feel more than comfortable using Workplace. The service is designed for corporate communication and has the same features as FB, including a newsfeed, groups, and live video calls. Don’t worry, your employees won’t see your cute cat videos; your Workplace and FB accounts are not connected in any way. This also means that your personal data in the enterprise collaboration platform won’t be used for targeting ads on the social network. Additionally, there are no ads in Workplace.
This platform needs no special introduction. Initially, it became one of the most popular services for video conferencing, and then it got a new wave of notoriety: due to security vulnerabilities, passwords and personal data of many users were exposed, and video meetings could be invaded by hackers. Since then, developers have made many changes, and users themselves have become more aware of privacy settings. If you are confident that you can keep your data secure, use Zoom for different types of communication:
Special mention should be made of Zoom’s ability to integrate with CRM and marketing automation systems to collect information about participants.
Working remotely involves both the temptation to get distracted by personal matters or unimportant little things and the likelihood of staying up late on a project because you don’t have to hurry back home. As a result, you’re out of sync with your team or simply can’t remember how long a particular task took you. In this case, time-tracking and anti-procrastination apps come to the rescue.
It might be difficult for VTLs to keep track of how much time each member of the team spends on a specific task. Thus, they need to use suitable software to monitor the time spent on each assignment and check how much time each employee spends on the work.
RescueTime and Toggl can provide detailed information on how teammates spend their time and help identify areas where productivity can be increased. This can help team leaders better manage the workload and ensure the timely fulfillment of tasks by employees.
You can also try Focus Booster, a simple time tracker based on the Pomodoro Technique. This tool helps you focus on the task at hand or track your time spent on tasks in a convenient way (reports), filtering records by date or client. Manual time adjustment is also available (in case you forget to turn on the timer).
Working with an international team? Stay discreet and don’t disturb your colleagues too late or too early. You don’t have to know the time zone differences in your head, just create an account on worldtimebuddy.com. This is where you can find a handy online productivity tool. Namely, it’s a convenient world clock, time-zone converter, and meeting scheduler that allows you to add various cities and deal with various business issues.
Remote work is already quite a common trend in many industries, which has made it easier for businesses to attract and retain the best freelancers and remote workers from around the world.
Managers in virtual teams may not be used to getting the best results from employees they’ve never seen. This is where daily check-ins, consistent engagement, free access to information, and using advanced tools to your advantage come into play.
As you can see, the best tools for virtual teams include communication systems and time-tracking tools, which are all necessary for fruitful online interaction, increased productivity, and cybersecurity. However, there are also many other solutions available for team leaders that can help improve the overall performance of a virtual team.
Don’t limit yourself to the first tool that pops up, keep searching for the most suitable solutions for your team, experiment and achieve your business goals quickly and efficiently.