Tips on Managing Your Workforce Remotely
So many people are now working at home (WFH) 100% of that time period. Hopefully if this is the case for you, it is possible to maintain productivity and stay positive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a lot of us are used to living the entrepreneur life from the home office, it’s still a big adjustment to have to self-isolate and stop all face-to-face interactions with coworkers and clients.
I encourage you to use this time to take a closer look at your current business goals, focus on your health (both physical and mental) and self-care, and revel in some family time in the home.
I think many small enterprises are having to pivot their marketing strategy, and what they do when the coronavirus passes could look quite not the same as what they did before.
Reaction Roles Bot wanted to share some useful tech tools that may make your day-to-day WFH life much easier.
Team Communication Tools
This is most likely the biggest WFH product decision you’ll have to make. Your team requires a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lets them instantly message coworkers. The correct one for you depends on your business needs and challenges, team size and budget.
1. You may have heard about Slack. This tool offers you the opportunity to create channels around multiple topics and invite users. From marketing content ideas to social media marketing tactics to office dog photos, your team can create relevant channels for easy chat and collaboration.
It also integrates with many useful tools, including Outlook Calendar, Twitter, HubSpot and Salesforce, in order to see what’s going on at all times right in the Slack app (no need to click in and out of your daily calendar or Twitter feed, for example). There are SO MANY fun and creative emojis you can utilize too, making remote messaging in a challenging time like this a little more lighthearted.
2. Another popular platform is Discord. Popular with gamers, this voice, video and text tool isn’t just for talking to coworkers, but also for finding like-minded communities and new friends. You can create “servers” and “channels” for specific topics, similarly as if you do for Slack channels. While Slack has more business integrations, Discord has voice channels, so that you can easily chat with team members. Discord also enables you to set user roles and permissions.
3. Flock is really a cloud-based team communication tool with video and audio calling, screen sharing, text chat, integration with other business applications and more. It is possible to tag colleagues in comments and to-do lists, upload documents, images and videos and set reminders and payment dates. Polls, code snippet sharing and group discussions are available, and it integrates with other apps such as for example Trello, Github, Google Drive and Asana.
Team Collaboration Tools
Your employees need to be able to share their work, whether they’re creating on a online marketing strategy or editing a press release. Here are a few that might fit your small business needs.
1. G Suite is a Google product that’s comprised of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products. In a single suite of tools, it provides email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation decks, shared calendars, cloud storage, and more.
It is possible to comment and make suggestions on specific documents through Google Sheets and Docs, edit documents online simultaneously and collaborate on projects and documents. It’s easy to give users permission to specific files.
2. Evernote: This is more than a note-taking app. Evernote can help you capture, prioritize and share ideas, track projects and to-do lists. I find it super helpful for note-taking, obviously, but additionally as a sort of “digital filing cabinet” that simplifies organization. There’s a free, basic and business package available.
CRM stands for “customer relationship management,” and CRM tools help you with things such as inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking and eNewsletter delivery. Here are three to consider:
1. MailChimp can be an all-in-one marketing platform with tools to generate everything from emails to postcards. They will have a great collection of templates to choose from that can then be further modified to fit your brand. Their intuitive interface and thorough reporting are great, but things can get expensive as your subscriber list or number of emails increase. You can compare their different plans on the website.
2. Constant Contact has always been a big rival with MailChimp to function as brand name in e-mail marketing. It is a huge company and a great option if Facebook is a big part of your web marketing strategy. Constant Contact comes with an email option that’s designed so users can easily share your newsletter on Facebook.
This option can be viewed as the most social media-friendly and has all the major top features of the others noted. If your online marketing involves Hootsuite (it is possible to integrate this into Hootsuite) and you also focus your efforts on gaining traction on social media marketing then this is a great newsletter tool for you.
3. AWeber is an extremely popular option and recommended by many professional marketing companies. It offers you five plans to pick from and more information on features such as unlimited e-mail marketing campaigns, follow-ups, lists and Auto Responders.
Lots of people believe their Auto Responder platform is superior to others, allowing businesses to automate the procedure of delivering personalized emails to customers on a schedule.
Project Management Tools
A collaborative task management tool lets everyone track and manage all their projects. Think of it being an online scheduler, taskmaster, and collaboration tool to control your team’s workflows.
1. Asana is among the leading tools and gets a lot of positive feedback. It allows everyone on your own team to follow the whole workflow of a project in an easy visual tool. You’ll always know where your team reaches and who’s responsible for what and when.
From daily reminders on an activity that’s due, to the ability to easily add collaborators or assign teammates a sub-task of a project, Asana helps it be easy to see what everyone’s day, week and month appears like (but you can simply move things around if plans change).
2. Monday.com is really a pretty simple, intuitive visual team management tool (it’s rather a project management platform). It runs processes, workflows, and projects in one digital workspace. Visually, it looks exactly like a collection of very customized spreadsheets, in which every team member can log their tasks and update them with status reports and other relevant information.
That means that each person can easily see all active tasks and keep count on their progress. Team members can work on multiple projects without getting lost by using Monday’s weekly overview. The workflow can be customized just about any way you need it to communicate priority, what’s done, not done etc. The colourful designs and big buttons don’t hurt either!
Social Media Management Tools
Many small businesses will already have a social media management tool setup. A social media management tool permits you to manage your entire accounts in one dashboard, which saves both of you time and frustration. These tools share your articles at the perfect times throughout the day, so your followers and fans see your updates more often. It’s a smarter and much more efficient way to schedule and share your social media marketing posts.
The best part about these tools is the built-in analytics system, that will give you a glimpse into what’s performing well, and when your social media posts are making the most impact.
Here are two social media management tools I personally use:
1. Buffer shows your scheduled posts and analytics (how in-depth those analytics get depends upon the plan you select). Many small business owners choose Buffer due to its sleek, clean interface that’s possible for beginners to get the hang of.
2. I discover that while Buffer is ideal for less demanding social media needs, Hootsuite is where it’s at if you need to see your timelines, replies, and more across all your social networks.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer free and paid plans, to help you always try them out and see which feels like a better fit for your small company.
And while it’s not a tool your complete workforce might use, I’m liking MoneyMinderOnline of these uncertain times. It not merely gives you a place to track your spending, but you also get insights into your spending habits, and you can look ahead to enhance your cash flow, clear your debt, and start saving for the big goals.
I hope I’ve given you an overview of some tools that will help increase your team’s productivity and morale while you’re all working from home. You may also reap the benefits of our article on boosting business efficiency on our website.
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Advisor. She works together with entrepreneurs who struggle with getting the insufficient knowledge, skill and support needed to create their web business presence.
As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their internet marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands to allow them to concentrate on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.