Technology and internet access have always made remote working possible. But sometimes, people misunderstand each other. It often happens in face-to-face conversations. Imagine how much worse it can be over the internet.
If you’ve ever tried to have a video chat with a slightly deaf grandparent for whom internet technology is alien, you’re getting the picture.
Reasons for poor communication are legion. They may include unexpressed assumptions, ambiguous language, missing information, or even too much information that causes you to miss an important point—a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
There are other reasons for miscommunication, such as a person’s poor public speaking or listening skills or language barriers within multinational firms. Time zone differences may cause someone to miss a meeting.
If you only speak to someone on a smartphone screen or via text chats, you may need vital context, such as environmental, cultural, or supporting background information, that can provide more clarity on a business scenario.
For work-at-home employees, reasons for miscommunication might include noisy children in the next room or a pet cat suddenly “scenting” the computer monitor.
In business, miscommunication can be costly. Sometimes, it may be a mere annoyance, causing a minor operation glitch. In other instances, miscommunication can have disastrous results, such as disrupted workflows, the failure of a team project, or even the ruin of a firm’s brand reputation via a social media bonfire.
Getting communication right is one of the most important tasks for managers running remote or hybrid teams. Without it, engagement wilts, and productivity slumps.
While the human aspects of communication may require training and more self-awareness, you can do your best to ensure the technical tools and platforms are in place for your remote teams to succeed.
Here are five essential tech tools for running remote teams.
- Video Conferencing Tool
- Instant Messaging Platform
- Performance Management Software
- Password Manager
- Project Management Platform
- Cloud-Based ERP System.
1. Video Conferencing Tool
Rich, live video calls are the staple of remote team management. They bridge the physical gap between you and your team.
The Covid-19 lockdown made Zoom a household name and the butt of many late-night talk show jokes about people talking while on “Mute.” But people relied on it for work communication and recreational socializing. It worked for individuals and organizations of all sizes and now has many integrations with third-party software.
According to PC Mag, the best video conferencing software for 2022 includes Zoom Meetings, Blue Jeans Virtual Meetings, Intermedia Any Meeting, WebEx by Cisco, RingCentral Video, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Click Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and Zoho Meeting.
2. Instant Messaging (IM) Platform
Instant messaging enables live text chats between individuals and teams and for external communication, e.g., with customers, clients, or partners. Business text chat is a convenient and faster alternative to email. @
The leading vendor is Microsoft Teams. In 2022, Microsoft announced that 270 million people were using Teams, up from 145 million in 2021, making it the most popular business communication platform on the planet. A significant advantage of Teams chat is its integration with Office 365.
3. Performance Management Software
In any firm, managers must align employees’ performance with business goals. This includes planning overall team goals and achievable objectives for each employee, monitoring performance through periodic check-ins, annual or periodic reviews, and a system for recognition and rewards.
This is true whether people work in an office or remotely.
Performance management software automates much of the planning and tracking while engaging employees in much less stressful ways than annual performance reviews. The software helps remote and in-office employees manage their goals, get fast feedback, and know when to take online training for areas they need to learn.
Today's top performance management software companies are the vendors Namely, Lattice, BambooHR, PerformYard, Workday, and Engagedly.
4. Password Manager
A password manager is a software application that stores and encrypts your passwords, so you only need to remember one master password. It’s beneficial for hybrid and remote workers. More firms are using them.
Password managers can save time while ensuring a secure web presence for remote workers. Features such as single sign-on technology, 2-factor authentication, easy password sharing, and autofill ease the employee working experience when moving from one app to another while aiding security.
The leading password manager software vendors are Dashlane, Keeper, Zoho Vault, BitWarden, LastPass, 1Password, LogMeOnce, and NordPass.
5. Project Management Platform.
Managing different projects and teams in other places and time zones can get overwhelming without a good project management platform. A good platform lets managers easily monitor progress and overhead while boosting communication among team members.
Virtual PM tools help standardize processes among employees in different locations. Look for features such as:
- project planning and scheduling,
- shared team calendars,
- team dashboards,
- file sharing or good integration with third-party software you use,
- time tracking, if you need that to calculate hourly rates and make invoices, and
- reporting and analytics to generate detailed reports for metrics and data-rich visualizations that will help you make data-driven decisions.
The leading project management software brands for virtual teams include Trello, Wrike, Monday.com, Microsoft Projects, Asana, Basecamp, and Jira.
6. Cloud-based ERP system
Cloud-based enterprise resource planning systems run on a vendor’s cloud platform, not an on-premises network. They depend on high-speed internet networks to run day-to-day operations. Organizations and their employees access the software over the internet—all they need is a connection and a browser.
ERP systems securely integrate all business processes and data, making them accessible to every employee who needs them. Cloud-based ERP also guarantees instant access to information 24 hours a day. This makes it an ideal solution for remote and hybrid employees to do their work efficiently, regardless of location, device, or work hours.
Are you looking for more insight into remote and hybrid issues?
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.