Team interaction and communication is the lifeblood of your company’s dynamics. If you want projects in your organisation to move forward, you need to be on top of your team’s communications efforts. When we have physical office spaces, this can be as simple as calling everyone in to discuss projects.
But when managing virtual teams, the methodology is different. Nonetheless, with easy access to many tools that can prove to be just as effective – or even better – than office interactions, managing virtual teams can be done effectively and productively! Drawing from her years of experience in building an international remote team, founder of Outsourcing Angel, Linh Podetti recommends these five tools that can make team communication and project management simpler and more effective for your virtual team. Watch this video for her recommendations and start managing your virtual teams successfully today.
1. Google Drive
Maybe you don’t know this, but if you’ve been using Gmail as an email provider, you’ve had access to a really powerful cloud file management software. This tool is called Google Drive. It helps you to manage, share, or collaborate on images, videos, documents, spreadsheets and presentations on one platform.
Google Drive makes file sharing easier for everyone no matter where you are in the world. One of the great things about Google Drive is the level of control you have over the privacy of the files you’d like to share. You can determine who gets to see, edit or download your files.
Basecamp is a project management software that we have come to love because of how user-friendly it is. Basecamp allows virtual teams to manage, create and assign tasks that may be attached to certain projects. You can also add deadlines, attachments, messages and notes.
At Outsourcing Angel, we use Basecamp primarily because it allows a team to assign a task to multiple people and has a great system for notification on updates and upcoming deadlines. The threads and messaging features allow for some great discussion and conversation around projects you may have in the team. Basecamp charges a flat fee of $99 per month, regardless of the number of users.
Do you need a virtual version of those small chat ups that happen at the coffee area or across desks? Slack is a direct messaging app designed to make such conversations easier on a virtual space. Slack’s dashboard consists of channels or chat groups for specified purposes and personal messages between two or a few individuals. At Outsourcing Angel, we have specific work-related channels, like the Marketing Magicians channel for the marketing team and leisure-type channels, like the diet and fitness channel, for discussions on how to stay healthy and eat right.
Slack starts off with a free plan, but there is also a paid option that gives you access to features such as longer message archiving, pinning important messages and documents and inviting temporary guest users. The paid plan starts at $6.67 per user per month.
When chats and instant messages are insufficient and you need to see your team face to face, you can always opt to do video conferences. One of the best video conferencing software available in the market is Zoom. It’s great for group conferences and gives you quality audio and video.
Some of the great functionalities include a seamless screen share, a virtual whiteboard you can draw on during meetings, an invite via a shared link or email and many more. A free Zoom call will last 40 minutes for up to one hundred participants, which is a great way to limit the lengths of your minutes. But in case you do need your meetings to be longer, you can get a paid plan that starts at $20.99 per month.
When getting everyone together for a conference call to explain something in detail might be a challenge, you can opt to record your screen and share the recording with your team members. One of the most user friendly screen recording tools – and Linh’s favourite – we’ve found is Screencast-o-matic.
To create a recording, one simply has to go to screencast-o-matic.com, start recording a video of your screen as you demonstrate a task, and then save it as a video file. You can then send the recording to the appropriate person or people.Screencast videos are free for videos up to 15 minutes. If you need videos over 15 minutes, the paid account is only $18 per year.
Better Tools, Better Results
At the end of the day, tools are there to make our lives easier. They help us get the results we want faster and more effectively. When we use tools to improve team management and team communication, we allow our virtual staff to collaborate and thus get things done faster. Set your virtual team up for success, and you set the whole organisation up for success as well. At Outsourcing Angel, all of our virtual assistants are proficient is using these software tools (and more!) because they value the importance of having clear and efficient communication channels with their virtual team. If you would like to know what software tools are available for enhancing virtual team management success, download our free comprehensive list of Software Tools now!