Tips about Managing Your Workforce Remotely
So many people are now working at home (WFH) 100% of the time. Hopefully if this is actually the case for you, it is possible to maintain productivity and stay positive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most 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 utilize this time to take a closer look at your overall business goals, focus on your health (both physical and mental) and self-care, and enjoy some family time in the home.
I think many small business owners are experiencing to pivot their online marketing strategy, and what they do when the coronavirus passes could look quite different from what they did before.
I wanted to share some useful tech tools that may make your day-to-day WFH life much easier.
Team Communication Tools
This is probably the biggest WFH product decision you need to make. Your team requires a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lets them instantly message coworkers. The right one for you depends on your organization needs and challenges, team size and budget.
1. You may have heard of Slack. This tool gives you the opportunity to create channels around multiple topics and invite users. From marketing content ideas to social media tactics to office dog photos, your team can make relevant channels for easy chat and collaboration.
In addition, it integrates with many useful tools, including Outlook Calendar, Twitter, HubSpot and Salesforce, so you can see what’s going on constantly right in the Slack app (you don’t need to click in and from the daily calendar or Twitter feed, for instance). You can find SO MANY fun and creative emojis you should use 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 only for talking to coworkers, but also for finding like-minded communities and new friends. Automod bot 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 associates. Discord also enables you to set user roles and permissions.
3. Flock is a cloud-based team communication tool with video and audio calling, screen sharing, text chat, integration with other business applications and much more. You can 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 can be found, also it integrates with other apps such as for example Trello, Github, Google Drive and Asana.
Team Collaboration Tools
Your employees should be able to share their work, whether they’re creating on a online marketing strategy or editing a news release. Here are a few that might fit your enterprise needs.
1. G Suite is really a Google product that’s made up of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products. In one suite of tools, it provides email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation decks, shared calendars, cloud storage, and more.
You can 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 greater than a note-taking app. Evernote helps you capture, prioritize and share ideas, track projects and to-do lists. I find it super ideal for note-taking, obviously, but also as sort of “digital filing cabinet” that simplifies organization. There’s a free, basic and business package available.
CRM means “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 have a great collection of templates to choose from that may then be further modified to suit your brand. Their intuitive interface and thorough reporting are excellent, but things will get expensive as your subscriber list or amount of emails increase. You can compare their different plans on their website.
2. Constant Contact has always been a big rival with MailChimp to be the brand name in email marketing. It is a huge company and a great option if Facebook is a big part of your web marketing strategy. Constant Contact has an email option that is 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 fantastic newsletter tool for you.
3. AWeber is an extremely popular option and recommended by many professional marketing companies. It gives you five plans to select from and a long list of features such as unlimited email marketing campaigns, follow-ups, lists and Auto Responders.
Lots of people believe their Auto Responder platform is superior to other companies, allowing businesses to automate the process of delivering personalized emails to customers on a schedule.
Project Management Tools
A collaborative task management tool lets everyone track and manage all of their projects. Think of it as an online scheduler, taskmaster, and collaboration tool to control your team’s workflows.
1. Asana is one of the leading tools and gets a lot of positive feedback. It allows everyone on your team to follow the complete workflow of a project within an easy visual tool. You’ll always know where your team is at and who’s in charge of 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 makes it easy to see what everyone’s day, week and month appears like (but you can easily move things around if plans change).
2. Monday.com is really a pretty simple, intuitive visual team management tool (it’s really a project management platform). It runs processes, workflows, and projects in a single digital workspace. Visually, it looks the same as an accumulation of very customized spreadsheets, in which every team member can log their tasks and update them with status reports along with other relevant information.
That means that every person can see all active tasks and keep count on their progress. Team members can work on multiple projects without getting lost through the use of Monday’s weekly overview. The workflow could be customized virtually 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 curently have a social media marketing management tool set up. A social media management tool permits you to manage all of your accounts in one dashboard, which saves both of you time and frustration. These tools share your content at the perfect times throughout the day, so your followers and fans see your updates more regularly. It’s a smarter and much more efficient solution to schedule and share your social media marketing posts.
The best part about these tools may be the built-in analytics system, that may give you a glimpse into what’s performing well, and when your social media posts are making probably the most impact.
Here are two social media marketing management tools I personally use:
1. Buffer shows your scheduled posts and analytics (how in-depth those analytics get depends on the plan you select). Many small enterprises choose Buffer because of its sleek, clean interface that’s possible for beginners to achieve the hang of.
2. I find that while Buffer is great for less demanding social media marketing needs, Hootsuite is where it’s at if you want to see your timelines, replies, and more across all your internet sites.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer free and paid plans, so you can always try them out and see which feels like an improved fit for your small business.
And while it’s not a tool your complete workforce might use, I’m liking MoneyMinderOnline of these uncertain times. It not only gives you a location to track your spending, but you also get insights into your spending habits, and you may look ahead to improve your cash flow, clear your debt, and start saving for the big goals.
I am hoping I’ve given you a synopsis of some tools that will assist increase your team’s productivity and morale as long as you’re all working from home. You may even benefit from 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 really a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Advisor. She works together with entrepreneurs who struggle with getting the lack of 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 so they can focus on building their business with satisfaction at having an ideal support system in place to steer them every step of just how.