Geographically dispersed teams provide unique challenges for businesses. While the internet made offices less important, it created additional challenges. How does your team collaborate? How do you manage a remote employee? How can you securely share files with team members located in the field or halfway around the world?
Managing a geographically dispersed team isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, even for small businesses. You need to focus on a few key aspects to ensure your business moves smoothly:
- Data Accessibility & Security
- Project Management
There’re some tools out there that can help you in those areas with regards to managing your geographically dispersed teams. Here’s just a few that I have used and really like:
Use Slack, Ryver or Google Hangouts to Chat with Colleagues
Even in-office, these applications help with quick little projects that save valuable time. Slack and Google Hangouts both allow or will allow video chat capabilities too, which will help you read body language during a meeting. Google Hangouts can even enable you to share your screen with a colleague.
Slack and Ryver integrate with other applications that allow you to do some unique things as well, especially when it comes to to-do lists and action items!
1. Slack for Geographically Dispersed Teams
Slack is a great app that is usable on any device that allows team communication through direct messaging and chat. You can also keep some humor by sending randomly generated animated GIFs. It also enhances team efficiency by letting you send files.
2. Ryver for Geographically Dispersed Teams
Ryver is a solid app that promises to allow always free team communication. They plan to make money through new add-ons, but communication and collaboration features will always be free per their website and marketing materials.
3. Google Hangouts for Geographically Dispersed Teams
Google Hangouts allows voice, video and chat communication with members of your team. While it lacks search capabilities, it’s great because it’s a native Google product if you use Google Apps for business.
Use a Secure File Sharing Tool Like SmartFile To Help Your Team Access Data Safely
FTP servers, VPNs, consumer-grade Dropbox accounts and even Google Drive don’t give administrators the insight they need regarding compliance and activity. These tools also don’t meet the user’s need when it comes to ease-of-use. That’s why a secure file sharing tool like SmartFile is handy.
4. SmartFile for Geographically Dispersed Teams
SmartFile is a tool that lets your users share files any way they want. They can use the browser interface on any device, access data on an FTP client (through SFTP, FTPS and FTPES too), map it to a drive letter or even use the API. You can send any size file and even brand the UI and use your own URL to maintain your online brand.
Since SmartFile can be used on any device, you can share files in an office environment, at a house, on the road or even out in the field. You can even setup notifications so you can see when files were accessed and deleted.You can give SmartFile a try for free here.
Use Project Management Tools like Trello or Todoist To Stay on Task
Trello or Todoist are great tools for monitoring your team’s progress. They’re flexible enough where you can find out how your team works and use these applications in a way that makes sense for your business.
I always like to set it up so you can monitor current project status. I like to monitor completed projects too so that way I can praise my geographically dispersed team members since this is often overlooked in this environment.
5. Trello for Geographically Dispersed Teams
Trello provides cards that allow you to track the status of projects. There are numerous ways to organize these cards. Users can share their boards with their teams as well for easy collaboration and project management.
6. ToDoIst for Geographically Dispersed Teams
ToDoIst lets you organize daily tasks and has some team features as well. You can tag items on your to do list in some creative ways to help you keep your task list in check!
Managing a Geographically Dispersed Team: Concluding Thoughts
Overall, you should give your team easy to use tools that let them communicate, safely access data and monitor their projects. This will help your team stay efficient and on-task.