Geographically dispersed teams provide unique challenges for businesses. Though remote working opportunities have become more popular, it’s also 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 and security
- Project management
There are tools out there that can help you manage your geographically dispersed teams. Here are just a few:
Use Slack, Ryver, or Google Hangouts to Chat with Colleagues
Slack, Ryver, and Google Hangouts are three applications that make team communication much more manageable and help to keep inboxes decluttered. If you’re tired of dealing with long email chains, you might be interested in tools to make meetings more manageable, even when your employees are not in the office. That is exactly what these tools can help you do.
Even in-office, these applications help with quick little projects that save valuable time. With many people in positions where they’re transitioning back into the office, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be working very close to each other. Furthermore, long email chains are still annoying even when you are in the office. Therefore, take advantage of these tools to save a bit of time, see each other’s faces, and expedite deliverables for clients.
Slack and Google Hangouts both allow or will allow video chat capabilities, which will help you read body language during a meeting. That way, you can tell if someone understands something or not, you can get an idea of how your colleagues feel about a project, and you will have an easier time keeping in touch with each other. Google Hangouts can even enable you to share your screen with a colleague. If someone is unclear about something, you can simply share your screen with them, show them what you are talking about, and make it easier for them to understand the message.
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! Therefore, even if you have other applications and software programs, you can put these tools to work by integrating with those programs. You don’t have to worry about doing the same thing twice, and you will have an easier time moving information from program to program.
Slack is a great app that is usable on any device that allows team communication through direct messaging and chats. You can also keep some humor by sending randomly generated animated GIFs. It also enhances team efficiency by letting you send files.
If you take a look at the dashboard for Slack, you will see several basic features. They include:
- Channels: This makes it easier for you to organize conversations within the application. These are called open channels. When you make a channel, everyone will see exactly what is going on. You can create channels for different topics, projects, and conversations.
- Private Channels: If you want to share confidential information, particularly if you are in the healthcare field, then you may want to create a private channel. That way, you can distribute information among just a few team members, limiting who has access to those specific documents.
- Direct Messages: If you want to reach out to a single co-worker, you can send them a direct message. You will still have an easier time keeping track of the information you share with that co-worker, so you don’t have to worry about clutter in your inbox.
At the starter subscription level, you can utilize voice and video calls, task management, chat, and file sharing for up to 12 users. With three levels of subscription, you can scale Ryver as needed to add features like:
- Workflow automation
- Single sign-on (SSO)
- Custom invite links
This tool can help you save time while also making it easier for your colleagues to keep in touch with one another. Keep in mind that there are multiple subscription levels, so you can scale up or back as you need. If you believe you need access to more users and more advanced features, you can change your subscription with the click of a button. This flexibility has made Ryver one of the most popular tools for geographically dispersed teams.
Google Hangouts allows voice, video, and chat communication with your team members. It’s great because it’s a native Google product if you use Google Apps for business. Furthermore, most people have a basic understanding of how Google works. Therefore, it should be relatively easy for them to move into Google Hangouts and keep in touch with one another.
Some of the top benefits of using Google Hangouts include:
- Large Teams: You can use this tool to talk to up to 250 people at a time. Of course, if you don’t have that many people, you can still use Google Hangouts, but it is something that can scale up or back easily.
- Substitute for SMS: If you do not want to send somebody a text message, but you still want to reach them quickly, you can use Google Hangouts to send an SMS message to somebody else.
- Video Calls: If you need to have a video conference with someone, it is very easy to do so. There are situations where you might be using text chat, but then you realize that you need to conduct a video call. All you need to do is click a button.
- Sync Across Devices: One of the significant benefits of using Google Hangouts is that it will work well on multiple devices. If you have conversations on various devices and need to sync them together, you can do that easily.
Use 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 needs when it comes to ease of use. That’s why a secure file-sharing tool like SmartFile is one of the best solutions available. This is one of the most important tools for geographically dispersed teams, and there are several benefits people need to keep in mind.
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, 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.
Some of the top benefits of using SmartFile include:
- Granular Permissions: You have control over who has access to what. You do not necessarily need to give someone access to everything. You can give them access to the files they need to do their jobs, and nothing more. That way, if their credentials are stolen, you don’t have to worry about the hacker getting access to all of your information.
- Audit Trail: You need to keep track of who is accessing what document. With SmartFile, you can audit someone’s history quickly. You can take a look at a document, see who accessed it, see where they were accessing it from, and figure out what other files they accessed. This is particularly important when you have a geographically dispersed team.
- Multiple File Types: With SmartFile, you can handle multiple file types. There might be situations where you need to send a text document to someone, but what about videos and images? With SmartFile, you can send virtually anything you want, making it easier for your team members to do their jobs.
- Set Up Notifications: If you have sensitive documents that you want to set up notifications for, you can do that with SmartFile. That way, you get an alert whenever someone opens or views a document. You can customize these notifications to meet your needs.
These are just a few of the many advantages of using SmartFile for geographically dispersed teams.. 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 set up notifications so you can see when files are accessed and changed or 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 that you can find out how your team works and use these applications in a way that makes sense for your business.
You can set it up so you can monitor the current project status. You can monitor completed projects too, so that way you can praise your geographically dispersed team members, since this is often overlooked in this environment.
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. You can customize these cards to meet their needs, you can use them to keep track of individual projects, and you can encourage team members to help one another out using these cards.
All the reasons why companies like using Trello include:
- It is very easy to edit and arrange cards.
- This is one of the most versatile tools available. It will work well for a wide variety of projects.
- If you have a lot of projects going on at the same time, you can use the search function to find the cards you are looking for.
- There are a wide variety of integrations. You can use this tool in conjunction with other programs you might have for project management.
For these reasons, you might want to consider using Trello to help you manage your projects as well.
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! That way, you don’t have to worry about falling behind.
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.
Use SmartFile To Share Information Among Dispersed Team Members
Clearly, there are a lot of tools available if you are looking for a way to keep your team members on track even when they are not physically close to each other. Every company is different, and you need to think about the tools that work best for your needs. In particular, you should pay attention to SmartFile, because you need to protect your files while also making it easy for your team members to share them with one another. Get started with a free trial of Smartfile’s cloud today – no credit card required! That way, you can try the program out for yourself and see if it meets your needs!