The virtual workforce has grown by 159% since 2005, largely made possible by the introduction of remote working tools and technologies. Many of the limitations that once kept employees tethered to an office are now becoming obsolete, paving the way to a new world of opportunity for workers and employers alike. The remote workforce is happier, more productive, and less expensive to manage when compared to employees who commute to an office every day.
In order to successfully transition to a remote workplace, you’ll first need to set up a different type of infrastructure that can support the unique needs of virtual workers. But with an overwhelming number of tools for remote teams available, how do you choose the right ones? The best strategy is to identify key challenges and use remote working tools as a solution to these problems.
The challenges of managing a remote workforce
Managing a remote workforce presents a different set of challenges from those you might be used to facing in an office. The specific issues you’ll need to address will depend on a few factors, like your company size, industry, and the systems you currently have in place. All of these can be overcome with remote working tools and some careful planning. Here are just a few:
- Maintaining communication: When your team isn’t working in the same physical location, or even during the same hours, communication can be a challenge. As a result, open communication channels are one of the most important tools for remote teams.
- Collaborating effectively: Creating a collaborative atmosphere is a challenge when your team doesn’t interact face to face. A Digital Workplace helps by giving remote workers a virtual location they can easily access at any time and from anywhere.
- Managing security: Keeping devices secure from theft, loss, viruses, and hackers is more difficult when remote employees are constantly on the go. The best tools for remote workers come with built-in security features that keep remote employees’ devices just as safe as those in your office.
How remote working tools can help
When set up correctly, remote working tools can be an incredible asset to your company’s virtual workers. This allows you to reap the full benefits of a remote workforce with few to no limitations.
Access from all types of devices
Remote employees work from more than just their laptop. They might use a smartphone or tablet to check email, access reports, or communicate with other team members. Many tools for remote teams allow access from any type of device, giving your employees the flexibility they need to work efficiently from any location.
Powell Apps is a great example of a tool that allows remote workers to access their workspace from mobile devices. It’s available for download from the App Store and Google Play for both Apple and Android. Powell Apps integrates with your company’s existing Office 365 setup and is the perfect mobile companion to the Powell 365 Portal or Powell Hub desktop app. The app is highly responsive for multiple devices without any complicated setup needed.
Promote communication and collaboration
Workers often choose to go remote for a more flexible schedule that lets them set their own working hours. But when your entire team is working at different times – sometimes across different time zones – how do you make sure communication isn’t suffering?
Again, the best solution is to set your team up with mobile access to their workspace. With a mobile app, remote employees can efficiently respond to emails, follow up on projects, and even attend virtual meetings without having to constantly stay tethered to their computer. Communication and collaboration can truly take place anywhere and at any time.
Eliminate language barriers
If your remote team consists of members from many different countries, you might face a language barrier. Many remote working tools include multilingual features that allow you to set a default language for each employee. For example, with Powell Hub and Powell Apps, if your team member from London has their virtual workspace set to English, another team member in Paris will see the same information in French.
Manage security across remote devices
The best tools for remote workers prioritize device security to protect your company and employees from sensitive information leaks, theft, viruses, and other threats. Powell Apps integrates with Azure Active Directory, or Azure AD, Microsoft’s cloud identity management tool with an arsenal of security features like multi-factor authentication, password protection, and data encryption. Powell Apps can be linked to Azure AD with just a few clicks via your administrator panel.
Create a customized experience for each employee
In a physical office space, each team has access to different tools and resources depending on their function. The same is true with remote working tools. It’s easy to set up a highly customized virtual workplace for different teams to maximize efficiency and prioritize information that is relevant to each individual.
With Powell Apps, this is as simple as dragging and dropping features to create a personalized layout for each team, like a people directory for your sales team or production alerts for your factory workers. You can also add a custom theme or even build an entirely branded app to match your company logo and style.
What to consider when choosing remote working tools
Choosing remote working tools for your company is a huge undertaking. Not only is transitioning to a mobile workplace a major financial investment, you’ll also need to invest a significant amount of time and effort into the project. As you’re reviewing options, here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Company size and structure: How many employees will use your virtual workplace? Are your teams 100% remote, or do you have employees in an office who will also be logging in?
- Team needs: How many different teams will need a mobile workplace? Which tools do they use on a daily basis? Gather input from managers before and during the transition process to ensure all needs are being met.
- Existing infrastructure: What systems, programs, and tools does your team currently use? Make sure you’re looking for a tool that integrates natively with the existing infrastructure.
- Price: How much money will you save by having remote employees instead of maintaining a physical office space? What can you budget per employee on remote working tools?
- Oversight: Who will oversee the transition to a mobile workplace? Do they have the technological know-how to set up remote working tools, or will they need external technical support?
- Support: How much ongoing management will your remote working tools require? What will be handled internally, and what type of external support will be needed?
We love Powell Apps as an all-in-one solution for virtual workforce management. It’s one of the best tools for remote workers currently on the market; not only is it easy to deploy and manage, but it’s also intuitive enough for employees of all technical proficiencies to use. To top it all off, Powell Apps is very competitively priced when compared to other remote working tools. To learn more about how Powell Apps can help you manage your digital workplace, click here.