According to FlexJobs Annual Survey, 76% of employees seek for full-time remote job opportunities. 43% of them would also agree for partially remote work. Flexible schedules and part-time schedules are also preferred. This trend cannot be stopped. It is better for companies to start learning how to manage their remote teammates.
At iteo, we offer remote work opportunities to some extent. Usually, our employees work remotely once a week. Sometimes they work from home for longer periods of time if there’s a need for that.
But when you hire 130 people (and the number is growing), usually their schedules differ each week, if not each day. It might seem like there has to be a huge amount of planning and that it’s a though management project to take care of. Well, not necessarily.
Here are a couple of tools and methods we use at iteo to work together when some of us are in offices and some are working from home.
It all starts with scheduling
Don’t forget we have more than one office. Add international clients from every part of the globe. That is already an interesting twist to our everyday operations since we have to include time zones to our scheduling. How to manage a sales update meeting when one of us is in San Francisco and the rest work in Katowice?
Of course, we have to plan them accordingly. Fortunately, we live in the 21st century and we have many communication means we can use to organize our meetings and then to have calls wherever we are. This applies to our remote workers, teams located in different offices and scheduling work with our clients.
The first tool, a simple and rather obvious one, is a calendar. We use Google Calendar as it synchronizes perfectly and it is popular within the business environment. We book time and space for our meetings, calls and workshops. Even if we work with a remote team, it matters to book a proper space because sometimes when you have a couple of people on the call you will need someplace quiet. Also, our internal calendar says when someone from the team is working remotely, has sick-days or is on holiday. This way we always know what, where and when.
Communication is the key
Okay, so we have a call scheduled very soon. It’s time to use the whole arsenal of communication tools – accordingly to our needs and preferences. We don’t limit ourselves to one app or program, as they usually have different functionalities. Our favorites are:
- Google Meet
For us, it is important that the tool we use for conference calls allows also display sharing, presentation streaming, as well as sending textual messages, links and files. We also invest in hardware that makes the calls easier for our office workers. One of them is Jabra – it’s a wireless conference call set we can use in any room we need it. Lately, we also bought a camera that makes the experience of a call more “live”. It shows the whole room and zooms into the face of a currently speaking person. This way we can make all the call participants feel like if they were with us.
Not every matter requires audio and video connection. For information exchange, we use two simple tools that you have probably heard of before. They are called Email and Slack. The first one is great for sending files and messages that we want to keep around for longer. Slack is perfect for everyday communication. Its pinging function happens to be useful when you need to reach out to someone quickly and find out if they are available.
As you can see, thanks to the internet, we have many different means of communication we can use on a daily basis. This way we keep up with everything that is happening in the office and with projects, no matter where we work from.
Managing projects for great success
Each project needs to be managed properly so the work goes according to plan. Again, the online environment is perfect for project management as it offers many apps that make it easy. And they work wherever you are, synchronizing data so everyone is always up to date. Including remote employees.
At iteo we believe there is no need to complicate things. Keeping operations simple is important to tame the chaos that can often happen when we work on many different projects with various team members and clients.
We use BaseCamp to organize projects – it’s a space where we can invite our clients to see what we are doing. Their presence allows them to be an active part of the work. All to-dos, needed files and information exchanges are in BaseCamp.
Two tools that come from the same place – they are called Confluence and Jira – are also an important part of our everyday work. First one’s purpose is to internally organize all our operations. We keep all important processes in it, so we know clearly what to do in certain cases. Jira is one of the most important apps at iteo – it allows us to log our work time in it. We use it to create tasks and to know who does what and when. This way we always know what’s up.
Last but not least, there’s Google Drive. Simple and super convenient when it comes to file exchange, sharing documents and creating spreadsheets or presentations. Show us someone who DOESN’T use it. But at iteo we are also flexible and we always try to be convenient when it comes to exchanging information with clients – if they want us to use their resources, we gladly will. And if they need some shared space with us – we will prepare it for them.
Security is important when working remotely with many people. That’s why all the code and other internal pieces of work are stored on our own dedicated servers.
As you can see, our work is simply but thoroughly organized. Years of experience working with international clients, remote teams and employees hired in different locations pays off. We’ve created a system that uses online communication, management tools and deliberate processes to keep the work running every day. We are prepared for all the situations that can occur. If you are looking for a digital agency that values a good work organization and has the know-how of project management – let us know what you have in mind.