When you’re not working in the same office it can feel like it’s impossible to “really” communicate and get the message across. But, these tools make remote team communication a whole lot easier and could even make you feel like you are working in the same team.
If you have a constant team chat open, this gives a sense of what your team is up to and also gives an added level of accountability as you can see if other team members are online and working. You might want to mandate that your team use Skype only for work communication and make sure that no-one has person contacts on their list (that can disturb their work flow with constant interruptions from personal contacts).
Jing is one of my favorite tools. It’s super-simple to use. With this tool you can communicate visually almost as fast as if you in the same room together. You can use it to create mockup images of a design that you want changed.
Here is an example of a Jing screencast: http://screencast.com/t/ADGpZvTdGLqq
You can also use Jing to create training materials to explain how to sign up for a particular website for example. It records a video of your desktop (or any area of your screen) and then with one click it upload the video to screencast.com for others to view it.
With Google Drive, you can share documents very easily with team members and any person in your team can collaborate on these documents.
Project management tools
There are a bunch of great online project management tools to choose from. Basecamp is one of the largest and bills itself as the simplest to use. Asana is a relative newcomer on the scene but it is easy to use and it is free. Salesforce’s Do.com is another alternative. We use Jira but this is more of a specific tool for software developers.
Staff.com integrated tools
With Staff.com you have the Time Doctor time tracking tool integrated so that you know exactly how much time is tracked for each of your workers. You can also see the websites that they visit each week and there are other tools to confirm their working hours such as viewing screenshots of their computer screen.
Use these tools and you will find it a lot easier to communicate and get things done, even when working with someone across the other side of the planet!
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