In light of the current global situation, a lot of businesses have suddenly found themselves running their businesses and managing their teams remotely. As countries start to lift lockdown and workplaces start to open up, you may be considering adopting this way of working as part of your regular operations.
Here at WHMCS, while many of our team normally work from our Houston office, we also have team members working from their home offices in the UK and beyond. Over the years of running a business where teleworking is a core part of our daily work lives, we have gained some valuable insights into building a happy and productive remote team. Whether you and your team are finding yourself working remotely for the first time or have been doing it for years, here are some of our tips and tools to stay productive and be successful with remote working.
Having the right collaboration tools in place
Having the right collaboration tools plays a key role in running a successful dispersed team. Three of the main collaboration tools we use are for communication, project management and file storage.
- Communication Tools - The connection of face-to-face communication doesn't have to be lost in a remote company with the right tools to keep your team engaged and connected.
Here at WHMCS, we use Slack for team collaboration. Having the ability to create dedicated channels allows us to give each department a place to collaborate. We also use the WHMCS integration with Slack to notify us when important events happen within WHMCS such as priority tickets and service orders, helping us to react quickly and provide a better customer experience.
Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet are other popular options used by many businesses.
- Project Management Tools - Utilising a project management tool will help you track your projects' progress and provide a central place for team members to post updates, ask questions and collaborate on work. Having everything stored centrally will allow easy access to files and communication related to a specific project rather than having to dig through emails or chat conversations.
There are many project management tools available and it's best to test out a few platforms to see which one works best for you - many services even offer free options to get started, such as Trello and Jira Cloud, both of which we use here at WHMCS.
WHMCS also has a Project Management add-on that helps track and manage projects you're operating with customers and provides an easy and convenient way to keep customers in the loop and exchange messages and files.
- File Storage and Collaboration Tools - It's important that all files are stored in a central filing system and not saved in various locations for easier access within the team and improved security due to controlled access to files. You can use a dedicated collaboration tool such as Confluence and Microsoft 365 that will allow your team to save, share and edit files in real-time, or you could opt to use a straightforward shared storage solution like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Schedule regular remote meetings
Though we use many tools to collaborate remotely together, it's important to stay connected with your team by having regular online meetings to give updates, ask questions and discuss and align on priorities in real-time. To be more efficient, it's important that meetings are planned in advance with clear agendas so that everyone will be prepared and action-oriented during the meeting.
Having regular all-hands meetings - even for smaller teams - where you share company objectives, milestones achieved and align on goals is also important to give your team a high-level insight on company-wide business objectives. Knowing the bigger picture will help guide them on their day-to-day decisions and also help build company culture.
Utilise all the WHMCS tools to help you run a streamlined remote operation
One of the major benefits of a web-based platform such as WHMCS is that you are not tied to a single location and can access and operate your business from anywhere.
With features including the Centralised Support Desk, Customer CRM, Centralised File Storage, WHMCS Connect, Ticket Assignments, @mention's and more, WHMCS makes it easier for you and your team to work together and track everything, even when working remotely.
Check out our recent blog on WHMCS and Remote Working
and see if you're utilising all these features and if not, why you should start using it.
Keep your business secure
The security of systems is crucial when it comes to business data. We recommend encouraging the use of Two-Factor Authentication
and provide your team with guidelines on home computer and network security. Also, encourage them to be diligent in staying up-to-date with patches and updates to the software and tools they use and be mindful of scams and phishing attempts.
Create a fun (remote) workplace
Find creative ways to promote a fun remote workplace! From creating a slack channel dedicated to cat memes to curating a weekly Team Spotify Playlist to stay connected through the power of a few beats, or having a Friday Happy Hour Quiz via Zoom - find ways to engage and get to know your team outside of work. A happy team is a more productive team!
According to a 2020 Deloitte Report,
the future of work is more dynamic and distributed. Having a system in place to run your business and team remotely is no longer an option but a necessity. The above are just some of the key things we have found helpful in working together remotely - if you have any tips or tools you want to share please comment below. We look forward to hearing from you and more success to you and your team!
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