To be a capable remote team, you and your telecommuting colleagues need structure in coordinating tasks. Here are a few suggestions to help you go about it.
Organize group chats by department
It’s not enough to use a messaging platform to contact remote assistants. You’ll need to create group chats (i.e., many-to-many conversations), which then need to be set up by department.
Why? Because placing all in one large group chat is utter chaos. Yes, it’s fun – and necessary – to have everyone together, but you’ll also need to organise it further by subgroups (e.g., recruitment, marketing, etc.) to keep conversations relevant and focused.
Aside from “official” group chats, you can also create informal channels – like maybe a Funko Pop group, sports chat, or whatever your co-workers enjoy to help develop rapport between them.
Use the right tools
There’s a staggering range of applications that you and your teammates can use to coordinate your virtual remote work. The trick is to find the right one that suits your group’s specific needs. Here’s a rundown of the common types and some examples of each:
- Skype – Skype is a popular video conferencing platform. It has a free version for small teams and a paid version (Skype for Business) that supports up to 250 attendees.
- Hangouts – Google’s Hangouts is an easily accessible and widely integrated video conferencing and messaging platform. All you need is a Gmail account.
- Zoom – Zoom can accommodate up to 100 participants in a meeting. Best of all, only the host needs a Zoom account; others can access the conference via their browser.
- Asana – Asana is an easy-to-use tool that lets you monitor your work by project, tasks, and subtasks. You can also assign each task to members and indicate deadlines.
- Trello – Trello is like Asana, except workflows are laid out in boards, and individual tasks are shown as cards that you can drag and drop quickly. It works like a charm.
- Jira – If you’re part of a software team, then consider using Jira instead. It’s great for tracking bugs and features in agile and scrum development frameworks.
Cloud collaboration and storage
- Dropbox – Instead of sending your work over chat or email, open a Dropbox account to back up your files quickly, share them, and collaborate with others.
- Google Drive – Drive is like Dropbox, except it’s more generous with storage space.
- OneDrive – Microsoft’s cloud collaboration and storage service are similar to its competitors, but specific plans include an Office 365 subscription, which is terrific.
Establish rules for working in the virtual office
Because of your remote teammates:
- Are typically located across various parts of the world;
- Work in different time zones; and
- Use diverse software and tools,
…you may end up with incompatible files, different approaches to client interactions, or inconsistent output. To avoid this, your offshore assistant team needs to establish guidelines and standards on details like:
- Computer hardware requirements and the minimum internet connection speed
- Rules for availability to remote virtual assistant teammates and clients
- Client interaction protocols (e.g., the use of prepared talking points, positive scripting)
- Standard software programs
- File-naming conventions
Your team virtual assistant offshore doesn’t necessarily have to print out these rules, but once they’re documented and agreed upon, make sure everyone can access them easily.
Declutter and arrange your files
As you and your team press on with virtual remote work, your data will eventually accumulate. This means you need to regularly:
- Delete duplicate files
- Update outdated files
- Create new folders for better file arrangement
Clean up your work management platform
Don’t limit the organisation to data; you and your part-time virtual assistant in the Philippines remote colleagues also need to do some periodic spring cleaning with everything else in your chosen project management software. This includes:
- Archiving completed projects and tasks
- Deleting outdated teams and updating listed members in group chats
- Updating changed dates in the calendar
These purging and sorting efforts are necessary to make current tasks/projects easier to monitor, which should also help everyone become more productive overall.
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