Out of necessity, the coronavirus pandemic ushered in the age of the remote team. And even as the pandemic gradually winds down, many companies have no plans to look back. According to the career site Ladders, remote work opportunities grew from 4% of all high-paying jobs to 9% by 2020. In 2022, around 15% of all high-income jobs are now fully remote.
It didn't help that incidences of job burnout rose to record levels during the pandemic. The American Psychological Association recently released the results of their Work and Well-Being Survey conducted in 2021. It revealed that eight out of ten workers experienced work-related stress. Among these burned-out employees, 60% said that the stress caused them to experience a slew of negative feelings. These include a lack of interest, motivation, and energy to continue working. In fact, many workers said they were suffering from cognitive weariness, emotional exhaustion, and physical fatigue.
Remote work opportunities offered relief from the daily toll of commuting. In addition, many workers appreciated the opportunity to stay home and work alongside their loved ones. Despite fears by many critics that productivity would suffer working at home, a Texas A&M University School of Public Health study showed otherwise. The study revealed that “employee and company resiliency” may actually benefit from increased remote management.
Benefits of Maintaining Remote Workers
Even beyond the pandemic, maintaining remote workers still makes sense. Allowing employees the freedom to do their jobs in a setting outside of the office building generates several benefits. Among them are the following:
Reduced Overhead Costs
Remote teams can mean fewer costs for operating and maintaining corporate headquarters. Companies save on electricity, water, heating, and cooling costs now that workers are working from home. This also means substantial savings on office supplies, such as paper, printing ink, and other consumables. In addition, many companies rent office space to house their employees during office hours. Remote work reduces or eliminates the need to shell out monthly rent.
Some companies offer employees subsidies to help with home expenses like utilities and internet connectivity. However, the amount pales in comparison to what companies save in terms of building and office operations.
Employees Are Incentivized to Stay Longer
The Great Resignation continues to make it difficult for companies to retain workers or hire new ones. Among the perks demanded by prospective hires is the option to join a remote team. Many employees, having spared themselves the nightmare of daily commutes and spending long hours at the office, don’t want their work-from-home options revoked. The best way for workers to keep remote work privileges is by ensuring they get they perform optimally.
Companies with remote work policies also get an additional benefit. Employees who need to change residences or move out of state won’t have to give up their work. They can simply continue working remotely anywhere they need to transfer. This can be a blessing for HR recruiters who are already struggling to fill job openings.
Remote Work Opens Up The Field To Recruit Dedicated Agents From All Over The World
Another benefit of remote work for companies is the ability to hire dedicated agents from anywhere in the world. Top talent in any given field isn’t concentrated in one area (even if it were, the hiring rates there would be astronomical). Remote work opportunities allow a company to hire a worker based anywhere in the world. This allows the organization to secure the services of highly-qualified personnel.
In addition, companies can save on overseas talent. They don’t have to fork over money to fly in, recruit, and house prospective employees. At the same time, they can pay workers premium local rates of their home countries. This can incur substantial savings compared to paying everyone the rates of the company’s home country.
How to manage remote call center agents? 4 Essential Tools.
Remote work doesn’t come without challenges. There’s a lack of interaction and socialization among remote call center agents. Unless the entire team is in an online meeting, workers are more or less on their own. Many online workers hailed the reduction of idle chitchat opportunities when they switched to remote work. However, some employees, especially those who live alone, often miss out on social interactions and start to feel more isolated.
Finally, there is the matter of staying on top of assigned tasks and projects. The hours seem to work differently at home versus at the office, where everything can be broken down into schedules. Without a remote work structure, many employees may find themselves running out of time trying to complete their assignments.
To help them, here are four software tools that can increase the productivity of a remote team. When used correctly, the following software can help manage projects remotely and provide order in the work process.
1. Project Management Software
Remote collaboration is an essential part of ensuring team success. Each member of the remote team should know what’s going on in the project outside of their assigned tasks. That way, everybody can share ideas and come up with joint solutions when things don’t go as planned. Project management is also a crucial tool to help managers identify which areas need to be prioritized.
Project management software is a very handy and useful collaboration software that tracks each member’s specific contributions as it pertains to the whole. It’s not just time that’s being measured, but costs as well. In addition, the project manager can weigh in and compare what’s already done with established benchmarks. This way, the team can instantly know if they’re running behind or going over budget. It also helps managers instantly identify which sections need more resources and which ones are overstaffed. The software monitoring capabilities provide managers with the flexibility to change plans as needed. This can prove a cheaper, more efficient option compared to discovering problems at the end of the project.
Project management software also tracks the time and resources expended during each stage. This information helps other functions such as finance, warehousing, and HR to get the details needed for documentation, billing, and reporting. Ultimately, project management records every move made - and by who - to ensure accountability.
Examples of Project Management Software
Monday.com. This popular cloud-based software allows project managers to assign tasks and identify priorities for their teams. It also helps groups to manage the entire workload using one single workspace. Monday.com also visualizes projects in the form of popular charts and boards like Gantt, Kanban, and Scrum.
Miro. Miro is a popular online whiteboard platform that helps remote teams manage projects and collaborate. An intuitive and unlimited canvas allows its users to perform a variety of collaborative tasks. Miro has all the tools needed to develop project timelines, customer journey maps, sprint planning, road mapping, brainstorming, and more.
Zoho Projects. Part of the Zoho suite of productivity software, Zoho Projects allow for cloud-based project planning and monitoring. Managers can easily assign each member tasks. The software also provides an easy-to-use communication hub among members and project stakeholders. Everybody can receive access to detailed reports, schedules, and progress updates.
2. Video Conferencing Tools
Another important part of collaboration is having an effective means of communication. Among remote team members, video conferencing is the closest thing to having an actual face-to-face meeting. It allows members to engage in real-time conversation while sharing files and PowerPoint presentations at the same time.
For remote workers, video conferencing is a step above audio conferences over speakerphone. People can see each other as they talk, and when one person needs to present an idea, everybody gets access to a shared screen. As far as human interactions go, seeing each other during meetings and sharing visual data is more engaging than talking over the phone.
Examples of Video Conferencing Software
Zoom. The quintessential pandemic video conferencing software, Zoom ushered in the golden age of video conferencing just as companies around the world shut down their offices. The software helped popularize the concept of group meetings and video conferences. Before, most workers either engage in one-on-one video conferences or tune in to a streaming event to listen in on a presentation.
Microsoft Teams. Revered software giant Microsoft stepped up its collaboration game by upgrading its abilities. Microsoft Teams enables users of up to 10,000 participants to hold video or audio meetings. The software also features screen sharing and call recording. Its integration with Microsoft 365 unlocks even more advanced video conferencing and sharing features.
Google Meet. Google Meet is the search engine’s answer to the increased demand for video conferencing and collaboration. Its integration with Google Workspace apps, such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive, gives users a more intuitive way to collaborate. Like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Google Meet is a popular app geared toward businesses and large organizations.
3. Chat Tools
Chat programs represent the next step in communication after email and text messaging. The method represents a faster way to respond to inquiries, as users can respond immediately. In contrast, emails require a constant opening and reopening of messages to reply. Text messages (at least the pioneering versions) require a mobile phone account and often charge per message.
In addition, chat applications can keep track of individual threads within conversations to maintain the flow. Having a synchronous method of communication provides the advantage of instant feedback. Users can receive immediate answers to questions, which can lead to faster problem resolution. Using chat also helps keep engagement levels among remote team members high.
Examples of Chat Software
Slack. Slack is a popular collaboration software that’s heavy on chat features. It allows users to create multiple channels for one-on-one conversations and accommodate various groups. Slack also features rudimentary video conferencing and file-sharing services.
Google Chat. Similar to Meet, Chat is deeply integrated with Google Workspace. This means that users can seamlessly incorporate the use of popular Google software like Drive, Docs, and Sheets. However, Chat requires that users have an existing Google account.
4. File Storage and Sharing
Among the four tools mentioned in this article, file storage and sharing are the most underrated. What it lacks in social power is made up through providing access to critical documents and files. Although most communication software (videoconferencing, email, and chat) features basic file-sharing capabilities, the function often falls short due to its low file size limits. Among the group, remote team members find these applications useful as they provide 24/7 access to critical project files and documents.
In contrast, powerful file storage applications like Dropbox and Google Drive feature storage size limits big enough to accommodate terabytes for power users. They also offer sophisticated security systems like end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication to ensure files are safely stored.
Examples of File Storage and Sharing Software
Dropbox. One of the premier names in file storage, Dropbox is an ideal tool for remote teams required to share files, offering robust security features and large file size accommodations. Dropbox offers a free, but limited version. The paid subscription gets you bigger drive space and better accessibility options.
Google Drive. It’s free for up to 15 GB, so there’s not much to complain about with this software. As part of Google Workspace, Google Drive also seamlessly integrates with word processing and spreadsheet software. This means that users can readily open and edit these types of files.
Improve Your Business with the Right Support
Having a remote team is now a mainstream practice among companies nowadays. They offer business continuity during unforeseen events, like pandemics. Both workers and employers find that remote work has certain advantages that make it ideal. Employees love the freedom and flexibility it offers. Meanwhile, business owners enjoy not just the overhead savings, but also the fact that their workers are more productive and more likely to stay because of it.
When faced with the challenge of staffing remote teams, businesses should always remember that immeasurable talent from all over the world is out there waiting for an opportunity. Helpware is a business process outsourcing company that aims to provide talents that fit both your technical requirements and budget. Helpware also has the requisite tools and training to ensure that every remote team assigned to your business can get the job done.
Learn more about how Helpware can provide you with remote team services and more. Visit us here at Helpware and we’ll be happy to learn more about your company and your unique business needs.