In today’s business world, with the improved ability of technology to connect people all over the world, it is becoming increasingly commonplace to have remote employees. Whether you have a team of 20 or 200, you may be facing challenges regarding the management of remote employees.
One of the top priorities for entrepreneurs is to ensure that their business has a steady stream of income. However, one of the biggest challenges for a company is finding the right employees, especially when looking for talent overseas. You must identify the right candidate to build a good working relationship. Managing remote employees is no easy task, especially since you won’t be able to see and, or talk to them regularly.
Managing a remote workforce can be a challenge for any business owner. Moreover, traditional ways of managing employees don’t always work with a remote team. As such, you must have the right tools in place to keep everyone on the same page. Among the main challenges we can name:
Communication problems ( including time zone differences, lack of convenient communication tools, etc.)
Project Management / Task scheduling difficulties
The ability to stay on the same page with all teams, a trustful work environment
Tracking / Reporting
The ability to control work overload, as well as widespread work underload
With the help of modern technologies, the communication gap is no more a headache. Lots of remote, and in-office teams use a huge variety of communication tools. Among the most popular:
Zoom, Hangouts, Microsoft Teams (for daily stand-ups and chats)
Slack ( for corporate secure chatting)
Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets (for among multiple people/teams), Google Drive, or Dropbox (for long-term sharing), Slack, and Emails (for quick file sharing).
This list of challenges can be expanded, but the main ones stay the same. Modern problems need modern solutions, so we can recommend one more tool that will help to solve almost all the problems mentioned above.
Project management software can be a huge help in the workplace – especially when you have remote workers. It allows you not only to assign and monitor tasks but also makes it easier to collaborate with your team.
Jira Software has always been a user-friendly project management solution created by Atlassian. It is used to manage teams and projects in different ways. Jira offers bug and issue planning & tracking, prioritization, project management, and various useful add-ons, and has a flexible and intuitive interface. It suits teams and companies of different types and sizes.
Jira Boards provide great visualization of tasks, assignees, and time frames. It’s easy to see the task’s progress or transfer it to another stage:
Users can also log hours directly on issues:
You can also try different reports to track performance:
Atlassian also provides a secure data preservation/sharing tool – Confluence. It has various useful features that help to run documentation, share information, save files, and any kind of needed data.
Jira is a great tool for different operations, but sometimes it lacks resource planning features that can improve remote collaboration. Fortunately, Jira provides a great variety of resource management add-ons.
ActivityTimeline is a resource planning addon for Jira that helps to plan, track, and report on resources/issues/projects. It’s a perfect tool for the remote teams, as it helps to discover who is doing what and when it will be done, so teams can stage on the same page. The app’s planning Dashboard provides great visualization with the help of the timelines.
You can see all of the planned and ongoing tasks/projects, assign existing and even create new Jira tasks directly from the dashboard. All of the data will be automatically synchronized with Jira.
Observe resources workload on the detailed and more comprehensive views. Track the workload of the separate users in timelines with the help of the special workload indicators. A special Team Panel allows to assign tasks for the whole team and track the team’s total workload:
Users can simply log time on the dashboard, or from the personal workspace available for every user. A personal cabinet is a great option for distant employees, as each of them can observe only their tasks/projects, log work, track worked hours, request vacations, and create plans:
Challenges of managing remote employees also include the problem of different time zones of the remote teams is a common one, and it can be hard to agree on a time. Different time zones may cause some misunderstandings and communication troubles. Luckily, ActivityTimeline provides time zones synchronization. It automatically deals with the time zones and displays the task scheduled on the same day no matter if it was scheduled in the US or Europe. The application automatically adds a time shift that compensates for a difference in time zones.
You can also use various internal events or create custom ones: bookings, placeholders, day-offs, sick leaves and vacations will be great supplementation for the offshore teams. When you’re dealing with remote workers, you need advanced holiday planning facilities, so the app can help you with the creation of holiday schemes.
With the help of the ActivityTimeline users can create various reports for teams. If you manage remote teams, it’s hard to get a comprehensive picture of the resource workload, whether people in a specified region are over-, or underloaded. The Resource Utilization Report helps to understand who is over, or underloaded. With its help, PMs can see whether they need to reassign tasks to another employee, or team in another country and in that way maintain work balance.
You will also receive a better understanding and comparison of the workload of various offices and will be able to understand which offices need more or less work.
ActivityTimeline also provides Timesheets, so it’s easy to track logged hours:
Challenges of managing remote employees are no more a headache, as remote collaboration culture has already become a part of modern work life. Companies are increasingly adopting a mixed type of cooperation. They implement new ways of cooperation & communication and, of course, use the right tools.
ActivityTimeline and Jira is a powerful combination that helps to manage resources from any corner of the world, removes all borders, and makes teams feel that they’re on the same page.