With more and more work going remote in both the short and long term, it's more important than ever to know how to set up technology for a remote team. Here's what you need to know to help anticipate the needs of your team and get started.
This isn't a step-by-step how-to for any specific program. Instead, consider this how-to a quick summation of what you need to do to build technology for a successful remote team.
Setting Up Technology for Your Remote Team
Technology makes it easier to bring people together but can also get in the way. If you’re setting up a remote work team it’s important to know what kinds of technology you’re likely to need, and how to make communication easier.
Define The Purpose of Your Remote Team
The first thing you need to do is narrow down what your remote team is going to be doing. That’s important because an accounting team and an HR team need radically different tools. The purpose of your team will influence whether a collaboration software like Microsoft Teams is appropriate, or if creating a custom shared workspace will be necessary.
The purpose of your team will also dictate how much you need to concentrate on things like meetings technology more, or analytics and data processing more.
Choose Communication Technology
Communication is the cornerstone of any remote team. Likely you’ll need a calling system, like Microsoft Teams phone system, a chat system, and a system for video conferences and meetings. Some of those purposes can overlap. Skype Business, for instance, provides a reasonably reliable chat and video calling system.
Invest in Work-Stream Management Technology
Workstream management is critical for remote teams. Knowing when things need to be done, and in what order, is necessary if you want to be able to meet deadlines. Projects can't be done in any random order, so staying on top of the workflow is necessary.
Thankfully workstream management can be handled through Microsoft Teams and a wide range of different teams technology. Choosing between lists, to-do's, ordered assignments, and other work-stream options are the bigger hurdle. Consult with your remote team to see what workstream communication style works better for them.
Use Technology to Support Asynchronous Work
Remote teams often don't work the same shifts or even in the same time zone. Asynchronous work often means having persistent servers and places where documents and files can be accessed on your team's different schedules. Google Drive provides this service, but there are several other options.
Also important for asynchronous work are time and task tracking tools that help make sure you aren’t accidentally duplicating work across the team.
Choose a Meetings and Video Conference Platform
Frequent meetings are a must for a lot of remote work teams. That means that you’ll need a stable and reliable meeting and video conferencing platform. Zoom and Skype are both common options, but Microsoft Teams has plugins and other options that work similarly well. Just choosing the right system is the most important part here, so feel free to experiment with the free versions of different options until you find an interface that works.
IT Help and Remote Teams Setup
If you’re not sure you’re ready to set up your business’s remote teams technology on your own, we can help. We’re experienced as a Microsoft integrator and can provide a cloud phone system right here in Australia. We offer IT support in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and are happy to work with you and your business to get your remote team off to a good start.