Tools and Technology for Leading Remotely
Working remotely presents a number of challenges, especially if it’s something new for you and your organization. Technology can help us make the most of the situation by keeping our organization and stakeholders connected. There’s no “one perfect solution,” but rather a plethora of tools that can help with certain aspects as needed.
Videoconferencing and Communication
How do I keep in touch with my team? Whether it’s an individual check-in or a weekly team meeting, technology can help facilitate the next best thing to an in-person meeting. Depending on the size of your organization and the level of communication you want to maintain, some of the options below may help you stay in touch with your team and stakeholders.
- ZOOM – You are probably already using ZOOM as it has become the industry standard in online/virtual meetings. Meetings are easy to create and invitations can be sent to individuals or groups via link. You have the ability to share your screen which allows you to make presentations and review documents. ZOOM is great for larger organizations where you might have a large group of people on one call.
- Microsoft Teams – If your organization has already invested in Microsoft Office, you likely have access to Microsoft’s newest office app, Teams. A mix between chat, file sharing, and virtual meetings is one of the best ways to describe Teams. Within the app, you can create multiple “teams” for different groups. This is useful when you are managing multiple groups or teams of people.
- Slack – If you’re looking for something to reduce email and remain in constant contact with your team, Slack is one of the best options out there. Its easy-to-use interface allows you to create different channels for chats, file sharing, video or voice calls and more. Slack has the most integrations with other app that you may already use.
- Google Hangouts – If you’re already using the Google suite of tools, this may be a great option for you. Similar to ZOOM, you can share links to meetings and integrate with you email and calendar.
- Spark Mail App – You’re probably overwhelmed with email at this point (if you weren’t already). The Spark Mail app is one of the best apps I’ve seen for handling email madness and preventing email fatigue. Exciting features include snoozing emails, reminders to follow-up, and a smart inbox to help you sort different types of messages. Sorry PC users, this is an Apple and Mac device app only.
- Mailchimp – You also are probably sending more email now than ever. Consider creating a digest or daily update and send it at a consistent time every day. Also consider using a tool like Mailchimp, where you can create a template and plug in your content. Add links, photos, GIFs, and organize your information more effectively using the email designer. You are also able to track who opens your email message when sent with Mailchimp.
Collaboration and Project Management
Okay…you’ve conducted your first virtual meeting and everyone is on the same page. How do I share files, task lists, and manage progress? Consider of the collaboration tools or project management apps below. It’s important to identify the best solution for you and your team in an effort not to introduce too much change/challenge at once.
- Basecamp – Basecamp is my absolute favorite project management system. It pulls together fire sharing, calendars, to-do lists, messaging, and so much more into one space. Create automatic check-ins with each of your team members. Also a great way to include clients or customers that are outside of your organization in projects and conversations.
- Trello – Don’t need a full project management system? Consider giving Trello a try. Create boards, lists, and cards to share with your team. Great for managing projects and what’s the status of each progress.
- Notion – This app combines documents, project management, spreadsheets, and databases in a very flexible environment. If your organization requires a lot of freedom, flexibility, and data – this would be a great solution for you.
- Mural – The most productive meetings for me are when I’m able to draw something out on a whiteboard. Mural is a digital whiteboard that has a lot of really neat features where you can invite your team to collaborate with you. Great for brainstorming or creative sessions!
- Things – Just need an app to make lists? Things is an award-winning app that lets you create powerful lists, assign deadlines, and organize by project or area. Today and This Evening lists are automatically populated so you know exactly what to start on next.
- Airtable – More of a spreadsheets type of person? Airtable is an awesome spreadsheets app with tons of features and integrations. Create different views, attach files to records, and format cells to include check boxes and more. A lot of really cool features that make spreadsheets even more useful.
Live Video/Recording & Podcasting
You’ve got your team and organization all connected now. What about your customers and stakeholders? Maybe you have a conference or training planned that now has to be virtual. Consider one of the following tools to help keep your stakeholders informed about what’s happening with your organization.
- Switcher Studio – If you’re looking to stream a conference or product launch, Switcher Studio is a great option. Use mobile devices or computers as sources to capture, switch, and stream video to your Facebook, YouTube or other places. Upload and use your own photos, graphics, and video to be shown as well.
- Vimeo – A favorite for hosting video, Vimeo also offers livestreaming and opportunities for paid content. If you want to embed a lot of videos into your current website, Vimeo is a great option.
- Facebook Live – Let’s not forget one of the easiest tools available to us, Facebook Live. Go live from your mobile device anywhere you have a good internet connection. I’d recommend investing in a small tripod for your phone to avoid shaky video. Facebook Live is a great (and easy) way to keep your stakeholders informed.
- Adobe Premiere Rush – Need to put a video together but not at your main desktop? Download Adobe Premiere Rush to quickly edit and share quality videos right from your mobile device. If you’re a Premiere Pro veteran, the interface will look very familiar. New to video editing? Premiere Rush is super easy to learn. Shoot, edit, and share video all on the same device.
- Anchor – How about starting a podcast? Anchor makes it really easy to record, edit and share from your computer or mobile device. Invite others into the conversation connecting with them using the Anchor app. Anchor published your episode on all of the major podcasting platforms and is completely free.
As you can see, there are a lot of different tools and resources out there to assist in leading remotely. Don’t implement everything on this list into your remote leadership strategy. It’s important to determine your needs first – is it primarily communication or project management that technology can help with? Equally important is understanding who you are leading remotely – are you leading a small leadership team, your entire organization, or a group of stakeholders? After determining each of these, introduce the technology to your team or group with patience and understanding. There’s a lot of change happening right now, so adapting to a new workflow or process may take some time. To help with the transition, make sure to highlight how this technology will help simplify or make tasks easier and provide time for exploring and training if needed.