Globalization. There’s literally no escaping it. It’s reached every corner of… well… the globe. Imports. Exports. Immigration. Emigration. Food and drink, culture and economy, travel and leisure. Even work. That’s right, today, you’re as likely to find a job, client, or project that stretches across several time zones as you are in your backyard. More likely in fact.
In truth, liberating work from the confines of a stuffy fourth-floor office in a backwater town has opened up a world of new possibilities. It enables companies and individuals to strike common ground, to connect ideas and ideals, to find real talent the perfect home—and it’s all pretty much happened over the past decade.
However, this exciting new world of office-less digital nomads, freelancers, and independent contractors are posing new challenges for remote team management. Dealing with time zones can be a pain and organizing multiple members of your team even more so.
Respecting boundaries and engaging remote team members is also important when helping to keep your projects on track while ensuring you don’t overburden your valuable talent. The bottom line is, managers have plenty to think about when it comes to transferring their skills to remote team management.
Luckily, with loaded features like collaborative online Notes, push to talk, send later, voice and video calling and more, Spike keeps your workflow constant. Boost remote team communication and help set a range of best practices to keep you on track without killing the help—it’s the perfect remote teams app, and it works with your existing email.
Collaborative Notes – Perfect for Remote Teams
Spike Notes is THE creative space for remote teams. It’s where you connect with your coworkers and clients from all across the world, where you come together to thrash out ideas, where you refine your concepts and build on your strategies. It’s a centralized hub that’s made for collaboration, and everyone has access in real-time––whether they use Spike or not!
Set up collaborative Notes to brainstorm projects. Build comprehensive plans with charts and checklists. Add project resources. Chat about what’s done and what needs to be done in real-time with an integrated sidebar chat. And all of this is done right from your inbox so you never break your flow.
Need to share files and materials? No problem. Spike Notes is the perfect file archive to keep everything organized. Drag and drop any file, videos and images included, right into the Note–and create an easy to follow timeline of when everything was shared thanks to a detailed track record of the Notes edit history.
At its core, Spike Notes gives you all the tools you and your team need to win, and since it’s available online 24/7, everyone can work on it during their specific working hours. As soon as any changes are made to your collaborative note, you’ll be notified instantly, so everyone is on the same page at all times. Quite literally. However you and your team work, Spike Notes is the perfect virtual space in which to do it.
Bringing Remote Teams Together
Everyone already knows that Monday morning meetings are a waste of time. Meetings at any time of the week in fact. However, sometimes it is necessary to get everyone in the same room, to thrash out ideas and plans, to gather feedback and observations. It really should go without saying, but good luck with that when your staff is based across the globe.
Bringing your remote team together is likely to be the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to stay on track, and today, with a million different tools and apps to choose from, it should be easier than ever. Unfortunately, the sheer range of choices means we’re all suffering from app overload, constantly switching and second-guessing who’s on what platform, sending emails to ask someone to jump on Skype, quick text messages with Google hangout invites.
Spike Does Things Differently
We’ve brought together all the tools you need to stay in touch with your remote team—whether that’s through video, audio, instant messaging, or good old email. It’s all in a single app, and it keeps all your staff (and stuff) together. Set up a Group and invite everyone to the conversation where you can share agendas, briefs, meeting minutes and other supporting documents right in the chat. Once everyone is up to speed, you can jump on a conference call (video or just audio) and get feedback.
So, whether it’s a lively and inclusive Monday morning meeting, or a quick touch-base on the latest project updates, Spike has got your virtual conferences covered.
Remote Team Management – Respecting Boundaries
Arguably, one unforeseen issue arising from remote team management is the difficulty in respecting work/life balance and boundaries. After all, it’s 11 am in New York and you’re at your most productive, you can’t just sit around and wait for the sun to rise in Sydney before you send that email. You hit send and wait for the reply.
However, this can be hugely problematic for freelancers and remote workers. Sending and receiving emails at all times of the day is just fuel for the always-on mentality. It keeps us up at night drafting reports in bed, taking quick notes over dinner, sending brief replies intermittently through the latest Netflix binge, and dealing with unexpected calls as the credits roll at the cinema. Very quickly, commitment equates to instant availability—whether that’s at the weekend, during holidays, or simply any time outside of normal working hours.
Everyone needs a little downtime, and it has been repeatedly proven that working ALL the time eventually leads to bad work. Freelancers and remote workers in different time zones need to know that you respect their boundaries, that you’re aware that your message is consistently hitting their inbox as they sit down for some quality time with their partner/kids/dog/desperately thirsty succulent.
Spike can help.
Asynchronous communication (email) lies at the core of the best remote team apps—Spike, however, goes one step further. Through email (asynchronous) and instant messaging (synchronous) tools, we give you the best of both worlds.
What’s more, Spike also has a few handy little tricks up its sleeve to help you stay focused and still respect time zones around the world.
Send later allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a time of your choosing, giving you the opportunity to get all the information down as it’s at the forefront of your mind without disturbing your remote team’s precious sleep. Push to talk lets you record your thoughts in an audio clip which can then be sent by email, and alternatively, text to talk is the perfect solution for reading those mails for you when you’re out for a run or behind the wheel.
Remote Teams Best Practices with Spike
Building a set of best practices for your remote team is important when striving to meet deadlines and encouraging more efficient collaboration. If everyone is on the same page regarding the way you work together, then everyone has the chance to focus more on the actual work itself. Put simply, a comprehensive plan outlining your approach to any project will help you stay on track and boost your collaborative work.
Working in this way keeps everyone on the same page. Literally. Spike’s super-organized Priority Inbox and Conversational Email format makes inbox and email management no-fuss. Collaborative Notes will ping to the top of your inbox whenever someone makes edits or adds new information, and everything you need is contained within your inbox. Add to-do lists and tick off each remote team task as it’s completed; collaborate effortlessly using a mixture of instant messaging, email, voice and video calls and build a best practice approach based around a single tool. No more app switching, no more distractions.
With Spike, remote team management is just as easy as it is when dealing with people face-to-face. To learn more about Spike and our holistic approach to communication and productivity, stick around and read some of our other articles on the Spike blog. Alternatively, if you want to let us know how you manage your remote team, Tweet us a @SpikeNowHQ.