The Best Digital Tools For Remote Teams
Here at Pivot Six, we believe in using only the best digital tools within our successful, fully-remote marketing/digital media team. We are truly diverse, with team members situated throughout B.C.., Toronto, New York, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. This flexibility allows us to best serve our clients, who also hail from all corners of the globe. Now, just because we don’t share a time zone, doesn’t mean we don’t GSD (Get Shit Done), and get it done WELL. It does, however, pose a unique set of challenges. One that sometimes leaves those not in the know bewildered by how we can do it! So how DO we do it? Read on to find out our top tips and digital tools to keep you staying sane, efficient and productive while working remotely.
There is no denying that communication is a top priority when working with a global team, whether in marketing or another venture. It can be extremely challenging to find the time to call, Skype or text each other when dealing with multiple time zones. So what’s our big secret to communicating effectively? *Drumroll please* It’s WhatsApp!
We know, we know; Using WhatsApp doesn’t exactly qualify as ground-breaking news. However, that is exactly why it’s the perfect team communication tool. Unlike Slack and Google Hangouts, everyone uses it! It’s also incredibly intuitive. We’ve found that if someone is not familiar with a tool, they won’t use it. This isn’t a worry with WhatsApp because it is so similar to texting that everyone and anyone can navigate their way around it.
So why not simply text? Because text messages are not encrypted by default, whereas WhatsApp messages are. This is crucial when dealing with client information. The key to keeping organized when messaging between team members is to ensure you have one chat group for every individual client. If a client wants to be included in your chat group, it is best practice to create a separate group for them. This ensures that they do not receive a plethora of messages throughout the day, which can become disruptive.
One tip: It is ideal to assign a group admin who possesses only one phone number. This allows them to add and delete multiple people.
Planning meetings for your fully-remote marketing team is no small feat, we would know! Luckily, there are several viable digital tools available to make this process easier.
Our top pick is UberConference. The main benefit of using UberConference is that it can automatically record all of your calls and send you the recording afterward. This is a huge plus if you have a large amount of information to keep track of! It also works as a calendar of sorts, sending you reminders and automated calendar invites via text or email. Another perk of UberConference is that it is entirely FREE. So what’s the downside? There’s no video calling option. For all the pros, however, we’re willing to take this one con.
When we’re looking to set up a quick, informal chat, we look to Google Hangouts. Although you cannot record conversations, it is an incredibly easy program to use and works across all devices, Android or Apple. All that you need to do is set up a link to be shared amongst those you would like to connect with. Video is included!
Last but not least is Zoom. Zoom is similar to Google Hangouts with a couple added features to make it stand out. For example, you can screen share! Auto-record is also an included tool. Overall it’s fantastic for video calls and communication between those with International area codes. The only catch? It’s not free. However, we feel it justifies the small expense.
Having high-quality photos to go along with your content is imperative to any digital industry nowadays, not just marketing. So how can you ensure that you are able to share photos without losing any of their quality? We have several methods.
Scattering photos over email and WhatsApp is not convenient for us, or our clients. So for high-resolution photos, it’s best to go with a tool like Dropbox. Keep everything streamlined by organizing photos by client, photoshoot type and date. For advanced administrative tools and Office 365 integration, consider upgrading to Dropbox Business.
For an alternative, look no further than Google Photos. Google Photos provides a great platform for sharing lower resolution photos that are in need of some tweaking. An example of a great Google Photos feature is the ability to screenshot photos from Instagram, upload them into a ‘shared album’ and send to your team members to comment on.
Of course, no list of business tools would be complete without mentioning the transferring of documents. For this category, there is really only one platform that does it all, and that’s Google Drive.
If you are part of a company in any way, shape or form and you aren’t using Google Drive - what are you waiting for?! To put it simply, this digital tool is a Godsend. It allows you and your team members to work on multiple projects simultaneously, in real time! This means you can share suggestions and see changes your colleagues are making while working on the document with them. You can also leave comments for collaborators to see later on.
Documents is not all that Google Drive is good for. You can also use it to work on spreadsheets and slides. Additionally, we love using Google Drive with our clients so they can quickly and efficiently assign tasks for us. Plus, it’s a useful tool to have should you and your client wish to create shared notes while on a call together.
Tip: Google Drive can quickly accumulate a lot of files and information. Keep everything organized by formatting each document in the same way. For example, by ‘Client Name/ Date/ Version Number’.
As with documents, there is one digital tool that stands above the rest when it comes to managing client and employee contracts. Enter HelloSign.
HelloSign is currently the world’s leading free eSignature platform. It allows you to send and sign contracts 100% digitally (no printer needed!). It even includes a feature which allows you to prioritize who needs to sign the contract first. There’s also no need to worry about those pesky follow-up emails. HelloSign will send your recipients auto-reminders to ensure your contracts get filled out in a timely manner.
This is truly a crucial piece of technology for those working remotely. It’s quick, easy-to-use, and most of all - secure. HelloSign provides a limited, free plan which enables you to make three document transactions per month. If you require more than this, you can pay for an upgraded version of the program.
Sometimes, you just need to send a good old-fashioned email. This can become more complicated when dealing with those in alternate time zones, who may not appreciate a 4 am notification. Luckily, there is a way to schedule your emails so your clients receive them at a more...fitting time.
Our marketing and digital media team relies heavily on YesWare to plan emails. In addition to this, you can up your game immensely by tracking email and attachment open rates, viewing link clicks and even placing calls from your inbox! These features all come with a small monthly fee. This is truly the email of the future.
Running a successful remote team of any sort has its own set of challenges. Luckily we have a selection of digital tools at hand to make our jobs a little bit easier. Are there any tips, tricks or hacks that help you run a successful venture, remote or not?
Feel free to contact us/comment below if you would like to learn more about working remotely!