How to organise remote work


workingremotelyI would like to present you a set of three tools, that will enable you an effective job in a scattered team (and not only).

What is more I suggest tools, which are free for small teams and integrated with one another.

1.Setting tasks/running projects.

To manage many people effectively, we need a tool which will enable us setting and receiving tasks and will make it easier to communicate with one another. I advise you against using mails, if we cooperate with more than one person. I can guarantee you that your mail box will be getting fuller and fuller and you’ll loose your patience while looking through the history over and over again to check whether everything was done.

So what tools can be chosen?

There are many tools for managing projects or tasks. Obviously the choice of the best one depends mainly on the methodology of running a project in the company, for example if we run projects in Scrum, we’ll choose another tools than in the case of PRINCE2 or when we don’t use any methodology.

However in this post I don’t want to focus on the analysis of this what tools will be the best in different methodologies. That is why I want to suggest an application, which is available through the browser and easy to use. You should remember that company is changing all the time and the tool can always be changed in the future.

Trello

Tool for managing projects - TrelloThis is probably the easiest tool for managing projects/tasks in the market. It’s very flexible, because it’s based on boards (which can represent projects) and lists, which can be placed on the board (any amount). Adding tasks is very simple, and the further job consists in dragging tasks among different lists. Trello works well in practice  in lightweight methodologies projects, but not only. You can also use it to manage your time.

We can find many youtube tutorials showing how to use trello, for example:

Trello. Organize anything, together.

Trello Basic Training Tutorial for Managing Projects and Tasks

2.Working time registration.

Remote work is based on the trust between employer and employee, especially when the given tasks can be called ‘creative work’ and it’s very difficult to assess here the labour consumption. This problem concerns especially creative workers like: graphic designers, programmers, analysts and so on.
Working time registration for tasks makes it easier to run the project.  Time analysis enables us to find out about difficulties very quickly and that the deadline is jeopardized. Additionally we are able to improve planning system and pricing.

So how can we deal with it?

toggl new screenshot-website-0One of the solutions of this problem is Toggl (toggl.com). This is an application that is used to monitor team working time. Every employee installs an application, which measures the working time on tasks during the work day. Information about tasks can be taken from many projects management systems. The employee chooses the task and starts time measurement and if he goes on break, he stops the time.

We get, in this way, accurate information about time consumption of each task. It allows us to improve planning in the further projects, but also to detect potential problems with the project.

In the case of trello we must only choose tasks from the card.

An example of toggl tutorial:

Tutorial on how to use Toggl

3. Communication

Tool for group conversations - SlackEffective communication during the project is basic. One of the easiest and the best tools in the market is Slack (slack.com). Besides messages exchanges it also offers many other useful functions:

• Group conversations
• Files sharing
• Advanced search engine
• Configurable notification
• Interface Web and desktop applications

For me the greatest value are group conversations and easy files sharing. Thanks to that, everybody has an insight into their conversations. A great search module causes that it’s easy to find all arrangements, and many integrations enable cooperation with different systems. We can, for example, add from a chat level new tasks to trello.

An example of slack tutorial:

Tutorial: How to Start Building a Slack Community

Summary

Remote work can be effective and pleasant. Suggested services are basically all tools to effective online team management. All tools in basic versions are free, and their possible, further buy-out cost is not high. However, I think that one of the most important advantages of these tools is simple service, because even the best tool won’t help you, if your team doesn’t want to  use it.