21st July, 2015
With workplaces becoming more diverse and fluid in time and space, traditional ways of managing the work we do are becoming increasingly obsolete. New models of work call for new ways of coordinating teams and projects. If your employees aren’t in your line of sight, how do you keep track of their progress?
Small to medium enterprises now have the ability to tap into some great tools that will have you managing workflows like a pro, without project management training or clunky software. There has been an explosion of cloud-based programs of this type emerging in the last few years, meaning there are plenty of options to help you meet your individual organisation’s needs. Here a just a few to help you start thinking about what apps you could use for managing the work of the out of office employees and contractors in your business.
We started using Asana in our business for a couple of very good reasons. One is that emails are a really hopeless way to discuss projects and keep track of tasks. The other is that we all get way too many emails! So we looked for a way to have all the information we needed in one place, where we could also see who did what and when.
Now we can set tasks and due dates for ourselves — and each other — and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking off a task as complete. The team can follow different projects to see where everyone else is at and receive notifications in their inbox, if they prefer. Tasks may be linked to projects, so it’s easy to set up a project and milestones, allocating tasks to different team members. Comments allow users to include more detail and updates, and the new ‘Conversation’ feature means there’s even less need for emails between our team.
This blog is coordinated using Basecamp, so this is another app I have personally experienced. One of the earlier products of this type, Basecamp is not quite as pretty or intuitive as Asana, but it has some additional functions that may make it a good choice for larger teams with multiple internal and external stakeholders running large numbers of projects.
In common with the other tools listed here, Basecamp is available for mobile devices, making monitoring and updating on the run a breeze for busy managers.
Slack is a one of the latest generation of collaboration tools and another way of keeping everyone on the same page. Slack is searchable, making any information you’ve entered easily retrievable. In addition, Slack is integrated with many of the tools you might already be using, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, MailChimp and Zendesk. These and other features make team communication via Slack much more efficient than with email.
These are just a few of the wide range of apps that will help you manage your out-of-office employees. I recommend taking a look at what’s on offer and thinking about which one you think you will enjoy using. This is easy to do with free trials, and some apps remain free to use. For an app to help your business to grow, you and your team need to be using it. Do your research and choose wisely!