There’s no question that the right tools can make all the difference in working as part of a remote team. And that’s a good thing, since telecommuting is becoming more and more popular–about 3.5 million professionals already regularly work from home, and that figure is growing by about 12% per year. Marketing in general (and marketing staffing in particular) is a very open field for remote work; there are very few roles where a physical presence is absolutely critical (though there are plenty of instances where it may be preferable).
Part of remote work’s growing viability lies in the new technology, connectivity infrastructure, and tools that have emerged in recent years. They allow unprecedented ability to work from a home office or coffee shop without losing much of the collaboration you’d get in an office environment. Basic options like Google Docs, instant messaging services, and video conferencing can get anyone started, while more advanced options allow can nearly entirely eliminate most of the problems associated with remote marketing work.
If you’re considering, or are already engaged in, remote marketing staffing jobs, here’s a roundup of a few that can help to strengthen your effectiveness in a marketing team.
The appropriately-named Mural.ly enables you and your team to create murals for remote brainstorming and idea mapping. A working mural looks like a digital collage of sticky notes, YouTube videos, images and Microsoft Office docs.
Mural.ly was designed with creative staffing teams in mind, but its founders– game developers from Buenos Aires– indicate it’s for anyone who values interdisciplinary thinking.
Designed to mimic the way you use a browser, the web-based app Dashcube allows you to open projects and team conversations in tabs. The big idea behind the tool is to archive as much communication as possible in the system, cutting down on the amount of email coming at you from your scattered team. Perhaps the coolest feature of Dashcube is “replay.” If you’re ever away from your computer for a long time–whether for a business trip or vacation– you can hit “replay” to chronologically view the progress that took place on projects while you were gone.
Daily Update is an email service that helps you automate check-ins with members of your team on a daily or weekly basis. It reduces the hassle of trying to get in sync with multiple team members, especially if they’re also working remotely across several time zones. By default, Daily Update sends your team an email at 4 pm local time, asking them to briefly summarize their status. The information is aggregated, and the summary lands in your inbox every morning. As of publication, pricing is $4 per user per month.
Rather than gauge employee satisfaction with a survey once a year, TINYpulse (another email service) regularly monitors company morale through anonymous questionnaires. This is particularly invaluable if you’re in a management position. Every one to two weeks, your team receives an email that asks something like, “How valued do you feel at work?” The results offers a near real-time gauge of employee morale, and employees can view the data as well.
The tool comes from entrepreneur David Niu, who spent time abroad asking small business owners about the number one thing he could help them with. After learning it was employee retention, Niu’s answer to them was TINYpulse.
Trello, a web-based app, uses Post-it note-like visualization to help organize projects that you and the rest of your team are working on. You can use it to log your own personal to-dos or assign new tasks to others.
The free iOS and web app comes from Joel Spolsky, a prolific software developer who also helped to create programmer Q&A site Stack Exchange and software project management tool FogBugz.
See Trello in Action
This one is a veteran in the developer collaboration space. PivotalTracker project management software is an old favorite from web and mobile consultancy Pivotal Labs. PivotalTracker helps your team of engineers to prioritize and focus on “stories.” Stories are short descriptions of some functionality you’re trying implement in your software. Pivotal Labs built PivotalTracker in 2006 for its own developers, and since its 2008 public release it has been used by more than half a million people.
Pushpin Planner software gives you a bird’s eye-view of how your team is spending their time. Your team can report what they’re working on and for how long. Then you can see who has extra capacity to work on other assignments, or offer up your own when it’s available. The tool comes from Project Ricochet, a firm that specializes in Drupal development.
There are, of course, many other viable collaboration and remote work tools. Which ones do you use, and how effective are they? We’d love to hear your suggestions, experience and advice in the comments!
Article source: Inc.
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