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Tools for configuring remote office operation during the quarantine period

During a pandemic, in addition to emergency safety of human health, which is a universal quarantine for business the question arises: how to painlessly transfer your business to a remote “rails” for maximum benefit continue following their own strategic development plan in the looming crisis? In the new article, we will talk about tools that will help you set up remote work mode for employees during the quarantine period

Quarantine is a signal that has pushed the majority of owners to the inevitability of making tactical decisions, the effectiveness of which depends at least on the preservation of competitive advantages in the market, and therefore, the full capacity of the company and the people working in it.

It is impossible for owners to ignore the process of business transformation during the introduction of quarantine, this means to admit defeat in advance, if we consider that the business is a living organism with its own development cycles, ideally each of which is moving towards progress. We are forced to adapt to conduct business, accepting the changed external conditions, taking emergency measures, one of which is the transition of the office to remote management.

Remote employment is a form of employment in which an employee and employer are geographically distributed, located outside of a single office space, and interact with each other through information and communication technologies.

Remote management

The most suitable business areas for remote work are the following: marketing, advertising, sales, information technology, consulting, educational services, accounting, design, and others.

Before you switch to remote work mode, hold a meeting where you assign those responsible for communications, telephony, and document management, and determine the tools that you need to implement that are optimal for your business.

To organize and control the activities of remote employees, the following popular technologies are used: Internet telephony, corporate email, corporate chats in messengers, internal CRM, Skype, Zoom, Google Docs, EDO, and proprietary programs.

When selecting services for a remote team, it is important to consider:
ability to work together on files;
ability to store information;
access from any device and data synchronization (computer, laptop, smartphone);
ability to grant different levels of access to team members.

Document circulation

First of all, you need to choose a cloud service for storing and working with documents together.

Google Drive is the # 1 service for remote commands. Combines cloud storage for files and replacement of Microsoft office packages (tables, documents, presentations, forms). Allows you to create, collaborate on files, and share links with others for viewing, commenting, or editing. You can create folders and give access to individuals using e-mail. The service is absolutely free, you only buy gigabytes in cloud storage (up to 15 GB for free). To get your Google Drive, just register your email on gmail.com.

For large companies, there is a Google Suite. Includes: corporate email, 30 GB for storing disk files and Gmail for each user, round-the-clock real-time support, advanced administration functions, and other features.

Evernote is a service for organizing text notes online. It is very convenient for collecting preliminary information on articles, collecting ideas, and writing posts for social networks. You can work from your phone or computer.

Cloud storage

It is convenient when all documents and work files are stored on the Internet. Yandex cloud storage helps you do this, Mail.ru, Dropbox and others. Google Drive is also a similar storage. You only need to buy enough space.

Email

Through the mail it is important to send the most important documents: contracts, acts of acceptance of work. The sent email sort of “signs” and gives consent to perform actions. It is recommended that important actions between you and your employees/customers be recorded via e-mail.

It is highly undesirable for a remote employee to use their personal email for work purposes, since if you dismiss an employee, you will lose an important part of the correspondence with your clients.

Messengers, chats, and Skype

Team chats are a means of rapid communication between employees. It is important to choose a specific messenger, social network, or other communication tool. Examples: Whatsapp, Telegram.

The advantage of Telegtam is to create and use secret chats. You choose the most convenient for your communication.

Conference call

To maintain the working pace, discuss current Affairs, and control points, it is desirable to arrange systematic calls of the entire team or individual divisions. Here, choose a video call service where employees can see each other via video, communicate by voice, and record the current call. There are many free and paid services. Let’s look at the popular and effective ones.

Skype is a free service that allows you to arrange audio and video calls for small groups. You need a separate service for recording.

YouTube broadcasts allow you to create private rooms for groups to communicate. There is a chat, you can expand your screen or other program from your computer, you can record a conversation.

Proficonf is a simple and convenient service for conducting internal calls and even open webinars for a large number of people: up to 250 participants. Here access is simple: you send the call participants a link to log in to the virtual room. From reviews: this is the best tool for online networking, creates the effect of a live presence and at the same time has its own intelligence to manage the video stream with maximum quality. In addition, it is very profitable economically: $ 12-25 per month.

Zoom is a foreign service for conference calls. One of the disadvantages: to open a room, you need to download and install a file or app on your phone on your computer.

Project management

There are special services that help simplify and automate work for the team. They are called CRM (customer relationship management system) or project management systems. In my practice I used the following tools:

Trello is a service based on the Kanban system. It is convenient to work in small teams within one or two projects. I recommend this service to event organizers, freelancers, consultants, and other microbusinesses.

Asana is an intuitive interface where projects are detailed into tasks, subtasks, and tags. This is a service with a whole system of small tools that can replace almost any application for managing tasks, customer relationships, projects, and more. There is a mobile app and integration with third-party services: Dropbox, Slack, Box, Google Drive and Hipchat. You can attach documents to a specific issue and discuss details in the comments (chat) under the issue. The service only exists in the English version.

Wrike is a modern functional work organization service. Users of the product can plan projects, prioritize tasks, and track their progress. Thanks to the project management system, the service helps to increase the productivity of the enterprise and helps to set the right priorities. A huge “plus” of Wrike is that the company’s employees get the opportunity to interact with each other and work together on a project in a calm and free environment. At the same time, everyone can get an accurate picture of what is happening at any time and assess how the project is being worked on. Advantages-there is a Russian-language version and a free cost for teams of less than 15 people.

Bitrix24 is a great CRM for a remote team. It is especially good for those who are running several projects at the same time with different teams and different access levels of authority.

Gannt Pro is a service that allows you to create Gantt charts. Suitable for project management. It also now has an extension in the form of a “Kanban” Board, which simplifies the work and eliminates the need to search for additional services.

Other command tools

Canva is a service for creating creative and beautiful posts, letterheads, presentations, booklets without the skills of graphic design programs. There are many different templates, fonts, suitable photos. You can create a team account and store all your work in it.

Recruiting

In addition to the popular Skype for interviews, we suggest you try the video interview format as the first of the selection stages, using the service myinterview.com the job Candidate sends you a video greeting you and answering your questions about the job. The advantage of this video Dating for a recruiter is to make a quick decision about whether to invite the candidate to the next stage of the interview. The service doesn’t have a Russian adaptive, but the interface is extremely simple. A package for 250 responses and 5 vacancies costs $ 19 per month, while Russian counterparts cost 160 thousand rubles.

Thus, we have reviewed popular remote business tools that prove their effectiveness on a daily basis. The experience of most companies that work exclusively on the remote site shows that most employees choose the simplest services, the use of which is already familiar or intuitive. The problem of individual control of working time is solved in fact through messengers, and the setting of tasks is indicated directly in the CRM or internal corporate programs or services. Checking the working tone of the team is carried out at morning or afternoon meetings by conference call.

Based on our experience of remote work, we can confidently state the following:

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