The Nitty-gritty of Managing Remote Workers in The Digital Space

As Clay Shirky mentions in his bestseller ‘Here Comes Everybody’, the corporate society is getting more and more nuclear, and as an outcome, collaborative production and collection action without the barrier of a place have come into being. Especially, in the digital marketing space, as we uncover the newer freelancing trends for 2016 and beyond, we are moving closer to getting nuclear as in remote, distributed workforces made of freelance and independent workers.

It’s been quite some time since we paved our way in remote work culture, here at e-Intelligence.in. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we provide a comprehensive range of services and solutions. We are a 100 plus people team today as against a two-men company when we started almost a decade back. The most fascinating part about working with the remote professionals was that we could attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in our office location.

The top three pros of working with a remote team, as per our experience are:

#1 An easy access to skill sets that are not represented in our area easily. We can get to work with the right people for our needs.

#2 Remote workers from different time zones help in maximizing our ability to ensure that productive work is occurring all hours of the day.

#3 Cost benefits in terms of relief from fixed salary or pay and hiring on a contractual basis.

And on the other hand, these are the top three cons:

#1 The remote workers take a bit longer time in training and turnover as against the in-house team.

#2 A window for miscommunication due to the Internet as most of the interactions occur via email or web chat.

#3 When working with experts from other cultures, then sometimes language barriers, but this is quite rare.

Here are the top three challenges we face while working with remote staff:

#1 As mention above, communication gaps or breakdowns need to be managed well.

#2 If there is no regular communication, then the remote work may lose connection and then his/her motivation may drop.

#3 Sometimes the absence of the water cooler conversations; and this is usually where the personal rapport builds and sharing occurs.

The best tools that we can suggest for working with and managing a remote digital marketing worker are:

#1 Project Collaboration and Management tools such as Asana that helps us in keeping in constant touch with our remote team and know the status of their tasks.

#2 Time tracking tools such as Toggl that will help record their work activities and hours.

#3 To-do list tools such as Evernote that help in keeping all the information and research collateral in one place.

#4 Cloud document tools such as Google Apps that help you do almost everything.

#5 Skype, Hangouts and other chat and calling tools that help keep communications intact.

#6 MySammy and other similar tools help in keeping a tab on the remote worker’s productivity levels by displaying a bar graph.

#7 And of course Emails! What would we do without ‘em?!