Webcams and other
video platforms help
ensure that remote
workers can see
and vice versa.
Tools That Bind
Remote employees and their manag-
ers can both struggle with feeling out of
touch. While supervisors may want some
proof—or reassurance—that employees
are actually working, virtual workers
worry about being “out of sight, out of
mind.” To alleviate such fears, provide
support tools to virtual teams to make
sure each individual member is in the
In the absence of the kind of water-
cooler conversations that routinely take
place in a traditional workplace, teams
can find ways to replicate that experi-
ence virtually. Zapier, a distributed soft-
ware company, fosters connectedness
with weekly virtual “hangouts” where
team members get together just to talk.
The company also has a “Pair Buddies”
program that randomly pairs teammates
for a 10- to 15-minute phone call to
enhance a sense of connectedness.
Many organizations hold regularly
scheduled team meetings using Web-
based solutions to keep remote workers
from feeling alienated and disconnected.
For example, GrooveHQ has regular
Monday morning “kickoffs” that are
a combination of chit-chat about the
weekend and discussions about priorities
for the upcoming week. Similarly, the
team ends the workweek on Fridays with
a 30-minute virtual meeting to recap the
week’s happenings and share customer
Teleconferencing alone may not be
adequate to keep remote workers connected. Managers should use webcams
as well as other video platforms to
ensure that remote workers can see their
co-workers, and vice versa. Managers
can also provide short text and video
messages to give them immediate feedback and recognition.
As you help your leadership team
think through the options, you will find
that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Determining the best strategy for your
remote workforce depends on your company’s business model, its culture, and
employees’ needs and attributes.
Arlene S. Hirsch is a career counselor and
author based in Chicago.
Tech Tools for Remote Teams
Here are seven tools recommended by GrooveHQ founder and CEO Alex Turnbull
that his remote workforce uses to stay connected and productive:
Slack ( slack.com)
Turnbull describes this team chat app as his
company’s “headquarters.” His workforce
uses it to brainstorm, ask questions, share
files, compare notes and more.
Zoom ( zoom.us)
GrooveHQ uses this videoconferencing,
Web-conferencing and screen-sharing tool
for daily team meetings, as well as for one-off
calls throughout the day.
World Time Buddy ( worldtimebuddy.com)
Want to schedule a conference call with
Suzie in South Africa and Delores in Duluth?
This tool allows workers in dispersed loca-
tions to find optimum times to schedule calls
and collaboration sessions across time zones.
Trello ( trello.com)
This project management solution helps
workers stay on top of important deadlines.
It can be used to track individual tasks that
need attention or to manage multiperson
Teamweek ( teamweek.com)
This platform provides an “at a glance” view
of what everyone on the team is working on,
giving users a high-level perspective on the
Groove ( groovehq.com/overview)
A customer support collaboration tool made
by Turnbull’s company, this solution enables
teams to exchange private notes (that cus-
tomers can’t see) on support tickets.
Google Drive ( www.google.com/drive)
Google’s document repository is collabora-
tive, easily organizable and instantly search-
able with practically unlimited storage.