Working remotely comes with a host of benefits: no commute, money saved on wardrobe and food purchases, and a flexible schedule. However, it also brings some challenges. Perhaps chief among these is employee engagement. Remote workers are more likely to feel left out of goings-on at the office, according to a recent study, and many remote workers cite loneliness among their top challenges.
Luckily, there's an app (many, really) for that. Use the following mobile applications in your workplace to create an inclusive environment that knows no physical boundaries and will help keep your employees -- remote and onsite alike -- engaged.
Yammer bills itself as social networking for businesses, and that's a pretty accurate description. Built with collaboration in mind, Yammer features include time tracking and budget and project management. Since it's owned by Microsoft, it's already baked into your Office 365 suite, if you have one, so all you need to do to get started is sign in using your work email.
With Yammer's interface and ease-of-use similarities to Facebook, chances are your team will find it pretty intuitive. Share photos, send private messages, schedule Outlook meetings, start a Skype call -- all from within Yammer, on the app. Your remote employees will feel and have the opportunity to be as included as anyone in the office.
Perhaps the best-known and most popular collaboration app available, Slack's app has it all: the ability to share files, integrate email and video chat, and much more. It allows projects or clients to be organized into "channels" to which employees can be invited so they can keep track of, view, search, and contribute to content relevant to them and their work. The best part, for those looking to dip their company toe in, so to speak, is that there's a free version to get you started.
Though we're supposed to do it weekly, biweekly or even daily, we all frequently forget to enter our hours into time-management software. For those who work remotely, this task can be even easier to forget. On top of that, a lot of time- and client-management software is clunky and less than intuitive, making the whole process even more cumbersome. Enter TimeDoctor. While some may bristle at the time-tracking software's ability to intermittently screen-capture employee desktop or laptop images, the tool also breaks down for the user how much time they're spending on every task, which is excellent for self-review purposes. Plus, the app gets consistently high ratings from employees for its user-friendliness. That's invaluable for on-the-go remote workers.
15Five is all about worker performance, which often translates directly to engagement. With weekly check-ins, the ability to give digital "High Fives" for work well done and the 15Five "Best-Self Review," the whole point of this software is to ensure that workers stay part of the team, and that makes it a perfect fit for offsite workers. Create and meet goals for yourself and the people you manage, request and receive peer reviews, and easily send reminders -- all from a single dashboard. Pricing starts at just $7 a person per month.
Google Drive is free, easy to use, and collaboration-friendly; what could be better suited to remote workers? Use it on iOS or Android and easily see, make real-time changes to, and share documents right from your phone. It'll be just like you're in the office.
Even remote workers need a chic, centrally located office space to hang their hat every now and again. In and around DC, try Metro Offices, the leader in shared, virtual and flex office space for more than 25 years. Browse our locations today!