The way we work is steadily changing; traditional 9-5 jobs are turning to flex hours and workstations are wherever you can bring a smart device. If you aren’t already part of the flex work movement, with about 29% of full time employees having flexible work schedules, it probably won’t be long until your organization taps into this opportunity.
Flex work options are in high demand, as both an attraction and retention incentive. Be sure that your managers are set up for managing these flex teams successfully. Here are the 5 must-have tools for the best management of flex work teams.
Flex workers aren’t always in the office at the same time, nor will an entire team likely work the same hours, in or out of the office. This means that they need an effective way to keep the lines of communication open. Social collaboration tools like Yammer or Hall have become wildly popular because they let teams effectively communicate, and add a very important social element.
The user interface of these social collaboration tools is much like Facebook. Team members can share work, make comments, upload files and have private conversations. You can even start hashtags and tag specific members. The key here is that everyone stays in the loop on any smart device, on a secure platform. Teams are no longer bound to their desks.
The most popular file sharing service is probably going to be Dropbox. Again, workers are allowed the freedom of having access to important files wherever they go, on a secure platform. Dropbox for business allows you to set specific admin controls, they offer dedicated support and a ton of cloud space.
One issue to be aware of though is that with multiple users, your Dropbox can go Jumanji on you quite quickly. 58% of employees waste an hour each day simply trying to locate information that they need to do their job. Create guidelines about sharing and saving in Dropbox, and assign a member to cleaning/organizing duty at least once a month.
These are different from social collaboration tools in that they are designed to be your step-by-step virtual project manager. There are quite a few on the market, but we’ve used Asana and we were pretty impressed.
You can create templates for duplicate projects, or set up to-do lists with assigned steps. Members can see exactly what stage of the project each member is on. Think of this as your bird’s eye view of the many moving parts that projects require. Managers can better allocate resources, prioritize tasks, track performance and gauge accountability.
If your conference call service doesn’t allow you to record your calls, you just don’t know what you’re missing. The average conference call lasts about 27 minutes. A whole lot of information is crammed into that amount of time –did you catch all that?
With recorded calls, you can spend less time jotting down notes furiously, and more time participating in the actual call, because you can always review later. Furthermore, if someone can’t make a call, the recording can be shared with them, and voila!, they’re up to speed.
Last but certainly not least, psychometric assessments are absolutely key to building and maintaining lasting, and successful teams. This is a workforce science that can be used to understand team dynamics on a personal level. Leaders can gather real data with short, simple tests on motivators, preferred work environments and even the right management style for each team member. Managers can also use these assessments to discover how their own work/management style affects their team.
With 80% of employers planning to increase the flexible workforce, it’s time to learn how to support and facilitate remote and flex workers. It is management’s job to set these workers up for success, and the right tools are a huge part of that team building equation.