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How to Thrive in a Remote Work Environment

Is this your first time working from home, or managing a remote team? We see tech companies and startups brag all the time about distributed teams and remote work, but for a logistics-based company, that’s often easier said than done. Here we list a few tools that you can use to collaborate more effectively, depending on your needs.

Real-time Communication

The need for up-to-speed messaging and communication is real–especially in times of crisis. So how can you keep in touch with your team without sending thousands of emails?

Slack

Slack is a messaging tool that allows you to separate conversations into “channels” (they work like folders), and keep in touch with your team. What started as a chat tool for startups, this platform has become an extremely robust communication tool–and it’s free (paid versions are available)! If you want to try it before you introduce anybody else to Slack, you can join the FCBF channel here.

WhatsApp

While many of us use WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family all around the world, it can also serve as a tool for business. By creating dedicated groups on the app, you can keep in touch with your team no matter where they are. One idea might be to create several groups, organizing them by department (i.e., “FCBF – Operations”, “FCBF – Warehouse”, “FCBF – Imports” etc).

This mobile app is free to download and offers end-to-end message encryption–a highly coveted feature when you are sharing potentially sensitive information.

File Sharing

Yes, many companies have dedicated file servers and on-premise installations of certain software and files. And due to privacy concerns and client privilege, sometimes it needs to stay that way. But think about all of the other information that we share on a day-to-day basis that can be kept digitally to ensure team members can access it anywhere. This includes the relationship you have with your clients, sales documents and tools, and other templates and resources that need to be seen by more than one person.

CRM (Client Relationship Management)

How do you keep up with your clients and their latest needs? Consider moving your client “database” to a cloud-based management platform, where you can see what’s happening with your clients wherever you are. At FCBF, we use a free platform called Hubspot, that meets our needs internally. Other companies may use Salesforce, Zendesk, Base, or any other tool. The point here isn’t about which one you use; it’s about the processes you manage with it. Most of these tools will allow you to track your conversations with your clients, understand your sales process, and gauge who might need to be re-engaged. Let’s face it – we are all selling something at the end of the day.

Document Repository

Do you have templates, letters, brochures, and other documents that you find yourself constantly emailing back and forth? The fix for this is relatively simple–Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and others are built to keep the latest version of a document at the forefront so your team can access the latest changes without having to send an email to ask about it. You can control access to these as well, so if you have a pricing sheet that only a few members of your team need to see, or a contract that only needs to be shared with the account manager, you can accomplish that pretty easily.

What other tools are you using/discovering to enhance the way you work?

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