With all the craziness going on around the world and companies forced to layoff employees, downsize or work from home, those who have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) are shining and those who do not, well, are struggling to survive and make last-minute decisions to adapt.
Life has changed a lot over the course of a few weeks. Global companies scrambled to create remote-work practices for employees to keep their productivity high. Having a team that can do their tasks and works from anywhere is extremely important, as it allows you to be redundant and eliminate single points of failure. I am going to share with you our experience of managing our global team in 5 different time zones and 6 different countries.
A strong business management platform
To start off with, we are using a business management or Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) tool instead of having 6 or 7 separate solutions. For this, we use Utiliko because it is very powerful, very easy to use and it also has nearly everything that we need in one platform. This is extremely important because all of our data is managed in one platform and it is the start of everything for working remotely. Utiliko is, of course, cloud-based so our users are able to access it from anywhere. Notice that I said users because we give access to our vendors and subcontractors as well.
- Time Tracking
The most important function that allows us to manage a remote team is TIME TRACKING. Every employee clocks in and out at the beginning and end of their shift, however, they also start and stop timers when they are working on a task , project, ticket, etc.․
Due to this, we have clear visibility on how many hours the employee worked and most importantly what they were doing during that time. This also allows us to GPS track all field technicians and employees as well.
Utiliko’s combined toolbox of CRM, Support, Project Management, Email and Accounting into one platform makes it super simple to add employees, train them and remove access when an employee is terminating. This is another major issue since we do not have to create multiple logins for each employee and have them use multiple tools and pay for multiple services.
So now that we have some metrics to measure employee time and productivity, we also use HubStaff to monitor the desktop screens and ensure productivity from another angle as well.
This is a multi-fold solution that needs to be taken into consideration because you want to have tools that allow you to communicate with your clients as well as your team.
We use our own VoIP platform since we are a telephone company and this allows us to connect all of our employees globally into a single phone system, be able to route calls for sales, support, customer service and accounting to different geographical regions as needed. A robust VoIP system is crucial to the seamless integration of the team so that your customers do not feel the difference between remote employees vs in-office employees.
Team communication is the next step and for this, we have opted to use Skype because of functionalities such as basic one-to-one chat, screen share, voice/video calls as well as ability to create groups for each department, i.e. support team, customer service, accounting, sales, etc.․ This is a crucial tool to help us communicate effectively among our team members, share files and information.
A robust Remote Desktop option
When you have employees working remotely, one of the biggest concerns is security, how do you manage data, passwords, files to ensure you are not exposing the company and taking on risk when an employee goes rogue. We use a password manager for this purpose and only provide the master password to management. We provide a remote desktop to each employee where they log into and do the majority of their work including the secured access information. When an employee is using their DaaS system, it’s like they are sitting in our office in front of their physical PC and this allows us to tighten the network security, provide permissions to disable copying of files and sharing passwords. This also makes it very easy to remove an employee and cut their access because there are only 2 places we have to disable their access: Utiliko and DaaS.