Top Tips on Managing Remote Projects
When working remotely, one of the biggest hurdles to cross is managing your projects efficiently.
The rise of remote work during the pandemic doesn’t need a particular elaboration. We can see the reasons for it all too clearly anywhere we look. However, did you know that remote work was a rising trend even before the current crisis?
Exactly how important it is can be best demonstrated in the current rush to create specific visas aimed at freelancers and digital nomads on a global basis. At the moment this article is being written, the following countries, among others, have set up special visa programs for remote workers:
- Costa Rica
- Cayman Islands
- Antigua & Barbuda
And that’s not even taking tax exclusions into account!
Why is this important?
Well, for starters, it shows that the trend will rise dramatically, providing benefits to both parties — the countries offering visas and the workers looking for better benefits. Croatia, for example, is offering zero taxes in the first year. Of course, the pandemic is another factor to consider. With the world's economies and manufacturing processes facing considerable challenges, every country is trying to attract additional capital.
So, why is this important for you?
While it may not be immediately apparent, this practice goes to show that trends in how work is being performed are set for a dramatic change. Jumping on the bandwagon sooner rather than later provides the countries offering benefits a greater choice. On the other hand, it also provides remote workers with a chance of their lifetime — to live wherever they want while taking their work with them, literally.
Now, some people are better at working remotely than others, chiefly because experience comes with time. Let’s see how everyone can learn to manage remote projects efficiently and optimize their performance in the future.
Invest Yourself Into the Tools You’ll Need Long-Term
Communication remains crucial when it comes to remote work, regardless of whether you’re a freelancer, project worker or regular office worker (turned remote worker).
Using the right apps and testing tools (and properly familiarizing yourself with them thereby) is, in that sense, crucial.
- Task Management - Currently, the most popular choices include Asana and Trello.
- Communication - Currently, the most popular choices include Zoom, Slack, Skype, Google Meet and MS Team.
- Document Management - Currently, the most popular choices include OneDrive and Google Drive.
Even though new, improved tools will keep on emerging, knowing the current ones will suffice to help you adapt fast to the new ones, so take your time familiarizing yourself with them.
Keep Communication Alive
As mentioned above, communication is key for remote workers (and we’d argue it’s key for office workers, too, but let’s not expand too much). That’s why knowing online communication tools is crucial, after all.
Well, leaving meetings and gatherings aside, you’ll also need to communicate with single people, depending on your work routine. Instant messengers (IM) are usually the best choice, so pick the one that suits you best.
Secondly, people working on a project need separate communication channels (Asana offers a good solution for this). Finally, online communication can lead to misunderstandings (especially IM, since you won’t be able to see the collectors), so it’s important to set up proper channels to deal with the issues before they go out of hand.
Share Updates About Tasks
For teams working on a single task, it is necessary to share updates regularly. As already mentioned, a separate channel should be used for this purpose.
There are other ways, too. For example, some businesses practice daily briefings or message threads to help the participants keep up with the developments.
Another extremely important aspect of remote work is online sharing. Access to documents and any other resources needed for the work are best shared via some of the document-management tools. The usual choice for many is Google Drive, but there are also other options to consider.
Expectations and Reality
As ever, it is crucial to clearly communicate responsibilities, expectations, and desired outcomes across the board.
Unless you are a solo remote worker, you’ll need not only to keep updated about the team members’ progress on the project, but you’ll also need to know your role and goal.
Priorities should be outlined clearly and be made accessible to all team members. In some cases, setting milestones is also helpful.
Make Use of Templates
Finally, there’s the matter of incoming emails - the activity known for having people waste incredible amounts of time. By extension, every interruption takes some time to get back on the task at hand, resulting in a couple of hours being lost daily on this inefficient approach.
For workers who normally have to deal with large volumes of emails daily, this may seem insignificant, but there is actually a good way to optimize this, namely templates.
The majority of work-related emails can be grouped in a couple of categories and their importance also varies. It is essential to learn to prioritize and address only the emails requiring immediate attention straight away.
Templates do come in handy for all categories of messages. Do you know how all email clients allow you to use a pre-set signature?
Well, replies can be organized in a similar way. Make templates for each category of emails so that you don’t have to write endless variations all day long. Not only can this save you time, but it will also help you learn how to optimize other, similar tasks.
Remote projects are, in their essence, the same projects that employees would be working on from the office. The only difference is that communication is taking place online and that you can take a break whenever you need it. This may be a bit simplified, but the point is clear.
Remote work can be enormously enjoyable once you get used to your daily routine, but there are also other alternatives. Think about freelancers and per-project workers. The gig economy is witnessing a boom, leaving us with much more options than we ever thought were possible. It’s time to hop aboard and take advantage of it!
Angela Ash is a writer at heart, focusing on numerous topics related to business, productivity, mental health, travel and more. But, she also loves to edit, is addicted to HARO, and somehow finds time to write poetry and play the piano.