Growing Your Design Business? 5 Tools To Support Remote Employees

Are you considering hiring remote employees to simplify your expenses while you scale your design business? It’s predicted that by 2020, at least half of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely. A remote team makes sense; it significantly reduces overhead and allows you to hire talented employees regardless of where they live.

If a remote workforce is what you’re aiming for, you need a foundation that will support your team as your company grows. Here are some collaboration tools that will help:

1. On-demand training and course material

Remote employees don’t have the luxury of strolling into the office for a training session. Most remote employees don’t even live near the business headquarters. Even when remote employees are local, you may not have a physical office or access to a private conference room.

To support a remote team, you need to make training materials available on-demand to all team members. This might include creating a curriculum of design courses to complete on Coursera. Or, providing access to paid courses on websites like Udemy. You could also record training sessions and upload them to YouTube.

The benefit to requiring remote employees to complete a curriculum using course websites is you don’t need to create the content. You just need to find the courses that teach them what you want them to know.

Your remote employees will come to you with specific skills, but that doesn’t mean they should stop learning. To grow your design business, make sure all your employees are continually growing in knowledge and skill.

2. VoIP phone service

Voice over IP phone service is more than just a way of making phone calls over the internet. A good VoIP service provides advanced features that make it easier to manage a remote team. For instance, sipVine – a VoIP solution for small businesses – provides the following services:

– Synced messaging. Your remote team will receive voicemails and faxes by email. No matter how communication is taking place, they’ll be in the loop wherever they are.

– A virtual office. With VoIP, employees don’t need to be in the office to be connected to the company phone system. For instance, say you don’t have a physical office. You can install a VoIP service in your home office and still allow remote employees to access it.

– Conference calling. No need to tether cell phones or find someone else to initiate conference calls between you and your remote employees. VoIP from sipVine has that covered.

– An automated attendant. When clients or customers call your business, you can automatically route those calls to the appropriate employee no matter where they are.

You can’t do any of that with a landline. If you have remote employees, it’s crucial that you get VoIP phone service to support your daily operations.

3. GitHub

GitHub is perfect for team collaboration on development projects that include code. GitHub makes it easy to create a repository for each of your projects. You can upload any files you want including images, videos, spreadsheets, and more. Create branches to work on different versions of a repository, and keep track of all changes and reasons for those changes.

You might not be a coder, but your remote employees who are coding will appreciate you supporting their use of GitHub.

4. InVision

InVision is a comprehensive suite of design software that allows real-time collaboration. It’s one of the best ways to manage your remote team’s workflow.

Create interactive prototypes, and use the Freehand feature to create sketches and generate instant feedback on works in progress. With InVision, you don’t have to wait until someone is done with an idea before viewing it. You can also use the Boards feature to share goals, ideas, and generate inspiration.

As designs evolve, everyone on the team is able to watch the progression and stay up-to-date. Seeing the evolution of a design in real-time from all angles keeps team members aligned with the project.

5. Binfire

Binfire is a virtual office specifically designed for remote teams to increase accountability and enhance collaboration. It allows teams to collaborate using your preferred project management approach. Whether you prefer the traditional WBS, Agile, or Hybrid project management methodology, Binfire supports it all.

The virtual office gives employees access to interactive Gantt charts, a message board, real-time chat, an interactive whiteboard, and a comprehensive document management system.

Use what works

These are just five tools that will support your remote employees in staying organized and completing projects. There are some overlaps in features, so test them out and see what works best for you. At the end of the day, use the tools that keep your team engaged and help them to produce their best work.

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