Working out in the field can make teamwork tough. In the absence of face-to-face interaction there’s a lot that can be missed.
Thankfully, we live in a world now where mobile and cloud-based technology can help to bridge the gaps in communication and support greater collaboration.
In this post we’ll run through a few essential tools that will help managers overcome the physical limitations of mobile working, helping team members feel more connected and productive than ever.
1. Get the right devices
If your team is on the go a lot, they’re not going to be particularly productive if all they have to hand is a cell to make calls and a desktop computer sitting back at the office.
We’re in the 21st century guys! Technology means that we can bring our office with us, wherever we are.
Whether you decide to provide employees with the devices they need or operate a BYOD (bring your own device) kind of deal, make sure that every employee has a device that suits their work pattern – whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, laptop or all of the above.
2. Arm your team with mobile collaboration tools
Now having the right device is great but it means nothing if your team in the field can’t access the important work tools and information they need to do their job.
It’s important to keep the flow of information transparent so that members of the team know what’s going on at an individual level, at a team level and at a company level.
Having a central platform that each member of the team can check into, no matter what device they’re using, will enable employees to collaborate and keep track of tasks and schedules wherever they are.
Trello and Yammer are two industry-leading platforms that help to support great project management and team collaboration. For more day-to-day communication with colleagues, also check out Slack and HipChat.
3. Keep your team connected with regular virtual meetings
It’s a known fact that with any kind of teamwork, good communication is absolutely key.
If your team is remote or regularly working out in the field, you miss out on a lot of the behavioral cues that you get with regular face-to-face interactions. It’s for this reason that you really need to up the ante on communication and make sure crucial information isn’t lost between colleagues because they’re not in the office. It’s often best in these circumstances to over-communicate rather than under-communicate and discover that your team are misinterpreting or missing out on updates.
If it’s not easy to bring your team together for regular in-person meetings, there are a ton of tools out there that help to support virtual meetings. Google Hangouts, Appear.in or Skype are a few that support video calls on mobile (as well as web) and can help to inject that feeling of connectedness that’s often lost in your standard voice calls or phone conferences.
4. Speed up your sales with mobile invoicing and payments
For mobile teams, paperwork is the worst. It’s messy and it slows things down. And when it comes to invoicing, slowing things down is the last thing you want.
If your team in the field are responsible for taking payments from customers, a mobile invoicing and payments app will be central to speeding up your sales cycle and improving your cashflow.
InvoiceASAP is a mobile app designed specifically for businesses on the go. You can send and pay invoices and easily access all your customers, products and services in the cloud, wherever you are and with any device. If you already use an accounting platform like QuickBooks or Xero, it syncs your invoices and payments across too. RIP paperwork!
Unlike office-based teams, mobile teams have their own unique set of challenges which can make teamwork harder, but not impossible.
Managing a mobile team requires a digital toolset that will help to support the team rather than hold it back. By selecting business tools that work across multiple devices, you will ensure that you can cater to the needs of both your field-based employees as well as those back at the office.
Photo credit: © gpointstudio