Last updated on September 23, 2016
Did you know that around 53 million Americans are freelancers? These are the stats according to an independent study commissioned by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk.
The figure makes up around 34% of the entire working population. That too only in the United States. Let’s not forget the figures only talk about freelancers, and not the professionals who may be full-time employees, but choose to work from home. If we also take all those people into account, the total number of remote workers will go even higher.
It’s safe to say that we are slowly kissing the traditional 9-5 work routine goodbye and entering a new era that is heavily focused on remote work. This new work era is both exciting, independent, and full of potential.
But, like everything in life, it’s not without its challenges. It’s only natural that employers and employees both face a lot of problems because of the mere fact that everyone is working from completely unfamiliar locations.
The biggest challenge of working remotely is the difficulty in communication because people are not physically present in the same location. Let’s also take into account the possible scenarios where one person accidentally ends up sending a wrong file to the someone and other similar situations. Instances where remote teams are unclear of the project goals, milestones and objectives are also not uncommon.
The trouble of keeping people on the same page along with all the stress of getting the project done on time can sometimes be quite stressful.
So, what’s the solution?
Good news is – that the rise in popularity of remote work has also resulted in the rise of project management software. Take a look at how these tools can help remote workers combat the challenges they typically face –
- Eliminate messy email threads
Why send emails to assign a task or to inform someone about a decision? Emails are time consuming; not to mention they lack a lot of collaborative and organizational features. You cannot set a due date for a task in email. There’s also no way to track the project progress or how far teams have come without first going through an arduous process. These are just a few of the features that emails lack. Let’s not forget that after a while, you are dealing with a clutter of email threads that are hard to navigate through.
Project management software offer all the features that emails lack and loads more. Once the software is up and running, you can assign as many tasks as you want to different people without getting lost in a sea of emails. All the task details are right there in just one window. Got files to store? Store it in the tool. Want to assess productivity? Use the timer. Want to analyse progress? There’s gantt chart for you. The functionalities are endless!
- Keep everybody on the same page
Someone who is overseeing and managing a remote team may know the ins and outs of the project. But, what about team members? How are they to know what other teammates are up to? Teams need that info to stay coordinated. Project management software imparts that awareness and fosters transparency in work. This boosts synchronicity in team efforts. There will no longer be situations where people are working on entirely different tasks that are totally unrelated and out of sync. Management tools come handy in keeping people on the same page.
- Quick approval
Do you work remotely as a designer? Or a writer? Do you belong to the line of creative professionals? If yes, then management software can speed up the approval process. Perhaps you cannot use your piece of writing or a design sample until it’s approved by the manager or the client. What should you do to get that approval? Don’t send emails if you want to avoid getting puzzled. Upload the file in the tool, invite the relevant people, and start the reviewing process without the complexities of a never-ending email volleyball.
- Eliminating the roadblocks of collaboration
Working together is not a challenge when everyone is within close proximity of one another. But, collaboration becomes a challenge with dispersed team members. What is everyone up to? How much time is everybody taking to finish tasks? Are they aware of tasks on priority? Do people have access to files, data, reports, and other information? Where should people look for that information? Answer: a project management tool. With this software, remote workers will no longer depend on the guessing game for details. They know exactly where to go looking for the answers to all their questions and doubts.
It’s hard to sum up all the ways in which a project management tool has the potential to make work life of remote workers easy. Above-mentioned were just a few of those.
All and all, project management software bring people together. It provides them with an environment that supports interaction, collaboration, and progress all the while combating the challenges of remote work. So, are you ready to try one for your team?