For many of us, being out of the office means being out of our comfort zones but, as has been the case throughout our evolution, we need to adapt. Collaboration between team members in different towns, cities and even countries will be the new norm as the traditional concept of how, when and where we work has been altered forever.
During times of disruption, such as COVID-19, many industries have come to a halt, but if we look at areas such as media and communications, their work has arguably never been so important in order to keep the public informed with reliable information. Journalists and communications specialists have been tasked with the creation of publications and campaigns while working remotely and it has quickly become apparent the importance of technology and collaboration in order to streamline processes and for operations to become leaner.
According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report, effective communication is the most crucial success factor in the project management life cycle. They report that, on average, one out of five projects fail due to lack of communication between the project manager, team members, and stakeholders.
When group gatherings in meeting room two for brainstorming sessions or to track progress are no longer possible, companies must use the tools at their disposal. The needs of each team are unique, but there is now a wealth of resources available for projects of all shapes and sizes. Here, we highlight apps which can enhance paperless environments and these naturally fit well with remote project management, helping to boost efficiency, productivity and mobility:
1. To-Do List Apps allow you to easily rearrange tasks as priorities change and assign tasks to other people, receiving alerts once complete. With a to-do list app, you also get reminders of upcoming due dates and files can be uploaded and shared. There is complete transparency, allowing for managers to track progress, highlight bottlenecks and address problem areas. For projects, the ability to see real-time progress reports is invaluable. Popular examples of this type of app include Asana and Trello.
2. Scanning Apps are used to turn important paper documents into digital files. As opposed to the traditional way of printing and sending time-sensitive documents via postal services, documents can now be sent to be completed and signed by email in an instant. This not only improves turnaround times, but it also enhances security.
3. E-Signature Tools enable you to sign documents without printing them. Nowadays it is possible to sign most documents digitally. To do so, you need an app that lets you create a digital signature and apply it to files. This allows for contracts or legal documents to be signed remotely and quickly, saving time on postage – something which can take considerable time when delivery services are under increasing pressure.
4. Document-sharing tools are an alternative way to send digital documents through some other cloud-based service and are particularly useful for files too big to send via email. The ability to quickly share with other team members is essential when working on an important project remotely. Dropbox and Google Drive are two prime examples of this platform.
Apart from the platforms mentioned above, we also have vitial communication tools such as Zoom and Skype calls that allow us to have regular virtual face to face contact with team members. This has been identified as a crucial part of remote working in order to maintain human contact and team bonds. Group chats via the likes of Microsoft Teams enable us to solve doubts in seconds as well as providing regular updates to relevant parties. For remote projects, these communication tools can, quite simply, be the difference between success and failure.
There is little doubt regarding the fact that the success of remote projects, and remote working as a whole, will depend heavily on communication. In the digital age, companies are facing the challenge of leveraging new technologies while bringing their employees closer together, while overcoming physical distances. This will separate the disruptors from those who will eventually fall behind.
Businesses who develop a holistic and sustainable approach to remote working will stand the test of time. In this age, where resistance to change and new ways of working is still a considerable problem; those who create a culture of employees working alongside technology will yield the ultimate rewards.