Managing one or two remote workers can be difficult enough–never mind an entire team of virtual employees! Whether it’s for a short period of time or a long-term work situation, virtual teams are becoming a more common occurrence in the modern workplace. There are many benefits for both the team members and the employer, such as less time spent traveling to meetings and a reduced commute for employees. However, virtual work needs to be monitored closely to ensure quality and productivity. There are a number of available tools that make this task much easier.

1.  UberConference: UberConference is a hit among virtual workers and those who manage them. The rich interface is actually quite easy to use, and provides virtual workers with a number of tools and resources they need to easily complete a remote work assignment. This is a good option for those who need to participate in remote conference calls, as it allows workers to easily connect to and chat with others. Examples of what remote workers can expect with this program are the ability to mute a noisy caller, dial another person in (even after the call has started), and much more. Getting a call scheduled and started among virtual workers isn’t always easy, but UberConference makes the task much more manageable. For example, you can choose to call in or have the program call you. In addition, it works with everything from smart phones to flip phones as well as land lines. You can also text chat with guests one-on-one and even see their social profile.

2.   Webcams: With the amount of technology and programs available today, having webcams on a list of tools to manage virtual teams may seem a bit odd at first. However, webcams are simple and effective, and are pretty cost effective. This means that virtual workers from around the world can access webcams and use them to communicate when necessary. A webcam allows team members to see each other during calls and to participate in video chat programs. In addition, this simple tool helps virtual team members feel more connected to one another. It is best to get high definition webcams if your team will be using them often, as the overall picture and sound quality is much better.

3.  Basecamp: Although Basecamp is very functional and has a lot to offer, the cloud based project management tool is also quite easy to use. Some of the highlights of this program include the ability to streamline projects and task management. One of the main problems in managing a remote team is that you don’t always have access to one convenient place to store information. Basecamp makes it much easier to stay connected to various members of the team by providing a single place to store any and all work-related documents, files, log-in information, calendars, and much more.

4.  SnagIt: This is a good platform for virtual teams to use for a number of reasons. One of the downfalls of working remotely is that you don’t always have access to information such as flow charts and diagrams, and, more often than not, someone has to try to explain them over the phone or through email. With SnagIt, virtual workers have the ability to share screenshots or screen casts. To make the process easier, the program offers a number of different annotation tools, which allows key items to be highlighted along the way. Another notable feature is that work links are automatically copied to the clipboard you are using, which allows you to go back and review them later or to send the information on to coworkers.

5. Skype: Skype offers a fun and convenient way for virtual workers to keep in touch. This service is available for virtual workers who want to connect with no additional charge. Once they are connected, the workers will have access to voice, video, and text chat features. A group call enables up to nine team members to have valuable face-to-face time, as long as everyone on the call has a working and capable internet connection. Sessions can even be recorded for future reference. 

Staying connected to a remote team isn’t always easy. This is especially true with larger teams or with teams that have workers stationed in different time zones. From meetings to projects to quick assignments, every task needs to be dealt with as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, a number of tools and programs are available to make the work day go much more smoothly. Many programs take away the anxiety and the unknown when virtual workers are unable to meet face to face, offering an effective form of communication for workers.