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    5 Tools to Help Your Workforce Work Remotely

    James McDonald

    Does your team conduct a lot of their work away from the office? Perhaps you manage a remote team that does almost all of their work elsewhere? Remote workers present challenges to facilities managers, but there are some excellent tools to empower your remote workers and make them as productive as those who stay in the office all day. Here are the best tools to help your workforce work remotely.

    1) Evernote

    There are a number of tools that will help your workforce work remotely

    Evernote accepts both typed and spoken notes and memos, and helps you organize and even share the notes and documents you create.

    Evernote allows you to take notes on the go, either by typing in the notes or speaking them into the voice recognition feature. It also helps you organize the notes, create documents, and is based in the cloud so that your Evernote notes are accessible from any device no matter where you go. Even if workers leave their laptop back home, they can power up a tablet or smartphone and pick up right where they left off. Evernote also has powerful sharing capabilities so that workers can collaborate with each other or keep the boss back home informed and up to date. Evernote and many of the Evernote plugins are free. There are, however, some paid plugins that can be useful for businesses.

    2) Skype

    Skype is a VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, system that allows you to turn any Internet connection into a voice phone line. Skype also has powerful instant messaging (or chat) capabilities, so even if you can't talk out loud (say your neighbor at the airport is sleeping), you can still communicate with virtually anyone else in the world who has Skype. Skype is like having a portable phone line even when you can't use your cell phone. Skype is free, though having a number that others can call you on does require a monthly fee. It is, however, a lot cheaper than a cell phone or landline number. For even more tips to communicate with remote teams more effectively, download the ”Productivity Handbook for Busy Facilities Managers.

    3) Google Docs

    Google Docs is like having a cloud-based Microsoft Office, including fully functional Excel spreadsheets, Word Documents, PowerPoint presentations, and more. The primary difference between Google Docs and Microsoft's cloud-based version of Office (called Office 365) is that all of the features and functionality of the real Office software is free on Google Docs. Microsoft's version requires payment for all but the basic features. Google Docs allows multiple users to upload their own Office files, access cloud-based versions of these files simultaneously, share and collaborate on files and documents, and more, all for free. With Google Docs and other tools, you can help your workforce can work more effectively no matter where they must travel.

    4) iOffice

    If you are a mobile worker, sometimes you need to be at home base either to collaborate with peers, work on a project, have meetings with other teams or just be inside of your company culture. It is critical to be able to easily engage your workspace to request space, services and assets on-the-fly. iOffice provides the leaders of the workspace the technology platform that allows the workforce to easily request and access these services via mobile apps. In addition, the tool immediately notifies FM operations of the requested services so resources are available when the worker needs them. The iOffice IWMS software also allows the FM leader to track worker trends and resources utilized so that the workspace is able to productively and cost effectively satisfy worker needs into the future.

    5) Airbnb

    What are your biggest challenges in managing a remote workforce?

    Airbnb can find alternatives to monotonous hotel rooms. Airbnb listings include properties in more than 190 countries around the world.

    Hotels get old when you're on the go for long periods of time. Airbnb gives the traveler a way to find alternative rental properties, such as a home, condo, duplex, or apartment. This is a wonderful break for the remote worker who needs a few nights to stretch their legs, wants to have some company over at a certain city, or would like a change of pace for a bit. Airbnb boasts more than 1,500,000 listings spread across 34,000 cities in 190 different nations around the world, so you're almost sure to find a property wherever you happen to be traveling.

    What are your biggest challenges in managing a team of remote workers? What tools do you use to overcome those challenges?

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    James McDonald

    James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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