The way we work is rapidly changing. Office hours are no longer restricted to a strict nine-to-five schedule, or to the walls of a cubicle.
What’s more, companies are realizing that co-location (a single office site with employees physically huddled together) is not the only way to achieve creativity, innovation and productive growth.
Remote working has become the new currency underlying the work structure of companies everywhere. Adobe, Dell, Amazon, Xerox, Zapier and, of course, the remote work pioneer Buffer have some or all of their workforce dispersed around the globe, helping them achieve their company vision with as much passion as a co-located team.
This trend is increasingly seeping into enterprises of all sizes.
Reports show that, globally, 70% of people work remotely at least once a week, with 53% working from home at least half of the week. *
Letting employees ditch the desk and work remotely comes with several perks, like lower overheads, less time commuting to and from work and increased productivity. As a side effect, you have happier employees who get to take advantage of a flexible work model that inspires autonomy. Also, with remote working as an option, employers don’t have to limit their team’s talent pool by geography.
Despite all these benefits, there’s still a little friction when it comes to fully embracing remote working as a company’s canonical work model, or even offering it as a part-time alternative. Most of the hesitation comes from misconceptions – the biggest being that team collaboration is somehow directly proportional to proximity.
For a workplace to run like a well-oiled machine, communication is everything. Especially when you’re collaborating on projects that contain deadlines for multiple deliverables.
In traditional office spaces, you can just walk over to your colleagues and ask for an update. Alternatively, you can call an impromptu meeting in the conference room and expect everyone to be there. However, when your colleagues are distributed across cities and countries, this is not a viable option.
Technology, however, is a great facilitator of breakthroughs. Powerful team collaboration tools exist that allow a dispersed workforce to communicate and collaborate in real time.
Gmelius is one such tool – effectively boosting collaboration among remote teams everywhere and unifying employees in a structured way so that nothing gets lost in confusion due to virtual distance.
Gmelius is a powerful CRM software that seamlessly integrates right into your Gmail inbox and G-Suite. It can be used to streamline and improve both external communication (with clients) or internal communication (within your remote teams). It contains sophisticated collaborative features that can be used by teams in businesses of all sizes.
Chaos tends to thrive in teams with no solid framework to give it structure. When working in a remote team, emails are the primary mode of communication; they’re where today’s and tomorrow’s tasks live. But tasks, like hopping on a phone call, attending a video call, responding to an email, or finishing a blog post, have a sense of intangibility, which can make it difficult for a team as a whole to visualize the progress. This is where our Kanban boards come in.
Kanban is a Japanese term that means signboard or visual board. It is a project management technique that helps teams visualize what needs to be done, as well as by when, by whom, and the status of the task.
Naturally, email is where most of the workflow related communication happens, and Gmelius helps you to turn every email into an action. If there is a customer inquiry, a complaint, or a new hire asking for assistance, you can convert each of those emails into a task, give them a deadline, and add them to your kanban board.
You can divide your board into as many columns or rows as you need, with each task being delegated to a specific person within your team.
The best part is that you can share your Kanban board with your whole team, or anyone in your team, by simply clicking ‘share’ and entering their email. You can create as many boards as you wish – for every phase of customer and project pipeline management.
For each task, you can set a priority tag, and move it to the next column as the work progresses.
Kanban boards are the best to-do lists and they’re great for giving your virtual team an overview of the project, along with a micro-perspective of the tasks that need to be done by them.
By designating each email to a specific member in your team, you make sure they’re only accountable for the tasks they’re responsible for.
Remote teams are often comprised of mini-teams– these are one or more people who are responsible for tasks of a specific nature, such as customer support, content creation, project management, and the like. Gmelius allows you to create subfolders within your inbox and label them according to their category.
If an email reaches your inbox, and it belongs in a subfolder, you’re simply required to drag and drop it into the appropriately labeled folder. These folders can be shared with any of your team members. For instance, the folder labeled as ‘Support’ can be shared exclusively with your support agents.
Shared labels are perfect for use on generic group email addresses like [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected], where you want the messages sent to each address to be synchronized with the inboxes of team members responsible for sales, support or recruitment respectively.
Every email that lands in your inbox has a message. Sometimes, it’s just passing information, while at other times it’s relaying a task that needs to be done.
Gmelius allows you to create personal notes for any email: Whether you’re summarizing important points, creating a list of tasks that need to be done, or you’re simply giving the message more context. You can then share the notes with anyone in your team using the @mention feature.
The cool thing about this feature is that these notes aren’t visible to the sender of the email; only the teammate(s) you choose to share the notes with will be able to see them. So if your support department receives a help request from a loyal customer, you can make a note for your support staff highlighting that the customer has been doing business with your company for a while. That way your agents know to prioritize that task. If there is any specific information that the agents need to know about this particular customer, you can add that to your notes, too.
With email notes, you no longer have to worry about manually forwarding an email to one or more team members. It’s a waste of time and creates unnecessary email clutter. With this feature, you can just tag relevant team members to relevant notes within the original email itself.
Gmelius has a bank of pre-made email templates that let you add uniformity to your team’s conversation with each other as well as with the clients. You can create your own template as well. Draft your email, save it as a template, and share it with the appropriate members of your team – all with the click of a few buttons.
Your remote team will love this feature because these templates will negate the need to type the same email over and over. They’ll save valuable time when dealing with scenarios like customer outreach, meeting requests, product introductions, and responses to frequently encountered support requests.
Plus, the benefits are multifold– Not only will your remote team be thankful for these pre-written templates, but your customers will also be delighted by the fast response. And guess what? You and your teammates can personalize these emails for each recipient, by their name or other information. That way the customers will never feel like they’re simply receiving an impersonal mass email.
Among other things, you can share email templates with your team and decrease the time your agents spend on each ticket, helping them resolve more support requests every day.
With a remote team, there are multiple factors to take into consideration– first, there are time zone differences, then there are the differences in personalities and the absence of body language cues… Cues that might otherwise help assess a colleague’s response to an email.
So when an email goes unanswered, you’re stuck guessing for reasons why it’s happening. Perhaps it never reached the recipient’s inbox, maybe it got skipped over, or maybe it was opened but ignored.
Gmelius allows you to track the status of an email and receive a detailed activity report including if it was opened – when, how many times it was opened and where your recipient was located when they did.
With desktop notifications on, you’ll also get a little, discrete pop-up notifying you that your email was just opened and read. With this information, you can send a perfectly timed follow-up email depending on how your recipient interacted with your message.
If you thought team collaboration within a remote team was a herculean task, Gmelius will have you believe otherwise.
Elegantly ingrained into your Gmail or G Suite inbox, Gmelius closes the gaps of internal and external communications, thereby bringing your remote closer together.
Gmelius’ sophisticated collaboration features streamline communications and bring order and accountability to each member of your team, regardless of which corner of the world they reside.
Gmelius helps your remote team feel like they are essential parts of the same puzzle – your company.