Tools & Tricks for Building Remote Teams

At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival, Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg, co-founders of Leverage and self-proclaimed “productivity geeks,” spoke with Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, about the future of work. Their consensus? The remote workplace will continue to grow in popularity and prominence, since remote work affords the ultimate in flexibility, innovation, and value to both employees and the businesses. In addition, outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants or remote employees will continue to be an important way to streamline your business life, personal life, and truly maximize your time.

The biggest benefit of a remote workplace? There are no limits on your team’s talent base, regardless of whether you’re based in North Dakota or New Jersey.  “Having an office limits your ability to get good talent. If you have the right tools and processes in place there’s really no reason why you need to work in person,” Nick said. Another benefit of a remote workplace? Allowing for a more flexible schedule allows people to follow their own unique work styles and optimal schedules. The result? Improved energy levels and efficiency from employees, who know when and how they work best Although the benefits of a remote workplace are numerous, many worry about a disconnect or lack of motivation between team members. However, there are a variety of tools and tricks available to remote teams who want to build a communicative culture.

To build your remote workplace, try these tools:

  1. Real-time Messaging Tools – Although Slack is probably the most popular, there are plenty of other online messaging tools your team members can use to stay in touch with each other. Ari and Nick also use a chatbot called Doughnut that randomly connects two team members together, so they can start conversation on Slack and get to know each other, even if they never would have chatted otherwise.
  2. Video Conference Calls – Certain video tools allow you to record beforehand – so your fellow employees can watch a message or memo at their own leisure, instead of being forced into a call. (Check out some video conference tools here.)
  3. Online Project Management Systems – Keep track of assignments and due dates with management boards like Trello, Asana, or another similar system.

And, when all else fails, remember Nick’s mantra: “The simplest approach is usually the right one.”

Not ready for remote work, but ready to try outsourcing some tasks? Start here:

  1. Assess your current life – There are two main categories where people tend to outsource tasks, their personal life and their business life.
  2. View your current tasks in either a positive or negative viewpoint. First, try the Negative Viewpoint: What tasks do you do on a daily basis? A weekly basis? What are the tasks you don’t enjoy doing? What some tasks you wish you didn’t have to do? Your answers to these questions can help you determine repetitive tasks you could outsource to someone else, or automate. Next, test out the Positive Viewpoint: Think about something you’ve accomplished in the last month or quarter. Why was this accomplishment important? And what is the next step to moving that forward? Your answer to these questions will show you your bigger goals – and smaller tasks you can jettison to get to the next big win.
  3. You’ve pinpointed areas where you need help and tasks you could turn over to someone else.  Great! Now, it’s time to outsource those tasks!

Watch highlight’s from Ari and Nick’s talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival here:

Want to hear more about outsourcing tasks and remote work?  Sign up for a complimentary Propelify Insider membership and receive future access to our library of incredible content and talks from innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurial geniuses like Al Gore, Divyank Turakhia, Arianna Huffington, Jason Fiefer, Marcus Weldon and more.

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