How 5 Remote Teams Use Technology To Make Long Distance Work

Managing remote teams means getting creative with how you communicate–and using more virtual spaces to your advantage.

How 5 Remote Teams Use Technology To Make Long Distance Work
[Photo: Flickr user Eric Skiff]

It’s no secret that many businesses are tapping in to the advantages of having a remote workforce, some of which include higher revenue and employee engagement. In fact, the number of remote workers in the U.S. is expected to grow to 63 million by 2016 according to a Forrester Report.


If you want to ditch your own physical environment for daily teamwork, the only way to make this doable is to use the right technology.

Faced with an exhaustive list of apps and tools and methodologies to choose from, here’s how five remote teams have welcomed technology into their everyday communication and collaboration processes:

1. Buffer Uses HipChat And Jawbone

It seems as if the more miles are between these folks, the more personal they get. To get the communication flowing, the team at social media platform Buffer use the chat service Hipchat. It’s a place to discuss serious business matters, but also a place to post new band suggestions, celebrate special occasions, and share great client feedback.

But it doesn’t stop there; they also use the wearable Jawbone U to track and share their nightly sleep time and daily steps, another great way to stay connected and boost team spirit.

2. AgoraPulse Uses Weekdone

When Facebook management platform AgoraPulse was in the process of going remote, they needed to find a better solution than Google Docs to keep up with each other’s progress

So they started using Weekdone’s team status reports tool. This helps their team collaborate and get a quick overview of what anyone around the world is currently working on and what still needs to be taken care of. As they also have part-time employees who aren’t online every day of the week, status reports give them a clear overview what has been going on while they were away.


3. Zapier Uses Campfire And Sqwiggle

To create the feeling of a virtual office, webapp automation service Zapier uses group chat room Campfire. For this team, you’re not at work until you’re on Campfire. It’s a great platform for quick conversations and for sharing your prompt ideas.

But for increasing valuable face time, they use Swiggle, an always-on online workplace video chat room that takes a picture of you every eight seconds.

4. Foursquare Uses Always-On Video Conferencing

Foursquare’s bi-coastal team turned videoconferencing into an ongoing process with their always-on Cisco system. “The Portal,” as they call it, runs all day in the most crowded work area, which gives team members the opportunity to just walk up to the screen and see what people on the other side of the coast are doing.

5. iDoneThis Uses iDoneThis

To keep everyone happy, the team at email-based productivity log company iDoneThis focuses on aligning four crucial dimensions: company culture, productivity, the right people, and the communication. They use their own app in their everyday workflow to accomplish this and keep everyone productive and connected throughout the day.

Külli Koort is a fierce proponent of achieving more with less frenetic effort. That’s why she works at Weekdone, a startup that builds status report software for managers who wish to gain more insights to their teams. You can connect with her on Twitter.