Tips to manage your Virtual Team and Business when you Travel

The SMS came in – “John I am having problems sending email from here at the moment can you contact me?”

I have received other messages – “what is my password for…again?” –  “do you have a copy of that document I sent you 6 months ago?”

Whether you are in an airport, hotel or at the beach, there is no reason for you to not be able to access your systems quickly.  Of course internet connection is a must, however even if internet is limited, it should not stop you working offline.

Travelling, working virtually and running a team can be so great – we sometimes will find a friendly restaurant by the beach to enjoy an afternoon of work, snacks, wine and coffee.

If you do not have the right technology and systems in place, it can be a source of great anxiety.  The good news is – this does not have to be hard or expensive.

Here is an outline of the areas you need to have in place…

A FILE STORAGE Solution so all members of your online virtual team (including yourself) have quick and easy access

The last thing you want is different versions of file “floating” around your business.  So number one is having a centralized file management system.  This will save you and your team time and money if you have your file structures setup up correctly.

Google Docs is a great free resource but still relies on uploading and downloading. A system which is dynamic is “Dropbox”. You can set it up so whatever you change or store in your hard drive can be automatically synchronized with an online – accessible by your team. You can then give your team access to certain directories so that whenever they make changes or additions it is synced online and with your own machine.  It all works in the background seamlessly.

Team COLLABORATION Tools to enable project management and online team communication from anywhere in the world

There are so many options in this field, which can send your head spinning. Here are the hot areas we find are always needed:

  • Online Diary/Calendar Management
  • Project/Task Management
  • Business and Team Knowledge Base

We use a system called “Feng” to manage our team and the important client data we need to regularly access.  For now, we have chosen to stick with the online “Google Calendar” as it interfaces with our iPhones and it links with our automated booking system also. To find a solution suitable for your virtual team and business, see my article on Choosing the Right Tools for your Virtual Team which will help you with the process of specifying your needs and choosing a system.

Easy to use and access EMAIL MANAGEMENT system to support the laptop lifestyle

A lot of people use Hotmail and Gmail.  I personally find these cumbersome when you deal with high volumes and also you cannot work offline with them.  The benefit is that you can send email from anywhere you have access.

If you use a program like “Outlook” or “Thunderbird” here are two things you can do:

  • Check if your webhost allow you to send emails via their site and find out the settings – note many people send via their home ISP’s but when they travel have problems sending emails.
  • Our webhost does allow it but I have found it problematic.  So I use a neat little service call “AuthSMTP”. Basically it is a totally independent site that your software sends emails through, and it is not affected by your connection or location.

Backups are another area to consider, but that is a whole discussion on its own.

If you find working virtually a pain…start with writing down the areas that cause the biggest problems first. This will give you a platform to start implementing solutions.  And the thing to remember is there is always a solution available for your individual lifestyle and business needs.

Running your business online with a strong virtual team supporting you is very, very rewarding.  If you want to buy the envy of all your colleagues and friends – just tell them you’re travelling overseas to soak up the sun while your team and business continues to flourish.  It is definitely being done by others and you can definitely do it too!  It’s all about calling in the expertise you need to help you find the right solution.

Happy Travels!

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