How to Enable Telecommuting and Set Up Remote Teams

Teamup is often used to enable telecommuting, remote or distance work, or working from home, for a variety of reasons. If you need to quickly set up remote teams, this post will walk you through the key factors to consider, no matter what software or system you use. We’ll also give you a quick start guide for setting up Teamup calendar for remote work.


Table of Contents

Consider these keys for successful telecommuting

There are many ways to set up remote teams. There are also many software options, services, and apps to choose from. As you consider the options, keep these telecommuting success factors in mind:

Choose one primary communication channel.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as everyone on your remote team can easily access it. The key is to choose one primary communication channel and use it 99% of the time.

If team members are trying to communicate on many channels, information gets lost and confusion results. Here’s how to avoid that scenario:

    • Designate your primary method of communicating.
    • Ensure that all team members can access and know how to use the primary communication channel.
    • Require your remote team members to use the primary communication channel as much as possible. (Of course there will be exceptions and special situations which call for other means of communication. Trust your team to make these decisions with discretion.)

Set up a secure way to access and share all needed information.

One common potential issue when you set up remote teams is the ability for everyone to find the information they need, when they need it.

Choose one secure way to share and access information. Set up the team to use this “information portal.”

Even if information needs to be in a variety of formats or accessed in different ways, it can be linked to or uploaded to the designated information portal. That way, everyone knows where to go to look for the info they need, which enables autonomy.

When it comes to telecommuting, more autonomy means more productivity.

Have an easy way to collaborate and hold discussions.

Your primary communication channel may function as the easiest way for your remote team to collaborate.

But if you need the ability to collaborate in other formats and ways, think about what you’ll use. Video conferencing, shared documents on your information portal, real-time commenting on shared information, conference calls?

It’s helpful to keep a record of discussions and collaborations, so everyone can refer back to details and decisions.

Find a way for team members to easily find out what’s happening with their work.

Not everyone needs to know everything.

But each remote team member needs the ability to know what tasks are open or blocked, what a project status is, when the deliverable will be done, etc. Look for a dashboard, calendar, or digital Kanban board that your team members can access as needed to both update their own contributions and schedules, and to see what’s happening in the work that they’re part of.

Avoid issues when you set up remote teams

No matter what type of work you do, there are several common issues that can derail your telecommuting productivity. Here’s what you want to avoid:

The gatekeeper problem

One person holds the only point of access to key information, answers, schedules, or people. Or only person is authorized to make decisions. Other team members have to wait on the gatekeeper to provide access or to make all the decisions.

    • Solution: provide as much autonomy as possible to individual team members, and delegate decision-making down the chain.

The information bottleneck

Key information, data, resources, or tools are difficult to find, unorganized, outdated, unreliable, or inaccessible. Team members are continually interrupting each other, trying to locate the information needed or make sure they have the latest version.

    • Solution: require all information to be kept or linked to in a secure, shared location that all team members can access.

The security breach

Employees need access to some information, but not all. Clients need to know some things, but not all things. Individuals end up with access to no information or to all the information. Version control and data reliability can be a problem, and confidentiality breaches happen when too much information is shared with too many people. But too little information results in low productivity and lots of frustration.

    • Solution: manage information centrally but allow it to be accessed from “satellites.” Look for systems that provide different permission levels for different users; this makes it possible to share the right information with the right people, while maintaining security and confidentiality.

Quick start guide to remote work with Teamup

There are many ways to use a Teamup calendar. See the video below for an overview of how to set up and share your Teamup calendar. Then follow the steps below to get started.

Here’s a quick walk-through that will get you started quickly as you set up remote teams.

  1. Create your Teamup calendar here.
    • The Basic (free) subscription includes 8 sub-calendars. If you need additional sub-calendars, you can upgrade to Plus or Premium. See pricing details here.
  2. Create and organize sub-calendars. 
    • The simplest set-up is to create one sub-calendar for each team members. See below for more ideas on using and organizing sub-calendars.
    • Organize sub-calendars in folders as needed.
  3. Add calendar users and set permission levels. 
    • Add your individual team members as account-based calendar users. See here for details.
    • For each account user, you can set permissions in two ways: 1) which sub-calendars they can access and 2) what permission level they have for each sub-calendar. See more details here.
      • The most common set-up in this scenario would be to give each individual team member modify access to their own sub-calendar and read-only access to other sub-calendars.
    • You can organize individual users in groups, as well.
  4. Get your team to accept the Teamup calendar invitation. 
    • When you add a team member as an account user, they will receive an email invitation to your calendar.
    • The team member needs to click the link in the email invitation; from there, they will be prompted to create an account (if they do not yet have one) and then can access the calendar.
    • Team members can also install Teamup mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  5. Implement two simple rules for telecommuting success:
    • Put it all on the calendar.
      • Information, plans, details, notes, discussions, ideas, files, calls, etc.: as much as possible, put it on the calendar. This ensures that the information stays in one place, is easy to find, is accessible for everyone, and stays updated for everyone.
    • Check the calendar first. 
      • Encourage your team to check the calendar for the information they need before they interrupt or distract someone else. There are built-in filters in Teamup calendars, which allow for keyword searching as well as sorting by sub-calendar and event field.

Calendar options and ideas

The scenario we’ve outlined above is simple and may not work for every work situation. Here are some other ideas and options that might be helpful as you set up remote teams and get started telecommuting:

For schools, tutors, and educational facilities

For teams, crews, and shared projects

You can also review our collection of user stories for more ideas. To get started with other Teamup features, see our quick tips.

Ready to go? Create your Teamup calendar here.