engage a remote workforce

The four tools you need to effectively engage a remote workforce

Has the initial buzz of working remotely worn off? If you are struggling to engage a remote workforce, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to walk you through an element of our Virtual Leaders program that we’ve developed to help you effectively manage and engage your team while working remotely. It’s a simple framework that can be applied to any organisation and will help to bring structure and clarity to your virtual systems.


Four tools you need to effectively engage a remote workforce

Before we unveil the four tools you’ll need to effectively engage a team working remotely, there’s something we want to make abundantly clear: the recommendation we’re going to give is a framework, rather than a specific set of tools. 

Zoom is a really awesome video conferencing software, but if you’ve already got one that’s working well for your team, stick with it. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

We’re offering up a guide to selecting four tools that’ll work together to create a high performance system that’ll help your team collaborate effectively while working remotely. 

Ready to dig into the goods? Say hello to your new favourite acronym…


SOCS – A virtual leadership framework

While we love a pair of cosy socks, especially as we head into the cooler months in the southern hemisphere, we’re talking about a different type of SOCS today. 


SOCS stands for:
  • Social
  • Operational
  • Conversational
  • Speed

These are the four types of digital communication tools you’ll need to lead, manage and support your team while working remotely.

Let’s take a look at the role each of these tools play in the framework and which software make the most sense for each category.

It’s likely that you’re already using these pieces of software to some degree, but with a slight shift in the way you’re using them you’ll see a big difference within your organisation. 



Our teams may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean that we should drop the ball with social connection. Now more than ever our people need social interaction and connection with their teammates to build rapport and strengthen their sense of belonging. It’s crucial for long-term, sustained motivation and it’s something we’re incredibly passionate about at Pragmatic Thinking.

The social element of the SOCS framework refers to a tool that your team will use for virtual social gatherings. Most likely, the social element of your Virtual Leadership toolkit will be a video conferencing software like Zoom.

You’ll use your social software of choice for team meetings, company-wide meetings and internal comms.



Now for the operational side of things. Here you’ll need to ensure that the piece of software you use for project and task management is adopted, utilised and ultimately, is effective in helping your team keep track of what they’ve got going on. 

Ideally, the piece of software should allow for comments on projects and tasks to be made so that task-centric conversations can take place in one virtual space.

For our operational system, we use a combination of Jira and Confluence – both are products from Australian software company, Atlassian



The third element of the SOCS framework is conversational. You’ll need to designate a place where your team can have casual conversations back-and-forth like they would if they were all in the office together. This includes team-centric conversations, company-wide conversations and one-to-one interactions.

For many organisations the chosen conversational tool is Slack, however, Microsoft Teams is another great option.



So, you’ve got roughly three pieces of software under your belt now. Your team is using them, they’re working well, but there’s something missing.

How do you cut through the noise when there’s something urgent or something important that needs to be shared? That’s where the speed element of this framework swoops in to save the day.

For many organisations the best option for this is a quick text message. Everyone has their phone on them within easy reach and are more likely to see a text come up than a Slack message, especially if they’ve got Slack notifications muted or are in the middle of a task.


So, what do you think of this framework? Do you see SOCS being a useful system to follow within your organisation? If you’d like a bit more help with this, we’re more than happy to lend a hand. 

We’ve developed a Virtual Leaders program that’ll equip your team leaders with skills to lead both their people and performance in a remote work setting. Designed specifically with your leaders in mind, we’ll explore communication strategies to engage your team, practical tools to help set and manage performance as well as methods to strengthen your workplace culture.