As hybrid work arrangements and fully remote work become more popular, the need for strong communication becomes even more integral. However, the disconnect between onsite work and telecommuting can lead to issues on the communication front. That’s why online collaboration tools are so important. Fortunately, remote employers have lots of choices in terms of free and paid options. If your business is looking to improve the communication of ideas, meeting facilitation, or project management, check out these best online collaboration tools for companies with remote workers.
The Best Online Collaboration Tools for Communication
In the remote world, strong communication is tantamount to success. However, you may suffer from two predicaments. Either you can’t find a symmetrical online collaboration tool that you like that provides instant communication, or you’re resigned to using asymmetrical communication such as email. Both sides of the equation can lead to a loss in productivity, employee confusion, and even burnout or poor morale from your team. To prevent miscommunications or these other problems, these collaboration tools for communication are essential.
Slack is a messaging program where you can organize teams, projects, and conversations using open channels. Remote teams also have the option to create private channels to host sensitive or secure information. Video calls, direct messages, and file sharing are all part of the Slack suite. In addition, Slack has an entire page of tutorials that are excellent for onboarding new employees and integrating them with the software.
This program syncs with other software such as Dropbox and Google Drive. It is available for iOS and Android apps, as well as desktop apps. Slack is free, but you can also add more features through paid plans.
2. Microsoft Teams
Although the layout is a bit different, Microsoft Teams is the primary competitor to Slack. It offers videoconferencing, workspace chatting, application integration, file storage, and more. It’s also a preferred choice if you already use Microsoft Office 365 for word processing, database entry, or spreadsheets. Free plans are available, but you may need to pay for a plan if you have a larger team.
The Best Online Collaboration Tools for Project Management
While instant messaging and the ability to post messages to a large group of people is advantageous, you still need tools to manage workflow and projects. Enter the world of online collaboration tools for project management. Offering a user-friendly interface that brings minute details to life while also capturing the big picture, project management tools are a must for any remote employer.
Asana allows you to track your team’s progress without having to call a meeting. With an intuitive layout, every member of your team can see where their specific tasks lie, while also assigning them importance and due dates. Each specific task also allows you to input important information, such as a description of the task, keywords and keyphrases, and buttons that shift the task to the next person in the productivity line. As a final bonus, it integrates easily with Google Drive and Dropbox, giving you even more project management solutions.
Basic versions are free, but you can also pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for even more features.
Trello is a tool that organizes projects into boards which show what is being worked on, who is working, and where a project is in the process. This platform allows you to invite as many guests as you like, providing collaboration between all users by easily assigning tasks through cards on a drag-and-drop interface. With everyone given the ability to see where a task is, you can ensure that you don’t fall short of your project deadline.
Trello is free, but you can also add other features for a small monthly fee. It’s compatible with desktop computers, Android, and iOS.
The Best Online Collaboration Tools for Virtual Meetings
If you had an online meeting during the height of COVID, you know how monotonous virtual meetings can be. Whether you’re overscheduling, lacking agenda, or just going through the mundane motions, virtual meetings are a drag on productivity and morale. That is, unless you have a great online collaboration tool for virtual meetings.
5. Google Meet
If you’re a fan or proponent of Google Drive or Google Suite as a whole, Google Meet is the perfect fit for virtual meetings. Unlike competitors such as Zoom, Google Meet provides free video calling with unlimited duration, interactive polling for team members, and even a background blur option to make your background less distracting. For the thrifty remote employer, Google Meet is a must.
If your team prefers to conduct virtual meetings on the go, GoToMeeting is a great option. Designed for ease of use no matter who’s using it, the platform is lightweight and has almost no learning curve. However, GoToMeeting doesn’t have any options for a free plan, so you’re going to have to sink some money into it. But if your team is primarily mobile-based, it’s certainly a good investment.
The Best Online Collaboration Tools for Scheduling
If you consistently miss meetings with clients or you find that your team fails to show up for meetings and deadlines, the problem could lie within your scheduling tools. Many business owners cite the ability to schedule in their head as a perk, but when you’re managing others, something more tangible is a necessity. To get everyone on the same page, try one of these online collaboration tools for scheduling.
With more than 10 million users worldwide, Calendly allows you to schedule meetings and events with ease. It’s 100% free to use and offers features such as open availability for meetings, link sharing for meetings, and bookings for virtual meetings. You can also connect up to six calendars per user, giving small teams a golden opportunity to stay on task at no additional cost.
Todoist is an online collaboration that lets you organize and manage your tasks easily. By allowing you to access your tasks through the cloud, you can instantly share meeting times, deadlines, and other schedules to streamline productivity. The ToDoist app works on desktops, Android, and iOS, giving your entire team access to their schedules, even when they’re on the go.
Online Collaboration Tools Are Only Part of the Equation
Even with a robust mix of online collaboration tools, it’s only a small part of the equation for success. You need the right people in the right positions to solidify a profitable enterprise. If you can’t find a viable candidate for your open positions, Virtual Vocations can help. No matter what type of candidate you’re searching for, partnering with Virtual Vocations provides the edge you need. Contact Virtual Vocations today for more information on becoming an Employer Partner and find the missing piece to the puzzle.
Which tools do you use with your team? How do you choose the right collaboration tool? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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