With remote work growing in popularity and virtual offices becoming more commonplace, maximizing collaborative time among teams and creating efficiencies in organizations, especially among different physical locations and even time zones, is paramount. If your business is embracing remote work, how can you ensure your team has the resources to be the most productive?
Project management tools
Project management tools have undergone a major revolution in the last few years, moving beyond spreadsheets and calendars to include file storage, commenting, instant messaging, screen sharing, and more in a single platform. Slack has been regarded as the market leader in these types of tools, with mobile and desktop versions, video calling, and integrations with Dropbox and Google Docs. Trello, Flock, Teamweek, and Basecamp have recently become mainstays in the project management sphere. You can also utilize some of the tools with Dropbox and Google Docs that you may already have at your disposal.
Find a good conferencing system
Long gone are the days of dialing in a third, fourth, fifth party to a call. If your team relies on remote work, having a good conferencing system that enables screen sharing, comment features, muting (for the inevitable person who calls from the road with their windows down) and the ability to host webinars and other interactive sessions is important. Consider platforms like GoToMeeting, WebEx, or ReadyTalk for these.
Encourage creating together
Teams that create documents, code, or design need specialized tools to meaningfully collaborate, edit, and offer feedback. For coders, a system like CodingTeam encourages collective code building among teams. And while G Suite from Google is an incredible resource and familiar to most people, software like InVision and Quip, which are more specific to designers and your creative teams, are also gaining popularity.
Consider a company intranet or Wiki
A central repository for company data and policies (like employment handbooks, vacation time requests and timesheets) is important if most of your workforce is remote. It can be a useful place to store documents, link to project management tools and store a company Wiki, a peer-submitted library of content, ideas, and information.
Asking your team what would help them be more successful and examining the efficiency of the tools you already use is an easy place to start. Google, Microsoft Office and Dropbox all have collaborative tools within their platforms, including new and updated features you may not yet be using. Overloading your team with new tools, not taking the time for proper and regular training, and tools that don’t address needs may be more detrimental to the collaborative process. To achieve success, it is imperative to start small, conduct a needs analysis and be mindful of your team’s ideas to be more productive.