Collaboration has become mandatory in the workplace almost overnight. Employees are no longer expected to work in silos, but instead are needed to work more closely together. Collaboration means improved efficiency and increased productivity, but only if you have the right tools for collaboration in the first place.
Here, CAREERS features the best in collaborative software, allowing employees and employers, regardless of team size, to work remotely (from home) while still being able to directly communicate and collaborate on projects and documents.
Slack is without doubt a mighty collaboration tool, with millions of users around the globe. It’s an incredibly smart platform, and you can get it on mobile and desktop devices. It allows for the sending of direct messages (DMs) and files to a single person or a group of employees, and there’s the ability to organise conversations into different channels (perhaps for specific projects, for technical support, general chat and so forth).
The app also supports video calling. You can use the feature to talk to your colleagues about projects and in-depth work, without having to type everything into a DM. While this isn’t a replacement for cloud storage services, you are able to drag, drop and share files with your colleagues directly within Slack. It’s also compatible with services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.
Microsoft Office may not be the first platform you think of when it comes to collaboration, but this now runs at the heart of the Office 365 cloud-based office suite. This is important because Microsoft Office remains the most used and, therefore, among the most important, office suite out there and while there are competitors such as OpenOffice and G Suite, they still haven’t caught up to the same level of functionality and ease of use. As Microsoft Office is likely to be at the heart of many businesses, the move to Office 365 offers several advantages, not least the ability for teams to collaborate directly on the same set of documents. This could be anything from work shifts in an Excel spreadsheet, to a presentation in Powerpoint, to client reports written in Word. Added to this is that Microsoft Teams now comes bundled with several Office 365 packages, allowing for unified communications integrated with the traditional office software.
If you have ever looked into project management software and online collaboration tools, then no doubt you’ve come across Trello. Available on the web and with mobile apps, it lets you easily organise projects and work on them with colleagues. The platform allows you to work with boards or lists, which can be organised by teams and different tasks. And within these, you can set up to-do lists and delegate among colleagues. There’s also the option to assign comments to cards – a quick way to give feedback to others.
Furthermore, Trello boasts several integrations with apps such as Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive and Slack. You can download the app for free.
Monday.com is a platform that allows you to plan, track and collaborate on projects in a visually simple manner. Drag-and-drop functionality and ease of use, make this a particularly good platform for project management and general workflow management among teams. It also integrates with Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Dropbox and others, so you can use it as a central focal point for teams to work together. As above, these integrations mean that Monday.com can be used to achieve a wider working remit than a standalone platform.
Asana has been around since 2008, making it a veteran in the collaboration arena and companies such as Intel, Uber, Pinterest and TED all use it as their core method of communication.
It’s been designed as an easy way for companies to track the work of employees and to get the best possible results. Using the platform, you can create to-do lists for ongoing projects, set reminders for upcoming deadlines and send requests to colleagues. Team members can also assign comments to posts within the app. You can organise all your projects in a list or board format and there’s a search function so you can locate past work quickly. In short, Asana is a very effective way to stay super-organised and facilitate conversations when it comes to updates on how work is progressing.
Podio describes itself as a flexible and customisable online platform for work and communication among teams. In other words, it gives you a way to organise large stacks of work and to delegate tasks between team members. Just like many of the other business collaboration apps out there, Podio provides you with the tools to share files, view the status of ongoing projects and get feedback on the things you’re currently working on. These functionalities are combined into an easy-to-use interface. Podio is also equipped with quality mobile apps for when you’re out-and-about and need to use your smartphone or tablet, and it has an impressive amount of integration with third-party services and apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Zendesk.
Ryver is similar to Slack, aiming to give your organisation a highly effective means of communication and an easy way to talk about tasks, ensuring that deadlines are met.
What makes Ryver a compelling option is the fact that you can create as many teams as you want within the app and easily categorise them to boot. As is the case with Slack, you can use the platform to set up chats with groups and individuals. There are some interesting filters, too. You can control who sees the things you say and post in the app and, obviously enough, join the teams that are most relevant to you. All company posts are located within a Facebook-style newsfeed and you can mark posts to come back to them at a later stage.