If you’ve been in business any length of time, you’ve probably had to overcome a challenge or two along the way. One of the biggest challenges a business has to overcome in this day and age is the fact that so many people—including the most desirable hires—are choosing to work remotely.
While it’s much more simple to collaborate when the team is gathered in the same office by using whiteboard paint and having group meetings, the challenges mount when personnel is scattered around the country, or even worldwide.
Fortunately, there are many more ways to simulate and engender a culture of collaboration via technology than ever before. Depending on what your particular business challenges are—distance, time, money—there’s a collaboration tool for you.
- Google Drive: a free tool that allows users to work together in the same document at the same time. Users can sync all business files, then access and edit from the computer, tablet, or even smart phone.
- Evernote: through the use of group notebooks, users can share and collaborate. The tool uses text, images, and documents.
- Timebridge: a tool that is perfect for aligning busy schedules. This allows business scheduling for Google and Outlook to arrange meeting times without the back and forth of email, plus it’s free.
- Trello: a visual way to collaborate on projects by using boards, lists, and cards. Trello syncs across all your devices and keep track of where everyone is on projects.
- Slack: a unique tool that allows users to connect all the apps already in use and get all notifications in one place. It also syncs between all your devices.
- Google Hangouts: a free tool that utilizes video calls, phone calls, and messages to connect team members for meetings.
- Dropbox: a great way to save and sync files between devices and people. When files are edited in a shared folder, the changes are automatically updated for everyone.
- Yammer: specifically designed for businesses and teams to work together in Yammer groups by providing a single destination for files and messages.
- Conceptboard: designed for visual online collaboration that looks like an idea board that team members can chat about. Great for visual content as opposed to file sharing.
- Govisually: a tool that allows for an unlimited number of collaborators to work on design projects.
- InVision: a web-based app specifically for designers that allows for the upload of design files and the ability to add animations and gestures to make interactive prototypes. Allows for team members and even clients to offer feedback directly on the designs.
- Scribblar: an alternative for when teams can’t be together to work on a whiteboard wall. Scribblar is a real-time whiteboard that allows for multiple users, plus audio.
- Igloo: an intranet collaboration platform that promises to connect people, information, and processes. Igloo is a central place for a business to communicate and manage work. There is a free version available.
- HipChat: a team chat that’s built specifically for businesses. They offer group chat, video chat, and screen sharing. It can also connect to other tools that your team is using.
- Asana: a tool to help teams manage tasks and workflows. Asana offers businesses a place to keep a running to-do list and keep everyone up to date on the status of different projects.
- Appear.in: video conversations for virtual meetings that can include up to 8 people for free. You can see everyone at the same time, and there is even an app for mobile use.
- QuickBase: a cloud-based platform for team collaboration and management. It helps businesses build their own process applications, with no coding required.
- Idea Flip: a web app used for group brainstorming. Team members can compose, collect and clarify ideas, and share them with the group.
- BinFire: a tool for teams to plan, track, and manage projects remotely. They create a virtual office environment to manage tasks and communicate in a seamless manner.
- ProofHub: project management software that helps teams collaborate and organize work. There is a group chat feature, and you can also proof files, take notes, and have discussions.
Working remotely no longer needs to be an obstacle to productivity. By solving collaboration issues, you can get on with the fun part of your business—growth and innovation.