Remote collaboration takes place when a group of people works together from a distance to achieve a common goal. One of the biggest factors for a successful workplace is whether or not employees can perform well as a team. Remote collaborationtools and applications, screen sharing platforms, instant messaging, and document collaboration software make it possible for people to engage in real-time from anywhere in the world.
As remote work is unavoidable, employees rely on digital technology to collaborate productively. Failing to provide employees with tools suitable for working remotely means that your company isn’t ready to adapt to the new normal. Needless to explain, that’s a future threat to your business. Here’s a reality check:
57% of organizations have increasedtheir remote-collaboration software spendings
Luckily, remote collaboration has become easier than ever. Read on to find out which remote working tools will serve best your teams in 2021.
Document collaboration tools
These tools are cloud-based, so no additional software purchases are required. Cloud-based tools are known for bringing qualityresults – 94% of organizations report better online security, 80% of them see operation improvements, and according to 63% there is a significant jump in flexibility.
Tool 1: Google Workspace
With collaboration apps like Google Documents, Sheets, or Slides, collaborators can leave comments and tag co-workers when specific feedback is required. Managers can also give different levels of access to certain employees to protect sensitive company data. The option to edit documents offline is a definitive advantage, while the intuitive design makes working with the apps easy. If you are looking to improve the remote business workflow, the starting point is Google Workspace.
With thisreal-time collaboration tool- or rather, set of tools - there is no need to arrange a phone call or video chat to review documents. Google Workspace is also highly integratable, so you can always extend it with recommended applications via API connections. When it comes to storage, files can be uploaded directly to Google Drive, and individuals can be automatically notified via email for any updates in the document.
Tool 2: Office 365
Office 365 is one of Microsoft’s best remote collaboration-tool suites, making their well-known Word, Excel, and Powerpoint available online. If you’re looking for a collaboration tool for remote teams that work with spreadsheets and need a wide range of functionalities, then Office 365 is the place. Full-time or part-time remote employees can create, share, and edit documents together at the same time, all from one location online.
Time management tools
Tool 3: Google Calendar
Google Calendar makes scheduling meetings quick and easy. Even though meetings are not always the most productive part of your day, they are essential to collaboration, especially when working remotely.
It allows people to jump into video meetings from anywhere in the world. Calendars can be accessed and shared by whoever has permission, making it easier to schedule group conferences without double booking by accident.
When an event is shared through Google Calendar, teams can attach any relevant documents or information that needs to be reviewed during the meeting. Remote workers can also set custom notifications before each event both with the mobile app and the desktop version. If employees frequently schedule meetings with clients, Google Calendar is a great way to track these appointments and provide excellent customer support. The long term success of a remote team depends on choosing the right organizational tools, and those are the ones that remove time and place as obstacles.
Tool 4: Microsoft Outlook Calendar
Outlook’s Calendar is a great time management tool for Microsoft-based remote teams. Microsoft Outlook Calendar enables users to appoint meetings and events, check group schedules, and set different viewing modes. With Outlook Calendar, collaborators can send their calendar via email or link it to Sharepoint and have an overview of the events from there in their schedule. The tool allows users to have assignees schedule, move or cancel meetings on their behalf. Remote work is all about flexibility, and that is exactly what Outlook Calendar offers.
One of the disadvantages of remote work from home jobs is that people miss out on daily interactions in the office. This often results in feelings of isolation or loneliness. Companies can help workers feel more empowered through remote collaboration tools like video conferencing. This type of collaboration software allows individuals to communicate and interact, even though they are not physically present.
Tool 5: Google Meet
Google Meet makes collaborative working even easier for remote team members who live in different time zones. It offers the ability to record the video meeting, so those who can’t join can quickly catch up later. You can present your screen, raise your hand, add up to 100 participants to the call or drop a question in the built-in chat if you don’t feel like interrupting the conversation. Remote working HR teams can also use Meet to improve their online training and communicate with job seekers online.
Tool 6: Microsoft Team's video conferencing
Teams is another remote collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. It is suitable for video conferencing as well as for direct messaging. Teams allows for screen-sharing and offers the option to raise a hand when you want to speak up, while notes can be taken with OneNote. Some Microsoft packages include Skype for Business, so that can be a plus if that’s a tool your team prefers using.
Teams can host virtual rooms for groups that need to work remotely, providing them with a place that brings communication and collaboration together.
Tool 7: Zoom
Zoom is a proven video call platform with a built-in chat to support the discussion. It’s used by 36% of workers in 2020, which makes it the most used remote collaboration tool over the past year. Similar to Google Meet and Teams, Zoom conferences can host up to 100 participants and have a raise-a-hand feature. Zoom Rooms for Touch is the extension that takes remote collaboration a step further: it offers a whiteboard feature that allows collaborators to draw on the shared screen, make corrections, circle or underline in real-time, while everyone is watching.
Team chat apps
Whether working from home or in a coworking space, employees need to connect in real-time. This is where instant messaging comes in. The advantage of sending messages through a chat window is that it is just as instantaneous as phone or video calls, but does not interrupt your workflow. Instant messaging provides a collaborative space where people can ask questions, offer feedback, or troubleshoot issues to resolve problems quickly. Companies can also have dedicated informal chats where people can share success stories or come up with new and creative ideas. Team chat apps provide a way for remote workers to stay in-touch, be it on fun topics or to quickly resolve issues.
Tool 8: Slack
Slack is a platform for instant business communication that companies use for chat between employees. They can send one-on-one messages, create groups with more people or set up channels dedicated to different topics. Slack isn’t where remote collaboration takes place, but it’s where remote team members can communicate. Working on projects is a dynamic process and often requires quick changes. Slack makes it possible to send a quick text instead of writing up a whole email and slowing down the working pace while waiting for a response.
Tool 9: Google Chat
Chat is Google Workspace’s tool for direct messaging that’s often used as an alternative to Slack or Teams’ chat functionality. It can’t sustain collaboration on its own either, but it provides chat rooms where teammates can discuss the working process and share content from Drive. Remote employees can use it autonomously or in Gmail. In any case, it’s a way to have all messages in one place.
Microsoft Teams (again)
Other video conferencing, Microsoft Teams is also excellent for instant messaging. You can message both groups and individuals or mention someone to draw their attention and get a quicker response. Plus, Teams is a great way to reduce emails.
Online project collaboration tools
Tool 10: Trello
Trello is a list-making application that provides a good overview of who’s doing what, how far they are with their tasks, and what still needs to be done. Add a task and if needed, break it down into subtasks – the smaller steps you need to complete before considering your assignment done. Let other remote colleagues know how you’re progressing by putting a label to indicate whether your project is in the making, waiting for approval, or done.
When working remotely, one of the most crucial factors to success is keeping on track with the working progress, and using Trello is a handy way to do it.
Tool 11: Asana
Asana is the detailed, mature version of online project management tools. Just like Trello, Asana has individual and project boards, and an option to create subtasks, but it doesn’t stop here.
This remote-collaboration tool allows team members to be descriptive about what needs to be done. They can set deadlines, task priorities, and dependencies on other tasks. It notifies you when you get assigned to a task or when the one you assigned gets completed. Speaking of tasks, Asana keeps task lists neat and sleek, minimizing all chaos associated with switching to remote working. Don’t worry about missing a deadline: Asana sends daily and weekly reminders.
Tool 12: monday.com
With more than 100,000 teams around the globe, monday.com is another one of our favorite remote collaboration tools. monday.com is a project management tool that helps organizations to manage projects and tasks and to coordinate workflows. It’s incredibly flexible and can be used across teams, departments, leaders, and organizations - and for all types of projects and processes. This is a great tool for remote workers because its simple and intuitive design helps everyone in the team to keep an overview of all projects.
When fully remote, teams need to have a seamless and organized collaboration flow to remain productive. Today, employees work in many different environments, and managers need to make sure that all of them have a digital replacement. One final piece of advice: focus your time and resources on collaboration tools for remote workers – your company deserves to have a connected and collaborative team.