Collaboration is key here at Rocket IT, like it is at many organizations. But when you have team members out at client sites, working from home, and glued to the office, effective collaboration is a little harder than it is when you have everyone in the same room.
To help your team thrive when collaborating in the office or remotely, here are the top eight tools we’ve found help us increase efficiency.
Since Microsoft is gearing up to discontinue their Skype for Business tool, a lot of organizations are making the switch to their other Office 365 tool – Microsoft Teams. While we’re still huge fans of Skype in the office, we’ve worked with Teams as well, and it does have some good collaboration functions. Not only does it function as an office chat service, but you can also create and add people to specific Teams within the tool and work together on files all in that specific Team tab.
This is very similar to another collaboration tool below called Slack. Both are a way to organize small groups of employees and give them a private collaboration area to chat, share files, and have a shared email address.
Slack shares a lot of similar features to Microsoft Teams. In fact, Slack was successfully operating as a collaboration standalone service before Microsoft Teams in its current iteration came out, and Slack does collaboration really well. If you’re not ready for the commitment to Office 365 just for the advanced collaboration alone, then Slack’s free offering may be a good alternative. But keep in mind that you’re not just receiving Microsoft Teams when you subscribe to Office 365. Getting the full benefit of the full Office 365 suite can be more cost-effective if you need additional programs.
If you’re big on checklists and want to be able to share them with others as well as assign tasks, Trello is a great free software. Don’t expect the full functionality of other, more expensive programs, but it is a great program for what it does.
A personal favorite of our Projects team, dapulse is an incredible project management tool. Everything is managed within boards, and you can customize the content of each board to add projects, tasks, team members, timelines, and more. Need to add an email between your team and your clients to the board to have everything in one place? Just include the custom email address for that particular board in your emails to add the entire thread to the rest of your notes and documents.
The dapulse support team is very responsive. Our Project Coordinator Emily Connolly swears this tool is the ultimate project management helper.
And if you’re willing to pay for the Business version, you can share specific boards and projects directly with your client so they can collaborate with you.
If you’re looking for a project management tool, Basecamp’s solution has worked for a lot of organizations. It isn’t as intuitive as other tools, but it’s a decent software once you find your way around. It’s good for working on less sensitive and less formal projects. With more tools than Trello, Basecamp is a better alternative if you want something cheaper where you can organize tasks amongst your team. They even have a “Campfire” chat room for your team to stay in touch. And Basecamp is a base price for every team, no matter the size, unlike Slack, Dropbox, and Asana who charge per user.
Similar to dapulse, Asana’s capabilities are highly customizable and well beyond the basic project management tools like Trello and Slack. It also comes with a free version with fewer features for those who don’t need the whole gamut and who have a team smaller than 15 members.
7. A social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite
Pretty comparable to each other, both Hootsuite and Buffer are great collaboration tools for teams focused on social media. You can customize your feeds and schedule out social media posts, as well as communicate amongst your team by sending tweets and messages back and forth. For anyone who would just like to use the scheduling capability, both companies offer a free service for you to try.
If you’re looking for a video conferencing system that allows you to share video and your screen at the same time with multiple team members, Zoom is a great solution. Not only does it not lag as much as Skype, you can also use it for conferencing in with clients. Considering hosting webinars for internal and external training? They have an add-on for that as well.
About the Author –
Janel Brooks is Rocket IT’s Service Coordinator. She is an avid triathlete. Janel has finished 3 half-Ironman races and dreams of completing a full one someday.