The top three online collaboration tools
Every organisation is different, but the need for collaboration is a common thread that weaves through all workplaces. There is a wide range of workplace collaboration tools available to help support effective digital collaboration. Let's explore which ones suit your company best.
Collaboration and teamwork are some of the most important ingredients in ensuring a smooth-running, productive business, especially in an age of hybrid working. The pooling of ideas and skills between colleagues boosts morale, increases accountability, helps people learn from each other and ensures a more well-rounded and successful product or service.
So how can businesses support digital collaboration in the workplace, and what resources can they provide to make this happen? Well, it all depends on where employees are based and what sort of platform they need to communicate. The plethora of digital communication tools available makes online workplace collaboration easy and efficient, smooths out workflow and boosts company culture. Here are the top three essentials that online collaboration tools need to provide.
1. Video call platforms: for meetings with remote and hybrid teammates
Part of the beauty of ever-advancing technology is that staying in contact with people – no matter where in the world they are – couldn't be easier.
Video communication means that employees in the physical workplace can hold meetings with those working remotely, in other branches or even in other countries. Video call platforms make joining meetings accessible to everyone, meaning that no one has to miss out on discussions.
Video calls can also encourage a sense of togetherness among teammates. With hybrid working on the rise, it's vital that colleagues still feel connected with their workplace, even if they aren't always in the same physical space.
2. An online platform for storing and editing shared files
One way to ensure smooth collaboration is by creating a space for teammates to save all of their work so that every document, image, video and idea is available to the rest of the team when needed. Cloud storage systems also enable people to collaborate on documents, encouraging teams to work together more closely and avoiding the need to produce multiple versions.
All of those involved in the project can keep up to date with what's been done and what's next on the to-do list. Everybody is involved in and familiar with the project's process and progress.
It also means that if someone working on the project is off sick, away on holiday or unavailable for any reason, their work is accessible to everybody – reducing the time spent searching for documents and sending frantic messages.
3. Chat app
Workplace collaboration isn't always goal-oriented and task-focused. To nurture a sense of strong organisational culture, particularly with so many remote and hybrid workers, tools need to support informal interactions too. A chat app can help people stay constantly connected, enabling individual conversations, group shout-outs and team games, as well as project-based groups.
Other essential online collaboration tool features
Organisations will want to get the most from their online collaboration tools from day one. To do this, tools need to be:
Easy to use
Tools will immediately start contributing to productivity if employees can get to grips with them easily. What's more, people will feel confident about using them, and so more willing to explore all that they can do.
Digital collaboration tools have the ability to bring everyone into the conversation – including frontline and deskless workers. That's why it's vital that tools are accessible on mobile devices. That way, everyone can connect, chat and share ideas – wherever they are.
Other useful features include:
- Screen sharing: Screen sharing is an important part of any digital collaboration in the workplace. Giving teammates the ability to see the same screen in meetings or while giving presentations puts everyone on the same page, allowing every team member to move at the same pace and keeping everyone involved.
- Breakout function: Breakout rooms can be particularly useful during training and conferences, allowing participants to split into smaller groups for exercises and discussions before rejoining the main group. Smaller meeting rooms also prevent teammates from talking over each other and ideas getting lost.
- Calendar: A calendar is an essential workplace collaboration tool feature that lets teammates keep track of everyone's meetings in one place. Many digital collaborative tools also offer the option of being able to organise meetings via the calendar.
- Pin/save message: When people are communicating frequently using collaboration tools, it's easy for important messages to get lost. Having a pin/save function fixes this potential problem – and cuts down time spent scrolling through messages.
- Integration with other tools and apps: No one collaboration tool can do absolutely everything. But there's nothing more frustrating and distracting for team members than having to negotiate multiple sign-ins to different tools. The ideal digital collaboration platform will integrate seamlessly with all of the workplace collaboration software used in your organisation.
- Notifications: Used wisely, instant notifications can help team members keep track of project progress and keep workflow running smoothly. However, it's important to make sure that notifications are set up so that team members don't receive unnecessary updates.
- Translation: Hybrid and remote working have given organisations the opportunity to recruit top talent across the world. Having tools with a translation function can ensure that everyone is brought into the conversation, regardless of language.
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