Zoom. Slack. Teams. Google Workspace. Are you up to speed on the latest collaboration tools, what they do, and the benefits they offer? As remote work opportunities abound, collaboration platforms are an absolute necessity for helping employees keep in touch, manage complex projects, and maintain productivity — even while working miles apart from each other.
With so many collaboration tools available for businesses to choose from, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to determine which ones make the most sense for your business. To gain a better understanding of how these tools improve the employee experience across remote teams, check out the five major types of collaboration tools and how they can give productivity and engagement a major boost.
1. Calendar Sharing
Shared calendar apps allow you to quickly and easily access teammates’ calendars to schedule meetings with just a few clicks. Calendar-sharing collaboration tools can save employees a lot of time, eliminating the need to go back and forth confirming schedules via email or phone with multiple invitees.
Examples: Calendly, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, UpTo
2. File Sharing, Document Synchronization, and Storage
Say goodbye to attaching files to an email and hoping they don’t exceed your email provider’s size limitations! With file-sharing collaboration tools, employees can easily share files of just about any type and size, including documents, videos, photos, and much more. While most file-sharing tools allow multiple users to be active in the same file at one time, you can also grant varying levels of editing access to help maintain version control. In addition, most file-sharing collaboration tools also provide synchronization, which ensures that any modification to a shared document is made universally so that users are accessing the same updated document across the board.
Examples: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box
3. Instant Messaging
No longer used just for personal communication, instant messaging (aka IM) is quickly becoming a widely used tool in the workplace across a variety of industries. More than 40% of American workers communicate via instant messaging at work, and in the tech industry, that figure increases to over 70%, according to Indeed. Instant messaging tools allow teams to quickly interact with each other in real-time and a less-formal format. What makes instant messaging so great? It enables employees to communicate back and forth quickly to get questions answered and issues resolved much faster than it would take over email. What’s more, IM boosts camaraderie among employees, allowing them to respond quickly with emojis, memes, or a quick comeback that lets employees’ personalities shine through. This can go a long way, especially in building rapport and boosting engagement in a remote working environment. In addition, IM can be used both internally with employees only or can be expanded to facilitate communication with external clients and vendors.
Examples: Gmail Chat, Slack, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger
4. Video Conferencing
For many, the use of video conferencing emerged as a must-have communication tool during the pandemic. Today, video conferencing is something most of us use daily, whether it’s for work, virtual appointments, or simply to communicate with friends and family. Video conferencing has transformed how we communicate, allowing users to meet face-to-face from any location, even if they’re on opposite sides of the globe. According to Statista, in 2021, the global video conferencing market was nearly $15 billion and is forecast to nearly double by 2026 to reach more than $27 billion. Over the past few years, video conferencing has evolved and expanded into other service offerings, like meeting facilitation and virtual whiteboard tools.
Examples: Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Webex Meetings, GoTo Meeting
5. Project Management
Project management tools allow teams to keep track of progress on projects in real-time, keeping all members up to speed on tasks assigned, new activity, and upcoming deadlines via an organized dashboard, giving all team members full visibility into real-time project workflows for easy access and quick reference.
Examples: Trello, Asana, Microsoft SmartSheets, ClickUp, Wrike, Basecamp, Monday.com
Enterprise Collaboration Tools: A One-Stop Shop
Depending on the needs of your remote employees and your business goals, there are plenty of options to choose from. To streamline collaboration and communication even further, many companies are choosing to adopt a full-blown suite of collaboration tools, such as Google Workspace, which provides access to fully integrated tools, including video conferencing, instant messaging, and calendar sharing — all in one place. Apps that interact with each other with less overlapping functionality will lead to even more streamlined processes and efficiencies.
Countless Benefits of Collaboration Tools
Nearly 80% of workers report using collaboration tools to do their jobs. And there is a big reason why. It all comes down to the many invaluable benefits they offer companies — especially at the onset of the pandemic, collaboration tool adoption was at an all-time high as businesses scrambled to put remote solutions into place in a very short period. Today, collaboration tools are enabling enterprise-level businesses to work more efficiently and effectively as a result of the countless benefits they bring to the table, including:
- Heightened productivity and faster problem-solving through open communication channels and real-time collaboration.
- Improved project management, goal planning, and the ability to monitor timelines and hold team members accountable for tasks.
- Streamlined processes thanks to synchronized file sharing and the ability to create standard workflows.
Interested in learning more about collaboration tools, their benefits, and which ones will best meet your company’s needs? Maven Wave has the expertise and experience to help you achieve a more productive and collaborative environment. To explore our innovative solutions, contact us.
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