As a small business owner, you’re likely to be hooked in to the mobile economy — which means you or your employees probably work away from the office from time to time. The freedom of working remotely is wonderful, but it can stymie collaboration. Fortunately, you can choose from a wealth of online collaboration tools to help boost your productivity and stay connected with your team.
Slack is a terrific messaging app designed to keep all the members of your team connected when you’re working remotely. Use it to create channels that let you track and archive different conversations, then retrieve them to access what was said, so you never lose a good idea.
Staying in touch by text or phone works much of the time, but sometimes you really need to see someone draw a diagram on a whiteboard to understand what they’re talking about. That’s where RealtimeBoard comes in handy. This clever app, which integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, Facebook, and more, serves as a virtual whiteboard or meeting room, allowing real-time or asynchronous collaboration on a global basis.
There’s just no beating Google Docs when it comes to collaboration tools. This handy app lets you share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from and to any device — and it’s all free, which is a great benefit for small businesses operating on a shoestring budget.
If your team collaborates on videos, audio files, or images, you may find email far too limiting when it comes to sharing your work. With Dropbox, all those hassles are gone. Sync all your work with a Dropbox business account so that everyone on your team can access it and work from wherever they are.
Think of the project management tool Trello as a virtual cork board. All your collaborators can make notes, post them to Trello, then move them around as easily as you’d move index cards pinned to your office bulletin board. Trello is a great tool for tracking progress on a multitude of projects going on simultaneously.
If your firm provides client services of any kind, check out WorkflowMax project management software. It’ll help with lead management, creating quotes, and many other tasks. It also generates full reports to help your clients understand what you’re accomplishing for them.
You might think of social media as something that pulls your employees away from their work, but when you’re talking about a private social media platform like Yammer, it becomes a factor in keeping them focused on their work. In fact, membership is tied to your domain name, which helps it stay truly private. Create groups within Yammer to keep team members chatting with one another.
Sometimes you need to talk to the whole group. Sure, you could set up a conference call, but don’t you appreciate being able to see people’s expressions (including their eye rolls) or their body language? Skype is so incredibly popular because it does just that — and it’s free. Plug in your whole team via smartphone or laptop to hold conference calls and meetings wherever and whenever you need them.
Stock up on the right tools for communication, collaboration, project management, and file sharing to help your team work productively, even when you’re not in the same location.