Effective communication and collaboration are crucial to any company’s success. They’re also inextricably linked. And with so many employees working remotely at least part of the time, they’ve never been more important.
But optimizing communication and collaboration in today’s geographically dispersed workplace is tricky without the right tech tools to foster teamwork and streamline workflow. Whether the tools you choose are standalone or multipurpose, they should be intuitive, scalable and include the following features:
Videoconferencing and spatial audio
Zoom, Teams and Gmeet are ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best options. Plenty of other contenders, including Teamflow, do a better job of linking co-workers visually and aurally — without causing fatigue or psychological ailments. Instead of giant heads, colleagues appear in small and easily maneuverable spheres that contain video, portraits or avatars. Spatial audio replicates in-person conversation by taking into account proximity to automatically increase or decrease volume, and by allowing users in the same space to overhear each other if they’re not muted.
This is all about accountability and transparency. It allows for easy scheduling, planning, document sharing, bug reporting, assigning, budgeting and time tracking, among other stuff. Without project management software, workflow slows and eventually stops flowing.
Calendars or to-do lists
By regularly updating these things and making them accessible to all team members, you can make sure everyone is consistently in the loop when it comes to meetings, deliverables, presentations and other day-to-day events. Birthdays, too — can’t forget those.
You’ve probably experienced email overload. It’s a common curse that’s easily solved by using instant messaging. Inquiries, directives, witty observations — everything you need or want to communicate is more succinct, more timely and less apt to fall through the cracks. Can it be distracting? Of course. Here’s a failsafe solution: When necessary, shut it off.
This is a common feature of virtual workspaces. Need to go over a few Google docs with coworkers during a video meeting? Drop them right in. Or an Excel spreadsheet, a whiteboard outline, a YouTube video. Instead of sending docs and links via IM or (ugh) email, do it right there and then.
File storage and sharing
Plenty of cloud-based programs let users store files and quickly share them with others. Having everything in one central location greatly increases accessibility, which can significantly improve productivity.
Besides being intuitive, it helps if collaboration tools are also optimized for mobile devices. Some users like to roam — or maybe they have to roam as part of their job. In those cases, they’re less likely to have constant computer access. Fortunately, most people have a mini computer (aka smartphone) in their pocket or purse. Mobile-friendly collaboration programs can make working on the fly far more productive.
You’re sending and receiving messages, having video chats, creating and sharing documents. All of those things involve lots of private information you don’t want falling into the hands of cybercriminals — or competitors. That’s why it’s smart to make sure that robust security protocols and compliance frameworks are in place. It’s the best way to safeguard your business, your products and yourself.
Whether you’re upgrading your collaboration tools or starting from scratch, the right ones make a huge difference. Choose wisely.