Research has shown that virtual teams are just as, if not more, productive than their in-office counterparts. But that wouldn’t be the case without the slew of novel technologies developed to support them. The old saying that “A man is only as good as his tools” holds especially true when applied to remote teams. Without the right virtual collaboration tools to help your team connect, your remote business won’t thrive.
So, here’s a list of our top 5 virtual collaboration tools for remote teams:
- ) Zoom – There’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction. But video conferencing applications like Zoom are allowing virtual teams to maintain intimacy from anywhere on Earth. Zoom also allows meeting participants to share presentations, screens, and other content in real time. Another of Zoom’s extra perks is the ability to send official e-mail invites to clients for a more professional appearance.
- ) Google Docs – There’s a ton of document collaboration tools out there, but Google Docs remains the gold standard. It’s a streamlined, no-nonsense platform which allows team members to work on a document together from anywhere on Earth. Docs also provides ample cloud space in Google Drive to share and exchange files. And did we mention it’s free?
- ) Slack – Depending on the needs of your business, quick instant-messaging applications like Slack may be essential. Not every interaction requires a phone call, video conference, or e-mail. For all those minor exchanges of information, Slack works wonders. Users can create a group chat for the whole business, plus individual “channels” for specific departments or teams. Slack also comes with an added bonus – users can now start a Zoom meeting straight from their Slack channel with the /zoom command.
- ) Basecamp – Basecamp aims to be your company’s virtual HQ. It’s a platform that gives you a single, authoritative location to house all your projects and communications. Leaders can assign work to specific team members, and manage individual project teams and departments in an organized manner. Company-wide productivity features like automatic check-ins are also excellent ways to keep virtual teams engaged.
- ) Dropbox – Think of Dropbox as a giant, virtual file cabinet. Team members can upload files easily and grant access to their coworkers. As soon as a file is edited, everyone will have access to the updated copy, saving tons of time and confusion from messy e-mail chains and attachments. Dropbox also provides you with data backup, to help ward against loss. You’ll get 2GB of storage space for free to start, and can expand on that for a monthly subscription as your needs grow.
There are literally hundreds of websites, platforms, and applications designed to help virtual teams connect and collaborate. We couldn’t possibly cover all the ones we think are worthwhile, but these 5 are a great place to get started. Another thing to keep in mind is that which tools are right for you will depend on your business’s unique needs. For tech-related companies, for example, coding collaboration applications like Github are indispensable.
But whatever your business may be, it is bound to benefit from some form of virtual collaboration tool. Remember, don’t work harder when you can work smarter!