As of 2022, there are three times more remote jobs than there were at the height of the pandemic in 2020. What was once started as a temporary fix has now become the new normal – and some might call it an even better normal. Not only are most employees happier while working remotely, but they’re more efficient too – and we have remote collaboration tools to thank for that.
Online collaboration tools are apps, software programs, and platforms that help businesses (remote and otherwise) work together more effectively.
Online collaboration tools were not a product of the 2020 office mass-exodus. In fact, we’ve been using them for years to connect with clients over video, work on shared documents, and chat with each other. Your messaging apps, project management software, video conferencing platforms, and social media schedulers are all online collaboration tools.
Collaboration tools help to eliminate gate-keeping by offering direct access to ideas, projects, and feedback from others in an instant. If your team adopts the right tools and uses them properly, they can help tackle many of today’s top challenges: productivity, engagement, and connection.
The benefit each collaboration tool brings to your organization depends on many factors including both the old way of doing things, its rate of adoption, and more. In general, the benefits of collaboration tools include:
These five collaboration tools are must-haves, regardless of industry or team size. Each one covers a specific need of the remote team: messaging/communication, video conferencing, project management, and file sharing. While the needs of each team and company are different, these tools will help cover all the bases.
Slack is a staple for remote teams big and small. This messaging and collaboration tool can integrate with your other tools to keep you connected, organized, and on-time. Slack combines direct messaging, group messages, voice and video calls, and topic-specific channels all in one place.
Slack is a great way to stay connected with your remote teams. Join the channels that matter to you, and mute the ones you don’t need to stay streamlined. This is definitely a tool that you’ll use every day.
Key features of Slack:
Google Drive is part of Google’s suite of online tools. Drive allows you to store, share, and collaborate on files and folders on any device. With public and private sharing options, your organization can use Google Drive to store information and important documents and share them at your discretion.
Key features of Google Drive:
Hive is a project management platform built for remote work. Without a project management tool, it’s nearly impossible to stay on track and have visibility to project timelines. With Hive, you can visualize and collaborate on projects each step of the way. Assign tasks, stay up to date on progress, and visualize your timelines across your organization.
Key features of Hive:
Animoto is an easy-to-use online video maker. It has everything you need to create professional videos in minutes, no experience required. Video helps to break through the noise and make your message stick. Viewers retain 95% of a message from video compared to just 10% when reading it. If you want to make your communications more efficient, make a video!
You can use Animoto to make training videos, event recaps, advertisements, tutorials, and more. With hundreds of video templates to choose from and user-friendly customization and feedback tools, you can easily streamline communications and engage your team with video.
Key features of Animoto:
Zoom is perhaps the most popular and well-known video conferencing tool on the market. Just like band-aid has become synonymous with bandages as a whole, “zooming” is now synonymous with video calling. Zoom has held its ground as a reliable, multi-purpose video conferencing tool that has a robust set of features.
Key features of Zoom:
There is no shortage of remote collaboration tools, and you certainly don’t need them all. The five tools we outlined include the four main types of collaboration tools. Together, they can strengthen your remote collaboration and efficiency across the board! When building your own suite of collaboration tools, make sure to have at least one in each of the following categories.
Whether you want to communicate via email, direct messenger, voice call, or all of the above, you’ll need a communication tool. Tools with multiple communication methods in one are a plus, so you can reach your team when and where it matters.
Video conferencing tools provide the face-to-face communication that’s often missing from remote workforces. Not only do you get quality facetime through video, but you can easily view your coworkers’ screens for efficient presentations and tutorials.
Your team can feel disjointed and ineffective without a way to plan and track their work. Thus, project management tools provide a collaborative, transparent space to hold the entire team accountable.
Last but not least, you need a shared space to store information. Cloud storage platforms empower employees with the information they need, when they need it. Otherwise, information can get lost in asynchronous file transfers and projects can be slowed to a halt.
Collaboration tools are essential to remote teams. But striking the right balance of tools can be tricky. With too many tools, your team can feel confused, overwhelmed, or inefficient. So, here are some factors to consider to find the right tools for your team.
Collaboration has the ability to increase efficiency, productivity, and job satisfaction. It’s perhaps the most important factor in the workplace, whether remote or IRL. Investing in a tool that promotes collaboration is an investment in your success. The benefits of team collaboration include:
So, how can you promote collaboration in your workplace? There are many approaches. No matter which one (or ones) you lead with, transparency and vulnerability are a must.
Support starts with you! Enable and empower your team to raise concerns and connect with other team members. Celebrate your teams’ contributions and lead with empathy. Chances are, your team will start to follow.
Online collaboration tools are usually more approachable for introverted team members. Whereas they may feel shut out or nervous to engage in real life, online collaboration tools provide a buffer. Extroverted types can also use these tools to connect with their team and make sure their voices are heard. This is a great place to start as you build a more collaborative workplace.
Gatekeeping can be detrimental to a team. If you want teams to collaborate, information needs to be readily available. Even more than that, you need to foster collaboration by asking for feedback, welcoming constructive criticism, and sharing resources.
Today, there are many ways to meet with your team. Maintain a regular schedule of group meetings, one-on-ones, and casual “catch-ups” to welcome open communication. Even sharing meeting recaps across your organization show that you value transparency and open communication, Over time, your team will learn what communications to expect and know their voices will be heard.
Collaboration shouldn’t be capped by department. Work with other department leads to create channels that welcome cross-team collaboration. Together, you can paint a bigger picture and come up with stronger solutions. You never know when someone’s expertise or feedback will come in handy to another team!
Video is everywhere these days – not just on social media. As we’ve seen above, an important component of collaboration is frequent, consistent communication. Not only can you use video to communicate with your team (think company announcements, meeting recaps, etc.) but you can promote collaboration by asking for feedback on your videos!
You can use video to connect with your team for free with Animoto. Browse our hundreds of templates for work and life and strengthen your communication, no video experience required.
Collaboration promotes information sharing, employee retention, productivity, and innovation. If you want to build a strong team, you need to create a collaborative environment for them to flourish in.
Collaboration can underlie many of a company’s major goals like employee retention, innovation, and attracting new talent. Though it starts on a team-by-team basis, these collaborative, strong teams can become a building block for future growth.
Businesses use collaboration tools every day to track progress, share new information, and communicate with their teams. Video conferencing and project management tools alike can be considered online collaboration tools.