Ready, Get Set, Go: How Online Collaboration Apps Help Virtual Teams’ Race to the Finish Line
Working remotely may have its benefits and downfalls. It’s up to the you, the business owner, the leader of the race to trust your team that everybody is doing their part to achieve success. As the team grows and tasks get piled up, sometimes it can be chaotic. Tasks are overseen and deadlines are missed. Nowadays, sending emails one by one to each team member will take a lot of time and enters the risk of missing out on emails.
Luckily, there are apps and software that help you manage your team and projects. These are especially made for online collaborating, even when your team is globally working and when you’re on the go.
Online collaboration apps are online tools that let you communicate to your colleagues and track all your projects in one screen, for you to oversee all pending, in progress and finished projects. These are tools that work real-time and are accessible wherever you are. Just go online and you’re ready to go. These tools offer the most convenient options for freelancers and co working environments, sort of like competing in a relay where everyone has a part in finishing projects and taking on simultaneous tasks. Here are Five Online Collaboration and communication tools that will help you speed up in running to the finish line when the gun start strikes:
ASANA: “Team collaboration without Email”
Asana, is a project tracking tool and uses convenient software integration that is best for team collaborations. It works well with small to mid-sized companies as it works like an email inbox but has the functions of setting deadlines, letting everyone know which tasks are the priority, sending requests to teammates and tracking the progress of colleagues with their given tasks.
These functions can all be seen in a board format where you can review all projects at once and allows the team to organise the board’s features and priorities. This tool is also web based, so there’s no need to install a software to get the job done. Asana is iPhone and Android app compatible and tasks can be synced through iCalendar and Google Calendar.
No Slacking off with SLACK
Android, iPhone-iPad, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Web-based
Slack is the Virtual team’s Twitter. With its messages and chat interface, the team can type in #Hashtags and @Mentions much like functioning and asking questions on Twitter. It is an online communication tool where you can shout out your questions though private messages or in one of the channels. It is best for communication of Small to mid-sized companies as well.
It boasts the function of organising groups into Channels where the team can send messages and files to a specific person or to the channel, this is especially helpful in projects with its own theme and subject. Let’s say for example, this file goes to the channel for Marketing, so all related questions, feedback and files regarding your marketing project can be seen in one place.
This App supports video calling and has the avenue to casually talk about the day’s events and the past week’s milestones to ease everyone off the serious working attitude. Slack is available on Mobile and Desktop with a compatibility with Google Drive and Dropbox for larger file sharing.
Communication flows with RYVER
Ryver is an online collaboration tool that’s very similar with Slack. It’s a tool that features chat posts and profiles but has a Facebook feed type interface. It is typically used by small to mid-sized businesses to collaborate. The team can communicate through chat, it follows that Facebook style thread where you can mention users and it can be categorised in topic based conversations. Its unique feature includes filtering where you can choose the users who can see the files and content you posted. It also supports audio and video calling, threaded discussions, and private and public groups.
Android, iPhone-iPad, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Web-based
PODIO: Going mobile and on the Go
Podio, is a project management tool that is a customisable online platform – so the team can see and define how your reports and content that you send are made, with flexibility. Its main selling point is that “You can run your projects your way” as it does not follow a certain structure for you to run your businesses’ processes.
You have an oversight of everything that’s going on, can track projects, set reminders, do file sharing and content sharing. And much of everyone’s delight, it decreases the use of emails as your conversations and brainstorming sessions can be in one place. This tool boasts of certain mobile apps that you can use when you’re not in the office, and travelling for business meetings around the globe, through your smartphone or tablet.
Tracking time and milestone with TEAMWORK PROJECTS
“When all communication, documentation and task coordination is in one place, collaboration is exactly what it should be… productive. “
The last of the online collaboration tools, Teamwork Projects is a software that helps the team work on projects while having a time tracker for each user. This is especially helpful for projects with deadlines as you can take advantage of each working hour. Its features include task management, time tracking, milestones, Gantt charts, instant high-level reports and more. For all sizes of businesses. You can also take advantage of features where you can personalise the workflow of the team. It has a customisable team work calendar with its own chat and help desk products so you can keep everything under one roof.
The Winning Shot and The Hurdles of Online Communication Tools
All these online collaboration tools, out of the hundreds that you can use and download have one thing in common, for you to win on those projects and add another milestone to the company or business. Everyone who has contributed to your team’s success can easily track and mark actions – when the project started and when it is complete. This should make the team’s effort appreciated and the team is ready to take on another race, another relay, for a bigger project.
Not only do these tools give confidence to the group, it gives convenience to anyone on your team – even when they are working remotely around the globe. With this situation, online collaboration tools help in resolving and acting on feedback quickly, files are stored in one convenient place and reporting and task progress are easily seen in one platform. Even when you yourself are on the go, these tools are smartphone and tablet compatible. So, even when you’re in transit, you can trust that the team is doing their best to still be in the race.
With the benefits these tools can bring to virtual teams, there will also be hurdles and disadvantages. One disadvantage of these tools is security. Not many of these tools have advanced encryption so sensitive and confidential files may be at risk.
Some argue as well that tasks are done more productively outside these tools because it takes time to synchronise each of the member’s. So, when one has a change in schedule, other users are affected as well. Not only that, since technology doesn’t run smoothly every time, a glitch in the internet connection or an update in the software, can cause the team to be affected. Lastly, cost – if you want more features from these tools, you have to pay the premium price.
All these tools are created for convenience, collaboration, and competence. As with any other races, your journey to the finish line, does not only depend on the tools that you use but with your team. A relay cannot be finished with one man alone, and obstacles will come in your way. Your team still has the power to make or break a project and it is up to you and your team to take these tools and let it bring you to an advantage or a disadvantage.