Team Collaboration Tools: Working Together Online

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Team collaboration tools are critical to business success. Online collaboration solutions now allow team members to work together from anywhere in the world — here’s how cloud collaboration can boost your business productivity.

A strong team is only as effective as the tools they are provided with. In order to achieve success, businesses must provide team members with the ability to communicate and work with each other in a seamless manner. Promoting this collaborative culture within your business allows team members to reinforce each other’s strengths and inspire each other to perform to the best of their abilities.

Data published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reveals that coworkers are more motivated and execute tasks to a higher standard when working in a collaborative manner. Remote collaboration software represent powerful tools that can be used to promote teamwork between your team members. We’ll proceed to break down seven solutions that boost collaboration, communication, and productivity within your business.

Optimise Your Project Management Process With Quire

Establishing a project management process is essential in order to maximize team collaboration and so team productivity. A project management flow improves brand messaging, increases creativity, promotes employee confidence, and helps to support the overall operational innovation within an organization.

Collaborative project management software helps teams worth together by defining a clear workflow and assigning tasks ordered by priority. Quire is a simple, straightforward cloud-based project management tool that allows teams to create and work together on long-term tasks.

Pros: Quire is designed to provide teams with a hierarchical task list that breaks down large-scale projects into small component jobs that can be assigned on an individual basis. By establishing a dynamic, scalable workflow, Quire prevents teams from losing context and promotes linear progression toward goals.

Quire integrates a Kanban board that provides team members with clearly-prioritized tasks, allowing users to quickly visualize which goals must be achieved first. Administrators are provided with simple visual queues that make task administration simple.

Quire also integrates as sync feature that promotes real-time collaboration, allowing users to remain up to date on task progress regardless of time or location — making it ideal for decentralized teams.

Cons: The Quire platform lacks a private chat function, which can be indispensable for teams working across multiple locations or time zones. Quire also limits theme customization and branding options, forcing teams to work with the standard Quire visual layout.

Reduce Communication Friction With Slack

Communication is another essential ingredient in team collaboration. It is crucial to the success of startups and large-scale businesses alike. If your business is operating with a small team of less than four people, then it’s likely that ad-hoc communication will suffice. As team size scales, however, communication friction increases. It’s important to provide your team with an efficient method of communicating.

Slack is a powerful real-time communication tool that allows team members to stay in touch at any time, from any location.

Pros: Slack is primarily designed to function as a real-time messaging system, complete with chat archives, group chats, search functionality, and customizable privacy options. A major advantage offered by Slack is the third-party integrations it offers — Slack is able to connect to Google Drive, Sheets, and Docs, as well as MailChimp, Zendesk, and more.

It’s also possible to connect to Slack via dedicated iOS and Android apps, allowing team members to communicate via smartphone. Integrating slack into the communication flow of your business can reduce the amount of time spent on meetings and administrative tasks, as well as reducing email clutter.

Cons: While real-time messaging allows team members to remain up to date on current tasks, the instantaneous communication Slack offers can, in some cases, restrict the accountability associated with tasks assigned via asynchronous communication methods like email. Real-time messaging solutions are best used in combination with formal task assignment or project management platforms.

Make Financial Decisions Collaborative With CoBudget

Financial data transparency is extremely important to small businesses and startups at critical growth stages. In most cases, the chief financial officer of a business is tasked with collecting, verifying, and analyzing financial data from a variety of different sources.

Financial data is commonly collected and presented via static formats such as spreadsheets. Cloud accounting software such as Xero, however, streamline the accounting process and reduce the amount of time that must be spent on administrative tasks. CoBudget takes financial communication online, allowing team members to participate in the financial decision-making process and remain up to date on financial information relevant to their roles within a business.

Pros: CoBudget takes an interesting approach to the distribution of capital within a startup. Using CoBudget, team members are able to propose ideas for the distribution of capital, discuss proposals, and improve them before submitting them for approval. CoBudget functions in a similar manner to crowdfunding platforms, allowing team members to share resources and allocate them to where they are needed most.

Cons: Collaborative capital distribution can promote transparency within small-scale startup teams, but isn’t the right financial model for every business — the CoBudget solution isn’t ideal for businesses seeking to restrict the availability of company finances.

Create Content as a Team With Creativity 365

Content creation is an essential part of establishing a marketable brand identity. Modern consumers want to engage with businesses that are able to tell a story — in order to stand out from the competition, modern businesses are obligated to create a large amount of content.

The content creation process is time consuming, however, and requires consistent team collaboration. The Creativity 365 solution is designed to streamline content creation and foster a creative environment, providing templates and inspiration across multiple formats that include video content, written content, and interactive marketing presentations.

Pros: Creativity 365 is available across iOS, Android, and desktop, and provides creative teams with the tools they need to consistently deliver engaging content on a regular schedule.

Cons: While the Creativity 365 platform provides a wide range of tools and templates, designers and creative employees that prefer to use video and content editing software they are more familiar with may find it difficult to adjust to Creativity 365 processes.

Crowdsource Decision-Making With Loomio

Effective decision making relies on communication and information availability. The decision making process should take into account a broad range of ideas — which means providing your team with an efficient means of proposing and discussing potential courses of action.

Loomio is a collaborative decision-making tool that allows teams to make timely, inclusive, quality decisions without time-consuming meetings.

Pros: Loomio decentralizes and democratizes the decision making process by presenting a decision in a real-time discussion environment. Deliberation and conclusions are presented in a simple visual format, with disagreements represented in pie chart format. Using Loomio, it’s possible to rapidly raise questions and reach consensus on any given decision with minimal time expenditure.

Cons: Loomio provides team members with the ability to participate in group discussions regarding potential decisions but can, in some cases, result in negative feedback when opinions or ideas are rejected outright.

Write Together With Google Docs

When it comes to written content, Google Docs is currently the best tool available to teams seeking a collaborative solution. Google Docs allows teams to quickly compose, edit, and publish virtually any kind of document as well as build on a massive library of existing document templates.

Pros: Team members using Google Docs are able to access their work from any device in any location. Google Docs offers multiple editing and suggesting modes, facilitating collaborative editing and document improvement. Customizable sharing and privacy options make it possible to easily add or remove editors and collaborators.

Cons: While Google Docs is a powerful word processor, the archive and document management functionality of the app currently lacks an effective tagging system, which can cause administrative friction.

Organize Your Knowledge Base With ProProfs

Developing an accessible knowledge base is key when improving internal processes and team collaboration. ProProfs is a centralized platform that streamlines the information gathering, sorting, and distribution process, making critical knowledge available to all team members.

Pros: ProProfs functions as an internal wiki, allowing businesses to quickly create comprehensive databases of critical information and distribute it on a permissioned basis. ProProfs can be used to create manuals, FAQ’s, and self-service knowledge databases from both internal and customer-facing use.

Cons: ProProfs is great for creating knowledge databases, but doesn’t offer a wide range of integrations with other applications. The restrictive format options offered by ProProfs can also limit its effectiveness as a solution for customer-facing interactions.

Streamline your internal comms with Blink

Blinks doubles as both an employee intranet as well as a communication platform. This user-friendly app works on multiple devices, ensuring everyone is able to stay connected no matter where they are. Blink offers a unique communication platform that boasts a significant improvement in employee engagement among its users and it was built to bring to gether distributed workforces working remotely or on the frontline.

The app centers around 3 main features: Feed is designed to keep employees up-to-date on important top-down company updates, Chat allows employees to communicate with one another in customizable groups, while the Hub feature allows employees to access important documents and shortcuts. Combining employee intranet features with critical communications in one place allows every employee to stay constantly in-the-loop, saving time and reducing the risk of miscommunications.

Pros: Push notifications and mandatory reads, which require employee confirmation, ensure no critical updates or notifications are overlooked.

Cons: Establishing multiple chat groups can help different teams stay on track with their team members, however, users who are part of multiple groups may find it difficult to keep track of several simultaneous conversations. Sometimes in communications, less is more!

Why Collaboration is Important

Providing your team with the tools necessary to work in a collaborative manner is the key to long-term sustainable growth and success.  When team collaboration is working well, team members form meaningful connections with one another and so they are able to hold each other accountable and ensure critical tasks are performed in a timely manner.

Collaborative cloud tools can significantly increase quality of your team collaboration and so the productivity of your business and minimise administrative costs. If you’re interested in the application of cloud-based accounting, project management, or team communication software for your business, reach out to Fullstack today.

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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech & online companies.

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