While working from home has required some major adjustments, it has also provided us with an opportunity to discover new and exciting tools to help us make staying connected with our colleagues easier and a lot more productive.
Here is a list of collaborative tools designed to help you and your team stay connected and manage projects like pros during social distancing.
What sets Splashtop apart from other remote desktop software is the high-quality, low-latency, video transfer. This helps to create an authentic feeling of actually sitting in front of your work computer from anywhere. With Splashtop, you will have the ability to securely log in to your work office computer remotely from any device. All sensitive data will remain safely on your office computer.
Teams is great tool for keeping your office connected. As a part of the premium Office 356 subscription suite for Windows, Teams provides users with the capabilities to share work on other office programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Users can also collaborate on Teams with traditional real-time communication tools such as video and voice calls, as well as direct/group messaging.
When it comes to team communication, Slack is another recommended tool. Slack provides a virtual office environment allowing employees to interact, file share and collaborate with colleagues in group settings or even one-on-one. With Slack users can create channels based on certain projects, office-wide integration, or even non-work-related banter. There are also features that allow Slack to install apps for various functions, creating ample room for customization and unique collaboration based on your team’s needs.
Gone are the days when working remotely means not seeing each other for days, even weeks at a time. Microsoft brings several virtually interactive features to the workplace with one app. While Teams is widely known for its messaging functions, it is also a great tool for face-to-face virtual conferencing-1080p calls with up to 250 members, screen sharing/controlling and other collaborative functions. This is a multi-functional app that has the capabilities of several communication tools rolled into one package, and it is already available in most organization’s current Microsoft 365 suite.
Zoom video conferencing allows for multiple users to conference in at at the same time and connect on a tiled screen. You can choose to connect one-on-one for a quick meeting, hold a face-to-face team collaboration or even have the entire office connect for happy hour.
For tips on Increasing Security Measures During Zoom Meetings click here.
With the ability for users to share documents in real-time, GoToMeeting offers users a myriad of benefits when it comes to teleconferencing. The software is easy to customize with various add-ons as well as simplified integration with other software such as Zappier and Google Calendar.
Much like Monday and Trello, Planner is predicated on a visual way for teams to stay organized when managing projects. Planner is a Kanban style tool that ties in with Microsoft To Do (formerly Wunderlist) to provide a task-based interface for individuals to work from. Planner can be integrated with Microsoft Teams to help tackle simple to complex projects with added accountability and efficiency. This is a great tool for businesses that do shorter length projects, repetitive projects, or even tracking complex processes. Best of all, because Planner is included with Microsoft 365 (Office 365) anyone can use it, so each department or team can find their own ways to use it.
For businesses that handle longer-term projects there is Microsoft Projects. This waterfall-style project management tool is more complex and is something that would be ideal for an organization that has someone dedicated to using the software. Construction companies or similar businesses could benefit as it has the ability to track time and material costs of each task and accurately predict/represent project timelines.
When it comes to workflow visualization, Monday enables users to manage projects in a simplified, logical way. With its task driven interface, this cloud-based platform erases many project challenges including communication and accountability.
Another project management tool based around organized simplicity is Trello. Users can easily assign tasks and build boards for each project with this Kanban style project management software.
Bookings is another free program that is included in the robust Microsoft 365 package. Although it currently has less features than its counterparts, Microsoft has been rapidly developing their software so we might see this changing shortly. For now, it is quite similar to programs like Calendly, very user friendly and equipped with the abilities to accomplish and organize most scheduling tasks. One drawback is that Bookings is unable to be embedded into websites and blogs, however, links can be created and incorporated into your site designs.
This is a program that will satisfy the needs of a larger team, one with more demanding infrastructure that needs a program that can be built into workflows. Acuity includes a lot of features but it is not as simple to use as Bookings or Calendly. However, Acuity gives you the ability to fully integrate with web-design software such as Squarespace. Selling appointment times for consultation and courses can be set through this software as everything from scheduling to payment & handling of credit card information is hands off for users. Another great benefit is that Acuity has plans for unlimited users while pay-per-user methods like Calendly can add up.
With Calendly you can easily schedule tasks, share events or simply block off times for others to know when you are busy. This online scheduling software integrates with Google and Office 365 making it a simple way to share your availability and schedule meetings more efficiently. Simply send your availability links via email and reminders will be set so no one forgets when and how a meeting will take place. Calendly also offers a basic, free version for businesses that do not need to utilize the full program.
When it comes to digital file management for remote employees, Microsoft OneDrive is one of the most viable and trusted options. Not only is it already a part of the Microsoft 365 package most businesses are already using, but it is also employs a list of other benefits including file sharing security with four levels of external sharing options, continuous uptime cloud availability, and easy to use file storage and organization. OneDrive also keeps any changes to your files and data updated by automatically syncing files when an internet connection is established.
Another versatile file management tool already in most business’s Microsoft 365 arsenal is Microsoft Sharepoint. Sharepoint can be downloaded as a cloud-based service or deployed on-site from a Sharepoint Server. Libraries can be created and integrated into Teams or added to your computer as a drive making it convenient and easy to create and access files. Security options allow you to handle sensitive data appropriately when it comes to compliance and regulatory requirements.
Strong password hygiene cannot be overlooked. These days, one cannot simply write down or reuse passwords for each login or trust sensitive, internal data to be protected by weak passwords. Therefore, password apps like LastPass come in handy for employees to securely store their complex, hard to remember passwords, especially since there needs to be one uniquely created for each site. These tools create a secure way to store and easily access all of your passwords in one spot.
While some of these items can be used independently or in small groups, it is always best to check with your administrator before downloading and implementing the software.
If you are a current happier IT client and need help installing these programs for your team, reach out to us email@example.com.
If you are not yet a happier IT client but are interested in learning how we can help your business, feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.