Remote Working Tip #5: Best Communication and Sharing Tools for Remote Teams
Communication is critical to remote working success. If you aren’t in consistent contact with your team, projects can quickly fall apart. Fortunately, there are a variety of great ways to keep in touch with your remote team. And, for each of those ways, there are multiple options for communicating virtually.
In this article, we will lay out several important communication methods along with recommended tools for each one.
Whether communicating with clients or your team, it’s important to have face-to-face interaction to maintain that personal touch. While remote work doesn’t lend itself to in-person meetings on a regular basis, there are lots of great video conferencing platforms available to help you keep in touch and be face-to-face, even if it is digitally.
Here are a few recommendations for video conferencing tools:
Zoom – Zoom has seen a huge surge in usage as companies transition to work from home situations during the COVID-19 crisis. This platform offers both free and paid options, and you can have multiple users on screen at the same time.
Teams – Beyond the chat collaboration feature, Microsoft’s Teams app has a great video conferencing feature. The quality is top notch, and the ability to chat while in conference is super useful.
Hangouts Meet – Hangouts is a part of Google’s G Suite. This option offers a secure video conferencing option suitable for both small and enterprise-level companies. Meeting are encrypted to ensure your conversations stay in-house.
There is definitely no shortage of options here, but we really love the above tools. So, we encourage you to start with these options.
Whether working in or out of office, email is obviously a favored communication tools for most working professionals. Perhaps the two most popular options are Outlook and Gmail, at least when it comes to businesses.
Really, this one is up to the email provider your company chooses. We don’t suggest going rogue and using your own preferred email provider if it differs from the provider your company users.
To keep make the most of your email, we recommend the following:
• Create folders to store related emails
• Use the flag option to note which emails require priority attention
• Set times throughout the day to focus on checking and responding to email
• Setup threads to combine emails in the same conversation
You’ll likely be receiving more emails now than usual, so be sure to put the above actions in place to ensure you don’t get lost in the inbox pileup.
Email is, of course, a huge part of successful remote working. There are times, however, when you need a quicker response ,or the communication requires more of an ongoing conversation than a one-off email. This is where chat apps come into play.
Here are a few of our favorite chat apps:
Teams – We mentioned this above in the video conferencing section, but teams has a great collaborative chat feature as well. With the ability to have individual or group chat, share files and more, this app from Microsoft can seamlessly keep your team in touch.
Slack – Slack has been a go-to resource for remote teams for quite some time. Share ideas, collaborate on revisions, create channels to organize communication and setup alerts to help your team stay on track.
Twist – Twist is a very user-friendly platform. Communication is broken into messages (similar to SMS or Facebook messages), channels to break down specific topics or projects and threads which are similar to your email inbox and allow for tracking of longer-form communication.
Storage and File Sharing
The efficiency with which your team shares both working and final documents is critically important.
Check out these tools to help your team stay organize and share content more effectively:
OneDrive – Use this tool to save files of all types. Videos, photos, documents and more. Create a clear folder system and offer access to specific team members as necessary. If you are saving Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations here, you can set permissions for team members to be able to edit them, right within the platform.
Dropbox – This is a classic. It has a lot of the same features as OneDrive. Traditionally known as a basic file storage system in the Cloud, now you can collaborate by storing Microsoft documents, Google Docs and Slides and Dropbox Paper. You can also integrate apps like Slack and Zoom to keep track of conversations.
Intranet – This is not a specific platform recommendation, but if you have the resources to create an manage a company Intranet, this is a great option for sharing both company updates and important documents and other content.
With the right file sharing tools in place, combined with tools to help you communicate more effectively, you will be nicely setup to succeed at working from home.