Business in the web 2.0 era is all about increasing and getting the most out of collaboration. Hierarchical organizational flattening where different specialized business units share information and work together to improve operational efficiency and provide better offerings for customers is now the norm.
What’s more, global teams and new working conditions often require modern businesses to be able to connect employees located in far-flung places around the world, reliably, and with functionality that makes working together straightforward and efficient. Luckily, a host of great applications and tools exist to make collaboration easy.
By now most people whose work involves online collaboration have likely used Google Documents for at least some aspect of their work. From documents to spreadsheets, to powerpoints, Google documents is a great application for disparately located colleagues to see, make changes and contribute to the same projects.
Most industries are able to make use of Google Docs for a wide range of different applications. Some industries, however, such as software development, require more sophisticated functionalities that facilitate a different kind of collaboration. API collaboration tools are the glue that keeps development teams on track and involved in one another’s work. There are a variety of API tools out there to help make projects run smoothly.
Slack is a communication and collaboration channel that has made itself indispensable in recent years, helping team members share a wide range of media and keep on top of group projects. The “channels” feature allows administrators to effectively compartmentalize work and ensures that the appropriate team members have access to relevant group messaging and meeting areas.
Slack comes in free and paid plans, with the paid options offering more expansive settings and channel creation that tend to make more sense for growing businesses. Slack is one of the most trusted and highly-used collaborative tools online and innumerable businesses around the world rely on it for their day to day operations.
Zoom has become central to many people’s lives–work and otherwise–facilitating social gatherings, get-togethers with friends and, very importantly, work. Zoom has shown many employers and employees that we do not need to come into the office 9-5, every single day in order for companies to remain productive and profitable.
Zoom allows people increased opportunities to work and collaborate from home, and in many ways has and continues to redefine the notion of work.
One of the keys to successful remote collaboration is good organization. Without a means by which to organize projects, delegate work and make instructions and updates public, remote collaboration grinds to a halt.
Luckily there are applications like Trello. Tello bills itself as an application that helps keep track of both the big picture and the minute details. It is a list-making application that allows for great prioritization and assignment of tasks, as well as live updating and notifications linked to email accounts that notify collaborators when changes have been made or new tasks require attention.
While originally only available to Microsoft Office subscribers, there is a now a free plan available for small businesses. Microsoft Teams features a number of great collaborative functions, including inline translation for teams with different language speakers, as well the ability to easily generate transcriptions of meetings.
The program also, not surprisingly, is deeply integrated with all office applications, which makes sharing Microsoft office files over the platform a snap.
Airtable combines both spreadsheet and database functionality and has been one of the go-to collaborative tools in Silicon Valley for a couple of years now. Large and small companies alike love Air Table’s ease-of-use and sophisticated data management capabilities, which allows team members to keep track of shared work schedules and updates.
Airtable has been very well-received by some of the largest and most cutting-edge tech companies out there, where there is a higher premium on efficiency than perhaps anywhere else.
To make a business work in the 21st century, especially one with team members in a number of different locations, in a variety of work configurations–office, home, remote etcetera–tools that facilitate collaboration are non-negotiable. Keep the above collaboration applications in mind as you grow your business and harness the collective brain and manpower of your employees.
About the Author
Alex is an internationally-based freelance writer who likes writing and talking about tech, wildlife conservation, sustainable tourism, music and culture. When he’s not working, he’s hiking or swimming.