7 Collaboration Tools: Remote Teams

Jessica Robinson

October 11, 2020

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The pandemic is highly contagious in nature. A single infected person can infect a whole group of people working together. This has made it important for business organizations to shift to remote working. But not all business organizations have been able to make that shift, as it doesn't meet the demands of their work. For example, factory workers cannot work remotely. So, lucky are the organizations that can operate remotely. However, these lucky organizations are also facing some challenges while working from home and effective collaboration is one of them. If your organization has also shifted to remote working, probably you have already experienced how it impacts collaboration. The communication between your team is no longer as clear as it used to be and it is really tough for your employees to work together on projects.

But teamwork is crucial for your organization as, without effective collaboration, it cannot succeed. So, you have to do something to restore effective collaboration between your employees. If you wonder what you can do about it, try utilizing some collaborative tools. These are technological tools that are specially designed to help remote teams collaborate effectively. To help you select a collaborative tool which suits your organization's needs, below is a list of the 7 best collaboration tools for remote teams:

Slack is an effective collaboration tool that enables your team to communicate effectively, share files with each other, connect their software tools, and work collaboratively. Some of its important features are:

- Well-organized communication channels:
This is one of the most important features of Slack. It helps you organize your conversations with different teams in the form of organized channels. For example, the conversation with the sales team will appear on the sales team channel. This will help you prioritize the conversations according to need and also prevent them from messing up.

- Slack Connect:
Slack connect is an alluring feature that helps you connect with your partners, vendors, and other people who are involved in some of your projects but work in a different company. You can add them to any communication channel you wish to and help them work along with your employees. This way, you can keep them in the loop and collaborate effectively with them.

- Instant Voice and Video calls:
To help remote teams conduct face to face meetings, slack offers the instant video calling feature. During the video calls, you can also share your screen with your teammates. Moreover, Slack also allows you to join video calls on video conferencing apps of your choice such as Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings, and BlueJeans. Further, when you have no need to share your screen and need the audio feature only, you can switch to Slack instant voice calls to connect with your team.

- Searchable history:
In Slack, you can easily search for the documents, files, and conversations you need to review, with the help of searchable history. You just have to type the name of the file in the search toolbar and you'll see it on the screen within seconds.

All these features together make Slack an excellent tool for remote team collaboration.

GitHub is one of the best collaborative tools for software developers. It helps you connect with your team members and create computer codes together, and you can share computer codes with each other. Further, GitHub is extremely popular among software developers and around 2.8 million developers utilize this platform to host and review codes, manage projects, and develop the desired software together with their teams. Some important features of GitHub:

- GitHub repository:
A GitHub repository is a folder where you can do your software development project. You can keep all the files related to your project in one place (i.e the repository). This makes it easy for you to manage your project. Further, you can keep the repository to yourself and also share it with your team.

- Branching:
Each repository in GitHub has one initial branch known as the master. But, you can create as many branches as you wish. These branches allow you to copy source code independently and make changes in it. Once you are completely satisfied with your work, you can then merge the branch into the main branch.

- Merging:
Merging is the feature of GitHub that lets you merge the changes you have made in different branches into the main branch.

- Pull requests for code reviewing:
The Pull request feature of GitHub enables you to call upon your teammates to review the specified part of the code. As soon as you generate a pull request, your teammates get notified about it. Once they open the pull request, you can discuss with them the specific part of the code, its implications, and any further changes required in it.

- Project management:
As discussed above, GitHub enables you to collaborate with your software development remote team in an effective manner. Whenever you have a project to complete together, the leader can assign different tasks to different team members by mentioning their names in different pull requests. As the respective member opens the pull request, he will get to know what the leader desires him to do with the code.

Trello is an amazing tool with which your remote team can collaborate easily. It helps you be more productive together and yield excellent results with its extraordinary features such as boards, lists, and cards. Let us discuss these important features one by one:

- Trello Cards:
Trello cards are the smallest fragments of information you can create for your team on Trello. These cards serve different purposes such as reminding your remote team about the different tasks they have to perform, pending projects, and deadlines. After creating different cards, you can line up the similar ones in the form of lists to keep your Trello board organized.

- Trello Lists:
Trello lists serve as the home to the different cards you create. For example, you create three lists to do, doing, and done. Then, you can put the respective cards in the respective lists and place them on your Trello board. This makes your Trello cards organized and well-managed.

- Trello boards:
Trello boards are just like notice boards where all the important information is displayed. The only difference is that on a Trello board, the information is displayed in the form of cards and lists. For instance, you can create different lists such as to do, doing, and done on your Trello board. Further, you can add as many members to your Trello board as you wish. You can even drag and drop people to different cards to notify them about the tasks they have to perform. Moreover, the Trello board is visible to the entire team, so it becomes really easy for your remote team to collaborate.

- Readily stays in sync across all your devices:
Trello is a versatile tool that you can use on different devices such as laptops, iPhones, and Android phones. Moreover, it stays in sync on all your devices, so you can use it anywhere to stay connected with your team.

ProofHub is an all-in-one project planning software with which your team can collaborate easily. It offers lucrative features such as sharing of files, documents, and note-making, which together make collaboration really easy for your employees. To add to the beauty of this project planning software, it is really easy to use. Your employees just need to spend some minutes exploring it and they'll be ready to utilize it in the best manner. Now, let us discuss some important features of ProofHub:

- Discussions:
ProofHub allows you to create discussion groups and conduct discussions with your team. You can select the people with whom you want to conduct the discussion and then easily discuss the respective topic with them. Moreover, you can also use comments in the discussions to point out things like ideas and feedback. Along with this, you can also mention people to draw their attention to a particular point of discussion. All these features make it really easy for your team to have meaningful discussions with each other without much clutter.

- Task management:
ProofHub makes task management really easy for your team. Using the tasks feature you can assign personal tasks to different team members. You can also break a task into subtasks and assign them to multiple people. You can also mention the start and due dates with the tasks. Along with this, you can also add labels to different tasks to indicate their level of importance. All this makes it really easy for your team to understand what they have to do and at what time.

- Well-managed projects with the help of Gantt Charts:
ProofHub offers Gantt charts that enable you to visualize, plan, and schedule project-related tasks. These charts help you track the progress and visualize where the project is heading to.

- Special notifications sent to the project manager:
Once you choose the project manager, he will receive special notifications for missed deadlines and overdue tasks so that he remains updated about everything. This unique feature makes Proof Hub a very effective project management software.

nTask is a project management software that offers many interesting features for free to help your remote team collaborate effectively. To-Do Lists, Start and End Dates, File Attachments and Time Tracking are some of them. These are the important features of nTask:

- To-Do Lists:
nTask allows you to create To-Do Lists. With these lists your team can keep track of all the tasks it has to perform, without missing out on any. Once the task gets completed they can checkmark it to indicate its completion.

- Start and End Dates:
You can indicate Start and End Dates on each task to help your team prioritize them. When your team is fully aware of the deadlines it can work productively to meet them.

- File Attachments:
This feature enables you to attach respective files to the assigned tasks to help your team understand them better.

- Time Tracking:
The Time Tracking feature enables you to track the time which is required for the completion of a particular task. Start the timer and the rest will follow.

Chanty is a cloud-based collaboration tool that helps your remote team communicate well, manage projects together, keep things organized, and focus properly. It has everything a collaborative tool should offer, enabling users to put an entire office into their pockets. They can connect with their team at any time, have fun together when feeling stressed, and also stay productive when working from their home office. Some important features of Chanty:

- High-Quality Audio and Video Calls:
Chanty enables you to make high-quality voice and video calls with your team members. With these features you can easily catch up with your team and get connected despite working from distant places.

- Voice messages:
This lucrative feature allows you to send voice messages to your team members. You can use it when not in a position to type a message or the message is too long to type. What makes this feature special is that there are no spell check problems, no formatting issues and you can send voice messages without worrying about anything.

- Group Discussions:
You can easily start a thread for context-based discussions with your team. These threads help you stay on the topic and let your teammates catch up without having to scroll through the entire discussion history.

- Dim Light mode to reduce eye strain:
To help your team stay protected against eye strain, Chanty offers a high contrast dark theme that your teammates can switch to and prevent eye pain and headaches.

- 24/7 support system:
Chanty is well known to offer an excellent customer experience. You can contact Chanty's customer support team 24*7 to get your queries answered.

Google Meet:
Google Meet is a collaborative tool that enables you to connect with your remote team virtually. As evident from its name, this app is owned by Google and is one of the most widely used tools for video conferencing. It allows you to organize meetings for up to 60 minutes for free. Along with this, you can add up to 100 participants for free. But, if you wish to conduct meetings for more than 60 minutes, you have to purchase a paid plan. The same is true for increasing the number of participants. Some important features of Google Meet:

- An unlimited number of meetings:
You can conduct unlimited meetings on Google meet. Even if you are using the free 60 minute meetings, you can start a new meeting after the old one ends.

- Compatible across all devices:
Google Meet works across all devices. You can use it on your PC, mobile, tablet -- whatever you wish to utilize. This feature accounts for Google Meet's popularity.

- Screen Sharing:
While having meetings with your team members on Google Meet, you can share your screen with them whenever needed. Screen Sharing makes it easier for your team to understand what you are trying to say.

- Messaging with participants:
Google Meet also allows you to send messages to your team members. This feature is really useful for teammates to share their thoughts with each other without disturbing the speaker.

As discussed throughout, it is crystal clear that the pandemic has left organizations in a vulnerable state. However, with the application of the above-detailed tools, you can restore effective collaboration between your remote employees and prevent the pandemic from obstructing your organization's growth.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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