Project collaboration tools to help you work smarter
No matter where you and your team are working—whether it be in the office or at home—you’re expected to be productive and produce high-quality work.
Some employees may prefer to work in the office while others may love working from home. The key success is to adopt tools that will not only help you complete your daily tasks, but that will make it easier to work together as a team no matter where you’re working.
To help you decide which tools are best for your company, we’re sharing a list of tools that can help you work smarter.
What it is: A video conferencing tool that allows your team to hold virtual meetings, whether you’re WFH or in the physical office.
Zoom lets you schedule and host virtual meetings with your team. Meetings on Zoom can be done from your desktop, smartphone, or dial-in by phone. With Zoom, you can record your meetings and share your screen with other attendees, which can make giving presentations or running through a document easier no matter where your team is located.
How to use it: If your team is gearing up for a big presentation, use Zoom to host the meeting and present the slideshow you and your team created.
What it is: A video conferencing and chatting tool.
If your team uses GSuite already, Google Hangouts might be a great way to make connecting remotely easier. Google Hangouts allows you to toggle between messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls with a few clicks or taps. You need to have a Google account to start or create a call, but you don’t need a Google account to join. Google Hangouts can be accessed through the smartphone app, Gmail, or via Chrome extension. Users can also share photos and emojis in Google Chat.
How to use it: Chat through a project with a coworker or hold a weekly status meeting without having to leave GSuite.
What it is: Microsoft Teams is a productivity and collaboration tool rolled into one.
With Teams, departments can collaborate on documents and files, like GSuite, as well as hold virtual meetings and chat with each other. Teams enables employees to collaborate via video call, chat, email, or an internal discussion platform. Microsoft Teams is ideal if your company is already using Microsoft 365 products like Excel, Word, and Outlook. With Teams, you must download apps like Excel, Word, etc. to use on your mobile device or computer to collaborate. Teams of 10 or 10,000 can meet on the same conference line no matter where they are located.
How to use it: Quickly share a file with a coworker on Teams then hop on a video call to discuss it.
What it is: A quick and easy tool for chatting in real-time, whether it be 1:1 communication or with your entire team.
Slack is available on smartphones, desktop apps, and web browsers. Slack integrates with some of the most popular tools out there—like Google Drive, Trello, and more, so sharing files instantly has never been easier. With Slack, you can create channels to help organize your team—whether it be by the client, product, department, or however you want. Slack makes instant communication and sharing easy.
How to use it: Instantly share a file with a coworker or chat casually with your team about scheduling the next virtual office happy hour.
What it is: A secure, reliable messaging platform for teams to instantly connect and converse.
WhatsApp enables teams to stay connected through text messaging, group chats, and voice and video calls. WhatsApp lets your team stay connected even if they’re spread out across multiple countries. Share documents, photos, videos, and voice messages all from one app.
How to use it: Call your coworker who lives in another country or leave a voice message for your coworker who is unavailable to listen to when they have time.
Project collaboration and management
What it is: Trello is a project management platform that helps teams keep track of projects, automate workflows, and better understand each employee’s workload.
Trello is the ultimate project collaboration tool. With Trello, teams can create boards for projects, clients, and more so nothing gets lost or forgotten. Within each board, you can create lists (tasks) and cards (subtasks) to keep yourself and your team on top of things. You can move the cards to different lists, which makes it easy to monitor the progress of a project or goal. You can assign a team member to a card, add labels, due dates, and checklists, and more.
How to use it: You just landed a huge new client that will require the help of multiple employees across departments. You could create a Trello board for that client, create lists and cards for that client’s projects, assign employees to tasks, and ensure the project stays on track.
What it is: Asana is a project management tool that lets you create, assign, and organize tasks and projects from one dashboard.
Asana integrates with popular tools like Google Drive and Dropbox so you can easily share files with your team. With Asana, organizations can delegate and check off tasks within one project dashboard, so there’s never a question as to who is responsible for what or what the status of a task is. Asana lets you view projects in whichever format works best for your team, such as calendar, list, timeline, or board (similar to Trello).
How to use it: Your team is looking to streamline your project management efforts for your next product launch. You create a project in Asana for the product, assign the required team members to the project, and begin adding tasks, due dates, and assembling a project timeline.
What it is: Confluence is an open and shared workspace that allows teams to collaborate, stay organized, and get more done.
Confluence is a space for teams to create, manage, and assign tasks no matter where they’re working. As a project progresses, the team members assigned to a project can see the status of that project, who is assigned to what tasks, and other relevant project details. Team members can leave comments, build new projects from templates, assign tasks, and more with Confluence.
How to use it: Your team has been working on a big project for months, but it was put on hold due to the coronavirus. Since then, you’ve hired a few more people that will be working on this project. You can use Confluence to get them up to speed quickly and share relevant documents, files, etc.
What it is: Toggl is a time tracking tool that helps departments gain insight into how long things take, which can help with quoting projects, assigning work, and much more.
Using a time tracking tool and a project management tool can help your team understand just how productive you are and how long tasks take to complete. Toggl helps your organization make smarter decisions around planning, time management, which employee is assigned to what, and more. With Toggl, you can track your time on your smartphone, desktop, or through the web browser extension.
How to use it: You want to get a better handle on the availability of your employees in regards to their workload. They can use Toggl to track their time and get a more tangible look at how much time specific tasks take to complete.
File organization and storage
What it is: A secure, integrated, simple cloud storage platform that teams can access on multiple devices.
Share, collaborate, edit, and store files, documents, and more with Google Drive. Google Drive allows you to access and share documents, files, and photos on your smartphone, desktop, or tablet. Team members can leave comments, assign tasks, and work from the same document with Google Drive. Best of all, Google’s AI and search technology capabilities help your team find what they’re looking for faster. No matter what device you’re on, accessing essential files is easy and secure with Google Drive. Google Drive also integrates with tools like Slack, Asana, and Trello.
How to use it: Share and organize all your files company-wide in one place. That way, there’s never an outdated version of a file, and the right employees have access to what they need.
What it is: Similar to Google Drive, Dropbox helps teams organize, share, and store files in the cloud.
Create folders, share large files, and leave comments for other team members to see with Dropbox. Dropbox is an excellent tool for creating a central hub of content for your company, so nothing is ever lost or forgotten. Unruly, unorganized files are a thing of the past with Dropbox.
How to use it: That massive quarterly report you typically print for your manager to read? Easily share it with them via Dropbox without compromising the quality of the document.
Agile tools for a fluid work environment
There are countless tools out there that can help your team work smarter no matter where you and your team are working. Whether you’re transitioning back into the physical workplace or are working remotely, these tools help bridge the gap between the two.
The key is to use what works best for your team, which may require testing a few out first to see what sticks.
What tools is your team using to create a flexible work environment? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet.
Photo Credits: Matthew Henry, Austin Distel, Christina/wocintechchat, Edward Lich, ThisIsEngineering