Many scattered teams work in remote setups on a daily basis. To support successful collaboration without face-to-face contact, digital collaboration tools are absolutely essential. The right tools can not only improve communication, but also help to be creative and develop innovative ideas together. We have asked some of our experts for their 5 top digital collaboration tools.
Why Digital Collaboration Tools Matter
Remote teams can work together well without ever seeing their team fellows face-to-face. Still, the circumstances of being spatially divided can make it more difficult to communicate transparently and collaborate effectively. In this situation, tools can be helpful to facilitate communication, idea generation and creativity.
The scope of tools can long from those securing effective communication or allowing to share files up to those enabling work on joint concepts. Hence, tools have to be chosen carefully to best fit a company’s needs and a team’s individual working methods. In other words: tools are only as effective as the people and organizations that use them.
Here Are Our Top 5 Favorite Collaboration Tools:
Our Recommendation for Visual Collaboration: Miro
Creative ideas need an atmosphere of comfort. When working on creative projects with a group of people that is distributed all over the country or world, physical separation can make brainstorming more difficult. To boost the creative process and generate new ideas, we recommend using a visual collaboration tool.
Miro is an easy to use and highly intuitive visual collaboration tool. Flexible boards enable your team to brainstorm together, get creative and generate ideas. The free version offers three boards that are edible by as many team members as wished. By using one of the paid versions, more features are available for use such as the integrated meetings, timer, and votings.
Tip: It is possible to integrate Miro into different tools such as Slack and Google Drive.
Our recommendation for Communication: Slack
Communication is key for successful teamwork. Especially when setting up a remote team, it is important to establish solid communication structures between all members.
The implementation of a chat tool is a great way to speed up and improve project communication. Such tools allow team members to communicate one-to-one, but also to address different topics in different chat groups. This can also serve as a replacement for a quick morning check in, or the typical coffee machine conversation in the office, that often brings up good ideas in a playful atmosphere.
Slack offers everything a chat tool needs, and more, including the feature to send files and see who is currently online. Slack is available in a free version that offers conversations in different channels, and access to the team’s last 10,000 messages. If your team needs a memory function for older conversations, one of the premium versions might be a better choice.
Tip: Some situations require a quick call rather than a chat conversation. Luckily, Slack comes with an integrated video call function, which makes it easy to jump on a call with any team member.
Our recommendation for Interaction Tools: Slido
Some team members are more extroverted, some are introverts and may tend to not get involved in discussions during team meetings. To foster interaction and collect feedback from all team members equally, we recommend using an interaction tool.
Slido is an easy to use tool with various features like live polls, quizzes and brainstorming functions. Participants can ask questions anonymously or by name or can give real-time insights by voting different items. These functions lower the barrier to ask questions and enable insights about the audience. Of course, Slido can also be used to boost the entertainment level of every team meeting.
Tip: Slido integrates with Google Slides, making it easy for presenters to use Slido functions without leaving the presentation.
Our recommendation for Project Planning: Trello
Who is responsible for which task until when? In order to manage projects successfully, it is crucial to create an overview of the current, and upcoming activities, and their due dates.
If everyone keeps a separate to-do list, the lack of transparency can lead to an unfair distribution of tasks or – in the worst case – to missed deadlines. To avoid such misunderstandings and to increase efficiency, we recommend using project and task planning tools.
Trello integrates project and task planning and creates an overview for all team members with the help of flexible, virtual boards. The free version of Trello allows teams to create tasks on cards and store important briefings, documents, and links in these cards. Affiliated colleagues can be added, mutual deadlines can be set. Trello is one of our go-to solutions because it shows the current status of projects, tasks, and capacity at a glance.
Tip: If your team needs unlimited power-ups, consider using the premium version of Trello. Another plus: A butler feature allows you to integrate automation across the entire team.
Our recommendation for File and Document Management and Sharing: Google Drive
The amount of documents spread all over one’s computer can be difficult to keep track of. Therefore, cloud-based central file storage is a must-have for every business in order to create a file pool that adds value and structure for current tasks and for future projects and employees.
In general, but even more important when working in remote teams, it is essential not to store anything locally. To be able to work from any location and have access to all documents and files at any time and even work jointly on texts and presentations, a cloud-based storage solution such as Google Drive is a huge benefit. This innovation tool offers an easy way to share files within teams (but also with external clients or partners for example) and access them all in one place while having a private drive at hand, too.
Tip: Regardless of where your files are stored, it is important to establish certain principles regarding data and file storage and to communicate them clearly, such as a consistent pattern for naming files. One point that is often forgotten, but one of the most important is to archive outdated files, only this way the folder structure can be maintained and kept clear.