Effective Collaboration Tools We’ve Used Over the Years.
Be it a large, medium, or small team, communication and collaboration are major aspects of any successful business. As long as you don’t work alone and have more than 2 people on your team, effective collaboration tools are the right way to go. Accordingly, Indeed.com defines collaboration in the workplace as the coming together of two or more people who work towards a common goal that benefits the team or company. At Big Field Digital, collaboration is something we prioritize and invest heavily in.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, our team immediately embraced the concept of remote work even before the government implemented any lockdown measures. We have the belief that only a safe and healthy workforce can deliver amazing projects for our clients. Since we already had some collaboration tools and processes in place, working away from the office didn’t negatively affect the quality of our work or overall productivity. Although we’ve resumed full-time at our physical office, we still have members of our team who choose to work remotely when the need arises.
Moreso, with the help of effective collaboration tools, we can hire the best talent for a role without having to worry about geographical boundaries. With many companies embracing remote work and providing more flexibility for their employees, it’s important to set up the right processes in place. This makes it possible for them to work and communicate efficiently regardless of where they are. In this article, we’ll be sharing some of the most effective collaboration tools we’ve used over the years.
Effective Collaborative Tools We’ve Used At Big Field Digital
As a startup or growing business, you don’t necessarily need an expensive tool. In fact, the free version of most of these tools would be able to serve you in the first few years of running your business. Afterwards, you can begin to look out for others that can meet your specific needs as a brand. Let’s run you through some of these tools immediately.
Asana is a tool that helps in organising work or projects so that teams know what to do, why it matters, and how to get it done. This is one of the most popular project management tools for small teams and with its free plan, you can have up to 15 members of your team work together. Asana does more than project management. It is a great collaboration tool where team members can create and describe projects, including the brief or overview, categorise tasks, view sub-task, assignees, comments, and a lot more.
Here’s all you’ll enjoy using just the free plan; unlimited task, projects, activity log, messages, and file storage of 100MB per file, you can view projects in a list or board format, indicate deadlines, and more. This tool accepts various file formats and allows over 100 free integrations with some common apps like Google Calendar, Slack, Canva, Outlook, Figma, etc.
Personally, I find Trello very easy to use. The ability to move cards around makes it quite interactive. This tool is very similar to Asana but more widely used by top companies. Its nice user interface and unlimited users even on the free plan is most likely a plus for this collaboration tool. Trello describes the product as a collaboration tool that organises projects into boards. In one glance, you can tell what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.
The team lead can step up to create the Trello boards and assign members to tasks. Team members can then break down their task into cards which are then categorised under labels like ‘To-Do’, ‘In-Progress’, ‘Completed’ or whatever labels they choose to use. Members assigned to a task can freely move the cards around as they make progress with their tasks. On the free plan, you also get unlimited storage of 10MB per file.
This was one of the project management tools we used during the product development phase for Big Field Digital Academy, our training institute for young aspiring digital professionals. The interesting part of this was the fact that all team members involved in this project, like the copywriters, designers, ads experts, and course tutors interacted so well with this tool. Without any tutorials or help, the entire team was able to get on board and use Trello effectively. If you decide to use Trello, you can also check out their in-depth collaboration guide.
Our team really enjoyed using slack while it lasted. Slack is one of the easiest-to-use collaboration tools that exist. You can organise your team on Slack using Channels, and team members can set keywords they are interested in getting notified about. Chatting with team members on Slack is so simple and you can exchange various types of document.
Although it is a free platform, it has a limit on how many of your previous messages you and your team can access. Another exciting feature includes Slack Connect. This allows you to collaborate with teams at other companies. Also, it is integrated with over 2000 other apps and services, amongst others.
We experienced a tremendous increase in our team and needed an all in one tool that serves us in the area of communication, collaboration, and even project management. We started using Basecamp in the early months of 2021. At the onset, most members of our team found it difficult to adjust to this tool because they were already used to Slack. Note that Slack isn’t a terrible tool; we simply just outgrew it and needed something more. Their major complaints bordered around how complicated the user interface is for newbies. Also, many didn’t enjoy the fact that apart from the pop-up notification on your screen that disappears, users can’t see if they have unanswered messages unless they open the app to check.
On this premium collaboration tool, you can share company news or updates directed to the general team from the company headquarters section. Team members can chat openly (just like you do via WhatsApp group) using the Campfire section. You can also create Teams where only members of a particular sub-team in your company will be added. If you are working on different projects, you can add new projects and include all stakeholders of that project. It ensures they never miss any important information. This feature makes Basecamp a good tool for collaborating with your in-house team and clients or project owners.
With Basecamp, you can share and save files of large sizes and this means you don’t need other external file storage tools. You also won’t need to search for images or documents when you or any of your team member needs them.
Asides from all of these, we use Basecamp to ensure productivity and improve the learning habits of our workforce. We’ve set some automatic check-ins that help the management and team leads track what each member worked on at the end of the day or books they’ve read lately. Anyone can also share anything inspiring they’ve come across.
Google Docs and Sheets
If you work with a team of writers and content creators, you should jump on this one immediately. With Google Docs and Sheet you can see in real-time all changes your team member makes to a document, their comments, suggestions, and more. This is one of the effective collaboration tools with so many features. Yet, it is absolutely free for anyone with a Google account. Apart from collaborating with your team members, you can share the link to a document with anyone. You can also give them full or restricted access to a document. This means you can permit them to simply view, edit, or comment on a document.
As a digital tech company, Zoom has really helped us to effectively demo our projects and deliverables to clients regardless of their location. We use Zoom for regular team meetings, webinars, stand-up meetings, interviews, etc. While we worked remotely for over 5 months in 2020, all our team meetings happened via Zoom. Their screen sharing feature is probably the most valuable feature of this tool. If you are a small team or you hold short meetings of not more than 40 – 45 mins, you can use the free Zoom plan. However, if you want to enjoy more features, you will need to upgrade to a premium plan.
And Before We Wrap Up…
When introducing any of these tools to your team, here are some things to note. Ensure you educate them on the importance of effective communication and collaboration. You should also encourage trust and openness within your team at all times. Lastly, make sure you go through their free plan or start with a free trial before you pay for any premium collaboration tool. This will help you determine if it will serve your purpose and is worth your investment.
Did you enjoy reading this blog post? Or, do you intend to make use of any of the tools we’ve mentioned above? Let us know in the comment section. You can also check out another article on some free valuable digital tools you mustn’t miss out on.