This trend is only going to become more pronounced. It is estimated that over 75 million Americans could perform their jobs from home. That’s 56% of the workforce.
Coordinating decentralized employees comes with its own challenges. Luckily, there are countless technological tools to make coordinating your remote workforce as easily as if they were in the same room. It might even be a little easier with these communication tools.
1. G Suite
We’ll start with some of the best known and widely used communication tools out there. G Suite was already accounting for nearly 50% of the cloud-based productivity tools market as of 2012.
It makes sense that Google’s communication tools are so omnipresent. For one thing, they’re free. They’re also available on any platform you can think of. All you need is a Google account, which nearly everybody has nowadays.
With so many familiar with Google, the ease for users to feel comfortable using G Suite is significant. This overcomes one of the major hurdles of adopting cloud-based productivity tools right off the bat.
G Suite is impressively comprehensive. It has all of the word processing power, spreadsheets, and communication tools you could hope for. It’s a dream for remote collaboration, as well, with the ability to assign and track changes, which are seamlessly integrated with a user’s email.
2. Office 365
Unfamiliarity is one of the leading causes of reluctance when shifting towards the cloud. Businesses and employees are often set in their ways. This gets even more pronounced when there’s money on the line.
Microsoft is one of the most recognizable names in tech, alongside Google and Apple. This fact in and of itself makes Microsoft’s communication tools so powerful and popular. Nearly everybody is familiar with Microsoft products, knowing how to use them at least on a rudimentary level.
Microsoft office tools have also been around for a long time. This means there’s a lot of knowledge and resources available for Office 365. It also means people are likely to be aware of those tools and tricks, even if they’re not that tech-savvy.
For those who are familiar with Microsoft Office, Office 365 is actually a step up and an improvement. It features all of the tools and commands one may already know but collaboration is infinitely easier thanks to the power of cloud computing.
Another advantage of Office 365 is it’s now platform agnostic. It’s no longer restricted to just Microsoft users. Office 365 can now be used by Apple, Android, and iOS users, as well.
Slack is so widespread that it’s practically synonymous with communication tools. There are over 12 million daily Slack users.
There are over 1 billion messages sent over Slack each week. This alone should go to show you how effective and powerful that Slack is for remote work and digital collaboration.
Slack has everything you could want in a digital communication tool. First and foremost, Slack’s interface is one of the slickest and more user-friendly on the market. That accounts for a lot of its popularity in and of itself.
Secondly, Slack is multi-faceted. It handles all of your messaging needs and allows users to send DMs as well as initiate group chats.
Slack’s channels are where it truly shines as a cloud-based communication tool, however. It’s incredibly easy to set up individual channels for particular projects. These messages are asynchronous, as well, so people can get on the same page about a project even if they’re nowhere near one another geographically.
You can even do video conferencing with Slack. This way, you’re not confined to typing out all of your thoughts. This frees up your hands, and your creativity, so you focus on work.
Slack even handles file sharing. It also coordinates effortlessly with DropBox, Google Drive, and Box.
Considering that Slack is available for free, there’s no reason not to have it as part of your communication toolbox.
Asana is one of the oldest remote collaboration tools on the market. Founded in 2008, it’s the preferred communication tool of major companies like Uber, Pinterest, Intel, and TED.
Asana is one of the best project management tools out there. It’s easy to assign tasks for specific projects. You can easily track the progress of each employee for each individual task, as well.
Asana also sends deadline reminders and requests to different members on your board. It also supports direct messaging, as well as comments on individual tasks.
A good project management tool like Asana does so much to remove the confusion and uncertainty from remote collaboration.
Podio is another project management tool that is particularly well-suited for teams that handle a lot of fieldwork.
Podio bills itself as a flexible and customizable online platform for online collaboration and communication. It also allows you to organize projects and assign individual tasks, much like Asana.
Podio also supports file sharing, status updates and reminders, and to update the projects currently in development.
Podio’s app is what makes it truly noteworthy, however. Their high-quality app lets you integrate cloud-based communication tools into your mobile workflow. It also integrates effortlessly with 3rd-party apps like Dropbox, Evernote, Zendesk, and Google Drive.
If your organization works on a lot of different projects, Ryver is a useful technological tool to have in your toolkit. It’s another project management app, like Slack, but there are a few key differences to make it worthy of mention.
Ryver lets you create as many channels as you want. It also makes organizing them a breeze. You can then use Ryver to send DMs and set up group chats, similar to Slack.
Ryver also offers some interesting insights into how the app is used. It lets you see who’s viewed your messages, for instance. It also offers suggestions for the most relevant work boards for you to join.
Ryver’s dashboard features a Facebook-style feed. It also lets you save posts you’re interested in to revisit later.
Ryver does cost money, however. If you’re looking for a free project management solution, you’d best look elsewhere.
Trello is another of the most popular cloud-based project management tools out there, and for good reason. It’s sleek, minimal interface is beyond intuitive to use. It makes organizing a number of teams and projects as easy as making a shopping list.
Trello is set up in the Kanban-style. Kanban is a cornerstone of Agile development and is tailor-made for remote collaboration. It offers a comprehensive overview of your entire project, as well as each individual step.
With Kanban, you know who’s responsible for what, and when.
Trello is mainly known for its card-based boards. It takes the sometimes confusing complexity of large projects and essentially breaks it down into a series of Post-It notes.
Trello’s communication tools do leave a bit to be desired. It’s not the best for messaging, but it is easy to leave comments on individual cards which can be directed towards specific users.
Trello also integrates easily with a number of 3rd-party apps. Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive, and Slack all offer native Trello support. Consider integrating another messaging solution into Trello and you could have the best of all worlds.
Flock is another cloud-based communication tool that’s similar to Slack but for with some key differences.
Like Slack, Flock can also be used for one-on-one interactions as well as set up group chats. Flock also supports file sharing like several other of the remote collaboration tools we’ve mentioned.
Flock is a bit more adept at finding the files once they’ve been shared, however. All messages, files, and links are searchable via the app.
Flock offers more communication options than a number of the other apps we’ve mentioned. It also supports audio and video calls, as well as screen sharing.
Flock also features a number of productivity tools that make it worthy of inclusion on this list. It features native polls, note sharing, and the ability to set reminders.
Flock supports seamless integration with a number of 3rd-party apps, like Twitter or Google Drive.
Sometimes remote teams need to collaborate on some visual communication. Visme is a powerful, versatile tool for creating online reports, slideshows, graphs, infographics, and presentations.
Visme makes collaborating on creating graphics and reports easy and intuitive. Even more so than that, however, Visme offers unparalleled insights into how your presentations are performing. It offers rich analytics to see who’s engaging with your content so you can see what’s working and what isn’t.
Visme is a powerful tool for sales and marketing teams looking for a data visualization tool but not looking to spend a ton of money.
Basecamp is another excellent all-in-one online collaboration tool. It consolidates a number of features from some of the other solutions we’ve already mentioned. It’s also got its unique selling points, as well.
Basecamp supports all of the messaging you could need in remote collaboration software. One-on-one messaging, group chats, and even message boards are all easy and effortless to use in Basecamp. It also supports file sharing, so you can exchange data and information with remote coworkers easily.
Basecamp’s scheduling capabilities are part of what makes it stand out, however. Its to-do lists, scheduling, and automated check-ins make it some of the most useful tools for remote collaboration out there.
Basecamp is also available for a fixed price for unlimited users. This should make it an attractive option for larger organizations looking to save a little money.
Of course, we’re biased, but many of our customers have told us our cloud business phone systems have helped their businesses thrive.
Cloud-based phone systems simply make sense for the 21st Century. So much of our work happens outside of the central office. Does it make sense to have one line tied to one physical address?
Cloud business phone systems also make all of your phone communications searchable, as well. Trying to remember when you mentioned that payroll report? Look it up.
Our VoIP services are set up to help a wide array of different sectors. We’re specially equipped to handle communication-heavy industries like Travel and Hospitality, Retail, or even Finance.
Cloud-based communication tools aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they’re only going to continue to become more prevalent. The world gets more digital and more decentralized with each passing day.
Finding the right cloud communication tools now will help you to get ready for that shift. You’ll get into the workflow and headspace of remote collaboration. Once you discover the power and potential of working with a decentralized workforce, you’ll likely never go back.
Are You Looking For Cloud-Based Communication Tools?
You’re not alone! Remote work and digital collaboration were already becoming increasingly common before the lockdown. In a world after Coronavirus, digital communication tools are going to be omnipresent as a desktop computer was 20 years ago.
It’s an excellent time to bundle your phone services with your other technological tools. For one thing, it’s beyond useful to have all of your info and data in one centralized source. For another, it helps you save money and helps your business to be more secure.
If you’d like to find out how our VoIP communication tools can help your business, contact us today!
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