There's a powerful approach to running a business that some of the top corporations have already figured out. From Red Hat to Cisco to Amazon, employees can work from anywhere in the world. Despite the challenges that come with distributed teams, these companies not only make remote work for them, they thrive.
For groups that experience a lot of the day-to-day friction that comes with distributed work, achieving this high level of success with remote work isn’t easy. The most successful remote organizations thrive because they know what other companies don't: how to help facilitate their employee's best work. They provide support with some of the most innovative collaboration tools.
The 4 Innovative Collaboration Tools Of Highly Productive Remote Teams
First, it’s important to understand that as a remote team, technology can’t solve all of your problems. You need the right systems, leadership, and a strong investment in your team’s morale. All of these things must run in tandem to best support your distributed team. If you have those components set, adopting new technology can be extremely beneficial to improving your team’s efficiency.
A few of the most innovative collaboration tools on the market today include:
It’s critical for remote teams to brainstorm as easily as they could in an office. While web conferencing tools help, they can’t be the only tool your team uses to share ideas. In addition to a communication tool, it’s useful to have a tool like MindMeister, an cloud-based online mind mapping application to visualize your ideas.
According to MindMeister users, a few benefits to the platform include:
- Integrates with Google Drive
- Extremely user friendly
- Works as a web application, so no need to download
- Offers a variety of templates
Daniel Cruz, the CEO of Smileads says Mindmeister is the best mindmap software he’s ever used.
“I use Mindmeister in my whole organization for mind mapping complex processes, functionality, features and contact information over different departments,” says Cruz.
In an office, it’s easy to roll a chair over to a co-worker’s desk and walk them through feedback or a complex process. In a remote environment, it’s difficult to replicate that experience.
But with Loom, you get pretty close. With Loom, a free screen recorder, it’s simple to create quick videos on the fly.
Even the team at Zapier swears by Loom, since:
- You can access Loom from your browser or install the Loom plug-in on Chrome.
- You will automatically have videos saved and ready to share via link.
- Team members can leave comments and reactions as they watch.
These features make Loom one of the simplest, but most effective collaboration tools out there.
“Loom saves me hours every day," says Mark, a Loom user. “Rather than taking static screenshots and typing a lot of explanatory text, I now use Loom as a way to quickly walk through the pages and accurately describe action points.”
A lot of people use Trello for task management, but it’s also tremendously useful for brainstorming and content creation. Using Trello’s boards, lists, and cards, you can organize and share your thoughts with your co-workers and peers in an extremely visual, compelling way. And the board and card design isn’t by accident.
Trello follows the kanban board methodology, which helps teams commit to the right amount of work and keep tasks moving in the right direction. For many, it’s changed how they connect with their team. “My life is beginning to revolve around Trello,” admits Nigel Masimba of Calmlock Web Design.
“When I was first introduced to the concept of the kanban board I looked around for alternatives to Trello. Eventually, I returned to Trello because I found it to be the better option,” he says.
Monday.com is a project and task management system that makes projects a breeze. Since the platform is very easy to use and customize, it’s ideal for teams with a lot of fast-moving parts. In fact, a lot of teams use Monday.com to manage multiple processes and projects.
Monday.com is great for:
- Day-to-day task and project management
- Setting up Gantt charts and long-term timelines
- Integrating with tools like Dropbox, Google Calendar, Trello, and more
- Tracking time, using their new time tracking column feature
The ability to set up automation, which can help keep project statuses organized, is another strong feature.
“I can set a project I'm working on from 'pending' to 'complete' in one box, and automate it so that once I hit 'complete', it moves that project to the 'complete' section in a different part of the board,” explains Jonathan, a Monday.com user.
“I also love that you can integrate it with different platforms like AirTable and Slack, which is super helpful.”
Mastering Collaboration On Remote Teams
On any remote team, collaboration isn't going to be perfect. While all of these tools are strong options to help improve collaboration, there's no silver bullet that's going to transform how your team works together. However, that technology is well on its way.
We're working on a tool that's going to transform how teams create.