The world is getting smaller and better connected every day, thanks to the internet.
And, oddly enough, content marketing teams are getting spread out farther and farther apart.
Location is no longer a limitation—we can bring the best people for the job on board, no matter where they live.
This also means that all of our communication and interaction is done via the internet.
We might be juggling a number of tasks across a bunch of different time zones.
How can we feel like cohesive teams, when we’re not all working in the same office building?
The Power of Team Collaboration Tools
When it comes to any team project, organization is key. Otherwise, all sorts of things can slip through the cracks.
Even for small teams, keeping on top of what needs to be done and who’s doing it can be a difficult proposition. The task of gathering and distributing information to everyone involved can quickly get out of hand, causing mistakes, miscommunication, delays and missed goals.
Luckily, one of the greatest resources the internet provides for modern businesses is a diverse assortment of team collaboration tools. Everything from tracking short notes to overseeing entire projects can be done online.
Whether the team is two people sitting in the same office or a large group participating from various points around the world, online team collaboration tools can streamline planning and processes every step of the way.
Some of the key benefits of these tools include:
- Centralizing communication between team members
- Enhancing organization of tasks and personnel
- Defining clear roles
- Reinforcing accountability
- Creating uniform processes and procedures
- Setting key project milestones and overall goals
What we’ve got for you in this post are some of the best online collaboration tools available to help your team stay ahead of the game and focused on the goal.
5 Team Collaboration Tools to Pump Up Your Productivity
Slack is, at its core, a team communication tool. It works similar to instant messaging programs but offers many extras that make it especially useful for team projects that require fast and fluid communication. In addition to sending standard instant messages, Slack also lets you do things like:
- Create channels to speak to everyone or just certain team members
- Make voice and video calls for faster direct communication
- Store, share and transfer files
- Search through previous messages and within files
- Integrate with a huge selection of apps like Google Docs, Trello and more
You can use many of Slack’s features for free. For larger teams that need higher limits and more powerful functionality, the standard plan starts at $6.67 per user per month and there’s also a plus plan at $12.50 per user per month.
Trello is a great visual organization tool. The system uses Kanban boards, which allow you to break large projects down into smaller tasks and keep track of workflows.
The basic idea is that each board is made up of a series of columns. Each column represents a phase in the process to completion. Cards are created for each task and moved from one column to another as each phase is completed.
For example, if you were managing a team of writers for a blog, you could create cards for each article to be written. Your columns might consist of headings such as assigned, writing, editing, approved and published. Team members would then move the card for an individual article to the proper column as each task is completed. A quick glance would allow anyone to see the status of each article.
You can also add due dates, checklists, comments, file attachments and more to each card. With paid plans, you can “power up” your boards through integrations with other apps such as Slack, GitHub, EverNote, Google Drive and more.
The Trello basics are free to use forever. If you need more of the power features you can choose between their business class plan at $9.99 per user per month or the enterprise plan which costs $20.83 per user per month.
3. G Suite
G Suite is one of the most powerful, and often overlooked, team collaboration tools available online today. You may also hear this collection of tools referred to as Google Apps or Google Docs.
G Suite is the business class version of the tools and applications that come with every Google account. You get Google’s email, calendar, instant messaging, cloud storage and suite of online office apps. Absolutely everything is shareable and allows collaboration in real-time.
When you sign up for a G Suite business account, in addition to all the basics you’re probably familiar with, you also get things like:
- Gmail addresses on your own domain
- Enhanced security options
- 30 GB of cloud storage per user
- Live customer support 24/7
- Powerful administration controls
- Mobile device management
The main advantage of using G Suite is that you get the reliability and power of Google with seamless integration. There’s no need to switch between platforms or convert files between formats. It’s also ridiculously easy to share everything from your Drive files to your calendar with people inside and outside your organization.
When you add in things like the ability to conduct video conferences through Google Hangouts, schedule meetings through Calendar and search through past chat messages right from Gmail, you really get an unbeatable package.
The basic G Suite package will cost $5 per user per month. The business plan, which offers more robust features, goes for $10 per user per month. There are also enterprise class plans available with customized features and pricing depending on your needs.
As its name implies, Basecamp is designed to centralize everything your business does, providing a base for everyone in your organization to work from.
If you were to map out the organizational structure in a visual way, it forms a sort of pyramid. Upper-level management sits at the top with each successive tier taking orders from above and able to delegate tasks to the tier below. As you move down the pyramid, overall projects get broken down into individual tasks that can be assigned to departments or teams, and teams can break things down further, assigning them to individual members.
Once teams and projects are configured, to-do lists can be assigned accordingly. Workflows are enhanced by features like message boards, file storage, scheduling and deadlines, and automatic tracking and reporting on project/task status. People and teams can share information and files within their group or with the entire organization.
The major benefit of the Basecamp system is the centralization of information. Everyone in the organization knows what’s happening and what they need to be working on. It virtually eliminates the need to track things through email or hunt down individuals to get status updates.
Basecamp offers a free, full-featured 30-day trial. After that, the cost is a flat fee of $99 per month. If you pay for a full year you get a discounted rate of $1000 per year. There are no extra charges for users or projects. Both are unlimited.
5. Workflow Max
Workflow Max just might be the most comprehensive team collaboration tools available. The system is designed to be an all-in-one business solution.
Residing completely online, everything is accessible from anywhere, making it especially useful for distributed teams working from different locations. It offers functionality to help with everything from tracking initial leads to invoicing for work done and everything in between.
To list just a few of the features available, Workflow Max can help with:
- Generating quotes
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Invoicing and billing
- Status and financial reporting
- Backend accounting
You can test drive the system with a free trial. If you decide to continue, there are several affordable plans available starting at $15 monthly for one user and going up to $250 per month for up to 50 users. Custom pricing is also available for organizations that need to get access for more than 50 users.
Choosing the Best Collaboration Tools for Your Team
The right solution is going to be different for every business. The most important thing is to make sure you do your research and take advantage of free trials and demos. Make a list of the most important functions for you. That way you’ll know what questions to ask to make sure you’ll get everything you need.
All of the tools we’ve listed can help you to save tons of time and money, but picking the wrong one and changing your mind later will do exactly the opposite.