If you work with a large team — possibly including people who work on different schedules or in multiple office locations — collaboration can be tough. Keeping these teams coordinated and on task requires effort and planning.
Now more than ever, companies recognize that they need the right tools to stay connected. In a survey of management professionals conducted by Adobe, 57 percent described messaging and collaboration apps as “mission critical,” a higher share than for any other type of business app.
Review these four collaboration tools to find the right ones for your team.
1. Video Conferencing
Video eliminates some of the confusion that can arise on a voice call — instead of disembodied voices, you can see who’s talking and pick up on important visual cues that help everyone communicate better. Video conferencing can also prompt employees to give their undivided attention during meetings. Workers like it, too: A report by Harvard Business Review ranked video conferencing second in terms of effectiveness, just behind cloud and file-sharing technology.
Video conferencing technology is easier to set up and use than ever before. The big difference between a good platform and a great platform comes in sound quality and accessibility. Look for the following features:
• Recording and playback capabilities so you can capture and share details from meetings.
• Desktop and application sharing to enable everyone on a call to see the same document.
• Expansion microphones, which help to pick up everyone’s voices no matter where in the room they are sitting.
2. Document Management Software
Sharing files is at the heart of collaboration, but nothing wreaks havoc on group work faster than someone sharing the wrong document or misinterpreting a task.
Software for document management helps users share the latest version of a file and provides easy access to all iterations. Standard document management tools have storage, sharing and search capabilities, but be sure to look for:
• The ability to customize so that you can organize files, assign tasks and set workflows based on your needs.
• Guest editor access so you can allow people outside of your team to review a document.
• Easy integration of files so you can include important project documents created in the past or by others.
3. Business Projectors
Keeping a team focused during a presentation can be a challenge. People page ahead or tune out, which affects everyone’s ability to collaborate. When the presenter has better control over the presentation, it’s easier to keep the audience alert and focused on the here and now.
Most business projectors provide high-quality images for meeting presentations, so look for special features like:
• A wireless connection, which lets the presenter sit anywhere in the room and control the presentation.
• Easy portability for use in multiple locations in the office.
• Screen transfers to easily switch meeting controls from one presenter to another.
4. Conference Room Tools
Don’t neglect in-person interactions. The right conference room tools can help support the real-time sharing of ideas and your post-meeting work.
Consider the following:
• A good conference phone that picks up voices clearly, cancels background noise such as typing or talking, and accommodates large groups.
• Sticky notepads that let you capture notes to be shared with others and are easy to bring with you at the end of the meeting.
• Dry-erase boards and walls that can be used for brainstorming or jotting quick notes.
Smooth collaboration is key to ensuring quality work. The right collaboration tools can prevent communication breakdowns, improve productivity and help your company produce results, no matter where employees are located.