Collaboration is key to successful business but unfortunately it doesn't always go smoothly. Working with colleagues, it can sometimes be hard to make sure everyone is on the same page, to keep track of what everyone is doing and to avoid 'communication overhead' from bogging you down.
Fortunately though, we live in an era where technology is increasingly able to aid with workflow and there are countless apps and tools designed specifically to encourage seamless collaboration. Read on and we'll examine some of the most popular and useful.
Trello is a piece of project management software that is perfect for collaboration. Essentially it is just a series of lists made up of cards that your team can access, but you can use this to make sure you know what everyone is working on at any given time and where they're up to. Trello is elegantly designed and it is becoming increasingly popular among businesses – particularly those that operate remotely.
Pinterest might not be something you think of as a business tool but for creative companies it can actually be very handy. 'Boards' are compromised of collections of images and normally these images will be chosen because they reflect the direction you want to take a design. You can invite numerous people to access and edit the boards and this way you can share your inspiration and ideas for any project.
3. Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud storage solution that also has a full suite of office software like Microsoft Word. This means that you can create, share, view and edit documents all live on the cloud. One of the most useful applications of this is to keep shared spreadsheets that your team can update to ensure your budget or work schedule is up-to-date.
4. Microsoft Word
But don't count Microsoft out yet as they still have a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to delivering the best office software. In particular, they have Word which is the only word processor with the ability to annotate and track changes. This is incredibly useful if you need to edit the work that a colleague or employee has done and it makes it quick and simple for them to view and accept your changes.
5. Drop Box
While Google Drive can also be used to store files, DropBox is perhaps the easier tool for sharing large amounts of images, documents and other files with colleagues or business partners.
While all these fancy collaboration tools might enable you to avoid actually speaking with your colleagues for the most part, sometimes you will still need to just talk to them and hash things out. For that, Skype is still perhaps the best option for video conferencing.
IFTTT stands for 'If This, Then That' and is not itself a tool for collaboration. Rather, it is a tool for managing all kinds of web apps and specifically for setting up connections (called 'recipes') between them.
As an example, you could use IFTTT to add PayPal payments to a Google Drive spreadsheet by creating a 'recipe' for Gmail and Google Drive. Or to make sure you don't forget to answer e-mails, you could have e-mails from your collaborators trigger a new item on 'Todoist'. There are countless applications for this tool, so use your imagination!