7 Apps to Bring Your Team Together
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
In today’s technology-centered world, it’s easier than ever for vital information to get lost in translation. This challenge isn’t limited to large companies with multiple departments; issues caused by miscommunication can arise even in companies with just a handful of employees.
Fortunately, today’s technology is making it easier than ever to communicate with your co-workers. Multiple platforms are available to help you simplify communication; and shared projects spread valuable information. Regardless of the type of help your company needs, odds are there is an app that can get your office teammates back on the same page.
To get you started, here are some of our favorite tools.
Slack is essentially Instant Messenger for your office space, but with plenty of additional helpful (and fun) features. You can share files, make calls and share your screen with other users. There’s even a massive library of creative emoticons to which you can add your own.
You can also create one channel for your entire office, another for your department and a third for your team working on that huge pitch coming up. If you need to keep things private, you can lock a channel. If you need to see if your best work pal is ready to grab lunch, you can shoot him or her a direct message.
If your company has offices in different locations or team members who work remotely, Slack allows any and all team members to stay in the know and quickly reach others if necessary.
Google Hangouts is an app that allows you to message, call and video-chat with other users. The most convenient part of Google Hangouts is its incorporation into your Gmail page, making it flow seamlessly into the email platform that many businesses already use.
This platform makes it simple for businesses to join in on conference calls or video chats with co-workers or clients in other locations. You can schedule these calls ahead of time in your Google Calendar and invite other members to join. If you happen to be on the go during a Hangout, you can always join in with your Android or Apple device through the Hangouts app.
If your office is already on board the G-Suite train, Google Hangouts should be your next stop.
If you’re not into Google Hangouts, check out Skype instead. This program makes both U.S. and international calls. If you’re not feeling fancy, you can choose an “old-fashioned” call with just voices instead of video. Loading money into your account is easy, and you can hang on to it forever. The program also has a chat feature.
Businesses tend to accumulate a lot of stuff: paperwork, contracts, projects, photos, you name it. Dropbox is the home for all of that stuff, and it’s conveniently located where everyone has access.
You can organize these files into different folders and groups, ensuring that your information is organized and easy to locate. There are also applications to download to your computer and mobile device so that the files you need are always accessible.
The platform offers plans that allow you to choose your storage amount and features depending on the needs of your business. If your business consists of just you, there’s also a plan for that.
This project-management tool makes organization simpler than ever. Basecamp allows you to make separate folders for all of your team’s projects. Within each folder, you can list to-dos, schedule deadlines, post files and even chat with other members.
An admin can control who has access to each board. This feature can alleviate confusion: If a particular project doesn’t pertain to an employee, the information doesn’t have to clutter his/her workspace. Once all relevant team members have access, you can assign tasks to individual members with a due date and ensure that all involved know what needs to be done, and when. These users can then use filters to narrow down tasks they have due today, tomorrow, this week or further into the future.
At the end of each day, Basecamp will automatically check in with users to see what they accomplished throughout the day. Each morning, Basecamp will email team members an overview of what was achieved the previous day, as well as reminders of tasks that are due soon.
One more plus about Basecamp is that you can share information with your clients, too, and choose what they see and what items are private for your team.
While our team started with Basecamp, we later moved to Jira’s Kanban-style platform, which felt more accommodating for our growing team and task list. We recommend you get a feel for a variety of these project-management programs; each has pros and cons that will impact your team’s productivity.
If your company doesn’t have a tech-savvy graphic designer in-house, Canva can be an incredibly helpful tool. The site allows you to create graphics for a variety of different purposes, from Facebook posts to banner ads to proposals. There are countless free templates that can get you started, each with numerous customizable components such as font, background photo and color schemes.
Canva for Work allows you to create branded content for all of your business needs and then share it with your team members to view and edit. Once you’ve created a graphic that fits your business, you can save it as a custom template to use later. Canva even allows you to organize these graphics into separate folders for easy access. Don’t have a graphic designer? Don’t worry. You can do it yourself with Canva.
These are just a few of the many tools available to keep your day-to-day operations on track. If there’s an issue your team is facing, try some of these platforms to bring everyone back together.