New work collaboration/management tools are gaining traction as employers seek to increase efficiency, communication, and productivity.
Email revolutionized how people communicate in the workplace; and today people spend about 6 hours a day sending and receiving an average of 123 emails. However, just as emails replaced phone calls and “snail” mail as the most popular way to communicate, new work collaboration/management tools are gaining attention and starting to take the place of traditional email servers. While imperfect, this technology is finding fans among employers and employees in a variety of industries. By enabling screen-sharing and other communication abilities from anywhere, easy monitoring and follow-up, online meetings and meeting recording, personalized meeting URLs, and other features, these tools are worthy of consideration.
Advocates of work collaboration tools say there are many reasons to embrace this technology. Specifically, they suggest it will:
· Save time and increase productivity.
· Reduce (or eliminate) your dependence on timesheets.
· Make it easier to organize and locate information.
· Improve collaboration and communication.
· Make it quicker and easier to share news or notices.
· Eliminate “background noise,” including the misinterpretation of messages.
Among the more highly rated workplace collaboration/management tools are:
· nTask. This is mostly a project management software, but it is considered to be easy-to-use and has the features necessary for effective team management. It has a diverse range of features for overall coverage regarding communication needs and makes meetings with many remote participants easier and more productive.
· Skype for Business. Skype was a pioneer in peer-to-peer communication, so it’s not surprising that the company is getting into the workplace collaboration/management business. This technology has features that include the ability for instant messages during meetings, online meetings for up to 250 participants, screen-sharing options, and high-definition video and audio calls from anywhere.
· Slack. This technology has become widely popular in recent years and has more than six million daily users. Its features include distinct channels for team collaboration with safe file transfers that can be established for specific groups, projects, or tasks. There are drag-and-drop options for PDFs, images, and other files for fast transmission, and it can integrate easily with other applications.
· Google Hangouts. This is another popular tool for team communication and collaboration. Features include “Hangout Meet” and “Hangout Chat” specially designed for businesses and teams, high-definition audio and video calls for one-on-one or group communication, and quick, easy compatibility/integration with many applications. You can synchronize chats from device to device to stay connected anywhere.
· Convo. This, too, has been around for a while and has its proponents. It offers customizable groups for team communication that facilitate and limit access to specific people or teams; instant chat features; data encryption; an annotation feature that guides users to highlight parts of a file for clarity; and an updateable news feed for the latest news or changes from groups or individuals.
The pricing on these tools varies. However, it is essential to consider the features your teams need and want and how they will use this technology. Don’t jump in without research or conversations with vendors about what support, training, and updates they will provide over time.