5 Powerful Collaboration Tools for Working from Home Teams

Last Updated Apr 2022
5 Powerful Collaboration Tools for Working from Home Teams

Collaboration is essential to driving workforce performance.

It encourages innovative thinking and equal contribution of team members in achieving objectives efficiently. A Stanford study from a few years ago shows that even the mere perception of working together with a team increases the performance of an individual.

importance of collaboration

The pandemic has officially changed how businesses are run. As more and more teams have begun to work from home, teamwork and collaboration have become even more important. And companies have increasingly come to depend on online collaboration software to continue to drive innovation, increase employee productivity, and remain relevant.

collaboration tools market sizes

Here are 5 popular collaboration tools you can use to improve communication and teamwork between employees who are working remotely.

Document & File Collaboration

Document & File Collaboration Tool - Google Docs/ Google Drive

Research shows that teams can create documents 33% faster with a document management tool that removes the need for attachments.

benefits of document management software

One major player in this category is Google Docs with which you can create documents, edit/ review them, and share with others, from any device and from anywhere in the world. You can also download documents in multiple file formats as needed. Integrated with Google Drive, it allows you to organize your documents neatly and manage permission to them across the organization.

When to use:

  • During online meetings to take down notes
  • To develop ideas collaboratively during an online brainstorming session
  • To collaborate in real-time on editing a document
  • Track progress of the document with version history
  • To share important documents with team members, clients or stakeholders
  • Provide instant feedback on documents or make suggestions for changes

Team Messaging App

Team Messaging App - Slack

Collaboration starts with proper communication between employees.

And there are many purpose-built applications out there to facilitate communication between teams, whether they are working from the same location or remotely.

commonly used communication tools

While Microsoft Teams is designed for larger enterprise companies, it is often regarded as difficult to set up as opposed to Slack, which is easier to set up and administrate.

So for this post, we decided to stick with Slack although Microsoft Teams has a larger user base, for the reasons that it’s easier to set up and use and is the apt choice for instant messaging for businesses.

Slack is a great communications tool for teams of all sizes whether they are in-house or remote. It allows teams to connect with coworkers via instant messages, video calls, and even create separate non-work related channels to socialize.

When to use;

  • It replaces emails, phone calls and text messages when you want to communicate with your team
  • To keep important information, documents, links to resources, etc. saved in your chat history. You can quickly discover them with the search option
  • To set reminders for yourself and your team for important events (i.e. daily scrum)
  • To connect with your co-workers over audio or video call
  • To create fun community spaces for your team to bond over non-work related things
  • To solve problems, notify other people, brainstorm around ideas and share task/ project updates
  • To share your availability status during working hours

Online Meeting Tool

Online Meeting Tool - Zoom

When working remotely meeting and working in person isn’t possible; but video conferencing enables ‘face-to-face’ conversations virtually. And for a remote team, they are crucial to building trust and providing the visual cues necessary for effective communication.

video conferencing statistics

There are many tools out there in the market. Bloomberg reports that the global video conferring market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.2% until 2025, growing that market to a value of $6.7 billion. It also states that 51% of workers had taken video calls for work from a home office while 33% had done so from a coworking facility.

A popular tool used world-wide for video conferencing is Zoom. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has increased its user base at a record high. It is estimated that the company has added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while in 2019 it added 1.99 million.

When to use;

  • For video conferencing and audio conferencing with co-workers
  • For conducting remote meetings with team members, clients, stakeholders, etc.
  • For conducting remote interviews and conduct training sessions for new remote hires
  • To conduct webinars and other marketing events
  • To schedule and record meetings
  • For screen sharing

Project Management

Project Management - Creately

Over the past few years, project/ task management software have become extremely popular, now even more so as most teams are distributed.

project management software statistics

Whether you are looking to simply organize the project tasks or an enterprise-grade system to plan and monitor projects, there’s a solution for everyone.

Creately is a work management platform that runs on a smart visual canvas. Teams use it to brainstorm, plan, manage projects, and capture knowledge in a single space. It connects and centralizes work items from multiple apps, docs, and people in a central location. This makes it easier for teams to ideate, map out processes, add in-depth details, and build the systems to execute the processes right inside Creately.

Creately combines visual collaboration and diagramming, workflow & project management, wiki and note taking together to provide a no-code environment where users can build and model their own operating system for work.

When to use:

  • To brainstorm ideas, capture requirements, and visually prioritize and manage backlogs.
  • To prioritize ideas and requests using visual grids with effort, impact, cost, and more dimensions.
  • To define top-level goals and tasks and break them down into sub-tasks. Or use Epic, Story, Sprint-based agile breakdowns.
  • To track efforts and estimates, bubble up totals for higher level tasks easily.
  • To run agile projects. Use Kanban boards or any other way to organize and track work across teams and other apps.
  • To link and tag any task to OKRs or other milestones. Track OKR progression centrally.
  • To link to tasks from docs, diagrams, or have docs in task notes. Always have the relevant information in any context.
  • To extend your current PM platform using 2-way sync with GitHub, JIRA, Confluence, and other systems and build your core workflow in Creately.

Online Whiteboard Software

Visual Workspace for Collaboration - Creately

Visuals help people communicate their ideas, processes, workflows, designs, etc. better. This is why most conference rooms have whiteboards in them; to help add a visual aspect to what you are saying.

power of visual communication

Visual collaboration platforms replace this traditional whiteboard with a cloud-based, infinite canvas where multiple people can work together on developing their ideas and designs using visual elements and diagrams.

Creately also offers a scalable, infinite online canvas with intuitive drawing features to help teams collaborate in real-time on visualizing concepts faster. It also has 1000s of pre-made templates based on various scenarios for marketing, development, design, engineering, HR, project management and agile teams.

Its seamless integration with Google Drive, Confluence, and Slack further help strengthen collaboration across cross-functional teams.

When to use:

  • To brainstorm around ideas using mind maps, idea boards, fishbone diagrams, etc.
  • To do online Sprint Planning with your Scrum team
  • To collaborate in real-time around developing ideas/ plans using visuals and diagrams, from anywhere
  • To plan around and review user flows, wireframes and UI mockups
  • To visualize statistics and information for reports, documents, presentations, etc.
  • To share and get feedback on documents from co-workers, stakeholders and clients

This article was originally published in the Creately blog. To visit the original post, visit this link.