Online Collaboration Tools for CommunicationChances are, you know Google Hangouts and Skype. There's no question these are powerful platforms for remote communication. But, there are other remote working tools to consider. #1 SLACK As a business owner, I use Slack to communicate with my team daily. Typing this, I see the Slack desktop app out the corner of my eye. When I receive a message from my team, I'm instantly notified. Slack provides a simple chat interface, but don't let its simplicity fool you. You communicate in channels organized with hashtags. Create any hashtag you like from SEO, website design, incoming leads, proposals, contracts and more. Channels ensure all conversations, files and documents are where they should be. You don't spend time searching for specifics relating to a project. If information gets lost, search for it with the handy search function. Alternatively, share confidential information in private chats. Integration with other apps is also possible. For instance, MailClark lets you send emails and Facebook messages in Slack. There are powerful features in the Free Forever Plan but upgrade anytime for advanced features. Slack pricing starts at $6.67. #2 YAMMER Yammer is a social media network for business. Communicate privately with colleagues, share documents, files, like someone else's status and collaborate effortlessly. Access the platform with a simple sign-up using your company email address. Because it's owned by Microsoft, integration with SharePoint is possible. What's more, this online tool is entirely free. #3 APPEAR.IN Appear.in is a video conversation app offering split-screen sharing. Create a chat room with no sign-up, registration, or downloads. Visit their site, create a room link, and share with up to eight people, for free. Access is available via any device although you need the app when signing up on iOS. A premium version is available for $12/month. #4 QUIP Quip is your central hub for online communication. Create, share and discuss documents centrally-in real-time. With Quip, you don't spend time searching for information as there's one version of your work. No more long email chains and multiple versions of your work. Also, use their mobile app to communicate on-the-go. Quip offers a unique free trial. It's based on activity, not length of time. Thereafter, pricing is $30 for a team of five and $10 per extra person.
Online Collaboration Tools for BrainstormingIdeas are the lifeblood of any organization. Far too often people think up an idea but don't act. These three online tools will help move an idea from conception to execution. #5 IDEAFLIP Ideaflip is a space for your ideas. It's a simple, yet powerful web app that: Converts your thoughts into ideas. Lets you share those ideas. Helps you refine those ideas with real-time collaboration. Group brainstorming sessions are possible with a desktop and mobile version. Join for free as an editor, contributor or viewer and access a limited amount of idea boards. The basic subscription starts at $9/month for access to unlimited idea boards. #6 MINDMEISTER This collaborative mind mapping tool allows you to capture, refine and share ideas with colleagues and collaborate. Currently, over 7 million people use it to brainstorm, take notes, plan projects, and work on other creative tasks. MindMeister is web-based, meaning no downloads or updating, and it works with your preferred operating system-Windows, Mac, or Linux. If you want to take things further, why not integrate MindMeister with MeisterTask, the online task and project management app for teams. Sign up for free and access three mind maps or upgrade to a personal, pro, or business plan. Pricing is $4.99, $8.99 and $12.49, per month, respectively. #7 CONCEPTBOARD Conceptboard is another visual online collaboration tool optimized for creatives and remote teams. It's a one-stop solution for crafting and managing projects and feedback. The online tool provides a flexible canvas that expands as you add content. Create mood boards, map out strategies and brainstorm live. Sign-up for a free trial for 30 days. Pricing starts at $28.50 for three users and $9.50 for each extra user.
Online Collaboration Tools for Managing ProjectsProject management is difficult at the best of times, but managing a remote team can be even more difficult. These five collaboration apps will help. #8 TRELLO Trello is a collaboration tool that makes organizing projects fun by combining lists, cards and boards. Your board is your project that consists of cards on lists. Sound complicated? It's actually quite simple. For example, you may create a "blog board". On the blog board, you'll have different lists like, "incoming brief", "freelance writer busy writing", "internal review" and "with client". With this workflow, you can move the individual cards on each list from start to finish. With Trello, see what projects are on-the-go, who's working on it, and where something is in the process. Move content through your editorial calendar, products through the development, phases and leads through the sales process��the possibilities are endless. The Forever Free Plan gives you access to unlimited boards, lists and cards. But there are limitations like the size of files you can upload. For premium features like integrations with Google and Salesforce, upgrade to a business plan for $9.99/month. #9 CANVA FOR WORK Don't have the money to pay an expensive designer? Have a little DIY design streak in you? Canva is the easy-to-use design software that lets you create your own designs without spending a fortune. Admittedly, many designers also use the platform. While the free version packs a punch, for more features upgrade to Canva for Work. Use the intuitive drag and drop editor to create stunning graphics and designs. Access more designs, templates, logos, fonts, custom brand colors and collaborate on designs in the "team stream". Pricing starts at $12.95/month. #10 EVERNOTE At its core, Evernote is a note-taking tool. But, it can double as a powerful collaboration tool for managing projects. Adding notes is easy, and as you add more notes, the more useful it becomes. This article on Lifehacker highlights the many uses of Evernote. From using the Web Clipper to creating project notebooks to sifting through notes with saved searches and using notes to move between related information-it's clear Evernote is a powerful tool. Here are some other features:
- Create project to-do lists to organize projects.
- Collaborate remotely on a group notebook with easy notebook sharing.
- Create as many notebooks as you want. While creating many notebooks seems counterintuitive, Evernote curates important content for you.
- Transform your written notes into a digital format and store in the relevant project notebook.
- Zero confusion about appointment times with auto-adjusting time zones.
- Only let clients see what you want them to see with "privacy" features.
- Prepare for meetings with intake forms that capture pertinent information.
- Accept payments with Stripe, Square, Braintree and Authorize.net.
- Integrate with your favorite existing platforms (like FreshBooks!
- A 14-day free trial is available. Upgrade to one of three plans, starting at $10/month.
- Auto-adjusting time zones.
- Integrations with Google, Outlook, Office 365 and iCloud to prevent double bookings.
- Automation of tasks through integration with apps like Salesforce and Zapier.
- Works well for individuals and growing teams.