Online Collaboration: What Tools Work Best to Keep Everyone on the Same Page

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Caption: Shutterstock / fizkes

There are a lot of different programs out there that help teams communicate. But which process works best?

Online collaboration is a growing trend. You gain the talents and skills of people from around the world, without necessarily having them at a specific location during specific hours of the day. This means work is done during all hours at a pace comfortable for everyone.

But managing a team that’s widely spread out can be challenging. If there’s miscommunication, tasks may get left undone. Creating a sense of teamwork can also be an issue, if all people know of each other is a small headshot they see from time to time.

To help solve these problems, 11 members from YEC share their favorite collaboration tools for keeping telecommuting and remote employees on the same page.

1. Slack

It’s not quite as good as the real thing, but Slack seems to be as close as you can get to the rapport-building, casual brainstorming setting that typically only happens in a real-life context. The instantaneous back-and-forth and room-based communication makes it easy to keep people on the same page, for both very small details and larger goals. – Roger Lee, Captain401

2. Zoom

Remote communication tools like Slack and Trello are great, but when you are constantly communicating in writing, it’s easy to forget the importance of face-to-face communication. Utilizing great video messaging tools like Zoom will allow you to quickly set up team video chats. – Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

3. Asana

At our firm, things move fast. To ensure that everyone is always on the same page, we make sure that all projects and tasks are fully documented and set up in Asana. This way, if someone is falling behind on some tasks, a fellow team member can easily see this and step in to help alleviate the workload. -Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

4. Basecamp

I know Basecamp is an older tool, but it offers so much and makes it so easy to collaborate and maintain updated information on where projects stand. It provides a way to assign tasks to each person while also offering areas to communicate to get answers. – Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

5. Email

Email gets a bad rap in 2017, but it remains the one tool we use day in, day out to communicate with a big remote team. Yes, it’s overused, and yes, Slack is wonderful. But nothing replaces email. – Richard Kershaw, WhoIsHostingThis.com

6. Trello

At our firm, we’re managing the writing, editing and publication of up to 200 books at a time. There are a lot of intricate details that need to be communicated back and forth between a lot of people. Trello is the best tool we’ve found to solve this. It’s extremely intuitive to use, easy to customize, and allows for a clear, visual update on any project at any time. – Zach Obront, Book in a Box

7. Wrike

Remote workers are extremely self-driven, so getting them on board is never an issue. However, these same individuals don’t work well in teams, so they need to be managed. I’ve been using Wrike for a while after using Basecamp, Asana and Trello. As a platform, it has a shorter learning curve and helps me manage all my teams, reducing the back and forth. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja

8. Screencasts

We utilize screencast tools in order to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands all our processes and procedures. Being a video production company, we know that a good visual is the best way to communicate and get our point across as well as hold someone’s attention. They’re easier to follow and understand than simple text directions. – Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

9. Skype

Skype works great, especially for any international remote workers. It’s reliable and free, making it easy for everyone to use. Plus, it can be used on desktop or mobile. – Zach Binder, Ipseity, Inc

10. Teamwork PM

While we do use video conferencing, Slack and other channels, Teamwork PM puts everyone on the same page when it comes to the actual product or deliverable. Teamwork and other project management tools simplify project collaboration and create accountability. This ensures that no matter where employees work from, the work gets done, gets done right and gets delivered on time. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

11. Secure Cloud Document Storage

End-to-end secure cloud document storage makes a huge difference in how comfortable companies are with remote working. Being able to securely provide fully-encrypted access to sensitive documents, no matter where employees are in the world, is an efficiency and productivity game changer for companies who would otherwise be unable to use remote and telecommunicating employees. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.

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