Top Tools for Online Team Collaboration – How We Switched to Remote Working Within 4 Hours
Workers around the globe are moving from open-plan offices to their private home offices to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus pandemic. It is a very challenging time which requires us to act quickly. At Customer Alliance, we decided on March 12th to let our entire team work from home in order to keep them and their families safe. As a B2B software solution provider with around 90 employees who regularly work from home, we know about the importance of digital team collaboration and communication. Thus, during the past years, we have set up procedures and rules and have integrated collaboration tools which allow us to work effectively and productively – no matter where we are. Therefore, we are very happy that our team was able to adapt so quickly to the new situation.
To keep up our productivity and team spirit during this challenging time, we are relying on different digital tools that combine important features such as instant messaging, video calls or screen and file sharing to help us get our job done. Let’s take a look at our pick of the best online team collaboration tools.
Slack is at the heart of our daily communication across all our departments. It’s a real-time messaging platform which allows us to chat with our colleagues, either privately or in a group. In different channels like #marketing or #presales, we discuss ideas, share news, upload files or answer questions from colleagues. Looking for a flat or selling stuff? Then #random is just the perfect channel. All in all, it’s very organized, and you can switch back and forth between the different channels chatting with your team very quickly. And even when on the road, the app allows us to keep in touch.
Google’s GSuite is our personal game changer when it comes to team collaboration. Only with an Internet connection and a browser, our entire team can access all documents, projects and online planners – across geographical distances – and can work together virtually in real time. We are also very impressed by Google Sheets which is taking over more and more functions that were originally only relevant for Excel Power users.
“Let’s create a project in Basecamp” is our unofficial mantra. It is super important to stay organized when working on multiple projects with multiple colleagues from different departments. Therefore, we trust Basecamp with our project management. It allows us to break up our work into separate projects and to assign to-dos and set deadlines. Everything is organized in one place as each project contains everything relevant: people involved, discussions, documents and files.
Jira and Confluence
Our product development teams are heavy users of Jira and Confluence to keep our product evolving. These tools work on their own very well, but become even more efficient when used together. With Jira, we set up sprints, create and assign tasks, track their completion and build a priority list of the things to be done. Confluence is a great tool to store all our project documentation that has been created along the way, including notes, roadmaps and descriptions. We can link a Jira project to a related Confluence space and our developers get access to all relevant documents with only a click.
Video Conferencing Tools
It’s no secret that remote teams rely on video conferencing tools to hold team meetings, share ideas, and check in on each other to see how a project is going. The same accounts for Customer Alliance. Face-to-face communication is so important, especially if you can’t meet in-person these days. Therefore, we trust three different providers on different occasions:
- Hangouts: We use Google Hangouts for our daily meetings and 1:1. As Hangouts is part of the GSuite, you can automatically create custom links and add them to your calendar invites.
- Join.me: Our very first virtual company meeting with around 90 employees was successfully held with join.me. You can invite other people into meetings without having them to download the program.
- Zoom: At Customer Alliance, we use Zoom for external meetings since you don’t need to have a Zoom account to attend a meeting. For example, we meet with clients or conduct interviews with candidates virtually.
Without access to our paperwork or being able to hand over documents personally, we use DocuSign. As the name already indicates, you can prepare, sign and manage documents – for example contracts or confidentiality agreements – electronically. As there is an integration for GSuite, users can easily create and edit documents in Google Drive and send them for signature within a few minutes.
These are our favourite tools for team collaboration while working remotely during the coronavirus crisis. What is yours?