A look at the most popular and effective platforms for helping distributed teams stay connected
When people are working from a combination of home, office and coworking space, remote workers need a reliable suite of communication platforms to allow them to stay informed, share ideas, keep on top of tasks and conduct meetings in an online setting.
The key, though, is in not being overloaded with too many tech channels, as it can rapidly become overwhelming when there are too many different sets of notifications and messages to respond to. Ideally, it’s best to commit to using a small handful of platforms that perform a variety of functions…
1. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is one of the best platforms for helping distributed teams stay in touch because it provides email, instant messaging, group phone calls and video calls, and can even be used by those with Apple devices. If you are someone who is also using Slack or WhatsApp for instant messaging, and Zoom for video calls, perhaps now is the time to streamline your operations within this well-organised virtual hub. Users’ docs (which can be edited in real-time by multiple people), chat history, meeting notes and photos are also stored in one place.
2. Google Workspace
Whether you’re a startup founder or the CEO of an SME, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is suitable for businesses of all sizes. A collection of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, Workspace brings together Gmail, Meet (for video calls), Calendar, Slides (for presentations) and Docs, for collaborative editing, for example. Other integrated apps include Jamboard, which is essentially a digital whiteboard for brainstorming sessions; and Sites, which lets teams build high-quality websites for projects or events.
3. Spaces App
Many professionals find using a local flexspace helps them be more productive as they are away from the distractions of home and it demarcates their working day more effectively. To help hybrid workers better manage their time in these hubs, Spaces allows members to book slots at any of its flexible workspaces globally via a dedicated app. To take the strain off video calling, people can also reserve local meeting rooms for in-person collaborative work or engaging with clients. Open 24/7, Spaces let’s users gain access by the hour, by the day or even by the month. The app displays prices, as well as details of facilities on-site.
Monday’s tagline describes itself as a ‘visual platform that manages everything’. Designed to organise tasks and deadlines, team members can easily see who is responsible for what, observe the progress of projects and keep track of the company’s combined ‘to-do’ list. Users can also see data visualised in compelling ways, such as what percentage of a project has been completed. Meanwhile, ‘Workload’ view reassures managers that no one is left with nothing to do, so they don’t have to worry about constantly checking in with people.
Created for employee engagement and performance management, 15Five uses ‘positive psychology’ to underpin its team feedback and check-in functionality. Used by companies such as Spotify, Credit Karma and HubSpot, it’s primarily utilised as a means of having conversations between employees, managers and their peers, with the aim of boosting engagement and helping people do their best work. 15Five’s ‘holistic’ suite of products includes Engage for surveys and employee recognition, Perform for real-time feedback (among other things), and Focus for setting objectives.
As hybrid companies grow, new talent needs to be onboarded. BigMarker is a helpful product for training, as it allows businesses to pre-record webinars that can be embedded on your website. The software also allows users to join cloud-based live webinars, publish branded videos with built-in interactive elements such as Forms and Q&As, and monetise multi-session, video-based series, courses and virtual summits. Multimedia events can also be seamlessly streamed to Facebook and YouTube.
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