With more than 3.3 million people in the United States working from home at least half the time, collaboration tools are becoming an essential part of the formula for business success. Many tools are available to help your business bring remote workers to a “virtual office” to ensure everyone works efficiently and productively.
Google Hangouts™ is a free video conferencing tool you can use to meet with your remote workers from wherever you are. It’s ideal for one-on-one conferences and for group meetings. With the “live” feature, you can broadcast your hangout and automatically save it to your YouTube™ account…it’s an excellent way to build a library of training videos for future remote workers you add to your team. You can also use Hangouts to make phone calls from your computer, and the video component is available, but not necessary.
A CRM with project management tools integrated in the platform, Insightly gives you the power to assign tasks, create milestones, assign various roles to the same contact, and more. It integrates seamlessly with multiple platforms including Google Apps™ like Drive™, Gmail™, and Outlook® to save you time. With email reminders, there’s no need to worry about missing a deadline, and with opportunity reports, you can quickly and easily get a bird’s eye view of sales progress.
Gliffy is an online diagramming/brainstorming tool perfect for project planning and collaboration. Shapes are available in the library to make building diagrams as easy as drag-and-drop. An email invitation to collaborate allows access to your diagram with a temporary password for a free account. Read-only diagrams can be shared with a URL or embedded via social media. Gliffy integrates with Google Drive, and includes a number of themes and templates to help save time.
Red Pen is a feedback tool that works well for visual teams. Simply drag a design onto the board, point, and click. Give feedback about any area of the design and the rest of your team sees your comments live. Write notes to your designers, get feedback from your clients, or solicit input from your team, with no restrictions on the number of collaborators. Projects with multiple designs can be stored, and version tracking is included.
Formerly YouSendIt, Hightail lets you and your team: send files (up to 10GB) from your computer or mobile device, share project files and folders, control edit permissions, and sign and return documents. With the desktop app, you can drag-and-drop files and folders.
These tools will help keep your small business running smoothly no matter how widespread your workers may be. By making meetings, project management, brainstorming, feedback, and file sharing simpler, you can empower your team to do their jobs more efficiently, so you can focus on your business strengths.
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