In a flexible workplace, you sometimes won’t get the luxury of simply turning and asking a colleague a question. Being able to contact colleagues instantaneously is an important part of maintaining an efficient working environment. Slack is a great example of an instant messaging platform that can be used in a business. Create channels for particular projects, teams and clients which team members can join and leave at will. Instead of trawling through emails, all your correspondence is collected in one place. Slack also enables direct messages, voice calls, video calls and even integrated file sharing.
Having a communal space that is remotely accessible to store your documents and data is essential. Google Drive enables you to share a range of different document types (including Microsoft Office files) with colleagues, which they can then be invited to collaborate on. You get up to 15GB of free storage when you sign up to a Google account. If you require more storage for your business, sign up to a 14-day free trial with their Drive Enterprise plan. After your free trial, you’ll only pay for active users and storage used per month.
While planning boards are a great way for team members to collaborate and visualise work, they are most beneficial when everyone is in the office to contribute. Trello provides a virtual planning board for individuals or groups to keep an eye on the progress of projects, wherever they are. With Trello, you can create tasks and then label and assign to a team member. Any changes you make to a board will be uploaded in real-time for ultimate efficiency. Trello will also send members notifications via desktop, mobile or email so your team is aware of any updates instantly. This application is able to be integrated with a number of other popular business tools including Slack and Jira.
Delivering projects for others will often entail going through several rounds of feedback and reiterations. Red Pen is a great visual collaborative tool that allows you to manage feedback in one space. With Red Pen, you can upload single or multiple designs online and then invite your colleagues to make live annotations on your work. Your colleagues, your clients and your team can leave comments, allowing you to collaborate and redraft your work on the spot. Upload new versions of your projects while keeping your old projects archived. Red Pen gives you an unlimited number of invites to send to clients and you can have as many co-colleagues working on the same project as you like. You’re also free to make as many iterations of your project as you want, enabling you to craft just what you need.
If you’re a manager juggling a number of staff working out of office, maintaining employee productivity levels is a must. Hive Desk is a time tracking software that lets you create projects, add team members and track employee hours. It can even send you screenshots of your workers’ desktops, as well as reports and graphs, so you can monitor their activity throughout the day. This software is particularly great when you have contract workers who may work outside of conventional office hours – you’ll be easily able to identify your overachievers (as well as your procrastinators!).
3 Minute Read