Digital collaboration tools: a quick guide for small businesses and start-ups

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If you own or work in a small business or startup, then needless to say work life hasn’t been that easy since the pandemic started. Staying organized, keeping everything together and everybody on the same page within the business can be a challenge, especially if there are no organization-specific corporate systems or tools to support that. Not to mention that motivating employees to be productive and stay on top of things while working remotely can be an even bigger challenge. If your business has been struggling with all of that, you might want to have a look at this round-up of some useful collaboration tools and applications that you can utilize to effectively overcome all workflow challenges even when – and if – work schemes go back to normal.

Coordination and project management

Team and project management apps have been on the rise since the pandemic started and some have actually become quite popular among different businesses. Take Asana for example. Asana is a software-as-a-service application designed to improve team collaboration and work management. It helps teams manage projects and tasks in one tool. Through the app, teams can create projects, assign work to teammates, specify deadlines, and communicate updates about tasks directly. Similarly, Trello is a collaboration tool that enables you to organize and prioritize projects through presenting its users with a visual ‘board’ of the work process. Looking at a Trello board, you see the building blocks of the work output, identify who is doing what and the status of the work.

It is essential that you can select the tool that best serves your business needs. Trello might be a better option for small businesses with straightforward processes, while Asana works well for larger businesses that need extra features- like billing and invoice management for example- to handle the complexity of the projects they are dealing with. However, Asana is free to use only for teams up to 15 people. Businesses can unlock premium features and include more people for $9.99 a month. With Trello, you can create teams, boards, and invite your colleagues to collaborate with you on them completely for free. If you run a company remotely, both these tools are perfect to get things done. Both can be used on an individual level for managing one’s own work to-do list as well as personal tasks.

Between operating systems

One of the most popular tools among remote-working employees currently is Bootcamp. Bootcamp is a utility software which assists users in installing Microsoft Windows operating systems on Macintosh computers. This can be so helpful for employees in accessing an internal Windows-based system of their company – often only compatible with Microsoft Windows – from a Macintosh device. However, there are certain requirements the device has to fulfill to be able to install the system such as minimum storage requirements and software version updates. You might consider utilizing Bootcamp for your business if there is a need to make the company’s internal system accessible for some or all employees working remotely.

Managing those online meetings that keep coming in

Since the pandemic started, many people have identified the need for tools that help them stay up to date with all the internal and external virtual meetings and deadlines in an organized fashion. For that, businesses could consider the use of Doodle or Calendly, both proven effective calendar management applications. Doodle is a free online appointment scheduler that can be used to book meetings and other events with other people, be it colleagues, partners, clients, contractors or any collaborator. Available in 20 languages and used by over 15 million people around the world, Doodle is a simple yet powerful calendar app that helps people stay on top of their busy schedules.

Calendly is in fact very similar. It is a scheduling software, that transforms the process of identifying common free slots and blocking meeting times into a totally digital one. You can invite any collaborator to access a Calendly link that is synchronized with your calendar, and a meeting is smoothly set up.

Both those apps have free and premium features. What is extremely efficient about both is that they can easily be connected to Zoom, the video-conferencing application that has taken hold of our lives. When connecting Zoom accounts with Doodle or Calendly, meeting links and details are automatically integrated, providing the participants with easy access to these details thus saving time. Calendly, can also be instantly connected to Gmail, allowing for easy integration between your emails and your appointments or meetings.

Choose what fits your budget and work culture

All these tools and applications are out there to help people run the workflow of their businesses and start-ups successfully during the pandemic. With the strong digitalization force, it is apparent that these tools will stay important post-pandemic. That is why it might be a good idea for your business to consider some of those digital tools when adopting a unified digital strategy across all its teams or departments, for enhanced collaboration and productivity. Choices of what tools to adopt in your business depends on budget, work culture, existing infrastructure and above all the business’s specific needs.

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