This is an update of an article originally published in April 2020. A lot has changed since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with more people working from home — many now doing it permanently — more remote work collaboration tools have become available, and many that were available back then have been upgraded and enhanced. And in addition to new features and enhancements, some have new owners, most notably in the case of Slack. This post adds these new and upgraded tools and services to the list.
Amid these tough pandemic days, collaboration tools are the torchbearers for several organizations across the globe. Remote work, which was once a convenience for many, is now the new normal. As the spread of coronavirus is increasing throughout the world, companies started to face the new reality of remote work. Organizations have started adapting their work from home policies to meet the different requirements of users as well as businesses. Thankfully, there are several applications and IT services that are helping organizations cope up and operate with normal efficiency while working remotely. Moreover, several tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have adapted their existing collaboration tools to meet the company’s requirements during the ongoing pandemic.
These remote work collaboration tools allow employees and companies to work together on professional projects and plans while not working under the same roof. They are meant to reduce the bottlenecks of communication gaps, feedback and approval processes, and more. They also help drastically in core aspects such as communication, planning, project, and task management, and file and data sharing.
Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular collaboration tools right now. Apart from being backed by Microsoft, the tool also offers very high levels of customization. Teams is also very tightly integrated with other Microsoft apps, making it easy for businesses and companies to manage their work while collaborating. As it gets ready to celebrate its fourth anniversary, Teams is rolling out new features, just as it did a year ago on its third anniversary.
Microsoft has been consistently adding new and improved features to its Teams workplace collaboration app. In a recent news announcement, Microsoft stated that it will be adding new “Approval Workflow” features to Teams. This new feature will let users easily create, manage, and share work and task approvals from a hub for teamwork. This feature will start rolling out to users in batches starting mid-January 2021.
Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based business application suite that helps companies manage chats, file and data sharing, work schedules, employee working hours management, and more. Microsoft Teams can be used as a desktop app, web app, or a mobile app.
Microsoft Teams has a very long list of features and integration options and can seamlessly work with almost any Microsoft Office tool and service. As the name suggests, Microsoft Teams packs in various features such as wide integration options, multiple conversation channels, real-time collaboration, cross-platform and device compatibility, and security and privacy for teams. However, several of its features can only be used in a Microsoft environment and not elsewhere.
Slack has been a textbook example of a collaboration tool for years. It is an excellent, easy-to-use, and powerful texting platform for collaboration. Various organizations have Slack as their primary work chat tool for collaboration and communication. Although it offers all the right set of features and options, its paid version is also one of the most expensive collaboration tools out there.
Slack allows integrations from various other tools such as JIRA, GitHub, and Trello. Slack also packs in audio calls, video calls, conferences, screen-sharing, and more. It allows users to customize their status, provide full control over notifications and availability. The tool also makes it very easy to separate teams and create different chat rooms. Finally, it also has a bunch of shortcuts to find information from the chat rooms, which is now inherited by various other collaboration tools.
Salesforce, a global CRM giant, acquired Slack in a recent blockbuster IT deal for $27.7 billion. This could mean that we could see a lot more changes, new features, and possible new CRM add-ons to the collaboration platform. Slack is already considered to be one of the top collaboration tools, and now that it is a part of Salesforce, it could be a more complete package shortly.
Kanban is one of the commonly used project management methodologies and Trello is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use kanban apps on the market right now. Offering solid ways to manage work and workflows, Trello is a lightweight project management tool. It is also one of the most straightforward applications on our list.
It comes with a digital dashboard on which a user can create, organize, manage, and prioritize actions. All the tasks, to-dos can be very easily managed using the drag-and-drop card system. Trello allows users to assign an employee or even a team or a set of employees to a certain task. It also allows you to set up deadlines and notes for each of these task cards.
Trello is a web-based tool and also comes as a mobile app on both Android and iOS platforms. There are three different versions including free, business class, and enterprise accounts. Trello offers a limited set of features and misses out on a few of the essential project management features such as progress reports, time tracking, and Gantt charts. However, it still outperforms its competitors in certain segments such as interface and pricing.
Trello owner Atlassian has announced that a few of its leading developer productivity and collaboration tools will be available for free for a limited time. This includes their cloud-based versions of Jira, Confluence, Jira Service Desk, and Jira Core.
TeamWork (TeamWork Projects) is one of the leading project management software solutions. It consists of all the project management essentials and features of project management. It comes with a simple and intuitive design with dynamic customization options. TeamWork comes with several dashboard views including project health status and a board view to keep tabs on the project’s progress.
TeamWork also integrates with several other tools and platforms including Slack, Dropbox, Hubspot, Xero, QuickBooks, and more. It also provides several collaborative features enabling organizations or even individuals to track multiple projects simultaneously involving multiple users. TeamWork includes free, pro, premium, and enterprise variants. More information about the pricing can be found here.
GitHub is the world’s leading and largest software development platform. It also serves as one of the world’s largest community of developers and other IT professionals to develop, share, build, and store software.
But many users are still unaware that GitHub can also be used for better team collaboration and communication. GitHub offers an excellent means to collaborate on development projects. With GitHub, users can fork an existing project allowing other developers to contribute to the same project simultaneously. It also lets you a clone and adds an upstream remote. GitHub also allows adding multiple developers to a single project allowing collaboration.
Remote work collaboration tools: Pick the right one
There are several other collaboration tools and services available in the market suiting different needs. The key here is not just the tool, but to have the right tool in the right place to promote collaboration among the employees of organizations.
With the continued spread of the disease terrorizing countries, organizations are not likely to go back to normal work cultures anytime soon. Many industry experts also believe that the remote work culture will remain with us longer than many are anticipating. Accordingly, all these tools are continually receiving updates and new features to support the growing needs and demands of individuals and organizations to achieve stability in a remote work environment.
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