3 Tools for Building and Sustaining Collaboration

By Rick Lepsinger

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The days of the traditional office are fast becoming a distant memory for many companies. With more than 70 percent of people working remotely at least once a week and organizational structures flattening to meet the dynamic needs of today’s economy, companies of all sizes are looking for tools to help their employees collaborate more effectively. Fortunately, the last decade has seen a proliferation of software solutions that make it easier than ever for teams to share their work and provide support to their members.

Here are three broad categories of tools every company should utilize when building and sustaining collaboration:

Project Management Software

Today’s workplace is fast-paced and complex, requiring employees to manage a wide range of tasks and deliver measurable results under difficult time constraints. In order to leverage their resources and complete these projects efficiently, most companies have turned to project management software. By breaking large, multi-faceted projects down into small, easily defined tasks that can be assigned to individual employees, these programs help teams tackle challenges faster and far more efficiently than ever before.

When implemented across an organization, project management software makes it far easier for teams to collaborate on a set of tasks. Everyone can see what other team members are working on and visualize how their work fits into the greater whole. This makes it far easier to manage accountability and prioritize what work needs to be done and by whom, helping to facilitate employee collaboration. For leaders, project management software eliminates a great deal of managerial “busy work”; rather than having to provide instructions to team members every day, they can set up a task flow and allow people to work at their own pace to meet deadlines.

Since every team member is using the same software to track the status of key tasks, they can share their work and use collaboration skills on critical projects whenever necessary. This is especially useful, and perhaps even essential, for companies that utilize virtual teams. Without software that allows team members to monitor progress on projects and provide support when necessary, companies would be forced to rely on a less structured system like email.

Some popular project management systems include Microsoft Project, Atlassian’s Jira, and Basecamp.

Cloud Productivity Services

Almost every office relies upon productivity software of some kind, whether they’re using word processing programs to prepare documents, development tools to write code, or editing programs for audio/video projects. In the past, these programs were a significant investment for the companies using them, requiring complex licensing deals and physical installation on select computers. Not everyone may have had access to the software, while projects, data, and other assets were often stored only on specific workstations or dedicated on-site servers. This arrangement sometimes made building collaboration and productivity difficult, as not everyone had access to the same materials at all times, especially if they weren’t located in the same office.

With the advent of cloud computing, however, much of this software has migrated from a product-based to a …read more

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