Remote Working

5 Online Collaboration Tools Startups Need Now

With remote work (working from home, whether full-time or part-time) becoming more and more common, it has become increasingly important to choose the right tools to collaborate with your team. While there are 100s of online collaboration tools out there, not all offer easy-to-use features or are readily available across platforms. Here are five online collaboration tools that anyone can use, regardless of platform or device.

1. Dropbox

Want to share documents on the go? Dropbox is by far the best (IMHO) cloud-based storage service. It’s free, you can get extra space by paying but it’s not necessary, and easy to use. You can access documents and files, just as you would on a shared network folder. The user experience is – in fact – so similar to a regular folder that most people can’t tell the difference.

The great part? It works on any platform. Whether you use Android, Windows or a Mac. Whether you have an iPhone or an iPad, a laptop or a Nexus tablet. There is absolutely no issue using Dropbox across all these services and devices, or even syncing. Since syncing happens in the background, you won’t even notice it’s happening.

2. Google Docs

Google Docs is to online document sharing what Dropbox is to cloud storage. Create excel sheets, documents, presentations on the go, share them with your team and allow editing. You can also share documents without editing permissions if you want, as well as download documents for offline usage.

3. Trello

Trello is how I personally organize a large team and their individual tasks. Cards attach to columns (imagine adding each “task” as a card to a column which serves as a “list”), and can be assigned to different team members. You can add comments, links and attachments directly to each card. Prefer to reply to a comment via email? You can do that, as Trello will automatically post it for you. You can tag different team members within the comments.

Move cards around via drag and drop. For teams that assign tasks with due dates, you can even use a calendar view to see upcoming tasks easily in a weekly or monthly format. It is by far the easiest platform to learn how to use, which is why it is best for teams that need to collaborate online frequently.

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4. Skype

Who doesn’t use Skype? It offers both audio and video as well as IM. You can leave messages for each other, tag into a video call or just talk on the phone – all for free. While we’re used to extremely cheap calling rates in Pakistan, this is a great way to reduce phone expenses if you and your team mate are both able to access an Internet connection.

5. Google Hangouts

Skype is great but it restricts video conferencing to two people. Google Hangouts allows up to 100. Again, it’s free to use, works across platforms and easy to setup. Get your whole team online at the same time to discuss an issue or have a meeting without the hassle of setting up a video conferencing suite of products.

Which of these products do you use? What other product would you suggest? Leave me a note in the comments.

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