For many, working remotely adds convenience and flexibility to their work/life balance. But it can also lead to workers feeling cut off from their team, with research showing that professional isolation sometimes impacts job performance and productivity.
No need to panic, though. There are plenty of communication apps and workplace chat platforms out there that can help you make sure your staff stay engaged, confident, and connected. In this article, we’ll take a look at how good collaboration tools can help improve workflow and productivity when working from home
How can you use collaboration systems to improve team communications?
One of the main concerns facing those working remotely is communication. In a recent poll, 55% of Australian workers said team messaging apps and project management tools that facilitate virtual meetings, file sharing, and collaboration in real time are essential when working from home.
So how can you make sure that your team chat applications and communications solutions are working effectively for you?
Choosing the best chat communication tool for your team
When comparing and contrasting the many business chat apps and communications tools on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With so much choice, you might find yourself wondering “what is the best team chat software?” To answer that, you’ll first need to establish what exactly your team wants to use the tool for.
You’ll find both paid-for and free internal chat software tools on the market. Some are simple and focus on one or two functions, like team messaging or video calls. Others come with a whole range of advanced tools and features that can include various communications options and project management solutions.
Bear in mind that working from home often means team members will be using a range of devices, from Macs, PCs, and Chromebooks to Android tablets and different makes of smartphones. So, choosing workplace chat apps and collaboration tools that are easily accessible from any device is key to keeping everyone connected and motivated.
How can office chat programs and collaboration software help?
The best collaboration tool for remote teams that want to work together seamlessly on projects is likely to be an all-in-one, professional teamwork chat app and software solution, like RingCentral Office.
These type of integrated communications platforms generally offer less downtime, greater scalability, and improved customer support with features including:
- Team messaging, file sharing, and task management tools that help you stay on top of workflows.
- HD audio and video calls, including conference call options and screen sharing, to make team collaboration easier and more personal.
- Carrier-grade reliability and built-in security to manage and route calls safely and efficiently.
- App integration that lets you streamline all your favourite tools – like Microsoft 365, Google, Zoho, Salesforce, Mailchimp, social media, and more – into one handy team messaging platform.
The ability to collaborate on tasks in real time, instant message, call or host video conferences, webinars and meetings on any device, reduces the need for time-consuming email exchanges as well as in-person get-togethers. This can drastically improve workflow, while helping your colleagues stay in touch and making sure everyone feels part of the team.
Using professional communications and message apps is also generally more secure than sending confidential files via email.
Top tips on using messaging apps to boost workflow
Once you’ve identified and implemented the most effective communications and collaboration system for your business, think about how you want to use the tool to maximise productivity and ensure your team feels supported. Here are our top tips:
- Set times for you and your team to use the app – including regular, informal team catch-ups – and encourage blocks of “quiet time”, to get on with specific tasks.
- Set up personal and shared team to-do lists with integrated calendar and project management apps.
- Use time management tools to track the time spent on tasks.
- Take advantage of analytics and use actionable insights to drive business decisions.
- Use the app as a regular, friendly check-in to see how your colleagues are.
Messaging apps and collaboration tools: an essential investment for remote teams
The COVID-19 pandemic won’t last forever, but it may well have changed our approach to doing business permanently.
Many companies are discovering the benefits of home-based teams, and workers in Australia are welcoming the option to do their jobs remotely too. 28% of those surveyed by Redback Connect were keen to continue working from home full time after the pandemic, and a further 59% said they’d like to work from home a few days per week.
That means there has never been a better time for businesses to invest in the good quality communications software. A crucial part of that process is choosing the best collaboration tools for remote teams – helping improve workflow, increase productivity, and foster a sense of team spirit, even when your team is a geographically diverse one.
Originally published 21 Jan, 2021, updated 13 Jan, 2023