Ever try to find a file in an old email, but you couldn’t remember the sender, the subject line, or the file’s name? Maddening, isn’t it? Inconveniences like this can slow your productivity and drain your energy. Worse, by the time you finally track down the file, you might have forgotten the brilliant idea that sent you looking for it in the first place. This is why we believe in keeping work files out of email, and instead setting your team up with a cloud app for free file sharing.
But saving you from scrolling through page after page of emails looking for a file you know is in there—somewhere!—is just one of many benefits of using a free file sharing tool. Here’s how else it can help your whole team.
1. It creates a single source of truth
Whenever you and your coworkers collaborate on a document, spreadsheet, design mockup, or any other type of file, you’re going to end up with lots of versions.
If those files are scattered all over the team’s emails and desktops, how will anyone know in a week (let alone in six months) if File_rev4 was the most recent, or if there’s a File_rev5 out there somewhere?
When you’re all using the same free file sharing app, you’re automatically archiving all of those versions and organizing them in the same place. This way, keeping track of the most current file will be easy. Plus, you won’t have to worry about embarrassing incidents like one of your coworkers mistakenly sharing an outdated version with a client because they didn’t realize the team had since updated it.
2. Your team can access their files anywhere
Many professional teams don’t have access to their work email outside the office. When it comes to team collaboration on files, this could leave your team unable to move a project forward unless the key players are at their office computers.
But with a free file sharing service, you and your team can review, edit, and share your project’s files wherever you are. In fact, your team might even find collaborating this way—outside the office—more effective, because you’re not getting interrupted every 30 seconds with a new work email.
3. It makes sharing and annotating files fast and easy
Let’s say you need to run a document by your team for edits and general feedback. If you’re using email, you’ll have to open a new message, think up a relevant subject line (so you’ll all be able to find this email in the future), draft and send the message with the attachment, and then compile all of the different sets of comments and notes as they come back to you.
If your coworkers annotate your file directly, you’ll have to open them all, capture each person’s notes, and then sync everything up in a clean new version.
And in a few weeks, if you need to figure out who made what suggestion and why, you’ll have to hunt down and review each person’s email. (Let’s hope you can find them!)
Now, if you’re using the right free file sharing tool, you can easily keep all of these details straight from the start. You’ll simply upload your file and tag your team asking for comments and edits. With the right free file sharing app, your team will be able to annotate the file right in the app—without altering the original. That means you can review everyone’s notes in the app and make only those you want in your clean native file.
Even better, if your free file sharing tool is integrated into a larger team messaging and collaboration app, then you can share files in real time, while you’re engaged in other tasks like instant messaging with your team or even creating a new task or event for the team to track.
What is the best file sharing service?
Okay, we’ve been hinting at making sure you’re using the right free file sharing service—and not just picking the first one you find. But what makes one service better than others?
The way we see it, there are a couple of things you should look for in a free file sharing app. These features will give your team and your company the most value:
First, make sure it’s really free.
A lot of free file sharing tools are free only until your team hits a maximum number of file uploads (remember, each version counts as a unique upload). Or an upper limit of total file storage size. Or a maximum number of team members accessing the service.
Then those services will steer you to their “enterprise” or “professional” subscriptions.
Tell them no thank you, and instead find a service that actually offers free file sharing and unlimited file storage, forever.
Make sure it’s part of a larger team collaboration platform.
App hopping is a pain. It saps productivity, too. Even if you have a free file sharing app, you don’t want to have to jump out of whatever other work tasks you’re engaged in every time you want to send your team a file to review.
Instead, look for free file sharing functionality that’s embedded in an integrated team collaboration environment. Imagine how much more productive your team will be if they can drag a file right into their team chat app—at the moment they decide to share the file with the team.
Imagine how much simpler it will be to create a new event or task for your team calendar if you can just drag and drop any relevant documents into that even as you’re creating the team invite.
In other words, don’t just look for another app that you’ll use just to share files you’re your team. Find a free file sharing app that’s fully integrated into an all-in-one team messaging and collaboration solution.
Fortunately, you can find all of this all-in-one functionality—including free file sharing integrated seamlessly into a team collaboration platform—in the RingCentral app.
Originally published Sep 02, 2019, updated Aug 28, 2020