It wasn’t too long ago when people had to be in the same room to collaborate on a project. With cloud-based collaboration technologies, we could be halfway around the world and collaborate online if we wanted to.
Over the past several years, there have been hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of tools that have been made to make virtual collaboration easier. With so many choices out there, it can be hard to know which solutions are best.
To help you out, we've created a list of some of our favorite online tools that help teams collaborate virtually:
1. Google Drive—Document Management
Rather than saving your documents and spreadsheets onto your hard drive, save them to the cloud. Google Drive is cloud storage allows you to store and access your files anywhere. Google Drive allows you to work on a document at the same time as your coworkers. You can also access your files on different computers or your smartphone.
Google Drive costs $1.99 per month for 100GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB. As a company, if you want to get the full suite of productivity apps (including email, calendars, and video meetings), Google Apps for Work could be a better solution. It costs $50 a year per user for the annual plan.
2. Dropbox—File sharing
Stop sending files back and forth with your coworkers and start using the cloud. Dropbox allows you to save your files into the cloud, and then is immediately accessible to those who have access to this folder. Free accounts start with 2 GB of space. Business accounts are great for larger teams and cost $15 per user per month.
3. HootSuite—Social Media Dashboard
HootSuite is a social media tool that allows you to monitor multiple social media accounts in one place. It also allows you to schedule messages, communicate and collaborate as a team, and assign tasks to teammates. HootSuite also has built-in analytics and reports so that you can see what’s working best. You can try it for free for 30 days. After that, it’s $9.99 per month.
4. Skitch—Screenshot Sharing
Skitch is an Evernote application. It allows you to take screenshots and quickly annotate, markup, and create shapes on top of it to share with your team. It’s a great tool for giving fast feedback. Skitch is free to use.
5. Asana—Task Management
Asana allows teams to organize tasks, assign responsibilities, and maintain goals in one location. It's a great way to eliminate the need for e-mail while working on projects with a team. Asana costs $21 per month for up to 5 team members.
6. Trello—Project and Task Management
Trello lets you organizes projects into boards. In one glance, you can see who is working on what, what is currently being worked on, and what the status of each project is. It’s a great visual way to organize tasks of a project. Trello is free to use, but if you want to upgrade to business class (for extras like business-grade controls and security), it’s $5 per user per month or $45 per user per year.
7. UserVoice—Customer Support
We use UserVoice at HelloSign, and it’s work great! The multi-agent ticketing system a great way to scale your support efforts. UserVoice also provides a detailed dashboard to help you manage customer tickets and feedback. It’s a great tool to help you engage and better understand your users. For one user, UserVoice is free. The standard level package is $20 per user per month.
8. Realtime Board—Online Whiteboard
Do you like drawing out your ideas on a whiteboard? If you don’t have the luxury of having a whiteboard available (like if you’re a remote team), it can be difficult to illustrate your thoughts. Realtime Board is an online whiteboard that can help you share your ideas and brainstorm with your team. It costs $8 per user per month for a team account.
9. Skype—Video Conversations
If you need to communicate with a team that isn’t sitting in the same room as you, you’ll probably need to look into a video conferencing tool. Video conferencing tools use your computers webcams to host face-to-face conversations. It’s great for when your teammates are in different locations.
Skype lets you chat, call, and video call your teammates for free. For team meetings, you can have up to 10 people in a group video call for free.
Of course we wouldn’t leave ourselves off this list! There are a ton of great uses for eSignatures that make virtual collaboration possible.
For HR departments, use us for sending offer letters, I-9s, contractor agreements, and other employment paperwork.
Sales teams can use it for sending proposals, where they can also track whether their potential customers reviewed the document. We also have some pretty awesome integrations with Google Docs and Gmail (you never have to leave the page to sign your document!).