In recent years the number of people who work remotely has been constantly increasing. According to an Intuit report, by 2020 more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be telecommuters.
This big rise the number of people who do not work in an office with other people, created a market demand for alternative ways of collaborating with colleagues.
In this article I will review the tools that I find most accessible:
Slack is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) online collaboration tools on the market. It can best be described as a messaging app.
It’s biggest advantage is that it helps co-workers communicate instantly with each other, in the form of a chatroom, thus helps cutting back on needless internal email and the time-wasting between emails.
Because many of Slack’s features help replace other tools (e.g., built-in file uploads, voice/video conferencing, etc.), Slack has become an essential productivity tool that helps companies of all sizes streamline their communication.
Public and private chat channels help employees compartmentalize topics of discussion and communicate more efficiently
Customizable notification levels enable users to get notified about the topics that matter most, without getting overloaded with messages
Integrations with more than 1,000 applications, including Google Drive and Trello
Built-in phone calls, video chat (up to 15 people), and screen sharing features
Occasionally has availability issues that prevent users from accessing the app
No fuzzy search capabilities when searching through message history
Trello describes itself as“a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards."
A Trello board is basically a web page containing lists on the page so you can get a view of your project. Items within the lists, called cards, can be dragged and dropped onto other lists or reordered within lists.
Individual cards themselves can contain images, attachments, deadline dates, colored labels, and discussion notes from others who share the board.
Trello cards are like sticky notes you arrange on a cork board—that is, digital sticky notes that are searchable, shareable, and come with reminders.
Simple layout with simple instructions
iPhone and Android app
Ability to create unlimited cards
You can invite as many people as you want to a board
Trello backs up your data
Exporting is not available on free plan
Interface can get messy and confusing with many cards and lists
Google Docs is an online word processor. Although simpler than Microsoft Word, it contains all the essential features that you would look for in a word processor.
It’s biggest advantage is that through it you can share the documents you create with your colleagues and work simultaneously on the same sheet and see each other’s changes as they are happening in near real time.
The documents are stored on the “cloud” which means that you can access them on any PC which has an internet connection and as a bonus this means that your data is always backed up.
Files can be downloaded in many formats
Documents are auto-saved to your Google account
Automatically identifies spelling errors
Embedded chat application makes it easy to collaborate
Only works as fast as your Internet connection
You must be logged on to use it
Missing advanced formatting and style options only found in a traditional word processor
Uploading other document files sometimes results in missing or changed formatting