Requisites of a first-rate working team include an organized system of tools, talents, and open communications. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, virtual teams of remote workers and freelancers rely on online communication apps and platforms. More than seamless communication, virtual offices also need a platform that will facilitate work collaboration, productivity tracking, and file sharing, storage, and management.
Here is a shortlist of communication tools virtual teams and offices cannot survive without;
Skype – Skype is the go-to communication app for everybody. It is an instant messaging platform that can also facilitate voice and video calls. You can create group chats and group calls. Screen sharing and file sharing features also come handy for meetings, collaborative work, and learning sessions. Basic Skype accounts are free to create and use. Business accounts have added functionalities including integration with Office 365 Enterprise apps. Learn more about Skype Business here.
Google Hangout – Google Hangouts are built into Gmail and Google+. Anyone who has a Gmail or a Google+ account can create a ‘hangout’ and initiate video and voice calls, virtual conferences, and team meetings. Screen sharing, instant messaging, and phone calling functionalities are also integrated. Active Hangouts can also be streamed live on YouTube. The app is integrated with Google Business apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive. and thus, provides added convenience in terms of office work fluidity and ease.
WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a simplified and free messaging application that enables users to call, send messages, and share files. It is the easiest way of connecting with your team of remote workers and freelancers anytime, anywhere. Initially designed as a messaging app that will skip the SMS fees of mobile phones carriers, WhatsApp can now be installed on an iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows phone and integrated with a Mac or Windows PC. Messaging and calling are free as long as your phone is connected to an internet server.
Join.Me – Join.Me is a virtual meeting and conference platform for designed for global businesses. New hire trainings, sales presentations, customer care calls, and team meetings between people from all over the world are made quick, easy, and simple. Webinars, screen sharing, video conferencing, file transfers, and integration with Slack are some of the key business features of the app. Hosting a meeting is free, but for business enterprises, they offer a comprehensive package that includes access management and user authentication functions, and up to 250 participants.
Slack – Slack is a virtual office platform that is able to incorporate most of the business offices processes in one. Group chats, file sharing, and calling between team members are enabled. It is free to create a team account, but for bigger businesses with more people and files to manage might see the value of getting a paid business account. Channels enable better collaboration, security, and messaging management – you only send messages to one or a set of people who needs to know and keep out those who doesn’t. Slack can also be integrated with Trello, Google Drive, Evernote, and other virtual business office tools.
Communication is integral to team building, regardless if you’re working in a four-walled office or in the virtual sphere. Here are more ways to engage your team of freelancers and remote workers.