Managers and employers have always tried to bridge the gap among individuals working on their teams and get their teams to function like well-oiled machines. Effective ways of collaboration have been under study for the longest time and new ways and tools of emphasizing teamwork and channeling individual efforts towards the group objectives have piqued the interests of managers and researchers alike. Research done by the Queen University of Charlotte suggests that employers recognize the importance of effective team collaborations, where 75% of the participating employers rating “teamwork and collaborations” as “very important”.
The workforce now consists of employees and team members from multiple generations and channeling a collective effort from such a versatile team could be a challenge in its own right. Team Collaboration tools can pave a way for effective channeling of the efforts of a versatile team and make sure they are on the same page with effective communication and understanding. Through the use of the right tools, the demographic and even generational gaps can be bridged within a team.
In the new normal the workspace has changed. Team members who were just a cubicle away are now miles away and the only way to reach them is via a screen and a mic. Work from home seems to be an undeniable part of the new normal and ways of effective collaborations must be found keeping the trends of work from home in the peripheral. Certain universally accepted practices could be followed for effective collaboration of remote teams, and an integral part of such practice is often the right tool.
The team collaborative tools have been integrally adopted into the workings of teams, and working professionals seem to unanimously agree to the importance of such tools. Around 83 percent of working professionals rely on digital tools to interact, according to a survey conducted by Alfresco. 82 percent of the participants said they would be impacted if the collaboration technology was eliminated. And keeping with the rising importance the team collaboration software market has seen a significant rise. According to research done by grand view research, The global market of team collaboration tools and software is expected to grow from $20 billion in 2020 to $60 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 25%. Let us look at some of the top Team Collaboration tools that have helped streamline teams:
Butter is a mobile-first, chat-based collaboration tool that makes the essential process of collaboration much simpler, especially for people who aren't very tech-savvy. In a nutshell, it’s like WhatsApp + Trello rolled into one mobile app. The users can communicate, like on WhatsApp and assign tasks and ask for follow-ups, like on Trello.
Butter intended to make this app so simple and intuitive, that even our moms can use it. The app offers easy and effective communication with its in-app messaging feature. The butter app separates your casual conversation in a group chat from structured work management by creating tasks and organizing them on the app’s dashboard. Users can create tasks and assign projects with a few simple clicks. The app also allows managers to ask for follow-ups and track progress with a single click. The simple and intuitive UI makes the app simple to use without compromising on any of the essential functionalities.
For good reason, Zoom has quickly become the go-to tool for video conferencing and online meetings. It's simple to use, with great video, screen sharing, and the ability to record meetings. Zoom also helps schedule and organize meetings by integrating Google Calendar. Teams can have meetings and sessions that can substitute the traditional conference room meetups in the new normal.
The Trello team describes their product as “a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.” Trello uses a solitaire-like interface that helps in monitoring projects and assigning tasks across teams. Trello was primarily designed to be used on desktop computers and not to anyone’s surprise it works better on the same. Trello also doesn’t have a dedicated in-app chat platform that limits the collaborative ability of the teams.
Slack is a business communications platform that offers a wide range of features and services to its users. Slack has got features like instant messaging, multiple channels for different teams, video conferences, and much more. What stands out for Slack is the hundreds of bots it offers for third-party tools that can help in team management and auto moderations of channels. It also offers integration to most of the widely used apps and services. Although Slack performs as a very efficient business communications platform, the complexity of the UI and lack of structured work management features limit its utility as a team collaborative tool.
Microsoft Teams, which was previously only available to organizations with a subscription to Office 365, has now released an option for small enterprises. It provides some novel features, like an inline translation of messages and the option to record meetings and generate automatic transcriptions. It also offers integration with other widely used MS services like OneDrive and Office 365 services. Microsoft Teams, with its messaging and video conferencing features, is an effective tool for team communication, but a certain insufficiency of structured collaboration can be felt while using it.
Twist, created by the same people that brought us Todoist, makes it simple to group, sort, and follow threaded conversations. Their layout is simple to use, but discussion threads and the inbox require some practice. Twist however does not offer audio or video conferencing, but it does offer Wherein Integration to compensate for the lost features.
Discord dubs itself as an “all-in-one voice and text chat for gamers”, but the features it offers can come in handy for collaborating teams as well. Discord brings a new means of real-time collaboration, in addition to the standard private messages and group chats, and voice channels, which are like an always-on radio channel for communicating with your team. Voice channels, which are popular among gamers, can also be a way to interact remotely on shared documents and projects. But since the app wasn’t meant to be used for collaboration, the features don’t align themselves to be an effective collaboration tool.
Team members may use Flock to send messages, share files, host video conferences, manage to-do lists, and schedule events all from one simple interface. Flock interfaces with major business tools such as tools provided by Google and Microsoft, allowing team members to keep on top of things without having to switch between a dozen separate apps.