Collaboration is the backbone of all successful businesses, with the practice worth a whopping $46 billion a year for the Australian economy. By leveraging cohesive, unified teams, companies have seen striking boosts in productivity, employee morale, product quality, and innovation. They’ve also been five times more likely to see an increase in employment, are twice as likely to profit, and are twice as likely to outgrow their competitors.
With such indisputable benefits, managers are constantly seeking new ways to improve their business’ current collaboration strategies. Fortunately, they now have the help of numerous apps and automated software – five of which we delve into, below.
A leading choice among today’s most popular collaborative tools, Asana is a work management platform that allows teams to flexibly manage projects, campaigns, and day-to-day workflows. Through a simple, drag-and-drop interface, individuals can easily create new tasks or to-do lists for ongoing assignments; with options to assign deadlines, priority levels, and specific team members for each action item.
Users can view these tasks as detailed lists, visual boards, or through project timelines and calendars. Clients, external teams, or other third parties can also easily submit work requests through the app’s “Forms” feature – a tool that instantly routes and organises these onto the platform for better tracking and prioritisation.
Asana is currently available on both the Apple Store and Google Play, and offers four different software packages: their “basic” version, available for free; a premium version for $14.99 AUD a month, a “business” version for $33.99 AUD a month, and an “enterprise” version (price quote available upon request).
Now hosting over 12 million daily active users, Slack has become a business go-to for simplified collaboration and team communication. Best known as an easy-to-use direct messaging platform, team members can easily keep in constant contact with one another through “channels” – message threads dedicated to a specific topic or project. Here, users are free to start text-based conversations, host group audio or video calls, or share project files and media.
The app is also compatible with other collaboration services such as Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive, allowing for flexible file and project coordination. Additionally, its “Slack Connect” feature allows two companies to easily form partnerships through a streamlined communication platform.
Slack is compatible for both Mac and Windows users, with a generous free version available. However, users can also invest in a standard package for small to medium businesses (at $6.67 USD a month), a “plus” package for larger businesses (at $12.50 USD a month), and an “enterprise grid” package (pricing available upon request).
When it comes to writing, editing, or sharing documents, Google Docs stands out as one of the best platforms for coordinating these tasks among work teams. With a similar interface to Microsoft Word (and most other word processing programs), employees can intuitively collaborate on text-based assignments in real-time; with options to edit, send, or create new documents altogether.
Other tools include automatic formatting for citations, implementing built-in translators (courtesy of Google Translate), and the ability to view a document’s entire edit history (with details including the exact time, date, where the edit was made, and by who). To ensure the safety and integrity of these files, the platform’s security features allow users to implement two-step authentication for accessing specific files and folders.
The best part is, Google Docs is completely free on both the Apple and Google Play store. However, businesses in need of more advanced, sophisticated workflow management may want to consider a Google Workspace subscription – offering more extensive collaboration packages (starting at $8.40 AUD a month) that include Google Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, and Sheets, among plenty others.
Businesses working in a Microsoft-centric environment are sure to improve communications, productivity, and project management through Microsoft Teams.
The platform is primarily an app for instant messaging, with options to create group or one-on-one discussion threads. As with Slack, users can easily share image files, documents, and other media; with options for rich text editing and tagging others to call their attention. Users can additionally record voice messages and hop onto video calls for important meetings.
On top of communications, however – teams are also provided with an intuitive platform for seamless collaboration. True to its name, users can create “teams” within the app; in which conversation channels, project files, and other Microsoft-related applications (i.e. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are assigned and organised. Team members can also update a shared calendar and automate routine tasks to keep on top of ongoing projects and assignments.
Microsoft Teams is available on both the Google Play and Apple store – completely for free.
Finally, those looking for a mobile-friendly project management app may find Podio to be an ideal collaboration tool. It offers all the components business needs to enhance team workflows – including task management, communication, scheduling, and data tracking features.
Set up as a customisable hub for team projects and communications, users are firstly required to sign up to the platform. After creating an account, they then select the apps they need from the Apps Market, or alternatively build their own. This allows them to form a collaborative environment tailored specifically to their team or business needs (teams focused on human resource projects, for example, can select the apps specifically built for HR and recruitment activities).
The interface is as simple as dragging and dropping the elements to create or customise apps, making Podio a popular, easy tool for streamlining workflows and on-the-go task management.
Podio is available on both the Apple Store and the Google Play store, and offers a free plan for up to five employees. Users can also opt for their basic plan (at $7.20 USD a month), their plus plan (at $11.20 USD a month), and their premium – and most popular – plan (at $19.20 USD a month).
Levelling up your management game?
For that extra boost of team productivity, collaboration apps are valuable tools – but they only achieve so much. To truly keep employees engaged, motivated, and focused on their goals, the right leadership and management skills are key.
Upskilled currently offers a wide range of management courses to take your business strategies up a notch. From short courses to graduate diplomas, we offer a comprehensive training (and qualifications) required to lead teams to success.
Best of all, all courses are delivered online, helping you build your skills according to your personal needs and schedule.
Keep your workers on top of their game, and enquire with us on a course today.