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November 7, 2022

Collaboration Apps: How to Improve Employee Collaboration at a Low Cost

Working side by side, but from the distance of screens. This is what collaboration applications or apps allow, which have become popular with the pandemic. In times that call for greater work flexibility and work-life balance, apps for teamwork and remote work improve productivity and employee satisfaction. At the same time, when companies are looking to optimize traditional workspaces, it can be a way to save operating costs without affecting the company’s products or services.

How to choose a collaboration app

Collaboration tools are very different, and in order to choose one of them, the objective must be taken into account:

  • Virtual work: Collaboration work apps are an environment in which documents can be created, edited, and saved jointly in the cloud, in real-time.
  • Communication: From video calls to team chats, they became very popular during the confinement of 2020. Today, they have led to a decrease in many face-to-face meetings, resulting in savings in travel expenses. This helps not only the company’s bottom line but also helps to reduce gas emissions into the environment.
  • Teamwork: Given the distance, there are web solutions with which to visualize the work of each person, as well as the tasks to be performed. These utilities can also be used to assign managers and check their status (started, in progress, stuck…).

There are collaboration tools that integrate solutions from both fields. For example, as we will see below, a working app can include a video calling utility.

Next, we will talk about some applications for collaborative work, team tasks, and collaborative projects. These apps can be found in mobile, web, or desktop format, which shows great versatility and possibility of access in very different circumstances.
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Collaboration Work Applications

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is one of the most famous collaborative work apps today. The interface is fully integrated with other Microsoft products such as Excel, Word, Power BI, or Outlook.

Thus, from this solution, employees communicate with each other through internal chats, video calls or channels, while working collaboratively on text documents or slide presentations. They can also hold a virtual meeting with members of the corporation or external parties, for which they also have a calendar in which they can schedule these proposals and other types of tasks. In fact, it is possible to join one of these video calls without having a Microsoft account: all you need is a web link to access.

Among the most innovative tools included in Teams are the Microsoft Loop components for synchronized and collaborative work: task lists, bullets, tables, etc. It is also possible to make video calls in which Excel spreadsheets are presented, which can be edited live by any of the members of the video call.

G-Suite

Google offers a similar solution: G-Suite. It integrates Gmail e-mail with the video call tool Google Meet, Calendar or the storage solution Google Drive.

Gmail is one of the most popular e-mail services in existence, thanks also to the popularization of phones running Android, Google’s mobile operating system. By opening an account, the user already has access to these tools, which means that many people may have already worked with it to upload, edit or share their personal files.
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Apps for Team Work: How To Successfully Manage Collaborative Projects

Sometimes, the teamwork app a company needs is a task management app. In it, the members of the project or department can be found; each of them is assigned a task, which the others can view in order to check its status (to do, in progress, finished…). On these virtual dashboards, the urgency or deadline for completion can also be clarified. With all these advantages, you get a very broad overview of the entire process of a project.

In short, it is to transfer to a virtual and collaborative environment the whiteboards of tasks, which were (and still are) filled in with posters and markers. These apps are also inspired by agile methodologies such as Scrum. Some of these apps are very reminiscent in their design: Trello’s dashboards have lists through which task information cards can be dragged as if they were sticky notes glued and peeled off.

Another tool that conveys this feeling of removable boards and cards is Monday: in both, you can assign people to tasks, as well as set deadlines or divide the task into smaller ones to mark its evolution over time.

On the other hand, within the collaborative suite of Microsoft 365, we have Planner, a team organizer in the style of Trello or Monday, with columns through which cards can be moved. Meanwhile, Asana has a similar operation.

picture about collaboration apps, team and tasks
Another app for collaborative projects is Slack, where projects are coordinated through work teams that allow text messages or calls. In addition, this tool can be integrated with others such as OneDrive and Google Drive to work with documents stored in it.

Collaborative Apps: How We Design Them at Plain Concepts

At Plain Concepts, we have worked on a wide variety of applications to facilitate collaborative work and team planning.

These applications go beyond the organization and development of projects. For example, we created an incident management app based on Planner, mentioned previously. This was integrated into Teams, which made it easy for employees to jump from one tool to another to discuss the issue and then create the note.

Another of our team management applications is Smart Occupancy, which since the end of the confinement, served companies preparing for employees’ return to the office in compliance with health safety measures. With Smart Occupancy, workspaces are reserved in full shifts or morning and afternoon shifts; and, using Artificial Intelligence, reports are created that make it possible to see the occupancy of rooms (and thus detect a large number of people that would clash with health risk prevention) or make changes to areas to make better use of them.

In a world where many employees must continue to operate together to carry out collaborative projects, but where teleworking and digitalization of processes are so appreciated, having collaborative tools simplifies the work and streamlines it without the need for an exorbitant expense. Count on us to help you achieve your goals.

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josé manuel blanco
Author
José Manuel Blanco
Content Specialist

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