There was a time when people had to be physically in the same room or at least the same building if they wanted to work together. That’s not true anymore, however. Just about everyone these days has a PC or a mobile device so that everyone has the means to be productive. To collaborate, there are also online collaboration tools which everyone on your team can use together.
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So how do you use these collaboration tools to help boost your business productivity?
There are a myriad of ways to make use of these tools, and here are just a few examples:
• Brainstorming. It’s a well-known fact that creative people can come up with truly innovative ideas when they brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other. Some online collaboration tools function as virtual whiteboards where anyone on the team can post their ideas.
• Project assignation. You can help keep everyone on the same page by making sure that each one knows what everyone’s supposed to do. Here’s no confusion as to who has which assignment.
• Scheduling. These tools can also help make sure that everyone knows the schedule of each team member. This is crucial for time-sensitive collaborations where the right timing is imperative. You may even know just how far along a team member is in their task, so you can anticipate when they will finish the particular nit of work.
• Document sharing. This is not just a means of sharing documents. You can use email or even fax machines for that! But with these new tools, you can make edits, comments and corrections. You can even do these things in real time.
• Social networking. Some the tools available for businesses function as Facebook for companies. You chat, post documents, or even like someone’s status. It’s like a nice friendly online gathering for colleagues.
• Feedback. If it’s constructive criticism you want, some tools can give that to you. If you’re a designer, for example, you don’t need to finish a design before you can have colleagues or even clients share their thoughts about your work. Now you can make your designs and people can criticize your work in real time, as if they’re right behind your shoulder. You better make sure you have the right people giving you feedback, because the throng of disapproving comments may be quite discouraging.
• Share ideas. Some tools work like a chat room, and they even have actual audio available. With these tools, you write, draw, or speak your thoughts.
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Many of these online collaborative tools are actually free to use or try. Although they may have some limitations, you can try some of them and see which ones fit your needs.