Online collaborative working

At MCD we are digital evangelists, so naturally, we want people to adopt digital approaches to working. One of the challenges we see our clients facing is an ability to honestly and seamlessly run their businesses the same anywhere – from the office, home or another remote location. Recent measures taken to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus have led to many businesses rapidly needing to readjust their way of working.

We have a global network of clients and suppliers, so we are familiar with online collaborative work to make this a success and ensure we use the right tools to keep everything flowing. We’ve made mistakes along the way and chosen the wrong tools, so we want to save you guys the hassle and share a few of the ones that have stood the test.

Skype or Hangouts or Teams or Zoom or…

These are all much of a muchness regarding their video chat capability. We use Skype as an instant messaging tool and video calling tool in one, but for any arranged meetings, we tend to use Hangouts and send a diary to invite our new friends with a hangout link. We find video chatting a great way to communicate with one another. When we can’t physically meet, it’s the next best thing.

As an aside we think there needs to be an easy generic term for video conferencing/calling – a ‘vall’ doesn’t sound like it’ll catch on but you get the idea. vidycall? vidcon?…something like that.

G Suite (drive, sheets, docs, emails)

We love Google’s G Suite, and we use drive, sheets, docs and email a lot. We’ve used most of the competitor options on the market and Google’s is by far the cleanest and lightest in terms of a no-nonsense approach to opening up a browser and accessing everything you need in a few clicks. Security is balanced, so you’re not having to faff with 2-factor authentication all the time but not worry you’re exposing data. Google’s user interface is always intuitive and simple. A lot of our business benefits from the excellent Google tools.

Smartsheet

We love Microsoft Excel, but we love Smartsheet more. I’ll be shocked if the developer who created this isn’t an Excel guru. Smartsheet seems to take all of the best bits from Excel and Project and put them into an excellent web application with collaborative solid options that make setting up spreadsheets and project plans a breeze.

Asana

Asana is a really lovely project management tool we’ve been using for a few years in MCD. We’re always impressed with its ease of use and our ability to keep control and manage our agile projects collaboratively. It uses various viewing styles and boards for your project collaborators, who are notified of developments within the project and can access status updates and respond with ease.

Whatsapp

In terms of Instant Messaging tools, they don’t come much better than this. We use the Whatsapp application on our mobiles and desktops to access our contacts list seamlessly. We use it regularly to keep in touch with clients and suppliers, and we find it a great way to coordinate a remote project where teams can be based worldwide.

Email or slack

We use email for more formal communications, such as sharing important information or for marketing purposes. Slack allows us to discuss things informally; we share information on project streams we are working on and share and link to any project-related assets, all in one central location. Slack is an excellent option for those who don’t want a cluttered inbox and like to pass information quickly around the team.

Finally…

These are just a selection of tools we use. We are a Digital Agency in Teesside, If you need help navigating the stormy seas of online collaborative working, or if you need help setting up your business to operate more seamlessly online and away from the office, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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