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 truly 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 has led to many businesses rapidly needing to readjust their way of working.

We have a global network of clients and suppliers so are familiar with online collaborative working and to make this a success make sure 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 of time.

Skype or Hangouts or Teams or Zoom or…

These are all much of a muchness in terms of their video chat capability. We tend to 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 invite to our new friend 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 worrying you’re exposing data. Google’s user interface is always intuitive and simple. A lot of our business benefits from the awesome Google tools.


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


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


In terms of Instant Messaging tools, they don’t come much better than this. We have the Whatsapp application on our mobiles and desktops so that we can seamlessly access our contacts list. 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 all around the world.

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 that we are working on, as well as sharing and linking to any project related assets, all in one central location. Slack is a great option for those who don’t want a cluttered inbox and like to pass information quickly around the team.


These are just a selection of tools we use. 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.