So many employers still do not see that the modern experience of employees requires more autonomy and flexibility than presence. Not surprisingly, since the pandemic struck, technologists have been working hard to build tools for collaboration to support a distributed hybrid work future.
Here’s a look at some of the virtual collaboration tools available to companies.
Why these tools are important
Each study shows that workers are more likely to find new jobs than to return to the bad old days of presence-based micro-management. Arguments that returning to work encourages collaboration may carry some weight, but much of it relies on old-fashioned email and virtual meetings held by the office rather than the home.
Even at Apple, about 76% of employees they are not happy to be sent back to work. A recent study by the Future Forum found that the results of employees’ experiences have generally declined as workers are forced to return.
As Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said“There’s no point in hiring smart people and then telling them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. ”
What makes returns harder to swallow is that so many managers haven’t even started using easily accessible project or task management tools to help them optimize team management in this era of remote work. A recent study found almost 60% of project management professionals now rely on meetings as a key tool for cooperation. But should these meetings be real or virtual? And to what extent can emerging families of remote collaboration and productivity solutions help managers feel better about their hard-working remote employees?
We still don’t know the answer to this, but some of the following tools can help us understand.
It is a browser-based virtual office environment that combines secure video conferencing, screen sharing, chat and file / document sharing with an indication of presence, so you always know who’s available in real time.
What is it good for: Working groups that want to maintain a certain presence while working remotely, but also need flexibility to maintain asynchronous work models and a flexible approach to time and goals.
Unique points: I like the virtual receptionists and the guest room features. They seem to provide a sense of occasion and space, even for remote meetings.
Additional features: Group messaging, private and open channels, corporate brand support, conference rooms, and the ability to lock yourself in a room when you need to focus or participate in a private virtual meeting.
price: $ 13 per user, per month for the first 50 users (price drops slightly thereafter). A free trial is available.
This decision seems a little more ambitious than some. The company develops tools for meetings, feedback, goal management and more, as it seeks to fill the gap in managing people of distributed asynchronous teams. You will find support for one-on-one meetings, continuous feedback and project management in one place. WorkPatterns does not aim to be an office, but to be an interactive and shared environment in which goals can be negotiated and progress monitored.
What is it good for: This looks great for managers who want to gain oversight of their teams; it also seems like a handy addition for team members who can get an idea of how they contribute to common goals. This seems especially important for remote and hybrid workflows.
Unique points: Reporting tools look particularly strong, while collaboration and document sharing tools are promising.
Additional features: This integrates with the great and good of performance: Google, Microsoft Teams, Office, Salesforce, Zoom, Slack, Skype and more.
price: Free for up to five users, $ 8 per user per month for up to 25 users.
This option virtualizes presence and is best understood as a virtual office space that tries to work similar to real space. This means that you can see who is “in” the office at any time and hear everyone who works near you in this virtual space. Do you want to talk to someone? Just move your avatar to where they are and start a conversation. Teamflow is an application and is currently available for Mac and Windows. IOS and Android are currently in beta.
What is it good for: A good tool for remote companies that do not necessarily rely too much on distributed teams working asynchronously. This is a very virtual office space.
Unique points: I like the clever use of video and audio. To be heard (or heard), you need to move your avatar close to the other. Support for document sharing and collaboration, meeting rooms and whiteboards also makes this a good environment for collaboration.
Additional features: Support for spatial audio, planning and chat tools and integration with key collaboration applications, including Slack, Office, Trello, Google Docs and more. You can also customize your own virtual office environment.
price: Free for up to five users, $ 15 per user per month for larger groups.
Moxo is built as a customer interaction solution that also integrates some team collaboration features. The great thing about it is that the service is designed to help provide treatment with white gloves in the process of engaging the client – it’s collecting documents, filling out forms, meeting rooms and task management.
What is it good for: With a clean user interface, Moxo provides a professional user experience to help strengthen your brand.
Unique points: Available online and as an application, Moxo supports your customer-centric activities with documentation, to-do lists and a variety of tools designed to streamline business processes. You also get access to software development kits (SDKs) so you can embed this experience in your own customer-centric applications, allowing businesses to provide an impressive customer support experience.
Additional features: In this solution you will find content sharing, digital signatures, collaboration with documents and useful functions for team management and supervision.
price: From $ 120 per month for up to 10 users.
Already relatively well used, Miro is less for creating virtual space, as it focuses on optimizing and maintaining collaboration with whiteboards, video conferencing, shared workspaces, and support for asynchronous teams. It is not about recreating a virtual office, but instead provides tools for starting a collaborative business.
What is it good for: A smooth environment that wraps an attractive digital mantle around your existing applications and workflow models. It helps to create a space for collaboration that does not interfere with your personal space. This should fit very well with any organization that has come to terms with goal-based rather than presence-based governance.
Unique points: Miro seems to have put a lot of thought into his software, including developing training materials to help managers and staff optimize collaboration in the hybrid workspace.
Additional features: Integrated permanent workspaces and integration with key tools, including most brands of interactive displays, mobile devices and video conferencing applications. All are presented in a clean user interface.
price: Free for an unlimited number of users, but with limited features growing up to $ 16 per member per month for the business package, which includes SSO, Okta support and smart meeting tools. Only corporate accounts offer some of the most exciting features.
A powerful solution, Asana misses the virtual environment in favor of providing tools to help teams stay focused, understand the importance of their work and help them get things done. Partial project management, partial process management, part reporting and workflow management, Asana integrates with key collaboration applications.
What is it good for: This is an elegant package that puts everything in one place. However, I have included it in this review mainly as an illustration of how integrated project management environments can increase remote work practices.
Unique points: While Asana is much more a tool for project management than helping people and collaboration, it helps illustrate how digital technology fills the gap between presence-based and remote collaboration and team management.
Additional features: There are so many here. Built-in Gantt charting, useful process automations, workflow / workload management tools and goal setting. It is weak in terms of video support, but provides many tools for messages and comments in the application.
price: You can use it for free to get used to it, but if you want more sophisticated features, expect to pay around $ 15 / user / month.
I recently discussed the magic of Flow Club, which could be a tool to help digital nomads stay on top of their game. While researching this piece, I came across a handful of other solutions that deserve attention, including:
If you have encountered such services, please let me know. Then think about how AR will be useful in the new remote working age.
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