The modern workplace is increasingly supporting remote work, flexible schedules, and coworking. As this trend continues to evolve, the need for efficient collaboration tools becomes more and more pronounced. While there are countless options to choose from, a tool is only useful if it is used by your team. We explored a variety of collaboration tools searching for functionality, and most importantly, ease-of-use. Below is an overview of our top three choices:
Slack popularized the concept of simplified team communication, moving it out of complicated email threads and into an organized interface. Teams are organized within Slack via “channels”, and each channel has its own messaging, tools, and files.
Much like Twitter, Slack utilizes the hashtag (#) to organize channels and topics, and the @ sign to identify users. This is a handy feature when you need to call attention to specific team members as an alert is created for the user who is mentioned. Slack also uses this method of organization to allow you to filter your view of information.
Users can join and leave channels as needed, making it easy to view only the information that is relevant to you. You can also keep track of personal to-do lists and other information by creating a private channel, which makes the tool extra versatile.
Highlights of Slack:
- Organize communications by channel, thread, and direct messaging
- Drag and drop file sharing
- Searchable content
- Integrates with many other popular tools
- Collaborate with teams and clients in the same platform
monday.com is a project management tool that is best known for its visual, user-friendly interface. Projects are organized using boards; within which you can create timelines, set goals, assign and manage tasks, communicate with team members, etc.
The visual organization of projects allows for other team members/department to quickly see the status of ongoing projects. Tasks are organized by color and you can easily determine the status based on whether it is green (complete), yellow (in progress), or red (stuck).
The ability to add comments across the boards and to receive real-time alerts helps move projects forward and ensures that information is up-to-date. You can also invite clients to view projects as a guest, which keeps them in the loop on what you are working on for them and helps reduce the number of phone calls and emails concerning status updates.
Highlights of monday.com:
- Rich visual interface
- Ability to share project progress with clients in real-time
- Integrated time-management tools
- Customization features
Airtable defines itself as “part spreadsheet, part database, and entirely flexible.” It combines the powerful functionality of Excel with the ease of use of other visual collaboration tools (such as Trello). One of the most notable features is the ability to choose between five different views: grid, calendar, Kanban, gallery, and form.
Airtable can be used by teams as a customer-relationship management tool (CRM), a task manager, project planner, and inventory tracker. You can link and create relationships between tables of information in a visually appealing way (such as pop-up boxes) that allows you to view the linked data without leaving the table you are viewing.
One of the most useful aspects of Airtable is the wide variety of templates available (several hundred). These templates are easily customized to suit your team’s needs. The tool also recently introduced a new feature, Blocks, that provides a way to create custom apps without the need to have any coding experience.
Highlights of Airtable:
- Integration of database and spreadsheet functionality
- Use of a simplified visual interface to view complex data
- Discussion boards, chat/messaging, group calendars, and task management for teams
- Five different views to choose from