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Tech Tools To Collaborate With Remote Teams

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Today we are featuring a guest blogger from our industry- this post caught my attention.

After being part of several Zoom meetings - remote access turns out not to be my favorite way to communicate. I doubt I am alone. PPAI Blogger, Audrey Sellers, for Promotional Consultant Today shared this blog.

"Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."

- John Wooden

In the past few weeks, many businesses have shifted to working remotely in response to mandatory stay-at-home orders. Some organizations may not have had time to prepare their employees to effectively work from home. If you find yourself suddenly working remotely and you didn't have time to plan, read on.

Arif Noori, founder of the State of the Planet blog, has researched several tools that can help your team continue to run smoothly, despite an abrupt move to a remote location. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Noori's recommended tech tools that make it easy to collaborate with remote teams.

Google Drive: Your team members can use up to 15GB of free space via Google Drive. Noori says that to enable backups to Google Drive, you must download Backup and Sync.

Promotional Partners is using this tool to track your orders and share them with the team.

Dropbox Basic: You can get up to 2 GB of free space. Be sure to download the desktop app to enable automatic backups. Promotional Partners is using this to gather videos from suppliers for our virtual showcase.

Microsoft OneDrive: With this tool, your team members can use up to 5GB of free space.

Slack: Through Slack, you can create several different channels and organize your conversations by topics or teams. Noori notes that Slack offers up to 5GB of free storage in the total workspace. He says this should be fine if you just use text. However, if your team shares many files, you'll probably reach the limit relatively quickly. To optimize storage space, Noori recommends connecting Slack to the file storage services listed above. Slack integrates with all three.

Facebook Workplace: If you use Facebook, you'll already be familiar with the interface. Noori says that Workplace is a separate platform, which means it's not tied to your Facebook account in any way. Workplace features a standalone app just for a chat, so you can have it running the background similar to Slack. Workplace also offers integration with third-party tools, just like Slack.

What's App: If you're not familiar with this popular group-messaging tool, it's a mobile app that's connected to a phone number and has no storage limits. You can also get the desktop app and leave it running on your computer or sync it with your mobile device, notes Noori.

Google Hangouts Meet: If you're using Google Drive under the G-Suite umbrella, then you have access to Google Hangouts Meet. And because of the impact of COVID-19, Google is offering free access (until July 1, 2020) to the advanced features of Hangouts Meet, such as hosting video meetings with up to 250 participants, live streaming with up to 100,000 viewers, as well as recording and saving meetings to Google Drive, says Noori.

Zoom: One of the more popular video conferencing tools, Zoom is also one of the most intuitive and easiest to use. Because of its popularity and with organizations working remotely, there may be a strain on Zoom's servers, so it's good to have a backup plan with Google and Microsoft within your organization, recommends Noori. Under the free tier, you have access to run video meetings for up to 40 minutes with up to 100 participants. Yep. Olivia's been in several of those meetings for the Chamber of Commerce networking events and board meetings!

If your company has mandated remote work, try using the tech tools above to help your team connect, collaborate, and stay organized.

What forms of communication are you using to stay connected? Since there are only a few of us- we've been using Facetime on our phones. Is your home office set up for work? Do you need some ways to engage the kids in learning from home? Check out some selections here we can drop ship to your team to make your virtual meetings more productive.

Source: Arif Noori is the founder of the State of the Planet blog. He is also the associate director of web communications for The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

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