These days, it’s not uncommon for huge, brand-name companies to be wholly dispersed. Companies like Upworthy, Mozilla, WordPress, GitHub, and others have embraced remote working, having much—if not all—of their teams work from the comforts of their own homes.
In addition to giving employees the freedom to (for the most part) work when and where they want to, remote working configurations also result in significant cost savings. Believe it or not, recent research indicates that the average startup company forks over more than $6,000 each month to rent office space.
Do you think your business would be better off with an extra $72,000 in its purse at the end of the year?
The good news is that, thanks to a variety of new apps on the market, your team will be properly positioned to thrive—even if that means you’re not in the same room as one another that often. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five tools you can use to ensure your distributed team is always on the same page. Suddenly, your small startup will look a whole lot bigger.
First things first: Just because your team is dispersed doesn’t mean you have to forego the benefits associated with real-time communication. By using an app like Slack—a web-based collaboration app that recently received a $2.8 billion valuation—your team is always able to make sure it’s on the same page, no matter where employees have to be physically.
Slack gives users the ability to centralize all of their communications and files. Conversations can be grouped by channel for organization’s sake, and users can then easily search those channels to find the information they’re looking for. Slack boasts over 80 integrations, which means teams are able to keep using the apps they already depend on—all in the same place.
Have you ever had a job where you had to, say, log on to Twitter to post something and then do the same on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ (or some variation thereof)? If so, it’s probably in your best interest to stop what you’re doing and take a look at Zapier, an app which, quite simply, streamlines your workflow.
Here’s how it works: You can create “trigger” events which result in “actions.” To continue the above example, you can configure Zapier so that every time you post something on Twitter, it’s automatically posted on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Zapier, which boasts integrations of over 400 apps, allows you to reclaim time that would otherwise be spent repeating actions. Say goodbye to tedious tasks, and say hello to productivity.
Sometimes, communications tools like Slack just won’t cut it. As such, you’ll need to make use of a project management and collaboration platform when your team needs to tackle bigger projects.
Easy to use and powerful, Trello is a web-based collaboration platform that allows your programmers, copywriters, marketers, graphic designers, and project managers to collaborate with ease from anywhere they happen to be. You create “cards” that can be customized with labels to let all other team members know who’s working on what, and when.
Thanks to the tool’s notification system, you’ll be emailed whenever anyone mentions you on a card or makes changes to a card you’re already assigned to. That way, you can rest comfortably knowing that you won’t miss mission-critical communications. In many ways, Trello makes it easier to collaborate than it would be if six team members were sitting around the same table.
Have any developers on your remote team? If so, you have to start using Cloud9.
Simply put, Cloud9 is a cloud-based development platform that gives coders the flexibility necessary to produce their best work. Programmers are able to code from any connected device, using Cloud9 just as they’d use any other Unbuntu workspace.
Because it’s cloud-based Cloud9 makes it easy to coders who are working together on a project to collaborate. Each can see the other’s additions and revisions in real time on the platform. At the end of the day, Cloud9 provides your startup with the cost savings and agility necessary to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive business world.
Ever have a file on your computer or phone that you wanted to seamlessly switch to the other device? Well, you can do just that with Pushbullet.
Pushbullet allows you to link your phone (or tablet) with your computer. One that’s done, you’ll be able to see your phone’s notifications right on your computer screen. Similarly, you’ll be able to send files from your computer to your phone with a simple click of a button.
Remote teams need to be as productive as possible. Pushbullet is the kind of tool that helps you reclaim a minute here and a minute there. Over time, that most definitely adds up.
While these five apps are by no means an exhaustive list of the apps that are transformative to small teams, they should get you started in the right direction at the very least. By making use of applications that help automate processes and streamline workflow, your small team will appear to be a whole lot bigger.