Douglas Marketing Group

Collaborative Tools

     Team collaboration is considered a cornerstone of success for all businesses. One study even showed that 86% of employees in leadership positions blame lack of collaboration as the top reason for workplace failures. Collaboration not only increases trust between all levels of employees but also promotes a more engaged environment. So, how can you manage your team, make sure everyone is on the same page and still juggle all the other moving parts of each project?

Enter, collaboration tools. The only way to stay on the same page even if you’re kilometers apart. Optimize project timelines, communicate, streamline workflow, track budgets, assign tasks, and stay organized with the right tools. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list to help you start maximizing your teams’ efficiency:

1. Project Management:

This tool is probably the most effective of them all. Airtable is a cloud-based program that allows you to create tables, forms, calendars and so much more all in convenient folders called “bases.”

All teams have a diverse list of needs so being able to customize what information is displayed is crucial. On Airtable, you’re able to input all the information you need in a table, and from there you can customize the “views” (calendar, form, grid, etc.). By adding more views, you can also choose to hide certain sections that may not be relevant at the time, this allows you to see what important front-and-centre rather than sorting through numerous files or columns in a sheet.

Through Airtable you can also assign tasks easily, so all team members stay on the same page and knows exactly what their responsibilities are.

2. Communication:

Email fatigue is a real thing and that’s because we’re faced with a daunting inbox every day. A simple solution is to provide team members with a straightforward way to communicate the small, one-off questions outside of their email inbox. This also allows the email worthy information and most importantly, emails from clients to not get lost.

Screen-sharing, quick calls, displayed availability allows for seamless communication. This is vital for communication between colleagues and clients. We’ve found that Teams has been the most effective tool for this.

3. Document Editing:

Not only should your team be on the same page figuratively, but they should literally be on the same page. Cloud-based programs have been a vital addition to the collaborative work world, especially when working remote. Teammates can edit, write, proofread, and leave comments all in one place allowing for enhanced organization between projects. We love Microsoft Apps (Word, Excel, etc.) to keep us aligned as it also seamlessly pairs with teams and can be used either online through Office365 or desktop apps.

4. Time Tracking & Invoicing:

The only way to effectively gauge how much a project truly costs it to time track based on the project. Through this, you’re also able to track the length of time each piece of a project takes and organize your team and their daily tasks more efficiently.

For time tracking we love Harvest as it allows for team members to add their own hours on specific pieces of a project for specific clients. Another feature that we love from Harvest is the ability to send invoices, estimates, and receive automated status updates. Whether it has been opened by the client, declined, approved, or even when it hasn’t been opened for a while, you know exactly where each document is in the approval process.

5. Scheduling:

Achieving a month’s worth of work in a few short hours is not only satisfying but it also frees up unnecessary mundane tasks from your day. Finding a scheduling program that allows you to collaborate, schedule and approve content is vital to the overall organization of your team. Plannable allows us to work together, pick up where we left off, and is very straightforward to use. With Plannable our team is able finish scheduling tasks more efficiently than ever before.

6. Content Creation:

One of our biggest hurdles as a team was being able to hand off a creative project seamlessly. Waiting on large files to format and send, or even worse; losing a file, takes up precious time leading up to project deadlines. Being able to move in tandem with our entire creative team has been invaluable to our company. Having a collaborative workspace allows for the team to work from anywhere, see changes their collogues have made, pick up exactly where the last person left off or with the large workspace available, team members can work at the same time on separate pieces of the project. That’s why Adobe XD is our software of choice to work together on creative projects.