It’s no secret that today’s workforce is on the move; by 2015, it’s projected that the global mobile workforce will number 1.3 billion. Truly collaborating while mobile, however, can be tricky without the proper tools. Luckily, there a number of slick options for staying truly socially connected around the globe, whether you want to collaborate on a document from your tablet or meet on video from your smartphone.
There are a lot of available options for file and document sharing out there, from Dropbox to box.net to good old fashioned email, but Google Drive made my list because for two reasons. One, it includes powerful, real-time collaboration options on documents and spreadsheets. Multiple users can work on a document simultaneously, with comment threads and change tracking in-line or via email. This can be a powerful way to recreate the experience of a team rolling up their sleeves together on a project, even if the team members are scattered around the globe. And two, Drive integrates seamlessly with other Google products; you can share files through Drive directly in Gmail and Google+, making it practically effortless to keep your team up to date.
One of my favorite new tools is Producteev, a task management platform recently acquired by Jive Software. Producteev has all of the hallmarks of a powerful project management tool: easy task management and scheduling, separate workspaces to manage different projects and teams, exportable task lists, email reminders for upcoming deadlines, you name it. The social collaboration aspects, however, are where Producteev can really shine. Any team member can comment on any task and by adding an “@” symbol, you can bring other team members into the conversation. Team leaders can delegate tasks and track the progress of team members. You can even crowdsource your problem by instantly sharing tasks through social media to ask the world for help!
Mobile Web and Video Conferencing
One of the biggest drawbacks to mobility is that lack of connection to a team and the loss of the experience of meeting in person and really getting to know your colleagues, both personally and professionally. Dialing into an audio conference, while useful, still lacks certain basic features, such as seeing who all is on the call, knowing who is talking and actually being able to see anyone.
Luckily, web and video conferencing have gone mobile as well, thanks to solutions like iMeet and GlobalMeet, both of which have apps for iPhone, iPad and Blackberry. These apps give you the opportunity to interact with your team on a deeper level, viewing shared documents, shared screens, chats, notes, webcam feeds or simply being able to tell who is talking when. These features help combat the feeling of isolation that remote workers can suffer from and help to build rapport even amongst geographically disparate team members.
One of the most profound effects of the global technological revolution is the shrinking of our planet. Information is shared around the globe in an instant and social media and social collaboration tools help people who may have never even met without these technologies work side-by-side on a daily basis. Equipped with the proper tools, your mobile workforce will collaborate just as productively as if they were sitting next to one another.
To learn more about social collaboration, download PGi’s latest eBook today featuring a chapter contributed by WorkSnug!