These 12 apps are effective tools for keeping in touch with your team while you're out.
There are times when vacations are a necessity, but you may feel compelled to be there for your team and find it hard to get away. You can still stay connected with them even when you are out of the office using mobile apps specifically designed for this purpose.
These apps allow for mobile interaction and help everyone stay on top of their tasks. This gives you the opportunity to check in on your team while enjoying your time away. You’ll be able to manage your business from afar and still get that much-needed break.
We asked 12 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) to weigh in on their favorite mobile apps for staying connected to their teams when they are out of office.
"Our main office closes from December 19 to January 3 every year for the holiday season. However, we all still need to stay in contact with one another so we like to use Asana. It's a great way to track project workflow and communicate with the team according to project or client." – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC
"We run an entirely remote team, so we need to stay in touch with everyone in the 27 countries in which we have people. Between email, Basecamp and our own app, TimeDoctor, we can stay in touch with everyone whether we're on vacation or not. We issue tasks and leave comments in Basecamp and then those tickets are automatically pushed to our app, where we track how long they take." – Liam Martin, Staff.com
3. Boomerang for Gmail
"Honestly, being too available during vacations is an ongoing problem for me. Boomerang's ability to schedule emails to go out at a later date lets me stay in the loop without getting involved in day-to-day operations when I'm supposed to be out of the office. With Boomerang, I'll write responses but schedule most of them to go out the afternoon before I return." – Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide
4. Confluence App
"We use an active Confluence wiki to keep everyone on the same page, and it now has an app. The app allows you to see updates and make comments if anything needs attention. Additionally, if there are changes made in the wiki, everyone gets automatically notified, because Confluence sends out an email for wiki edits to the relevant parties." – Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
"You need to trust your team enough to run things while you are away. Trust is important, but if there is something critical that comes up, then I'll be available by email. Keeping a constant watch on the team signifies that you don't truly trust them, which can affect morale. Also, don't forget that the quality of your vacation time is important, too." – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
6. Google Voice and Gmail
"I like to keep communication simple when I am out of town. I am more likely to have access to Wi-Fi than phone service when I'm on vacation, so Gmail and Google Voice are my go-to communication tools to check in with clients and contractors when on holiday." – Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide
7. Skype and WhatsApp
"When I travel, I use a combination of Skype and WhatsApp. I only keep important team members on WhatsApp so they can message me in case of [an] emergency. All my other contacts remain on Skype, and I use it when I need to follow up with them. This helps ensure that while on vacation, I'm contacted only if there's an emergency." – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
"For keeping an eye on what's going on at the office, there's simply nothing better than Slack. I use it on trips to quickly skim developments in each channel as well as reach out to individuals when needed. The ability to snooze notifications is great, because it gives both peace and confidence knowing that the team can override it in an emergency." – Jeff Jahn, DynamiX
"We use Trello every day, and it has an excellent app (that's constantly being updated). It's very useful when traveling or away from the office. Trello sorts all your work into individual 'boards' and then each task is split into 'cards' within those boards, which makes organization a cinch. I just returned from being away for three weeks, during which I almost exclusively used Trello." – Alex Miller, Upgraded Points
"WeChat is the most dependable mobile app for international communication between mainland China and the U.S. Other apps like Slack, Hangouts, Facebook and WhatsApp will become very flaky on the other side of the Great Firewall. WeChat is a highly intuitive, full-featured app, and I recommend it even if you don't have any Chinese business partners you need to speak to." – Kevin Tao, NeuEve
"I use Microsoft Yammer. It lets you stay in contact with your team, offers collaboration features when necessary, and you can send out brief updates or post quick questions. It comes with push notifications and a photo-posting feature." – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
"I like to check in on the team via Zoom calls during our weekly meetings. While on vacation, I have someone else host the meetings and only Zoom someone if it can't wait until I'm back. But those are very rare occasions as the team does a good job while I'm away." – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster