No matter where they are located, work teams are becoming increasingly more connected. It’s simple now to partner with a co-worker on a project in Los Angeles while you’re in the New York office. Or your entire team can work remotely from the comfort of their own homes.
However, just because teams have the ability to be connected doesn’t mean they always are. Spoken conversations, project management and team bonding are important components of productivity that can become lost in a remote setting. Here are 10 mobile tools to keep everyone on your team in sync.
Mobile apps to help you stay connected to your team
Asana is a project management tool that allows teams to track their progress on projects and coordinate their workflow. Teams can generate a timeline, set strategic goals, and track each worker’s contribution to their projects. Asana can also generate reports to give managers insight into their team’s work and what actionable steps they can take in the future to increase productivity and yield better results.
The app offers different payment tiers for businesses of different sizes. Asana’s Basic package is a free version of the software perfect for small businesses. The Basic plan offers unlimited tasks, projects, messaging and more for teams of up to 15 people. Their Premium and Business options offer more robust features for more employees.
Many teams and employees struggle to stay organized, especially when they aren’t in the same office together. Basecamp organizes even the most complex workflows by keeping all related emails, files, task managers, spreadsheets, chats and meetings in one place. As a project management app, Basecamp allows users to segment a project into different sections and assign them to selected team members. Their six core tools are group chat, message boards, to-dos, scheduling, automated check-ins, and documents and files.
Basecamp offers a free version of the app for users to manage their solo business or personal projects. Their enterprise model is Basecamp Business and starts at $99 a month. Interested parties can download a free 30-day trial to try out the project management tool.
3. Boomerang for Gmail
One of the biggest impediments to connectivity is email. While it can be a useful tool for passing along information, often it slows down productivity and is a catalyst for miscommunication. Boomerang for Gmail changes that. Boomerang is a free extension for the email service that makes sending and managing emails easier. The app offers several key features that make emails controllable, including scheduled sending, follow-up reminders, AI-assisted writing and an inbox pause delaying emails from entering your inbox until you’re ready to receive them.
Sometimes inspiration hits you when you aren’t at your work computer. Confluence is a project management app that keeps users connected anywhere they are. The app allows users to write business notes quickly, import files and images and create structured ideas from their phones. Through the Confluence Cloud, your mobile app syncs your published work across all your devices and to teammates you’ve shared them with.
For small teams and those who are self-managing, Confluence has a free plan for documenting project information and decisions. If your team is larger than 10 people, Confluence offers Standard and Premium plans capable of managing up to 35,000 users and their workflows.
5. Google Voice and Gmail
Gmail and Google Voice are Google Workspace features that keep users in the know when they’re offline. Gmail is Google’s simple-to-navigate email feature that manages your inbox. Google Voice is an AI-assisted app for smartphones that allows users to make calls over Wi-Fi on any of their enabled devices. [Read related article: 6 Tips to Keep Your Emails Out of Gmail’s Promotions Folder]
Most interactions between employees don’t need to occur in meetings or through email. A quick exchange can bring someone up to speed and allows you to share necessary documents. Slack is an instant messaging app for business teams to stay in contact with each other. Managers can message the entire organization or split departments into individual channels for communication. Team members can also direct message one another to ask a quick question or start a conversation in their downtime.
FYI: Slack doesn’t just connect teams – it connects entire organizations. Talk to your clients and partners to see how they use Slack to increase productivity and set up a multiorganization channel to communicate.
Trello is a project management app that can be accessed through the web, on mobile devices or on your desktop. Teams can create custom project columns on their boards and move projects through different phases of completion. Because of their customizability, managers can make as many or as few columns as they need to ensure every step of their project is completed. Within project cards, employees can add details, checklists and custom fields to ensure efficiency and productivity.
Smaller teams can use Trello’s Free plan for their basic organization needs. Larger teams and ones with more detailed projects can sign up for their Standard, Premium or Enterprise levels, depending on the size and scope of their operation.
With technological and government restrictions to content with, businesses need a dependable messaging app to communicate with international workers and partners. WeChat is a Chinese-based messaging app connecting the United States and mainland China. Communication on the app is clear and consistent, whereas other messaging apps, such as Slack, Facebook and WhatsApp have inconsistent results due to China’s firewall. The free app is straightforward and highly intuitive for contacting people across the globe.
Teams can organize their communications and streamline their processes better through Microsoft’s Yammer. In addition to its messaging and project management features, Yammer offers a unique social networking platform. This feature gives employees the ability to follow conversations based on a topic, create a Communities page, and automate messages.
Communities pages let users build relationships across their teams and the organization at large. Members can engage with their coworkers from entry-level to C-suite, ask questions, start conversations, track invoices, and stay up to date with company news and team progress.
Yammer comes with a Microsoft Office 365 plan, which also includes email services, file storage, instant messaging and other features.
Zoom has become the industry standard term for video conferencing. This software gives employees the opportunity to host large meetings or have one-on-one conversations.
The platform is free to sign up, but the free version limits meetings to 40 minutes. Zoom also offers a paid business option allowing users to host unlimited meetings with a select number of attendees, along with messaging and cloud storage. Pricing for these premium platforms varies per user. Learn more in our Zoom review.
Bottom Line: Managing employees remotely can quickly get away from leaders. Implementing one or more of these tools keeps employees connected and encourages communication.
The importance of keeping your team connected
These apps help teams stay connected through messaging, video chat, project management and cloud storage. By implementing them into your workflow, you ensure every team member can access the projects they’re working on and discuss their progress with peers. Your team members will no longer need to wait for materials or settle for subpar communication with their co-workers.
Keeping your team on the same page about work projects is only one part of making sure they’re connected. To be self-motivated, employees need to feel connected to their work and co-workers, especially if they’re in a remote setting. These applications do more than allow you to share documents and information with co-workers; they’re a way to have conversations and find common ground. Developing close connections with one another allows co-workers to share their values, ideas, perspectives and backgrounds.
In turn, these connections make employees feel seen and valued by their co-workers and their organization. When people work on projects independently or from a remote setting with little interaction, they feel isolated and detached from their work. Using these applications and creating an environment that fosters connections makes employees feel more empowered and aligned with their work.
Additional reporting by Scott Gerber.