In the ever growing internet age it is becoming more and more common for people living hundreds, even thousands of miles apart, to be working together. While this is great for diversifying teams and drawing talents together from around the world, it can sometimes be difficult to keep all members of the team on the same page. If this sounds familiar I’ve got good news: There’s an app for that.
There are tons of digital collaboration tools that make it easier to share ideas, track progress, and keep every member of your development team in the loop, regardless of location or time zone. Here are five of the best tools to keep your remote office running smoothly.
Slack is a communication tool designed specifically to help teams operate as efficiently as possible by keeping all communication in one place. With Slack, you can set up multiple channels, letting you organize your team chats by topic or project, so important information never gets lost in a sea of group chat madness. You can also set up private channels for sensitive information, and send direct messages to other members if needed.
Bonus points: Slack is available across PC and mobile devices, so you can keep in touch with your team anytime, anyplace.
Trello is your all-in-one task management app. Break your project down into multiple boards, use cards to organize what still needs to be done, and assign team members to complete them. Trello is excellent for keeping your entire team up-to-date on what has been done, what needs doing, and what each person is responsible for.
3. Drop Box
If you’re anything like me, the idea of having to email files back and forth between team members is a total nightmare. It becomes too easy to lose important documents, and you often find yourself stuck waiting for someone else to send you the files you need—a particular pain when you live in completely different time zones. Dropbox let’s you avoid all that hassle by letting you share a cloud server with your entire team. It can be synced to all of your devices, so everyone on your team can have access to all important project files anytime, anywhere.
4. Google Drive
Sometimes sharing documents just isn’t enough. That’s where Google Drive comes in. Google Drive allows multiple people to work on a single document together in real time. No more waiting for others to contribute to or comment on a document and send it back! With Drive, your entire team can chat and work on text documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations with each other at the same time.
I can feel some of you staring skeptically through the screen. You’re thinking, “What do mason jars and image filters have to do with workplace productivity?” but Pinterest is so much more than a site full of DIY tutorials. In fact, according to Nathan Meunier, it’s a game designer’s best friend.
Pinterest is the inspiration cork board of the remote office. Teams can easily create private group boards to share inspiration, concept art, development and design research, and more. The visual element of Pinterest makes it perfect for design teams working on game environments and aesthetics to collect and share inspiration for their artwork. And since every pin also links back to the site it originated from, it is also the perfect place to collect useful articles (like this one for example) for your team to reference.
Working with a remote developer team doesn’t have to be a headache. By using the fabulous digital collaboration tools available to you, you and your team can enjoy all the conveniences of a physical office space with all the freedom of working beyond a cramped cubicle. Sometimes, you really can have it both ways.