Collaboration in work groups provides great value as it enables effective knowledge sharing, decision making and problem-solving. Teamwork is part of daily life and crosses all areas.
Faced with the need to energize collaboration in work teams, companies such as Apple and Google have inspired to break certain schemes and even a TED talk became viral when it proposed to have meetings walking.
Some of the open and generalized free tools for managing work tasks include Google Docs, ezTalks and Skype. Also within the paid tools are Basecamp and Less Meeting. However, there are many free and online options that can help you energize and generate effective collaborations on your team.
Here are 10 free and open tools to facilitate the collaboration between the members of your team:
1. ezTalks Cloud Meeting
This is a free video conferencing software. You can use it to host an online meeting with colleagues in different locations. It is absolutely an open and free tool to facilitate the collaboration and communication between your teammates.
Apart from ultra-high definition video and clear audio, it also provides other powerful collaboration functions, such as screen sharing online, interactive whiteboard, professional voting, etc.
This software is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android gadgets. You can use it on your mobile devices to keep connected with your team anytime, anywhere.
After a year of its launch, this tool already has 500,000 users per day on more than 60,000 computers. Each month, Slack users collectively spend more than 100 million hours connected to the platform and send 300 million messages.
With Slack, you can create “channels” that include messages, files, comments, images, online videos, summaries, and integration with services like Twitter, Dropbox and Google Drive. Each channel is shared by a work team or project. Even media outlets such as Al Jazeera have made news coverage mobile with the help of Slack.
This tool allows you to create different lists on a board that the whole team can use. When you create a card, you can add comments, upload documents, create checklists, and add labels and deadlines.
You can invite as many people as you need to edit the board. All participants see the same board and changes made simultaneously. In the case of having several boards and people, you can create “organizations” to manage the tasks. You can use Trello on the web and also on your mobile devices.
Asana organizes team tasks and projects and is free for up to 15 team members. This tool also offers a paid version with extra features in case you need to manage more complex projects.
In both its web and free mobile version, it offers all the right management tools for teamwork, collaboration, deadline management of tasks, priorities, etiquette options, and a flexible and agile work environment. However, Asana does not have a chat service like Slack or Podium that will be described below.
The best way to describe Podium is to think of a social network, where different people have their own accounts and a project management platform integrated into the network. Network connections can be between people (for example, report directly to the manager) or between people and projects (for example, the designer in charge of Project X).
Podio has a free option for up to 5 employees in your work group. While it is a flexible tool, one of the disadvantages of Podium is that it does not allow archiving of completed projects. Also, the free option lacks time to track options for tasks.
It is a web-based communication tool for collaboration in the workplace. It also includes plug-ins for other existing tools like Outlook and Gmail. The free option works for teams of up to 5 members.
The disadvantage for some is that navigation can be confusing because it has too many options. The outstanding advantage that sets it apart from other tools is that it has an open API for connecting to existing tools.
7. Live Minutes
It provides a place where teams can collaborate on documents, including meeting notes, in connection with a project or departmental work. It also allows making video conferences. Among the outstanding benefits, Live Minutes allows you to synchronize your notes with your personal Evernote account.
It is a simple, open and free solution to schedule meetings. Doodle is a website and service that makes scheduling a meeting simple through a survey. By inviting people (by sending a URL or by inviting them directly from Doodle), you can vote on the availability of preference and then send reminders.
This tool allows you to easily fill in a meeting template that you can share with your team. You can register quickly, attendees, what was discussed, actions to be developed and who is responsible for completing them.
Minutes is an excellent free option for those who only need a simple and professional interface to create quick memos of the results of a meeting. The template can be as simple or complex as you need.
It is a tool for video conferences. In a labor market where employees often do not share a common space, it is crucial to have tools that facilitate virtual distance communication.
One of the advantages of GoToMeeting that distinguishes it from the rest of web conferencing tools is that it is instantaneous. It is only necessary to share a URL without having to have a code, phone number or registration steps.
11. Hyper Island Toolbox
If you are looking for inspiration and breaking traditional patterns, we recommend the Hyper Island toolbox. These are methods and tools that help teams do tasks more creatively and collaboratively.
For example, in the “Team” category you can find several options that you can incorporate into your work meetings. In addition, you can choose the dynamics according to available time and group size.