Small and large businesses are discovering the advantages of remote and hybrid work—along with their numerous challenges.
To build a successful hybrid workforce, organizations must prioritize building strong communication channels and collaboration hubs. Quality internal collaboration is the foundation for productive hybrid teams that don’t get burnt out.
While company culture, communication, and management play key roles, apps and software are defining factors many of us overlook. The right tools can allow your culture to flourish, while the wrong ones can hold your employees back.
When looking for internal collaboration tools, opt for cloud solutions rather than on-premise ones. Choose tools that are accessible and secure, and when possible, choose asynchronous communication—research shows this is a better way to work.
Here are the best apps and software for internal collaboration.
Listen Now: Phil Simon digs into how remote communication is evolving. Learn how to collaborate better in a digital world by listening to this episode of Formstack's Ripple Effect podcast.
1. Easy-to-manage Project Management
Project management software is one of the most saturated fields right now. There are dozens of high-quality options, all clamoring for your attention.
Every app claims to be the best and that it’ll skyrocket your team’s productivity. Of course, they can’t all be right. But what features matter most for a good project management tool?
The answer depends on your business. Today, you can find quality apps that help control workloads, estimate deadlines, manage clients, organize information, define budgets, track time, and much, much more.
Select your priorities first, then a tool that matches those needs. And remember, you might need different tools for different types of projects.
For example, we use Asana and Confluence at Nextiva, but I use Notion at my NGO. Both offer an excellent user experience and plenty of different features, but they meet different needs.
Once you’ve selected a tool (or two), don’t switch often—stick with the same tool as long as possible. Otherwise, you’ll lose time transferring files over, retraining your team, and adjusting to the new software.
Some of the best project management apps include Click Up, Monday, Clockify, ActiveCollab, and Basecamp.
2 . Clear and Asynchronous Communication
Up next are communication apps.
Because internal communication forms the foundation of your workplace culture and productivity levels, this tool can be one of the most important for your business.
Create a communication culture that avoids “fear of missing out” (FOMO). A messaging app like Slack or Teams might be required in today’s environment, but a constant stream of urgent-but-not-important messages can slash productivity.
Instead, look for asynchronous communication solutions—tools that follow the idea that messaging doesn’t need to be instant. The best apps for asynchronous communication are those you use for project management. Messages will be there forever, and they won’t get buried under trivial information.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: keep meetings at a minimum. Video fatigue is real. And most of the time, your project management app already has the information you need.
If you want to reduce meetings, consider starting with scheduled status meetings. Quick Slack messages are a more efficient way to keep everyone updated.
As with project management, you might need more than one tool to handle team communication. Some of the best apps include Slack, Teams, Telegram, Discord, Zoom, Chime, and Nextiva.
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3. Human Resources Software That Works
When you have employees in and out of the office, spread across different states, continents, and time zones, you need your HR office online as well.
In addition to the complexity of working in a hybrid environment, regulations often change. An app will help you become more compliant, especially when recording, storing, and retrieving sensitive employee data.
But it’s easy to choose software that only adds complexity. Whatever you choose as your HR software should reduce the total hours you’re spending, not increase them.
Choose an HR solution using the same method you used to choose a project management tool—first decide your priorities, then find an app that offers what you need. Some of the most common HR features include hiring and onboarding, payroll, benefits, vacation days, legal requirements, and more.
Some of the best apps for HR management include BambooHR, ADP Workforce Now, Paylocity, and UKG Pro. For less complex organizations, you can also use the built-in features of your chosen project management tool.
4. Security Apps That Protect Sensitive Data
Given that your employees are working from different locations and sometimes even on personal computers, your data is more vulnerable than you might think.
Securing data against brute-force hacks or leaks is important, but the more likely threat is phishing schemes that trick your employees into sharing access to sensitive information.
To protect your business, consider software for identity management and multi-factor authentication. These apps help keep intruders out by verifying employee login information.
Security apps also have the advantage of restricting employee access to only what’s necessary. This “principle of least privilege” is a security best practice that also keeps your team from getting overwhelmed with too many apps.
If you have a smaller company where employees need access to various software logins, consider using a password manager that’ll help people store their passwords securely. These apps also let you divide permissions so employees can only access what they need.
Great apps for identity verification include Okta, OneLogin, and Auth0. Great password managers include LastPass, 1Password, and Aura.
The Right Tools Can Change Everything
We stocked yesterday’s offices with the best tools for on-premise work. But times are changing, and our technology needs to change with them.
We need to equip today’s remote and hybrid offices with world-class tools that help our teams work better.
Whether that’s communicating inside the team, coordinating with partners and customers, or just building a culture of quality work, the right tools can help us get there.
Have you recently made the transition to hybrid or fully remote work? Discover the best tips, tricks, and work hacks to help guide your new remote work journey!
About the Author
Bojana is Co-founder and Editor in Chief at Amplitude Magazine. She combines her skills in organization, writing, content marketing, and SEO to meet the people in their search for answers. She has helped SaaS brands like Chatfuel to create their content strategies from scratch.
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