Build Productive Teams Using Collaborative Workspace Tools

Coworking transforms the way you work in ways you wouldn’t expect. We aren’t just talking about better coffee, faster internet and less chance of spending an hour watching cat videos… Coworking brings you into contact with other like-minded creative thinkers. This might mean boosting your network so that you can build up your business, giving you a chance to thrash out some new ideas over a coffee or making it easier for you to collaborate on a project.

A coworking space is the perfect place for collaboration. When your creative juices are drying up, your brain is a little rusty and you’ve run out of fresh ideas or you find yourself putting things off, working with another person can inject some oomph into your work and take it in new directions. Coworking gives you a whole new range of resources; a pool of talent that you can benefit from. Equally, you can offer your skills to the people around you and boost your own business that way. Everyone wins.

There are lots of different types of collaboration tools, and if this is your first step into collaboration, it can be a bit overwhelming. Let’s take a look at some of the best collaborative workspace tools that will make life easier, productive and (equally as important) more enjoyable.

1. Project Management

A great platform for project management makes teamwork so much easier and saves time and hassle. A system where the whole team can be together in one virtual office, with access to everything they might need, keeps everyone on track. You still might face the usual panic when deadlines are fast approaching, but it could just save you some of those all-important last minutes!

So, what is the most popular workplace collaboration tool? While there are loads of great ones, Kahootz has got to be up there near the top. Kahootz is one of the most popular go-to names in collaborative software, probably because it’s trusted by big names like the NHS. It’s fantastic for tracking complex projects that require lots of different tools, lots of different users and lots of different types of tasks.

The idea behind Kahootz is to bring together all the different aspects of a project into one place. So, nobody has to chase anyone else for documents, no-one gets missed off a list of tasks, and people don’t get lost when you have three different calendars on the go at the same time. All users can upload, edit and share information on one reliable platform. The upshot is that you’ll spend less time working out how to manage the project, and more time actually getting the job done. It saves time and effort and ensures everyone is doing their bit.

The best thing about Kahootz is that you don’t have to be in the same space for it to work – so it functions just as well when someone is working remotely as it does when you’re all sharing a physical space. File sharing, editing and calendar tasks all happen pretty easily, and you can tailor the system to suit your work. This is definitely a way of working smarter instead of harder. Oh, and it’s super secure and certified, so you can rest easy that nothing is going to end up anywhere you don’t want it.

Cisco and Trello are other great examples of collaborative workspace tools that have been designed to make collaborating easier and more intuitive. They take the drudge work out of sharing and function exactly like a virtual office.

2. Video Conferencing

Collaborating in a shared workspace is great when you’re all together in the space, but of course, the nature of coworking means that everyone can be on their own schedule. However, that doesn’t have to make it harder to meet up and discuss the project; video conferencing makes collaboration easy, whether your project partner is on the other side of London, stuck in traffic or on the other side of the world.

Consider upgrading your phone conversations to video calls. Studies have shown that face to face conversations are a much more effective way to communicate. It’s easier to get the jist of what someone is really trying to say when you can see their face. Ever had one of those calls where you find yourself trying to analyse someone’s tone? Or an email or text that could be read a number of different ways? A quick video call can eliminate all the wondering and give you a much clearer idea of what’s going on. Video conferencing gives you all the benefits of a face to face meeting with zero journey time or travel cost.

There are some great video conferencing software solutions out there right now. RingCentral Office, ClickMeeting and GoToMeeting are all popular examples of reliable software that makes it easier for everyone to connect face to face. All three are good examples of video conferencing software that makes it genuinely simple to have a meeting with anyone, anywhere, on any device. They’re fast and they’re user-friendly. No messing around – just a decent dashboard that’s easy to get the hang of, good clear video and great security. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

3. File Sharing

If you don’t need a wide range of project collaboration tools, but you do need to share files effectively, then look no further. If online collaboration software is like a virtual office, then think of file sharing like a giant online filing cabinet that everyone has access to. File sharing software has come a long way, and there are lots of great solutions out there. Check out DropBox, Box.com, MediaFire and Google Drive.

These online file-sharing solutions allow you to quickly upload files, share them with other users and organise them so that everyone can get a hold of what they need when they need it. No more emailing files or trying to compress files to send via email. Simply pop them into whatever file-sharing site you like the look of, and you’re done.

Most of these solutions are quite similar in terms of function so choose one that suits your specific needs. One of the best things about being in a coworking space is that there is always someone who can give you some first-hand recommendations for the best option; chances are, someone in your space already has a file-sharing solution that they love.

4. Voice Notes

Have you experienced the utter joy of taking the minutes of a meeting? Frantic, isn’t it? Trying to get everything recorded, especially if you’re also still attempting to engage with what is being said and contribute to the discussion. It can be totally stressful. Simply recording a meeting can be one solution, but why record and then transcribe when you can have a friendly otter who does it all? Yes, we did say otter.

Otter.AI is the transcription app of the future, and it has won plenty of awards to prove it. It uses artificial intelligence to record rich notes that you can later edit, share and organise as you wish. One of the best features is the search – forget listening to the whole thing all over again, simply search for a keyword and Otter will take you to what you want to review. No more frantically scribbling notes, no more struggle to find that figure that someone mentioned 45 minutes ago. This is especially useful as a collaborative workspace tool; everyone can have access to the notes through the share function.

At Areaworks, we’ve seen individuals and companies collaborate on some amazing projects. We’ve seen the difference that the right software, tools and apps can make and we’re always learning about new innovations. We’ve created coworking spaces that inspire collaboration and we’d love to show you around. Let us know which of our spaces you’d like to tour – the coffee’s always ready.