Whether you’re travelling to meet with clients or working on deadline from home, you still need to keep in touch with your team. Email has a place in business communication, but email is a static, text-based tool that isn’t ideal for collaborative or urgent communication situations. With the latest in mobile technology, social media and cloud services, there is a wide variety of ways to communicate, track and direct the teams we manage.
Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note allow users to have two screens open at the same time for better productivity, enabling busy managers to be in communication with their teams while working on a document, reading email or doing another task. Tablets open up a world of possibilities for improved communications of all kinds in industries, including those that traditionally haven’t been tech-savvy, like trucking. Truckers with tablets can keep in contact with their fleet manager, report their locations and communicate with dispatchers.
Video chat is an effective and engaging medium for real-time communication. It’s adaptable to one-on-one sessions or group meetings and can be used on desktop or mobile technology. Many video chat services and apps are free, including:
- Google + Hangouts accommodates up to nine people at one time, allows screen sharing and document collaboration with Google Docs, as well as recording and sharing.
- Skype offers free IM and video chat between Skype accounts and cost-effective calling plans that can make video calls cheaper than long-distance telephony.
- OoVoo is a video chat app that accommodates up to 12 people together, screen sharing, recording and messaging.
Collaborative technology enables teams to work together in real time. Salesforce is a suite of collaborative services that enable member rankings, customer contact information with social media links, social marketing, and customer service aggregation. Google Apps is a collaborative tool that includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Sheets, and Slides through the cloud, and is often used with Google Hangouts for video meetings.
Collaborative technology for education and educators often works well for staying connected with business teams. Apps like Bounce, which enables people to share their ideas and opinions about a website, could be used to critique competitor websites. Dabbleboard, Scribblar and CoSketch are virtual whiteboards that could be used during meetings and training.
Travelling is a fact of life for many business owners. Gadgets that make it easier to stay connected to the team are almost a necessity. The Satechi Smart Travel Router & Adapter enables managers and business owners to log in and connect devices with WiFi, so they’re not at the mercy of hotel Internet. The TYLT Energi+Backpack keeps gear charged with a big backup charger for on-the-go charging. The BlueNio Tag helps busy travelers keep their electronics and other gear safe from theft. It doesn’t run out of battery power because it lasts for months. Its motion sensor lets you know if someone moves your things, and it has a locator to help find missing items on a map. It even sends you a text or email if a bag is lost or stolen.