Many businesses are seeking ways to take their operations remote. Whether you’re on the path toward full- or part-time remote work, it’s essential that you make use of the proper remote team collaboration tools.
There’s no shortage of online software for you to choose from. Google, Slack, Trello, and Zapier mark an assortment of the big names in the field. And at VirtualPBX, we even have a few features within our Business Phone Plans that can help your team make that transition out of the office.
Keep reading to dig into a few of these options with us – including feedback about how the VirtualPBX team uses all these products on a daily basis.
You may know Google GSuite for one of its individual components. Maybe you already have a Gmail account or use Google Docs for writing documents or sharing spreadsheets.
The set of online tools Google offers is broad (including Gmail, Docs, Drive for sharing documents, Calendar for scheduling events, Meet for conducting virtual audio/video meetings, and several other online components).
VirtualPBX uses many of these Google tools in its daily operations. Our teams keep each other on schedule with departmental calendars like the Marketing calendar for scheduling newsletter release and the PTO calendar to show when employees are taking time for vacations or conferences.
What we like most about GSuite – and what we think you will find is most helpful – is that all the products are built to speak to one another. Individual email addresses are assigned their own email account, calendar, storage space, and so on. And your corporate account with Google can house multiple emails to fit your entire team.
Slack has taken the communication world by storm over the past half-decade. It’s wildly popular with organizations because of how it handles team collaboration.
You can create multiple channels for your business that you arrange by topic or by department. VirtualPBX uses channels, for instance, for Marketing, Sales, and Services teams so they can address one another throughout the day. Our Product Management channel keeps the whole team updated on product development, and our Management channels helps department heads organize their activities.
Your own business’s channels can be about any topic, and you can add as many users to those channels as needed.
Our own use of Slack has benefited us immensely because of how it keeps us connected and, moreover, through its integration with other applications such as Zapier.
Zapier lets you connect all your web-based applications and automate tasks.
One of our most-used Zapier integrations is the Slack notification. Among many other notifications, we’re alerted whenever a form on our website is filled out and when a new user has completed our signup process.
Zapier lets you select a trigger from one application (a form fill on your website) and has a different application react (Slack posts a notification in a channel) to that trigger. This action-reaction format works with hundreds of popular online programs including GSuite products and Slack online chat.
Our Zaps keep us informed about operations that might have gone unnoticed otherwise. How do you know that a form was filled on your website? Zapier makes it easy to be notified about such simple, but important, occurrences. It’s this remote team collaboration tool that has allowed all our web applications to work in concert; it has been an excellent asset to our productivity as a remote-first business.
Among the web apps that Zapier connects to is Trello. This task management software helps you organize tasks by sorting individual task cards into collections called lists. Lists are then grouped into larger units called boards.
VirtualPBX has a board for its Marketing team. That board contains a list labeled “Peer Review,” which contains cards of individual tasks that team members can review. The Marketing department’s individual members have, for example, lists called “Blog” and “Needs Review” as reminders about upcoming blog posts and items to revisit.
You can organize your own collections by how they best fit your teams. Company accounts can fit multiple users; permission settings can allow more than one user to access a community board – such as our Marketing board.
Perhaps best of all: you can link your Trello boards to your Zapier account. As just one example, we notify our Billing about status changes by firing a Slack notification when a Trello card is moved from one list to another (“In Progress” to “Onboarding,” for example).
Both our Unlimited Minute and Unlimited User Business Phone Plans have access to features that make remote work possible.
Several members of our team use Call Forwarding to direct inbound calls to their personal smartphones. This can be used as a primary function, where all calls are sent to that device, or as a backup function (called Failover Mode) where calls are only forwarded when other phones like our Web Phone aren’t active.
Another remote team collaboration tool that gets heavy use around our virtual office is the VirtualPBX Web Phone. Team members can use it in any web browser they choose – desktop or mobile – and take calls like they would with any other phone. Web Phone can access a user’s personal directory and call history, and it can work with our ACD Queues feature.
Our more advanced plans allow ACD Queues to be used for advanced call routing to teams. The VirtualPBX Support team uses ACD Queues to route customer service calls to its agents. You can assign calls in a round robin fashion or in several other configurations. It supports any number of agents that need to take calls. We support our department of remote employees who work all across the U.S. to provide 24/7 service.
Our most endeavoring of customers have also begun to participate in the beta test of our Call Reports software. This application works directly with our Phone Plans to collect data about inbound and outbound calls. It interfaces well with ACD Queues, and to that end, our Support team uses it daily to improve their work with customers.
Choose Your Remote Team Collaboration Tools
These tools, of course, don’t represent a comprehensive list of everything on the market. They also don’t all need to be used together or all at once.
Look through these tools to figure out if any of them fit your business use case. When going remote, it helps to have tools that fit well, so don’t compromise or over-extend yourself. We’ve tested this particular set of remote team collaboration tools over years of daily use.
If you need any help, get in touch through our online chat. We’re happy to help answer any questions you have.