In a previous article, we evaluated the most widely used video conferencing tools and delved into their usefulness in promoting direct communication in remote teams. In addition to this, there are other means of interaction that can replace the need for in-person meetings. For instance, text messaging provides an effective substitute for face-to-face communication and can prove advantageous in certain scenarios.
Chat software is crucial in facilitating communication between parties who may not be online simultaneously. It allows for both synchronous and asynchronous messaging, offering great convenience. A significant benefit of this form of interaction is that it can be disregarded, allowing the receiver to focus on their work undisturbed if a message arrives while they’re “in the zone”. They can then respond to the message at their convenience.
Conducting virtual meetings is a fantastic approach to obtaining diverse viewpoints on a specific matter. Though it is advised against having multiple people speak simultaneously, gaining feedback from all participants through chat can be highly advantageous. This paves the way for a wider range of ideas and opinions to be shared, which can prove invaluable when seeking solutions to challenges.
Moreover, integrating chat software can establish a virtual “water cooler” that brings teams together to exchange thoughts, deliberate on topics of interest, and alleviate tension. So, without any more delay, let’s take a closer look at the commonly used communication tools for distributed teams.
Appropriate Situations for Utilizing Chat and Instant Messaging
While contemplating the use of text-based chat applications as an alternative to leaving recorded messages on answering machines, it is essential to remember that they present a faster and more convenient medium of communication. If the recipient is present, they can even respond immediately. However, if preoccupied with other tasks, there could be a delay in receiving a response.
Text-based chat applications offer an excellent option for asynchronous meetings, enabling colleagues from different time zones worldwide to participate in conversations anytime they want. This is particularly helpful when daily video conference meetings are impractical. If you’re in search of an alternative solution, this could be an ideal choice.
Instant messaging is not exclusive to virtual teams; in fact, after incorporating it into your practice of communicating with remote colleagues, you may desire to employ it with local colleagues too. By utilizing instant messaging, an individual can receive prompt responses to queries instead of traveling to the recipient’s office and waiting for an in-person response.
At Works, we recognize the immense value of this application in facilitating team communication and collaboration. The app’s feature to create channels and invite specific team members is a significant advantage for us, making it simpler to locate a specific comment among many. Consequently, conversations can be organized and pertinent to specific projects.
Any team member can participate in any channel whenever they wish. So, if you need sales advice, invite a few individuals to join the channel. However, they may likely leave as soon as the conversation becomes too complex for them to understand, particularly regarding technical aspects.
Slack is a comprehensive tool designed for remote teams, ensuring smooth integration with various popular platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, Asana, Salesforce, and numerous others, making it an excellent platform to store and retrieve files. Furthermore, it is compatible with over 1,500 applications and can be easily accessed on both Apple and Google mobile devices. These features, among many others, make Slack a highly attractive option for organizations with distributed workforces.
Aside from its video conferencing capabilities, Skype also provides an Instant Messaging (IM) feature that we covered earlier. Skype allows up to 25 individuals to participate in a Group Chat. One benefit of using Skype is that it is widely utilized, making it easy to contact individuals both inside and outside of your organization. Nevertheless, one disadvantage is that Skype lacks some of the more advanced features available in other software, such as continuous channels and grouping. While Skype is effective for its intended purpose, better alternatives exist.
Jostle surpasses a mere chatting application; it is a website that can be tailored to meet your company’s unique requirements and promotes enhanced collaboration among staff. Colleagues can effortlessly keep themselves informed with posts containing the latest news and updates, and teams can be created using straightforward communication approaches.
Jostle distinguishes itself by prioritizing its users, making it an ideal choice for organizations with geographically dispersed teams. The “people” tab furnishes users with a photo collage of the entire team, helping them to remember names and faces. Further, the robust search capabilities built into the system allow users to locate their intended contact quickly and accurately, making contacting colleagues a breeze.
Jostle, akin to Slack, is a messaging software enabling users to share files and collaborate efficiently. It is available on both iOS and Android operating systems and features a helpful introductory video that highlights numerous available features. This video is an excellent resource to become familiar with the platform and explore its full capabilities.
Chat can be a handy tool for managers as it can be accessed quickly and conveniently, even when they are on the go.
This program provides an all-encompassing suite of remote-access features entirely free-of-charge. Its key communication component consists of an instant messenger, with an option to augment the experience with video chat capabilities for face-to-face conversations. Its built-in task manager and file-sharing service facilitate collaboration with dispersed teams. The meeting planner helps simplify coordination across various time zones, establishing Glip as the ultimate go-to solution for remote teams.
5. Bitrix24 for Our Use.
In a recent blog post, we highlighted Bitrix as our favored alternative for an intranet solution. Bitrix provides features similar to those of Jostle, but with the added advantage of an ‘Activity Stream’ capable of keeping team members updated on the activities of their colleagues. Furthermore, its integration with popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook enables users to tag posts with #b24 to have them appear on all related feeds.
Bitrix24 is a remarkable solution to explore if you seek something for use within your network. It offers ‘badges’ intended to incentivize users to pursue their progression, and these small gestures can boost the morale of remote staff, and make them feel more appreciated and visible in comparison to their in-office colleagues. This can be an excellent method to heighten engagement and promote employee satisfaction.
An Assortment of Tools
Regardless of your size and budget, various chat applications are available to cater to everyone’s requirements. The selection between a more fundamental service like Skype and a more advanced platform like Bitrix24 relies on individual preferences and other pre-existing digital tools. If the primary focus lies on Trello, then the task management trait may not hold significant value.
Irrespective of the course of action taken, it is crucial that every member of your team comprehends when and how they ought to communicate. When there is no one available to offer assistance, it can feel like the most arduous day imaginable.
Furthermore, if you require help with recruiting top-tier programmers for a remote team, please feel free to contact us via phone.