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5 online tools to bring your team together

Get your team communicating, collaborating and having more fun with these tech resources.

Research has proven that organizations promoting a positive work culture suffer lower rates of absenteeism, workplace accidents and defects, while enjoying greater profitability, job growth and share price over time.

In fact, Canadian Entrepreneur and CEO of O2E Brands Brian Scudamore called team building “the most important investment you’ll make,” in an op-ed published in Forbes Magazine last year.

Scudamore explained that team building and collaboration exercises are often seen as “lame,” but their benefits and contribution to the success of the company cannot be understated.

While company retreats and office team-building exercises are still a great way to foster unity, organizations now also have the opportunity to utilize digital tools to help bring their staff together. These tools can range from pure fun and games to task management platforms that help team members communicate and collaborate on projects from a distance. Such applications are especially vital in maintaining a sense of community amongst remote and freelance staff members.

Here are a few of our favourite digital team-building tools.

1. Digital scavenger hunts

Scavenger hunts have always been a great way to inspire participants to work together, and the digital age has taken the classic activity to a whole new level.

Smartphone and tablet-based scavenger hunt tools like SmartHunts, TeamBonding, and GooseChase present teams with riddles and trivia questions, as well as location or QR-code based scavenger hunting. They also utilize the device’s camera and GPS to track player progress, capture key moments in videos and pictures and utilize augmented reality. 

2. Internal social networking

While most employees are likely to have a number of private social media accounts, and perhaps even a few dedicated to their more professional lives, many lack social-media-like tools that encourage staff to communicate with those sitting around them.

While applications like Yammer, Socialcast and Bonfyre are great for organizing meetings and getting work done, they’re also great for facilitating a less buttoned-up form of connection over common interests and activities. In fact, companies that use internal social media tools see higher rates of employee confidence and connection.

3. Designated communication tools

While there are plenty of traditional ways to communicate with coworkers, like email and Skype, it is often advantageous to have a platform designated primarily for inter-office communication.

Slack famously rose to prominence as an alternative to email, and applications like WebEx and GoToMeeting can help facilitate inter-office communication through online video.

4. Project and task management software

While many digital team-building tools are fun and games with a side of work, others are primarily focused on helping large and often remote groups collaborate on a single project.

Task management applications like Asana, Trello, Dapulse, Redbooth and Wimi let users easily plan projects, assign tasks, track progress and stay on top of deadlines. Though perhaps less fun than social media and scavenger hunts, they are still key to building a team atmosphere amongst large or remote groups of co-workers. 

5. Collaboration tools

Sometimes assigning and tracking the progress of tasks isn’t enough. In situations that require team members to collaborate on a single task or assignment, cloud-based collaboration tools are vital in letting everyone make their own contribution. They can also provide an effective means to brainstorm without being in the same room, as ideas can still build easily on top of each other.

While some such tools are more generic, such as Google Docs and Quip, others are industry specific, like CodingTeam, which is specially designed to help coders collaborate while writing code. 

Up Next: Get an online focus group up and running with these great tips.

6 tips for starting an online focus group

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, covering a variety of topics, including technology, careers, entrepreneurship, politics and music. His work regularly appears in major publications in Canada, the United States and around the world, including the Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone, Politico, the Guardian and more.

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