Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

Everything In Its Right Place: Why Organization Is The Key To Any Organization

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Do you have any sort of filing system in your office? Assumedly you do, but it may not translate as sensical to other people. For those who have a hazardous filing system of putting things in a place that is just within arm’s reach, they could benefit from a better filing system. Filing systems are the tip of the iceberg, but it belies one very important thing, that you, as a business, are organized. Why is organization such an important tool to master.

It Promotes Clarity

You might have heard that having a clean desk means a clean mind, and it is true. This is something to translate to your business on a large scale. If you have effective organizational methods, you will be able to see the bigger picture far easier. This is vital if you want to change with the times. Having a sense of clarity and seeing every single component of your business functioning at its optimum is essential. Not only should there be clarity for you, but there should also be clarity for the employees too. This is also known as transparency. In getting a sense of organization together, it’s the best way to get everyone on the same page.

It’s Beneficial To Performance

Avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed is the key to mastering productivity in all of its forms. The underlying thing behind this is organization. Having a sense of order and having a tidy inbox, an organized desk, all the way up through the organized processes and staff members who know exactly what their duties are, translates to a fully functioning organization. Taking advantage of technology is the best way to implement this because it can do a lot of the organization for you. From employee documentation, which you can get more details on from most tech suppliers, to the payroll, if a system is implemented early on, and is organized enough but used in conjunction with the best programs and tools, this is going to make everybody’s jobs easier. The idea of automation is something that very hot right now because it’s a very simple approach to getting your company organized super-fast.

It Gives Off A Good Image

It can’t be said fairer than that. If people, namely clients and customers can see that you are organized and focused, this will inspire trust. This, in turn, will have customers and clients flock to you because you are setting a great example this organization is akin to untrustworthiness, and trust is the most important thing to get outsiders on board with your way of doing business. The image is everything in business, and if we can start from the very basics, such as a tidy desk, organized inbox, and so forth, this is going to translate into an organized team, and it can build up to an organized organization.

We all hated having to tidy our bed when we were kids, but it’s also a very important motivating task. Tidying your bed in the morning means that you have accomplished one small task, so you can start to accomplish more tasks. The same applies to business, if you can get the basics organized, you can then start to tackle bigger and bigger tasks.

Approach Your New Year Resolutions Head On, Starting With The Office

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Start the New Year with great office habits (

It’s been a while since you became manager of your office and having been years at the job has meant that you have become more tolerant to this being less tidy, more chaotic and generally, a less pleasant and shiny place to work than it was when you first took hold of the daily running of the business.

Your co-workers have probably also noticed this and they forgot when the last time was that you watered the plants, bought new staplers or cleaned the kettle.

As a new year approaches, now is a good time to prioritise on resolutions and make tidying the office top of the agenda. Here’s how:

Get rid of all that paper

Paper is to an office what bricks are to houses. Each year, the world produces more than 300 million tons of paper. Of these, the average US worker uses 10,000 sheets a year, and despite computers having become commonplace in offices around the planet, we are still heavily reliant on paper. Yet, the globe’s forests only have that many trees. In order to better manage your paper-usage, why not invest in some paper shredding services? This will ensure your waste is used for other purposes and not just discarded and any sensitive information is not at risk.

Fix those blinds

Offices need to have good natural light for maximum comfort and productivity. According to a study, office workers with highest exposure to natural light sleep better and longer, and overall have a more positive quality of life. Yet, a couple of your windows have been covered by faulty blinds for months now and despite the fact that a couple of your employees have raised this fact, you seem to have been busy with everything else. Contract a labourer for them to fix those blinds and let the natural light come in! Your employees and clients will thank you for it.

Apply a bit of paint to the walls

It has been so long since the office got its last paint job that you have forgotten which company carried this out. It is visible the original colour was white, as despite the walls being tinted with this yellow tone, the peeled off corners and edges still give you an indication of the colour you last chose. In order to keep your surroundings looking fresh and allow exterior light to penetrate the rooms fully, make sure you apply a new coat to the walls. Use the services of these painter and decorators who will help brighten up your office.

Invest in proper furniture

Poor posture is a common contributor to neck and back pain. A study of 200 people working in offices concluded that 70% of these suffer or have suffered from some form of back or neck pain as a result of bad posture. Your workers could be affected by this too due to you not having had paid enough attention to your office furniture lately. Invest in proper furniture so that your employees are healthy and work in optimum conditions.

Machine Learning: Learning Your Machines

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A lot of businesses in the modern world rely heavily on machines to get their work done. Whether it’s computers or large-machinery, most companies need some sort of mechanical device to keep going. Of course, though, this doesn’t always work out as planned, and the devices you rely on can often have problems. Instead of being able to produce products or do work at peak performance, you’re wasting time by not using things to their full potential. So, to help you out, this post will be going through some ways to truly get the most out of your machines.

To begin, a lot of people will underestimate the power which can be found in using the right tools for the job. In most cases, the job your employees are able to do will only be as good as the machines they have access to. Click here to learn about companies which can lend you the tools you need for the big jobs your business has to deal with. This sort of approach will make it a lot easier to ensure your employees have what they need.

Once you have the right kit under your belt, you’ll be ready to get on with some learning. Plenty of research will have to be done to achieve this, as there is loads to get stuck into. If you don’t have much knowledge, it can be best to start with something that goes from scratch. This will give you a chance to make sure that you’re learning all of the methods you need, and how to do them right. And, you don’t have to worry about missing anything. This sort of training will be great if you’re a good independent learner. You might need more help, though; if you struggle to teach yourself.

Once you have all of the knowledge you need, you can start sharing it around. Any skills that could be useful to your staff should be taught; regardless of how much they will use it. This will give everyone in the business the same level of expertise when it comes to the work that you do. Most training is best conducted in a group, with the trainer giving practical demonstrations. It’s important that you do this if you want to be able to train your staff effectively.

For people who don’t learn well on their own or who don’t like to teach; it could be worth getting the help of a professional trainer. People in this position will have a wealth of knowledge surrounding the subject you’re learning. And, they will be able to answer questions that videos and guides won’t. These sorts of trainers can be particularly useful when it comes to using large machines. For example, using molding machines might require scientific molding training. Having this training would make it safe for you to do the work you need to do.

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Hopefully, this will help you to get the whole business up-to-scratch on the machines in your business. It’s important to make sure that everyone is confident using the machines that are part of their jobs, or they could make some silly mistakes along the way.

Fun Workshops To Hold In The Office

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If you are looking to liven up the office atmosphere this year, you might want to consider holding some training sessions and workshops for you employees. These can be work related or general life lessons, but they will bring your employees together and create a much more happy working environment for all. Here are some ideas:

Lunchtime Help Squad

You might want to make sure you’ve got the kettle and commercial toaster out for this one, as well as some snacks for the mob. Set a lunchtime each month where everyone gets together and collaborates on a project or issue. Each month, you can nominate one employee to share an issue they are having or project they are working on. They will explain it to everyone else, and everyone can pitch in with ideas and get involved. It is a great way to gain a new perspective on an issue and it will help your employees get along better.

Self-Defence Workshop

Think about all if the people who work for you. As a boss, you will come to care for these people on a personal level, and sometimes holding a workshop to help them with life issues is exactly what the doctor ordered. Holding a workshop such as a martial arts or self-defence workshop, can show your employees that you care about their general well being- and will offer a fun workout for them during the afternoon.

Vision Board Workshop

A vision board is a board on which a person will stick their goals, things they want to accomplish, and life dreams on. It could be that they wish to travel to a particular country, lose weight, or even learn to speak another language. Holding a workshop on creating these vision boards can give you an insight into the people who work for you, and allow you to see what they want to achieve in their life and career. You might even be able to provide them with the tools they need to get to where they want to be, showing them that you take an interest in their personal development.

Mindfulness Workshop

Mental health is something that as an employer you want to promote. It is crucial that you look after your employees and make sure that they are sound of mind as much as possible, and make accommodations when they are struggling. One way to help your team to get in touch with themselves and let out stress is to hold a meditation or mindfulness workshop. You can get an expert in to teach your employees the importance of making time for themselves, and teach them helpful relaxation techniques which will come in handy if they are faced with a stressful situation. Holding a workshop which aims at the mind and soul, and teaches practices such as yoga and meditation will keep your workers healthy, happy, and in turn more productive in the office.

Work-life Balance

A similar concept to the mindfulness training above, you want to invest the time in your employees to make sure they know when to switch off and take a break. Of course, from a business perspective, the more they work the better, but if you want productive and focusses workers in your team, you need to teach them how to let go. You could even make meditation part of the daily routine in the office, hosting an early morning session for 30 minutes in the morning before work begins. It will help your employees clear their minds and focus for the day ahead, and will promote a healthy work attitude.

Trouble Shooting Before Trouble Happens

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Running a business is fraught with pitfalls that can cause no end of headaches. The smooth running of a company can be the beginning of success, whereas any speed bumps that appear can shoot you off course. Obviously, nobody wants their business to go careering off the set course, but putting out fires as they happen is not the best plan. You should try and prevent the flames from beginning in the first place.

 

There are so many common issues that can be easily preventable if you take the right precautions before hand.

 

Holiday Mix-ups

 

When employees put in their holiday requests, it can be hard to keep track of them all, particularly when you have many of them. Most companies have a tried and tested routine for setting requests, but it is possible for things to slip through the cracks. Using apps can really help for you to keep on top of everything. GetSling is a way for employees to put in their requests and for you to keep track of them easily. You can also manage shift patterns on the same platform so that everything is in the same place.

 

Communication

 

Communication is the biggest asset you have between yourself and your employees. Whether you’re talking about updates, new information, changes to rotas, or anything else that you would need your team to know about. You can solve any communication issues in the future by developing good communication links early on. You can use group chats like messenger or Whatsapp, or simply by setting up an email just for important information to be passed around.

 

Organisation

 

One of the easiest ways of keeping on top of your organization is to use a piece of software that interconnects with different platforms, and that can be accessed by multiple devices. G Suit allows you to do all that, and to share everything that you create on Google Docs, that you enter into your Calendar, or manage on your Google Finances with whoever you need to.

 

Life and Work Balance

 

When running a business, it can be so easy to get the work to life balance wrong. Sometimes it can feel like you’re drowning in work, that you have to be working every day of the week, morning to evening, no matter what. But that imbalance will only make your life more stressful and can even harm your health. Set boundaries early on by shutting off your phone each evening at a set time, and putting aside weekends for you and not for your work. Book holidays the same as any employee can, and stick to them. By taking time for yourself, you won’t ever put work ahead of family.

 

Friend vs. Boss

 

There is a fine line between a friend and a friendly boss. You want to be able to get on with your employees, have a laugh and be able to enjoy your time at work. But there is a trap where you become more of a friend than a boss. You don’t want to lose the respect of your staff purely because you went out with them last Saturday. Draw lines early on and create a distinction between you and you-as-a-drinking-buddy.

 

Gossip

 

It might sound ridiculous, but gossip and rumors within the workplace can quickly turn into bullying. And where that sounds like something that happens on a school playground, workplace bullying is one of the biggest issues within most industries. It can undermine you, it can ruin your business’s reputation, and if can cause harm to your employees.

Ineffective Marketing

 

Marketing Campaigns are the backbone of your business, they are what draws people to your company and raises your profile online and in the physical world. Marketing is mostly effective when you can properly analyze the data to figure out the best way to target your audience. Google Analytics can help you track your data, and, combined with Adwords, you can create a campaign that perfectly targets your audience.

Business Awareness: How To Notice Working Issues When They Occur

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We all know that an effective business replicates what is successful and updates it, while eschewing the possible negative scenarios which can drag it down. Great, thank sounds wonderful on paper, but how is this effectively implemented? How can you be completely sure that your business is firing on all cylinders, even in the face of potential avenues of difficulty which are hard to determine? Well, these avenues of difficulty, no matter how hard they are to determine, should be given the most credence, and they should have the utmost importance lent to them. If your business has weeds dragging down the whole enterprise, you will not be performing to your optimized potential, and that can be dangerous.

When you’re promising better and higher growth charts to your shareholders, saying ‘we weren’t aware of that issue at the time,’ is not something that goes down well. For these reasons, it’s important to understand exactly what to do, and how to do it.

These following methods will help your business overcome the sticking issues which are hard to identify at first, by being able to notice them from the offset.

Employee Communication

You must always allow the ‘troops’ to come to you with any problem without fear of reprimand. An employee covering a mistake up for fear of dismissal or punishment can only lead the issue to fester, and grow, and become so large it’s hard to manage. For this reason, you must stay wise about the environment your employees work in. Allow them to come to you about any issue, small or large, without fear of being punished or criticised. Only ever look for solutions. If the employees are still not comfortable with coming to you at the frequency, you’d like, consider leaving out comment cards to give your employees a confidential method of bringing insight to your office.

No matter how you choose to let them communicate, you must stay wise about the whole process. The employees are the first and foremost people you want to stay open with you , as they understand the developmental process of their job role much better than you do. Even if you have the utmost understanding of what they do, no one understands the minute to minute minutia of how their job role is worked in the present day, so they are the best able to assess any irregularities and try to combat them.

Root Cause Analysis

Okay, so five employees have come to you with a problem, and they are all symptoms of a bigger issue. Now you have this information, what should you do with it? Ignore it? Sit on it? Ask the employees to find a solution? Of course the latter method there is the only one with any potential, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be able to successfully identify and eliminate what is going wrong. This will take a more in-depth solution, namely root cause analysis.

Root cause analysis helps a firm identify what issues are occurring and cut them off at the ‘root,’ so that the symptoms will never come up again. This is so important if you hope to grow as a firm, because symptom solutions will only get you so far, and the repetitive investment in time and money it takes to get there will make your business run inefficiently. Implementing the best root cause analysis will often take a specialized firm that can help you draw up an action plan from their breadth of experience. However, if you have built your firm from scratch, it’s likely that you may have some inkling as to where the issues lie.

Assess all aspects of the working chain from the lowest level up to the high, and see where the problem emanates. It may not always come from the suppliers or the basis of your working duty. Sometimes it can be caused by management, or misplaced departmental priorities, or the workplace culture. Make sure you assess all variables in order to gain the most complete picture possible.

Monitor

Business IT systems often have some form of administrative hub where all computer activity can be monitored and stored. This can be a good way of making sure that your employees are all carrying out their jobs to the extent detailed in their job description. While it’s never nice to single out an employee or a group of employees, finding out that they are going about their daily tasks in a completely inefficient way can help you find the solution immediately, without enacting costly methods of finding the issue.

Staff Training

The best method of overcoming an issue is to prevent it from occurring. For this reason, you must always invest plenty into staff training. This allows your staff to get a complete view of their job role, and stay aware of any new methods of work which will help them stay with the times. Consider educating your employees above and outside the job role they are currently working, as a more complete view of how your operation works is useful in the eyes of any employees.

Synergy is a word often used by business experts as the most desirable aspect of departments working together and being effective due to that. This can only work if both departments have a good understanding of what the other does, as then they can interact with ability and honesty, not worrying or wondering about how the other department will perform. This intra-business trust can only be beneficial and will have wonderful results on your business strategy.

In conclusion, all of these tips will contribute to an attitude of ‘yes we can,’ as opposed to employee worry about issues that occur. Remember, you are all on the same team, even if you are paying your employees handsomely for their time. You should never be afraid to help them out, as they should feel towards you. Whatever you help your staff with is something you are helping your firm with, so it’s important to always look at the greater picture and try to find solutions based around that. With this working culture in place, you can be sure that there will be no problem too large to handle.

Making a Difference in Your Community as a Businessperson

Is there anything better than being a businessperson and earning money from doing what you love? Is there anything better than being a pillar of your community? Yes, there is, and that is being a businessperson that actively helps to better the geographical community in which their business is based.

For advice on how to do just that, and how to do it well, make sure to read on.

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Franchise a community helping industry

Franchising is the act of buying into an industry and making a financial donation to it and getting the rights of the industry in return, and you can do just that in your attempt to make a difference in your community. Specifically, you can finance a helping industry, such as a private duty home care franchise, and help it continue to provide the help it already gives, only with far greater funds at its disposal. What investing in a home care franchising opportunity will do specifically is help it continue to provide 24-hour care, a far greater level of caregiving and a better enhanced level of personal planning through the provision of training opportunities. Basically, by putting your money to good use in this sense you could greatly enhance the life of somebody in your local community.

Go green

Going green with your business is something that you should be doing in order to do your bit in helping to protect the wider community of planet earth from global warming. However, it also something that you should doing in order to help your local community too. You should be doing so, and you should be getting your neighbours involved in doing so too, because it gives you all something to work towards. It gives you all something to do together that will enhance community spirit togetherness. So, get commercial solar panels fitted to your premises’s roof and get the neighbours to do so too.

Buy local and partner up locally

If you really want to see your local community thrive you always have to give it precedence with every business deal you do. This means buying and sourcing whatever it is that your business buys and sources as locally as you can. And it means partnering with other local businesses and making them clients of yours. You should do this because when local businesses thrive, so does the local housing market. And when the local housing market thrives, everybody in the community benefits.

Your business’s local community is something that will forever be intertwined with its image. Therefore, you should be doing all you can to ensure that this community is properly tended to and nurtured so that it never weakens. By doing this you not only do the right thing by it, but you do the right thing by your business too. So, go out there and do it! You never know, this could be the unexpected change your business needs to get the results you want for it.

Lifestyle Changes: Relocating To Boost Your Career In Education

Working hard to educate young minds and understanding their potential is a challenge for anyone. However, once you’ve set your mind on a career in education; you’ll relish the process and understand how great the rewards can be. Sometimes, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut in your job, and before you know it; you’ve been stagnating in a particular role for years and are unsure how to push your career and job satisfaction forward.

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by your position in education, or don’t feel that you have the opportunities you want where you live; it could be time to think about relocating to find a new job. Moving suburb, city, or state, will not only give your career new potential; it’ll open up a new way of life, and you’ll be open to a wealth of fresh experiences beyond what any job could offer you. The following are some things to consider if you’re tired of your everyday and want to further your education career as a teacher or lecturer with relocating and looking further afield for work.

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A Lifestyle Change

If you’re unhappy with your life outside of your role in education; an okay job can seem like a terrible one. Therefore, relocating for new work opportunities is a great way to change your lifestyle and find happiness both in your career and during your free time. If you’re bored of the quiet town you’re currently living in; think about heading towards the hustle and bustle of a city environment.

Look for jobs available across the country, in some of the places that excite you the most, and gear your covering letter towards explaining your change in plans. You can take a look at all you need to know regarding writing a great cover letter in 2017 and begin planning what you’re going to tell potential employers about yourself.

Maybe it’s the weather, amenities, and the lack of access to your favorite things that are getting you down. There’s no time like the present to search for jobs in all the places you dreamed of living when you were younger, or perhaps you revisit a vacation destination so much, you know it inside out. Take a look at what jobs in education are available in those areas, and start applying.

The worst that could happen is that you don’t hear anything back; the best, however, could be the start of a new adventure and end up being the best decision you’ve ever made. Your lifestyle will be given an instant boost, which will automatically have a positive impact on your career in education. A content and happy teacher will always inspire young minds more successfully than someone who is tired, unhappy, and bored with their life; so, become somebody’s inspiration are begin your search.

A Boost In Qualifications

You might need to look at boosting your skills and qualifications before you apply for new roles in exciting new places, or you could make studying and learning part of your relocation process. The are certifications and courses that are geared towards education in specific locations of the country. You can check out all you need to know about the FLDOE certification process which will explain how to boost your chances of getting your desired role in the state of Florida. Wherever you have your heart set on moving to; see if there are specified courses in education for that state, and ow you could go about completing them.

Make sure you inform anyone you’re applying with about your willingness and eagerness to learn and develop your skills further. You can apply for jobs that you’re only partially qualified to do if you have enough of the skills they’re looking for, and they can see that you’ll be easy to develop and train so that you become a perfect fit for the school, college, or university.

It’s worth researching into how things are done in your chosen community; there might be cultural changes from what you’re used to, so showing that you’ve done your homework and are ready to embrace all the differences will boost your appeal. You’ll need your future employer’s help when you’re packing up your life and heading north, south, east, or west; so build on a strong relationship with them using plenty of communication, and learning as you go.

New Challenges To Keep Things Fresh

Don’t be fearful of a challenging situation; you’ve been brave enough to make the move already, and often, the most difficult of career changes become the most rewarding.

The Emergency Customer Kit

When we start a business, most of us assume our customer interactions will always be professional. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be an unreasonable request. And, for the most part, you’ll find it to be true.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and putting yourself out there does leave you at some risk. This is especially true when working in retail and other customer-facing roles. You’ll come across a lot of people. They’re not all going to be pleasant, reasonable, or even safe to handle. Which is why any business needs a terrible customer emergency kit. Here’s what yours should include.

Polite responses

If a customer starts shouting, accusing, or showing signs of distress, pull out the polite responses. At this early stage, your aim should be to win over the customer. This is your chance to turn the situation around. If you succeed, you could even gain a loyal customer.

 

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It’s important to remember that the customer is always right, even when you’re unsure where they’re coming from. Personal opinions aside, the ball is in their court. As such, it should go without saying that you should never disagree or enter an argument. Instead, turn to some standard responses which act to placate the situation. A few options which often work are:

  • Apology

  • Sympathy

  • Agreement

  • Attempts to solve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction

Most people are fairly reasonable, and if you do the above, the chances are you can resolve things. If you sense the situation escalating, it may be worth offering money off, or other bonuses. Even if you don’t agree they’re deserved, this will save a scene which could cost you custom.

Legal protection

It’s rare that a customer sues a company, especially in the small business stakes. But, you can never be too careful. Which is why it might be worth putting legal protection in place before anything happens. On a basic level, this means working with lawyers who can come to your aid if you need them.

But, that’s not all you should consider. From the moment you conceive of your business, think about the best ways to protect yourself. It’s especially important to consider this when deciding on your business type. As a sole trader, a situation like this will fall on your shoulders. Whereas, if you opted for a limited liability company, as outlined on sites like howtostartanllc.org, your company would be responsible. As such, a customer will sue your company, not you. A move like this could save you a lot of money.

Security measures

Most retail workers never encounter a violent customer, but it does happen. And, when it does, you need to ensure your safety and that of your workers. As such, take time to install a reliable security system, with access to a panic button. It’s also worth installing cameras like those found at https://us.boschsecurity.com. These will add a level of protection when staff are alone in the shop, and could serve as a deterrent.

Team Collaboration Tools to Transform the Workplace

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Collaboration is an essential part of any successful business. Teams who work together effectively tend to come up with better solutions faster than employees who work alone. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to make collaboration happen, especially when employees are spread out between different offices and even working remotely from home.

The good news is that there are a number of collaboration tools that can make the process easier. Here are some of them:

Notion

Notion is a fantastic team management software that is perfect for small teams who need to maintain contact so that they share important files, discuss ongoing projects and keep a record of new ideas and inspirations. It can even be used as a to-do list for individual users.

Evernote Business

Evernote Business enables employees to take important notes at meeting and events and then share them with other members of the team, who can collaborate by adding their own ideas too. It is, perhaps, best used by creative teams who need to share ideas in real-time.

Testing Management Tools

Testing management tools which allow multiple users to access the same data, reports, and resources, are perfect for tech businesses who need to test software quickly so that it can be brought to market before the competition catches up. The more individuals able to work on the project, and the easier it is for updates to be distributed to all, the smoother things will go.

Video Conferencing Apps

 

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Video conferencing apps like Skype can be used by businesses of all shapes and sizes to connect employees all over the world at the click of a button, They are particularly useful for big multinational companies with offices all over the globe and companies who use remote workers, but they are a handy tool for anyone.

Slack

Slack is quite possibly the biggest and best team communication tools available right now. It utilizes messaging app technology to allow teams to communicate effectively in real-time, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it can also be used to share documents via Google Drive or Dropbox, for greater levels of collaboration, and best of all, cleaner inboxes.

Deekit

Online whiteboards are even better than their real world counterparts, and Deekit is currently one of the best. It is particularly good for sharing complex ideas with lots of people at once. You can use tools for planning, templates for laying information out, create technical documents and much more besides.

Google Drive

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Google Drive is perhaps a simple tool, but it is also one of the most effective for sharing documents between individuals, and it is one of the cheapest too. You can store countless documents on there in an instant and restrict access to only the people you want to see them, which means that you don’t have to worry about scanning documents, sending emails or visiting colleagues when you have better things to do.

Equipped with the right tools, you should have no problem increasing the levels of collaboration between your teams, and doing so in the most productive way possible.