No matter how small, a team needs tools to collaborate. Help keep your team members on the same page and streamline workflows with these features.
Use collaboration tools to stay connected.
What is a collaboration tool?
A collaboration tool is anything that team members use to work together in an efficient, productive way. They help teams communicate, organize, and brainstorm. A collaboration tool can be anything from a document where team members add creative work to a workflow software that keeps everyone up to speed on tasks, subtasks, and deadlines.
Collaboration tools define the virtual office environment. Messaging apps and real-time video conferencing have become more and more prominent in recent years, and collaboration software is now the primary medium in which many on-site and remote teams encounter each other in the workspace, both for collaborating on projects and day-to-day check-ins.
When do you need collaboration tools?
In general, collaboration tools can be grouped into three categories: tools for planning and logistics, tools for communication, and tools for creating deliverables.
Logistical and organizational tools
Every organization, from a giant enterprise to a small business, needs to keep track of its employees’ work, responsibilities, and output. Any project manager can tell you that having a shared resource that explicitly states what everyone is responsible for improves workflow and clarifies project plans. Organizational and project management tools include time tracking and task management apps, a company CRM (customer relationship manager), a local intranet, file sharing platforms, project management software, and cloud storage.
Teamwork only happens if team members can talk to each other. Email is the original online communications tool, but now teams can also communicate via video calls, group chats, instant messaging, screen sharing, and comments within other apps. Even a whiteboard in an office filled with comments or announcements can be a communication tool, if used right — likewise for digital whiteboards with collaboration features.
Brainstorming and creative tools
Apps where team members do creative work also need to be made with online collaboration tools in mind. Most deliverables are the work of a team, and that team needs to be able to access, edit, and comment on that work quickly and easily. Apps for individual work also need to be team collaboration tools, and that makes everything from first drafts to final proofing much easier.
The benefits of collaboration tools.
Good collaborative tools keep teams motivated. Clear expectations about where a project is and what’s required of them specifically help team members stay connected and engaged. When your team knows what’s going on and what they’re supposed to do, they’re happier.
Plus, everyone loves positive feedback. When a coworker gets back to you with a thumbs-up or an acknowledgment of hard work, that feels good. Collaboration platforms give you the means to add motivation to any workflow.
What makes for good collaboration tools?
The best online collaboration tools are built with teams in mind and facilitate collaboration not only within a team, but also across an industry.
Good collaboration tools are purpose-built to enhance workflow. All sorts of common tools can be jury-rigged to do a task they weren’t designed for, and apps that weren’t made to work together can be combined to achieve a given result. As appealing as improvised solutions can be, they’ll always have some degree of friction everyone involved will have to correct for, and they also tend to have steep learning curves for those who are unfamiliar with them. Truly good collaboration tools negate friction, rather than create it.
Industry-standard tools are a key way to ease collaboration. New team members are more likely to be familiar with industry-standard software, and business partners, stakeholders, freelancers, and other outside collaborators can reasonably be expected to know their functionality too. The use of bespoke or proprietary tools means that you’ll encounter speed bumps whenever you collaborate with someone outside of your team, but it’s easy to avoid that outcome with proper training.
Adobe Acrobat has been the industry-standard app for PDFs for over 25 years. Adobe invented the PDF, and continues to offer the most comprehensive support for the format for large and small businesses alike.
How Walgreens Boots used Adobe to boost collaboration.
In 2020, the Walgreens Boots Alliance needed to update the pharmacy experience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through collaboration and planning, the worldwide chain transformed how customers interacted with its 10,000 storefronts. Everything from ordering medicines to prescription pickup went digital, all while giving over 120 million customers personalized recommendations and reminders for everything from prescription renewals to flu shots.
Collaborate with Acrobat.
Adobe Acrobat is one of the most powerful, agile, and versatile collaboration tools a team can have at their disposal. Each team member can:
It doesn’t matter if you use a Mac or PC, if you work on a desktop or mobile device, or if you’re on a large team within a major enterprise or a small team at an independent firm. Adobe makes collaboration as easy as possible. Reduce friction and increase connection with Acrobat.