Your team is mobile. Thankfully, staying in touch has never been easier. Apps abound that help connect a team that’s more and more spread out geographically. Four of our favorites are listed here — Google Calendar, Evernote, Dropbox, and WebEx — along with tips for team usage.
Google Calendar is a free online calendar that puts your life’s schedule at your fingertips. Use the mobile app to sync to your phone, tablet, and computer. You can add your team’s calendar, your spouse’s events, and those crazy car pool details. Add reminders to alert you of upcoming events. Share parts of your calendar with specific individuals — and keep other things private. Send invitations and track RSVPs.
If you’re trying to schedule meetings with your team and everyone has Google Calendar, you can use the “Find a time” feature when you create a new event to find open blocks. Hide nonworking morning and night hours. There’s even a world clock if part of your team is not in the same time zone.
Evernote is a free cloud-stored notebook with a mobile app that lets you store and share notes and images from meetings and brainstorming sessions. You can snap pictures of whiteboards or presentations; record audio; save URLs, pictures, and text from Web pages you want to look at later; and store it all in a “notebook” in Evernote. Title and tag your files to easily access them later — multiple tags connect information to multiple “notebooks.” And you can even add checklists for tasks as well.
With Evernote Shared Notebooks, you can give individuals or your entire team permission to view collected information on clients and competitors — eliminating duplicate research and keeping the details organized.
Dropbox gives you file sharing and synchronization across mobile devices. You can access files from anywhere, eliminating the need for email attachments and flash drives. Share specific folders with other Dropbox and non-Dropbox users by right-clicking and inputting email addresses. And a recent partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox brings a new mobile Office version that lets users of both services edit and save into Dropbox directly. Store up to 2GB free.
Upgrading to Dropbox Pro starts at $15/month for five users and gives you 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space per user. In addition to all that extra storage, you get the ability to create team folders. These automatically show up in every team member’s Dropbox. Also, you can amp up security by enabling two-step verification if you need it.
Cisco WebEx is an online videoconferencing tool that enables your team to meet anywhere on any device. As with most other online meeting tools, WebEx allows for easy sharing of desktops or screens. With dashboard controls, you can change presenters by passing keyboard and mouse control. The meeting host can also let individual attendees input data or draw on a whiteboard during the meeting. A unique feature of WebEx is that participants with webcams can decide to be on camera while speaking, making the meeting feel more like everyone’s in one place. WebEx is $49/month for unlimited meetings with up to 25 people.
There are obvious benefits to a team’s mobility. Online tools and apps are a key part to keeping everyone connected and working smarter.