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Virtual Offices Can Take Advantage of Free Apps to Facilitate Collaboration

August 27, 2015
By Laura Stotler - Virtual Office Resource Contributing Editor

In today’s business climate, where the cloud, mobility and BYOD are shaping communications and operating apps and services, flexibility and cost savings are essential. While companies may have a reliable phone system or UC solution in place in their brick-and-mortar facilities, remote workers and the virtual office are equally important. (News - Alert), which specializes in a business communications platform featuring a cloud-based phone system, faces this problem internally with a team spread out across the U.S. The company recently published a blog post highlighting some of the free communication and collaboration tools available to businesses to keep a mobile and virtual workforce running smoothly and efficiently.

Google (News - Alert) Apps is a powerful way for workers to collaborate and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Not only can users share their work with other employees, they can also edit and comment on it collaboratively, in real time. Other advantages include the ability to access documents from anywhere and at any time, a critical feature for any virtual office. Workers may also use Google Forms to create customer surveys, with all responses stored in a spreadsheet for convenient access.

Dropbox (News - Alert) is a staple for a lot of companies, enabling workers to access their documents in the cloud no matter where they are. And since files are centrally located, other workers may access them for collaboration. The app is also great for sharing large documents and files that can’t be sent via email, as well as for keeping track of projects with many versions of different documents.

Another great and free application for the virtual office is Trello, a project management tool. It allows geographically dispersed workers to keep track of tasks and to-do lists as well as organize which team member is working on which portion of a complex project. The solution also tracks which parts of a project have been completed and enables sharing of feedback on various parts of a project for ease of collaboration. The InVision App is also a useful tool for large development projects, since it lets users build, share and present application and Web prototypes. Wireframe illustrations are used to visually build prototypes for both Web and mobile apps, while live feedback sessions are enabled, letting users comment and illustrate directly over images.

Evernote (News - Alert) is an extremely useful tool for organizing Internet bookmarks and inspiration boards from any device, anywhere. Users may collaborate with comments as well as write lists and create art boards. And finally, offers its Fax by service for those virtual workers who need to send or receive the occasional fax. The app is easy to use and lets users scan documents with their phones and easily fax them.

These are obviously just a handful of the myriad free applications available to the virtual office and workforce. Ease of communications and collaboration among a mobile, dispersed workforce leads to better productivity and efficiency, clearly a major advantage for any business.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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