Why pay for an office when you don’t need to?
In order to reduce their overall expenses and provide their employees with the flexibility many workers can’t do without these days, many newer businesses are deciding to let go of the idea of having offices altogether. Instead, they’re setting up wholly distributed teams.
According to a recent survey, the average startup forked over $6,100 on office space each month—roughly 5 or 10 percent of their spending. Regardless of whether a similar expenditure would make or break your company, don’t you think your business might be better off with an extra $73,000 in its purse at the end of the year?
The good news is that, thanks to the slew of cloud-based collaboration and communications tools on the market, many businesses are finding that offices are more than unnecessary; for many, they actually impede progress.
Instead, these companies—including brand names like WordPress, Mozilla and GitHub—are embracing wholly distributed teams, allowing their employees to work from wherever they want (and in many cases, whenever they want, too, so long as they don’t miss deadlines, meetings, etc.). Some employees might choose to work at home, some may work out of coffee shops and others might choose to give coworking spaces a try. But so long as they’re productive, why should it matter where they take care of business?
To overcome the obvious challenges of distributed teams—you know, like not seeing each other in the flesh every day—companies are making use of a variety of collaboration apps to get the job done. Here are five of those tools:
Embracing that old adage that tells us to work smarter, not harder, SmartSheet was designed with the end user in mind. The end result? An intuitive web-based collaboration platform that allows your team to tackle projects of all sizes with ease. The platform, which was built with a strong focus on security, is also extremely scalable. It’ll grow with your company.
You might have files in Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and Box, among countless other cloud storage platforms. Moxtra allows you to funnel all of that content into a single interface. This functionality streamlines collaboration, conversation and file sharing, allowing teams to stay in sync no matter when they tackle certain tasks. The tool also gives users the ability to hold mobile meetings, complete with visuals, presentation functionality and file-sharing features.
Making collaboration as easy as can be, Twoodo gives users the ability to create workflows simply by hashtagging their conversations. Easily searchable, Twoodo will assuredly clean up your teams’ mailboxes, as the tool essentially makes email obsolete. Who knows? Maybe it’s time to add Twoodo to your #todo list.
Billing itself as a “notebook of lists,” WorkFlowy is another web-based collaboration tool that helps keep remote teams made up of folks working at all hours of the day from different corners of the world on the same page. Believe it or not, Slack—the popular collaboration app recently valued at $2.8 billion—was built using WorkFlowy. Collaboration tools on top of collaboration tools. So meta.
5. Google Docs.
Assuming your team’s using Gmail or Google for Work, why not take advantage of Drive features for your company? Easy to use, Google Docs, for example, lets you share documents with relevant team members and limit editing permissions. Rather than sending files back and forth amongst numerous team members to the point no one’s sure which version is the latest revision, you can edit documents in real time on Google Docs. Revision histories are also readily available, so you can clearly see who made which changes when. You’ll find value in Google Slides and Google Sheets, too.
The above list is my no means all-inclusive. But by religiously using those apps—or the countless ones like them—you’ll find out rather quickly how close-knit your distributed team can become. By embracing a remote-first philosophy and hiring those who are doers, you’ll have more cash on hand—a crucial ingredient for making any startup grow.