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Tools for Communicating Effectively When Your Workforce is Working Remotely

When you can’t just walk over to the next desk anymore to ask a question it can lead to confusion and feelings of isolation.

One of the struggles that many businesses in Tennessee and the rest of the country are facing right now is how to keep their remote workforce connected. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses had to abruptly send employees home to telecommute without much time for planning.

With everyone working from their homes, connection and collaboration becomes more challenging. However, if you use the right business solutions, you can keep your employees engaged no matter where they are.

97% of surveyed employees cite lack of team communication as the main factor for poor project and task outcomes.

The two top tools on the market for keeping your team connected and productive while working remotely are Microsoft Teams and Slack. We’ll go through the benefits of each below to help you zero in on the one that may work best for your virtual workforce.

Is MS Teams or Slack Better for My Team?

There are many different types of cloud solutions out there. What makes team collaboration apps different is that they are focused on facilitating employee communication and helping your workforce collaborate effectively no matter where they may be.

Teams and Slack are neck in neck for the number one spot when it comes to team-focused apps. Teams has a slight edge, with approximately 13 million daily users, to Slack’s estimated 10 million daily users.

Both of these top cloud-based tools share basic features that facilitate communication, including:

  • Structured chat through topic-dedicated channels
  • Ability to audio and video call within the app
  • Use of @mentions to alert users of an important message
  • Compatibility with computers and mobile devices
  • Integration with other cloud-based solutions
  • Securing all communications in a single platform (rather than having them spread out over employee devices)

One of the key components of both Slack and Teams are the structured chat channels. These eliminate slow and inefficient email communication and allow your workforce to collaborate in real time. Sending a message over Teams or Chat is like virtually walking over to a colleague or supervisor’s desk to ask a question.

The benefit of these chat channels is that they keep communications organized. Channels can be created based on things like:

  • Company Departments
  • Customer Accounts
  • Companywide Communications
  • Specific Projects

Channels can be kept private so only specific users can have access to them. This improves security for sensitive departments like Accounting or Human Resources, allowing members to talk freely with each other on their channel.

Between Slack and Teams, which tool is a better fit for your workforce?

In a nutshell, smaller companies, like startups, tend to gravitate toward Slack because it’s a simpler tool with fewer “bells & whistles.” While, Microsoft Teams is preferred by companies looking for more features and integration with Office 365.

Slack: The More Lightweight Solution

Smaller companies like Slack because it’s quick to adopt and uncomplicated. If you’re not using Office 365, then Slack may make the most sense for a tool that gets the job done without additional features getting in the way.

Slack integrates with many other cloud platforms (Salesforce, Trello, etc.), which allows you to build out capabilities as you need them.

Many companies find that using Slack as the main communication channel in their other cloud programs is less confusing than having conversations spread out over multiple apps. The integration capabilities of the platform make that streamlining possible.

The chat channels are the main focus in Slack and there aren’t other areas to get workers confused.

Teams: The More Robust Solution

Companies that want their team collaboration platform to do more and those that work with Office 365 tend to choose Microsoft Teams.

It functions as more than just a chat tool and is designed to be a central workspace hub from which users can launch into other areas of their work.

For example, there is a Tabs feature in Teams, which is a window in the tool that allows you to add shortcuts to items you use on a daily basis, including:

  • MS Office Apps
  • Third party Apps
  • Websites
  • Files

Teams also is fully integrated with Office 365 and can facilitate co-authoring in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

The platform connects to SharePoint, and when you add a specific MS group into Teams (like the Marketing Department), a SharePoint Team site for file storage and sharing will be automatically provisioned to use with Teams.

Microsoft also has an enterprise-class feature called “information barriers” that is designed to facilitate compliance in Teams by controlling how groups and individuals can interact in the platform.

Ultimately, both solutions can solve issues with employees feeling isolated or “left behind” when working remotely and help them stay productive and included.

Get Help Customizing Your Team Platform

You can get the most out of Slack or Teams when you have it customized to meet your company’s needs. Unbound Digital can tailor either solution to further promote productivity and communication.

Contact us today to schedule a free cloud solution consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.

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