This year we will see more companies change the way they work to improve employee productivity and attract new talent. This is crucial as the demand for more flexible and collaborative working environments is on the rise. By 2025, web meetings business PowWowNow estimates 75% of the workforce will be millennials, and 70% of this group will want to work remotely. In addition, as more companies internationalise and serve diverse markets, it’s natural their workforce will become more distributed across the globe too.

Therefore to keep up companies need to start thinking now about how to cater to the remote teams of the future. This requires a better set of digital and cloud-based applications to make sure teams are able to communicate and collaborate as effectively as possible.

Our favourite tools communication and collaboration

Working at .Cloud, the domain smart domain for modern business, I’ve been exposed to a variety of inspiring companies who are redefining the future of work. For example Screen.cloud – cloud-based digital signage that’s stunning and simple to use. Or RIO.Cloud who is making fleet management more comprehensible across brands. At .Cloud we also embrace modern ways of working and I wanted to share some insights and tools.

First and foremost, it’s important to find technologies that inspire you and your teams, and it’s amazing what the right one can do for better communication and collaboration. There are many applications that are transforming the modern workplace like Trello, Jira, and Slack. It’s important to listen to your team and get feedback as they are the ones who will be using them.  It’s also worth considering how the tools can be integrated with other systems and whether they are cloud based.

There are two pieces of tech the .Cloud team loves; Trello & video conferencing. Trello is one our favourite business apps for team collaboration. I originally encountered it as I was looking for a simple to-do list, but through the years I’ve discovered how well it works for team collaboration and visualising any process. We use it to create roadmaps, projects, and editorial calendars. It’s flexible and fun and we found it particularly useful in staying visually organised for projects and workflows. Trello Inspiration is also a great a place to build new ideas and templates.

Another important tool, especially with dispersed teams, is video conferencing. There are different options available such as Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting, and Zoom. I think it’s great that some of these services offer a free version because it allows you to try them and see what fits. At .Cloud we use a handful of free services to be flexible in accommodating different customers and regions, however, we are transitioning to a paid service as our needs are changing. One of our considerations is how well they support the Asian region as we are doing more business there and we recently launched .Cloud in China.

Disconnect to connect

New apps, if used to their full potential, can prove to be powerful productivity tools to connect teams working in and out of the office. However, they can also lead to sensory-overload. As such, there is value in disconnecting to connect – purposely switching off to better ourselves and the relationships within our team.

When it comes to team activities, don’t forget the importance of meeting up in person when you can. Good hooks for this could be a planning session at the end or start of a year, or a kick off meeting for a significant project. You could even consider longer-term meetings such as corporate retreats with team building activities.

Additionally, as we see more and more people improving their productivity through meditation and wellbeing. Real creativity comes from deep inside our own minds, and having a clear and calm mind can do wonders for your business and personal life. I recommend Insight Timer, it’s a free app with a customized timer and plenty of great guided meditations.

Businesses that empower employees to explore and use new ways of working are those truly redefining the future of work.

There are already many ways technology can improve employee productivity and enable flexible working policies. Take some time to evaluate what your business needs and which technologies can support you. Above all, being able to transition between online and offline interaction is the true definition of a modern business.