Telecommuting is now an established practice. In fact, almost 40 percent of Americans spend some slice of the work week sending emails and crafting deliverables from the comfort of their own homes, according to recent data from Gallup. Of course, this phenomenon has fundamentally changed how team members collaborate and communicate. These days, team effectiveness often hinges upon the availability and viability of enterprise productivity apps.

If you’re struggling to maintain synergy among remote team members or are simply on the hunt for new web-based collaborative tools worth testing out, consider these solutions.

Connect with video conferencing

Though conference calls are good for connecting teammates working in disparate locations, video calls are more effective, giving employees the opportunity to interact on a deeper level and really engage with meeting topics, according to Harvard Business Review. Additionally, these tools provide built-in accountability, as participants realize their fellow workers can view their actions onscreen.

There’s a wide variety of available video-conferencing solutions, including Microsoft Skype for Business and Citrix Go-To Meeting, both of which offer extended free trials. If you want to go with a more versatile platform, consider adopting Slack. This up-and-coming communication platform includes video conferencing, messaging and drag-and-drop file-sharing features. Plus, small teams can use Slack free of charge.

Remote teams can use web-based productivity apps to connect.

Leverage social media

Most professionals might frown on the idea of using social media for work purposes. However, according to some workplace productivity experts, these tools are perfect for remote team members who need to connect. For instance, some organizations build out centralized knowledge bases within wikis, a practice that makes discussing shared content much easier. Other configure custom forums in which employees can chat or leave work-related comments.

When considering social media platforms and their potential in the workplace, separate them from their cultural connotations and remember what they are at the most basic level: easy-to-use communication channels.

Establish proper support

Along with the actual platforms needed for collaboration among remote teams, businesses must also provide the less glamorous equipment needed to support such tools, TED reported. It is these products that lend web-based productivity apps the power they need to improve team effectiveness and ultimately bolster team output.
Before you purchase a team-wide Slack subscription or spend the weekend finalizing the layout for an internal wiki, make sure your remote workers can connect to the web to access these features. Portable hotspots are the best solution, as they give personnel the ability to work from essentially anywhere. Additionally, if you plan on implementing video conferencing, consider handing out headsets – these work better than run-of-the-mill earbuds in collaborative settings.