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An introduction to collaborative working online

Liezl Hesketh in Collaborative working 

by Anna Lourens

Collaborative working and collaborative consumptionHave you heard the Crossfit joke by Mike Mulloy? He jokingly says: “I found out that Crossfit is a lot like reverse Fight Club. Because the first rule of Crossfit is to never keep quiet about Crossfit.” The online environment today is a lot like Crossfit, we don’t keep quiet. We constantly and continuously share information online, whether it is about our DIY projects on Pinterest or tweeting about the latest Carte Blanche news.

This is where collaborative working comes in. In a world where things are shared, we have to work together. The Internet has become the greatest networking platform today. It is now easier to network online than in person! People are often just a click of a button away. If you are not involved in collaborative working, it is difficult to actively take part in your environment.

This introduction to collaborative working will introduce and explain some of the most important applications and websites you need to know about. All these sites can be used to increase productivity and effectiveness in your business environment in some way. Some are better used for work-related tasks and other for marketing purposes.

File Sharing

These sites are used to share and edit files. Documents can also be located from various devices. This mobility helps when you are an on the go person!

Note: Perfect for students who who can now work together on assigments from the comfort of their own home! Ask your classmates to edit your work while you are typing or share ideas fo research topics.

  • DropBox: Allows users to upload and share folders with specific people or groups. DropBox is online, therefore you can just log into your account and view the files when you need to. It is therefore very handy when you are out of office. It is downloadable on personal computers, tablets and cell phones!
  • Google + and Google Drive: In order to use these sites you need to register a Gmail account. Well done if you have an account already! You can store and access files from many different devices using Google Drive. Google+ is much like Facebook. It is currently the second-largest social networking site in the world! It allows you to create circles of friends or colleagues. You can share information with these circles via the saved information on Google Drive.

Photo Sharing

These sites are ideal for sharing photographs. These are powerful tools in connecting with people by showing your interests and environment. It can also be used as a fun way to collect ideas or brainstorm.

  • Pinterest: A pin-board style photo-sharing site where you can like or share photos.
  • Tumblr: A micro-blogging site popular for sharing photos and stylised quotes.
  • Instagram:  A photo- and video-sharing application. It allows you to add filters to photos to make them look more interesting. Taking a photo of a bicycle and adding a brown tone will make it look vintage.

Video Sharing

YouTube is just one of many vide0-sharing sites. You can advertise your products or services on YouTube, either by placing an add or by uploading a video.

Project and Time Management

  • YouTube:  A video-sharing site popular for sharing music videos and stories.Best-online-collaborative-working-tools

These websites are perfect for when you need to plan a project, especially when working in a group. It holds all the information online, therefore it is neat, organised and safe. People can work together by interacting real-time. They can see what changes other people are making or what their ideas are as they are writing or drawing them. It is much like a creative boardroom meeting.

  • Basecamp ‎: A popular and user-friendly project collaboration application. This site is helpful for when you are working on informal projects such as planning a birthday party. It also useful for formal projects in the working environment. Groups can share files, change and store them online. There are templates available for schedules and setting goals. Group members can also chat online. It works on many different devices. Examples are Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android.
  • Mindmeister: A mind-mapping application. You can use it to brainstorm ideas or plan projects. Group members can work together at the same time on a project from different geographical places, each sitting at their own computer. Think of it as an interactive whiteboard.
  • Trello: A free task manager perfect for individuals or small groups.

Face-to-face interaction

  • Skype: Uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to have meetings online where you can see people face-to-face. You can also share your screen which allows your contacts to see what you are working on. It can be downloaded onto personal computers and portable devices such as tablets.
  • Google+ Hangouts: It is part of Google+ and allows you to chat to a specific person in your circle or a group, similar to Skype. The difference is that when you are chatting in a group it focusses on the person who is speaking’s face, similar to how you would turn and look at someone in a face-to-face conversation. It can be used on a desktop computer, a laptop or mobile devices.

Social networking  sites

These websites are important marketing tools for you business and for yourself. You can use it to tell people about what you do, what events you are planning and your viewpoints on various topics. These sites are also used to gather information about what other organisations or people are doing. You can contact and network with them via these channels.

  • Facebook: A social-networking site that is used both for business and personal profiles. You can message, find or invite people to events.
  • LinkedIn: A social-networking site used by professionals. You can share previous or current job information, interests and roles in your community.
  • Twitter: A microblogging site where you can share news, fun facts and daily activities in sentences no longer than 140 characters.

Buying and selling sites

These websites can help you advertise job vacancies in your company or organisation. Or you can even search for a job! It is useful when searching for and buying products you need such as new ink cartridges.

  • Kalahari: A site where consumers can advertise or purchase products.
  • OLX: A classifieds site where users place advertisements for products and services.
  • Gumtree: A classifieds site where advertisements can be placed for services or products. It is available in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Mastered these collaborative working sites? Have a look at these free collaborative tools to learn more!

Now you’ve tried collaborative working, have your considered collaborative consumption?  Find out more about collaborative consumption today.

By Anna Lourens