How to collaborate effectively in the digital age

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As a freelancer, you need to create a professional image to your clients and colleagues while also providing stellar service and working as efficiently as possible. Your path to success could just be defined by implementing the strategic use of carefully-selected technologies and applications.

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With so many innovations that impact freelance activities and collaboration across the board, you simply need to find the right applications and technologies that are most suited for your professional activities.

These are some of the ways that the right applications can bolster your professional image and improve your collaborative efforts. 

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Improve communication

Freelancers today may communicate through email or video conferencing when collaborating with others. Communication must be clear, convenient and immediate for the best results. To help you improve communication with remote work teams, clients and others, consider the following.

Slack is a project management tool that also has a chat or messaging feature. It enables you to keep track of messages pertaining to each project that you are working on individually.

Another option for communication enhancement is HipChat, which has private online messaging tools as well as video conferencing capabilities, video conferencing, image sharing and other tools.

Other applications you may want to research if you are looking for communication and collaboration platforms include Jostle, GreenOrbit, and Flock

Manage time efficiently 

In order to provide your customers and clients with exceptional service while managing collaborative projects, you need to complete tasks promptly and efficiently. Busy freelancers often feel as though they have a full plate and find it difficult to complete important tasks on time or without considerable stress.

One of the many technological applications available to help you improve in this area is the Pomello app. It simplifies the use of the Pomodoro time management tacticso that you can concentrate on completing tasks in small chunks.

If time management abilities are challenged by excessive or bothersome noise in your work environment, there is another tool available for that. The Noisli app is a time management tool that helps you to block out auditory distractions by playing nature sounds or white noise.

Automate billing

Part of your ability to collaborate professionally with others involves your billing procedures, and technology is available to help in this area as well.

Zoho Billing is one of several applications that you can use. Its features include automated recurring invoices or statements, online payments, mobile payments, project billing and more. 

Other similar applications that have billing features may work in different ways or have slightly different benefits. These include TimeSolv, ScaleFactor, ChargeBee and BigTime, to mention a few. When you automate billing, you can handle this task more professionally, and you may save valuable time that could be spent working on projects or collaborating in other ways. 

Share data and files

While verbal and written communication are essential for project collaboration with others, you likely also need to share data or files with others on a regular basis. Rather than attaching files to an email, there are numerous available applications that streamline this process.

For example, DropBox is commonly used for file sharing, and it enables you to place many larger or smaller files in folders with restricted access. Those with privileges may access the files immediately.

Some of the other similar applications include Google Drive, ShareFile, Box and Apple iCloud. This is one aspect of cloud computing that can benefit freelancers like you. Keep in mind that the Internet of Things, or IoT, also has applications in automating numerous business tasks, learning through smart marketing and analysis and more. 

Manage projects 

Each of the apps previously mentioned has focused or specific features that bolster group collaboration or project management in limited ways. There are also numerous project management apps that have far-reaching or broad capabilities.

For example, Liquid Planner offers budget management, agile methodologies, Gantt charts, idea management, milestone tracking, resource management, portfolio management and others.

Some of the other similar project management resources available for you to use include Wrike, SmartSheet, Hive, and Asana

Secure data and files 

Through collaboration, you and your project team members or customers may share many sensitive data files. As a professional, you need to focus your attention on safeguarding this data as much as possible.

Corruption or theft can result in lost revenue and damaged reputation, to say the least. There are several ways to bolster data security through your collaborative efforts.

For example, you can encrypt files through SmartVault before sharing them through various platforms. Some file sharing platforms, such as DropBox, also have their own security features to ensure that only authorized individuals can access and view files or data.

Wrapping up

The ability to effectively collaborate with others on projects or to serve your customers through collaboration is essential to your reputation. It can also impact productivity, profitability and efficiency. You can see that there are many available technologies and applications that can improve collaboration.

Rather than implementing the use of these applications all at once, consider starting with one or two applications that sound most appealing to your unique work situation. You can then add a few additional applications after you learn the ropes and are proficient with the applications that you are already using.

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Author: Jasmine Williams

Jasmine Williams is a writer specialised in business and marketing, who loves to cook and dance and you can find her on Twitter @JazzyWilliams88.