When working on a project, an individual employee may often
need the input of peers. By collaborating with others – different departments
or employees – skills can be combined to make the effort more successful than
it may be otherwise.

Collaboration
in the workplace is nothing new; however, new and creative collaboration forms
are becoming more important in today’s digital world where more employees are
becoming connected around the globe. Using cloud computer and internet has
increased the ability of employees to collaborate with peers effectively.
Collaboration is happening more online than in person and several new tools are
making these efforts more effective.

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Asana is web-based software designed to improve team
collaboration. The program makes it easier for team members to communicate
without using email services. With both a free and premium options, the
software “specializes in workflow management” as well as task management,
(Duffy, 2017). While an account is free for up to 30 users, (SNHU COCE, 2015)
but for more users, you would have to upgrade to the premium package. Accounts
in the program are separated into organizations, teams and workspaces. Members
can be delegated tasks that are then categorized by department, function and
more. The tool allows users to create tasks and project templates, coded
calendars and also dashboard reporting functions. Public Relations professionals can use Asana
to create projects and tasks within the projects, and follow the
progress of those tasks from various browser and devices. While working on
large project, leaders can add team members to the projects and tasks, share
files, and communicate with them.

Evernote is an
effortless and resourceful way to manage notes and information when
collaborating with a team on a project. The program provides users with a fast and simple way to craft content on-the-move,
and automatically syncs with other devices. “Work Chat” is one exclusive
Evernote feature which permits collaboration between team members or peers
without the aggravation of bouncing emails back and forth. This promotes quick
feedback, constructive brainstorming and updates as they are made (Dietrich, 2011). 

As a PR professional, utilizing
Evernote as an all-in-one for storing, organizing and sharing content would be
smart. For example, while attending an off-site work event, a worker could jot
down notes using Evernote and share those notes effortlessly with the team back
in the office while using the “work chat” feature. Coworkers in the office
could provide feedback and take part in the conversation from behind their
desks.  

Smartsheet.com is an online tool for tracking any type of
work.  From a building marketing plan to
collaborating on a social media campaign, the Smartsheet project management and
collaboration tool can help, (Cains, 2016). Every Smartsheet account provides a
workspace where information can be imported and shared, by invite only, with an
unlimited number of people whether they are inside or outside your
organization.

For example, a Public Relations team could use Smartsheet.com
on behalf of a client. All public relations activities can be listed by task
name and include the anticipated start and finish date as well as whom the
tasks are assigned to, (Cains, 2016). Everyone on the team and the client can
have access to the sheet. This can allow everyone to see the status of
particular activities and ensure that efforts are not being duplicated.

I believe that many collaboration programs offer similar
features. I do not believe that any one collaboration software is any better
than another and find that a Public Relations team would have to choose which
one works better for them as a team and which one has particular features they
value more than others. For example, while Dropbox is a popular cloud-based
organization and collaboration program, security issues may be a deal-breaker
for public relations groups working with companies with sensitive information.

 

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