How Tools Like WhatsApp Can Help You Stay Connected with Remote Staff


In an age of global communication, it’s tempting to conclude that it’s a small world. But the reality is that globalization means a company could have employees working all over the planet. Even if your company doesn’t have international offices, you may need to stay in communication with your boss and other team members when they travel. So how can an international team stay in touch and collaborate effectively?

With the right apps, keeping in touch with people who are working remotely is easy. Online tools like WhatsApp are great for real-time global communication, while Skype can facilitate a face-to-face meeting with someone halfway around the globe.

Before you shrug off these apps as being the pastime of teenagers, remember that they can save time and money, not to mention cut down on the number of emails everyone receives. Here are four tools to make global communication smoother and easier:

1. WhatsApp

This messaging app is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows, Nokia and Symbian, which means users of virtually all mobile operating systems can seamlessly exchange instant text, audio and video messages. Because WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in the world, it’s ideal for collaborating with teams, clients and vendors outside the U.S., especially hard-to-reach areas in Africa and Asia. It recently rolled out voice calls for Android and will soon do so for Windows and iOS.

Pro: Huge user base and costs practically nothing — just $0.99 annually — to use after the first year, so even if you’re with a small company, it’s affordable. WhatsApp Web also allows users to connect via their computers. Con: Messages can only be sent to other smartphone users who also have WhatsApp.

2. Skype

You can video chat, make calls and send instant messages via the Internet to and from any device, including smartphones, telephones, computers and tablets. You can also include multiple people to create a conference call, or send video messages, documents and images, too. As a Microsoft company, Skype is integrated with the Office suite and is a go-to platform for business communications and virtual meetings.

Pro: It's easy to connect various people in different areas for a virtual face-to-face meeting. Con: You have to pay a nominal fee to call landlines and mobile phones.

3. Voxer

By allowing users to create live voice messages for individuals or groups with the push of a button, Voxer combines voicemail with text messaging, making it faster than emailing and more efficient than leaving a traditional voicemail message. You can also send texts and photos, choose to listen live or later, and communicate on any cellular or WiFi network around the world.

Pro: Military-grade security and the ability to broadcast messages to up to 500 contacts. Con: Searching for a person outside of your contact list can yield numerous results with little to no identifying information.

4. Cotap

Designed to improve company-wide collaboration and communication, Cotap’s motto is “Secure texting for teams.” You can create groups, share files, send pictures and video, all while keeping your personal mobile number private.

Pro: Works across desktop, web, iOS and Android devices. Sends custom mobile alerts. Calendar and Salesforce integration. Con: Unless signing up as an individual, there’s a monthly fee. 

Stay in communication with people who are traveling or located abroad may be a challenge when it comes to time zones, but logistics doesn’t have to be an issue. With global communication tools, you can easily interface and collaborate, no matter where they are.

Which tools do you use for keeping in contact with your global team? Share your favorites in the comments below.

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