Supervising Creatives in the Time of Pandemic: 5 Free Tools You Can Use For Collaborative Work

By:
Jul 31, 2020

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I pictured remote work as a tropical fantasy. 

I imagined myself typing on my laptop with sand on my feet, the ocean waves as my background music, and me sipping ice-cold drinks in between. I guess you could say that I was hopeful.

But because of the community lockdowns, I had to stay at my manager’s house for the time being. So my current remote workstation is well, my manager’s couch. 


It may not be the most ideal and conducive office space but I’m grateful that I’m still able to work with my fellow Marketing PH Ninjas, thanks to the following communication tools. 

The Best Collaboration Tools For Remote Work

Google Drive

As a Marketing Supervisor, I oversee the work of designers and a digital media specialist. With a remote work set-up, I rely more on Google Drive Apps to collaborate with my colleagues on producing and publishing creatives synchronously. One of the most useful among these Apps is Google Sheets. 

The bulk of our work right now is publishing a variety of engaging content for our social media pages, and all of this starts with a solid content calendar that we built using Google Sheets. 

Our content calendar, which is accessible to everyone on the team,  contains post captions, instruction for the visuals, name of the assigned designer, approval/posting status, and the link to the final approved material.

With a Google Sheets content calendar, I can easily assign each designer their daily deliverables and check which materials need to be posted today, or which should have been posted yesterday (yikes!) and must be expedited to be released ASAP. 

Slack




Another amazing collaboration tool that we use is Slack. It’s a quick way to send feedback to each other. 

As someone who is used to working close to designers at an office, I can say that Slack is heaven-sent as a remote equivalent to having easy viewing access to the designer’s screens. 

Previewing of layouts and other designs is a hundredfold easier on Slack. Designer team members can swiftly drop both stills and video files instead of going through the cumbersome attaching of files and the glacial-paced back-and-forth exchanges via email.


What’s more, bigger-sized files could be shared in Slack by providing the Google Drive link where it is saved. Convenient, right? 

Snipping Tool


Speaking of convenience, I also rely on Snipping Tool to visually direct designers which parts of their layout need some adjustment or polishing. 


When designers send over their layout via Slack, I just snip the image or a frame of the video and put editing marks on it using the pen tool, then I send it back to them via Slack.

The Snipping Tool allows me to save time in communicating revisions since it provides a complementary visual guide to my written instructions. This proves to be especially handy when the revision required is just a simple nudging of an element on the page.  

Airtable


Since our group provides branded layout and design assistance to other teams in the organization, we use Airtable as an efficient tool for our project management needs.

With Airtable, we can receive Marketing Requests, and track the status of each project. Teams can send their requests through an Airtable form and they are automatically added to the list of our pending tasks. 

Similar to ordering food online wherein you have to key in some details, the Airtable form collects request specifics from the requestor. In our case, that includes getting the copy they want to include in the layout, the deadline for the project, image pegs, and more. 


Additionally, Airtable allows me to add and simultaneously notify collaborators that a job has been assigned to them. Even after a job is completed, we can also send survey forms to gather feedback and analyze if we met or failed to satisfy the service level agreements.   

Zoom, Google Hangouts, And Facebook Messenger

Of course, nothing beats seeing my team members in person which is why video calling apps are essential for me. 


Aside from their group conference call function, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger are quite nifty in relaying instructions to creatives. This is especially true if I need to comment on multiple aspects of the output, say a video animation mood, certain off frames, or awkward transitions used.  

It would normally take me a couple of minutes to type my comments in order to be detailed and specific about the changes, but with a video calling and screen sharing app, discussing more complex edits are faster and more dynamic. 

Infinite Assortment Of Tools

There are a lot more free collaboration tools out there, but these platforms are what works for our team. 

How about you? What tools are you using to make your remote work situation awesome despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic? 

Share them with us! 

Note: Most of the tools mentioned here are free for personal and small-scale use. Paid versions are also available for enterprise.