5 Ways To Share Files With Your Team While Working From Home
As companies shift to remote work during this time of social distancing, collaborating and sharing files with your colleagues can prove challenging. When working side by side in an office, exchanging documents or gathering feedback is as simple as walking over to a coworker’s desk. Now isolated in your home office, you’ll need to leverage technology to connect with your team virtually. The good news is that there are several effective tools that make sharing files remotely straightforward. In this article, we’ll explore five easy methods for collaborating on documents and projects with your coworkers, even when you can’t meet in person. With the right solutions in place, working together from a distance can be efficient and rewarding. Let’s get started.
Introduction: The Challenges of File Sharing While Working Remotely
The challenges of working remotely often center around collaborating and sharing information with colleagues. When your team is dispersed, simple tasks like reviewing files together or keeping everyone on the same page can become complicated. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can overcome these challenges.
File Storage Services
Using a cloud-based file storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive is one of the easiest ways to share files with your remote team. These services allow you to upload files, create shared folders, and control viewing/editing permissions. Your team can access files from any location and you’ll always have the latest versions in one place. For an extra layer of security, look for a service that offers two-factor authentication.
For collaborative work, video conferencing software such as Zoom, Skype, or Webex is invaluable. You can share your screen to review files together in real-time, see each other face-to-face, and work through documents as a group. Most services allow you to record calls so anyone who misses the meeting can review it later.
Modern messaging apps feature more than just texting. Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Workplace by Facebook allow you to share files, preview documents, and send messages all in one place. You can create channels for different teams, projects, or topics to keep conversations organized and make it easy to find shared information. Integrating these apps with your other tools provides a central hub for file sharing and communication with your team.
By leveraging a combination of these solutions, you can keep your remote team connected and ensure everyone has access to the files and information they need. With the right strategy and implementation, sharing files from a distance can be even more efficient than when working together in person.
Use File Sharing Services Like Dropbox or Google Drive
To effectively collaborate with your team while working remotely, using a file-sharing service is essential. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to safely store, access, and share files from anywhere.
Store Files in One Central Location
With a file-sharing service, you have a central hub to store all your work files, documents, spreadsheets, images, and more. No more emailing files back and forth or worrying about version control. You and your team can access the latest files whenever you need them.
Share Files and Folders
Easily share files, folders, and entire projects with your team. Set permissions to allow team members to view, edit, or leave comments on files. Get notified when someone shares something with you or makes a change so you’re always up-to-date.
Sync Files Across Devices
File-sharing services sync your files across all your connected devices. Start working on your desktop, pick up where you left off on your laptop, and even access files on the go from your mobile devices. Your files are automatically updated in real-time across everywhere you use the service.
Collaborate in Real-Time
With some file-sharing services, you can collaborate on files in real time with your team. Features like document commenting, suggesting edits, and co-authoring allow you to work together on files at the same time from different locations. See each other’s edits appear on the screen as you type for quick feedback and discussions.
Using a dedicated file-sharing service provides a simple solution for effective remote teamwork. With all your files in one place and features built for collaboration, you have everything you need to share information and get work done with your team from anywhere.
Take Advantage of Project Management Tools Like Asana or Trello
Project management tools like Asana and Trello are ideal for collaborating with your team and keeping everyone on the same page. These tools allow you to organize tasks, share files, communicate updates, and track the progress of your projects.
Create Shared Task Lists
Using Asana or Trello, you can create shared task lists that the whole team has access to. Assign tasks to specific team members, set due dates, and add descriptions and comments. This helps ensure accountability and that no task falls through the cracks.
Share Relevant Files
Both Asana and Trello make it easy to attach files, documents, spreadsheets, and images directly to task cards. This could include files you’re collaborating on, reference materials, or examples. Your whole team will have access to these shared files in one centralized place.
Enable Team Communication
These project management tools have built-in communication features like comments, mentions, and taggable team members. Discuss tasks, ask questions, provide updates, and share feedback directly within the project. This helps reduce excessive emails and keeps all communication tied to the relevant tasks.
Gain Visibility Into Project Progress
With an at-a-glance view of all your shared tasks, due dates, and files in one place, Asana and Trello provide visibility into the progress and status of your whole project. See what’s on track, behind schedule, or at risk of falling behind so you can make adjustments to keep the project on time and on budget.
Asana and Trello also offer useful features like task dependencies, calendars, reporting, and automation rules to help streamline your workflow. Their free versions provide enough functionality for small teams and projects, with paid upgrades available for larger, more complex initiatives.
Leveraging these kinds of collaborative tools will make it much easier for your team to work together productively, even when you can’t meet in person. With shared access to tasks, files, communication, and project visibility, your team can achieve optimal productivity and results, no matter where each member is working.
Try Out Dedicated File Transfer Services Like WeTransfer
file transfer services like WeTransfer offer a simple solution for sharing large files with your team.
Easy to Use Interface
File transfer services typically have an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to add your files and share them. All you need to do is sign up for a free account, select the files you want to send – which can be up to 2GB in size – add the email addresses of your recipients and click send. Your files are encrypted during transfer and storage.
Set Expiration Dates
You can choose to have the files deleted automatically after a set number of days, giving you more control over your data. For example, if you’re sharing confidential work documents, you may want them to expire within a week. For less sensitive files, you can opt to have them stored for up to a year before being deleted.
Reputable file transfer services allow you to see when your recipients have downloaded the files, giving you peace of mind that your information has been received. You’ll get notifications in your account showing the date and time each person accessed and downloaded the files.
Using a dedicated file-sharing service is more secure than simply emailing files or sharing them via a cloud storage service link. Files are encrypted, access is password-protected, and links to download files expire after a set time period. Some services also allow you to set permissions to prevent recipients from being able to download, print, or copy the files.
In summary, file transfer services enable you and your team to share large files in a safe, simple, and secure manner while working remotely. With an easy-to-use interface, expiration options, download tracking, and encryption, you can feel confident that your sensitive work files are being transferred and shared responsibly.
Set Up a Shared Folder on Your Company’s Server
To facilitate efficient collaboration while working remotely, set up a shared folder on your company’s server where team members can access files.
Accessing a Shared Folder
To access a shared folder, you will need to log into your company’s server. The specific steps to log in and access shared folders will depend on the type of server your company uses. Common servers for businesses include SharePoint, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.
Once logged in, navigate to the “Shared with me” or similarly named section to view files and folders that have been shared with your access. The shared folder set up by your manager or team leads should be listed here. Open the folder to view its contents. You may have permission to simply view and download files, edit and upload files, or in some cases add or remove files and subfolders. The level of access will have been set up by the person who created the shared folder.
Within the shared folder, you will find files related to your current projects, client work, and team initiatives. This may include documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, and other digital assets. Shared folders provide a centralized location for team members to access the latest versions of files, eliminating the need to send files back and forth via email.
When saving new files or uploading edited versions of files to the shared folder, be sure to use clear and descriptive file names. For example, “Q1 Budget Draft” is better than “budgetdoc”. This makes files easy to locate in the folder. You should also check with team members before deleting or overwriting any files.
Using a shared folder set up on your company’s server is an efficient way for remote teams to share files while collaborating on projects and daily work tasks. The ability to access a centralized folder for uploading, viewing, downloading, and editing files eliminates the need to email files between team members. Overall, a shared digital folder leads to better organization, version control, and transparency across the team.
Email Attachments Work in a Pinch
Sending attachments via email is a simple way to share files with your teammates when working remotely. While not the most sophisticated method, emailing attachments can work in a pinch when other options are not available.
To share files through email attachments, first compose a new email message. In the body of the email, briefly describe the file(s) you are attaching so the recipient knows what to expect. Then, click the “attach file” button, typically depicted by a paper clip icon. Select the file(s) you wish to share from your computer and click “open” to attach the file(s) to your email. Double-check that the attachments are listed at the bottom of your email before sending.
When sending attachments via email, keep the following best practices in mind:
•Keep attachments under 25MB in total to ensure they can be received by most email services. If files are larger, it is best to use an alternative file-sharing method.
•Double check that you have selected the correct files to attach before sending the email. Confirm the file names and sizes are as expected.
•Provide context for the attachments in the body of your email. Explain what the files contain and any relevant details to help the recipient understand their purpose.
•Check that the attachments are accessible. After sending the email, follow up with the recipients to ensure they received the attachments and were able to open them without issue.
•Be cautious when opening email attachments from untrusted or unknown senders. Malware and viruses can sometimes be distributed through email attachments.
While convenient, emailing attachments is not the most secure or efficient method for sharing and collaborating on files with your team. For ongoing projects or larger files, a dedicated file-sharing service may be better suited. However, for quickly sharing a few files in a pinch, email attachments can work adequately when other options are unavailable. By following best practices around attachment size, providing context, and verifying accessibility, you can share files responsibly through email when needed.
Use Slack or Teams for Quick Sharing Needs
When working remotely, it’s important to have efficient ways to share files and collaborate with your teammates. Using platforms designed for business communication and file sharing, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, allows you to quickly send files directly to coworkers or entire teams.
Popular workplace messaging app used by many remote teams. Slack has straightforward file-sharing capabilities that make it easy to send files to individuals or channels.
- To share a file in Slack, click the paper clip icon to attach a file. You can then select a file from your computer to upload.
- Give the file a name and description to provide context for your teammates.
- Choose whether you want to share the file with a specific person, a channel, or both.
- Slack supports many common file types including documents, spreadsheets, images, and video.
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration hub built into Office 365. Teams provide a shared workspace for chatting, sharing files, and working together.
- In Teams, start a new chat or go to an existing channel conversation.
- Click the attached file icon to browse and select a file to share.
- Add details about the file such as a name, description, and any tags to make it more searchable.
- Choose to share the file with a specific teammate or an entire channel.
- Teams work with all Microsoft Office file formats as well as other common file types.
Using dedicated platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams to share files with your remote colleagues helps keep everyone on the same page. Quickly sending files directly to those who need them, whether for review, feedback, or general awareness, improves transparency and collaboration. These tools provide an easy way to share files of any type so your team can work together effectively even when you’re apart.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based vs. Local File Sharing
The choice between cloud-based file sharing and local file sharing depends on your team’s needs and priorities. Each option has distinct benefits to consider.
Cloud-based file sharing, like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, allows universal access to files from anywhere with an Internet connection. Team members can view, edit, and share files on any device, enabling a flexible work environment. In contrast, local file sharing limits access to devices physically connected to the local network.
Cloud services make it easy for multiple team members to collaborate on files simultaneously. They automatically save changes and versions of documents as each person edits the file, reducing the risk of overwritten work or lost information. Most cloud platforms also allow commenting and task assignment within files to improve teamwork. Local file sharing does not provide these live collaboration and version control features.
For sensitive data, local file sharing may provide stronger security as files remain within the organization’s private network infrastructure. However, reputable cloud services employ robust security measures like encryption, password protection, and two-factor authentication to safeguard files. They can also provide an audit trail to monitor who accesses and modifies files. Organizations should evaluate the security needs of their files when choosing a solution.
Cloud-based file sharing is often free for personal use but charges monthly or annual subscription fees for business plans based on the amount of storage space and number of users. Local file sharing uses the organization’s existing network infrastructure and storage hardware so may have lower direct costs. However, it requires initial capital to establish the network as well as ongoing costs for maintenance, security, and system administration resources to manage it in-house.
In summary, while local file sharing may save on short-term costs, cloud-based services frequently provide a superior experience for team collaboration and productivity. For most organizations today, the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the benefits of maintaining a local file-sharing system. The optimal solution for any team depends on balancing key factors like accessibility, features, security requirements, and budget.
FAQ: Answering Common File Sharing Questions
One of the most common questions people have when sharing files remotely is how to ensure their files remain secure. There are a few best practices you can follow to keep your files safe:
Use strong, unique passwords
For any service you use to share or store files, make sure you have a strong, unique password that contains a minimum of 8 characters, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not reuse the same password across multiple services. Using a password manager can help generate and remember complex, unique passwords for all your accounts.
Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security to your login. It requires not only your password but also a code sent to your phone or an authentication app. Enable 2FA on any service that offers it, like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. This makes it much harder for hackers to access your account.
Be cautious when sharing sensitive files
Only share sensitive business files with coworkers who absolutely need access to them. Make sure you are sharing files with the right people. When sharing a link to a file, check that the link settings only allow access to the specific people you intend to share with. Disable the option to forward the link or download the file if not needed.
Monitor file activity and be wary of phishing emails
Keep an eye on your file-sharing services and storage accounts regularly for any suspicious activity like unknown logins, shared files you did not post yourself, or missing files. Phishing emails are a common way for hackers to gain access to accounts and steal data. Be very cautious of unsolicited requests for your login information or to click links and download attachments. Legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive data via email.
If you follow secure practices like using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, being cautious when sharing sensitive data, and monitoring accounts for suspicious activity, you can rest assured your files and data will remain safe when sharing and collaborating remotely. Do you have any other questions about how to securely share files with your team? I’m happy to provide more recommendations and advice.
Sharing files remotely with your coworkers is essential for productivity in today’s world of dispersed teams. With the right tools and processes in place, you can collaborate as effectively as if you were in the same office. By setting up cloud storage, using screen sharing for live collaboration, enabling version control, leveraging project management platforms, and keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll find your team stays in sync and work continues uninterrupted. With some experimentation, you’re sure to find the right mix of solutions for your unique needs. The future of work is flexible, but that doesn’t mean productivity or teamwork has to suffer. With the will to adapt and the help of technology, you can work together from anywhere.