Unified Workspace for Your Team: Everything You Need to Know

May 21, 2024

Teams and organizations without a digital task management solution often face significant challenges. Among the most common issues are communication problems. Without a unified platform, information is fragmented across messages, Google Docs, documents on individual laptops, and even verbal agreements.

This significantly complicates project coordination. Without a clear overview, there’s a higher risk of misallocating tasks, using outdated data, or missing deadlines altogether.

The absence of a unified online platform impacts team productivity. This results in constant clarifications, misunderstandings of deadlines, and often isolated stages and processes that should work together seamlessly.

However, the good news is that a good task manager, CRM, or similar project management solution can handle all these issues. In short, a unified workspace. Today, we’ll talk about it.

What Problems Does a Unified Workspace Solve?

Let’s start with the basics: why do you need such a platform? Implementing new technology just to stay trendy is not the best strategy. However, digitalization generally helps simplify life and task execution both personally and at the company level.

Using applications that serve as online hubs for teams solves a host of problems, such as:

  • Centralizing all information about the activities of individual teams and the company as a whole.
  • Allowing multiple people to add to this data, increasing overall awareness and reducing the risk of losing information in personal communications.
  • Providing each employee access to the necessary files and information at any time and from any device.
  • Making processes more transparent, as they can be tracked online—monitoring updates, seeing overall progress, and understanding each participant’s role in the project.
  • Easing managers’ planning efforts, as processes, deadlines, individual workloads, gaps, and other important aspects become clearer.

A unified workspace helps to structure information effectively and make it easily accessible, which is the foundation of efficient work.

How About Teams Working in an Office?

Teams working in an office also need online tools. While an office is inherently a unified workspace—with meeting rooms, smoking areas, coffee lounges, flip charts, etc.—every individual still retains some personal workspace in their mind.

A digital platform aims to integrate everything online as much as possible. This is the best way not to lose important fragments from conversations, correspondence, and brainstorming sessions. Such programs allow storing information in the form of cards, notes, or other convenient formats.

To understand why it’s important to have a task and project management tool, let’s consider the consequences of not having one.

  1. Participants may have different interpretations of tasks, expected outcomes, or their role in the process, leading to conflicts or delays.
  2. Without clear visualization, it’s hard to assess real deadlines and workloads for each participant, increasing the risk of delays.
  3. Sometimes participants lack necessary information at the start and spend too much time searching for it. Without centralized data storage, it’s unclear where to find the information, whom to ask, and how long such a request will take.
  4. The more people involved in a process and the more tasks it includes, the higher the risk of losing or overlooking something essential—information, permissions, start signals, etc.—which can easily be missed in chats or emails.

These and similar problems often prompt the search for a digital solution.

What Options and Alternatives Exist?

Of course, it’s possible to work without a unified virtual space. However, something has led you to search for information about new tools, indicating there are issues.

The typical “before” scenario involves storing information on paper, fragmented, or locally. Simply put, data fragments, statuses, and updates are hidden in personal communication, notes, emails with others in copy, different file versions on personal computers, or at best, in a shared Google Drive folder. Even the latter doesn’t guarantee 100% relevance.

For tracking and visualization, one of the simplest (or rather, most familiar) options is Google Sheets. Here, you can add multiple sheets and use each for different functions, though they have many limitations.

A shared chat, email threads, a task calendar, notes in various forms—each tool covers part of the needs for planning and task management. A fully-fledged unified workspace can only be a platform specifically designed for these needs.

In other words, the alternative is careful use of many office programs. As for the options, there are plenty—from the familiar Trello to complex multifunctional systems like ClickUp and Jira.

How to Choose a Unified Workspace?

If the necessity is clear, choosing might be more challenging due to the variety of solutions. Be prepared for the search to take some time. Here’s what to focus on.

1. Identify the Tasks the Platform Should Solve

If you started looking for detailed information, you already have at least one problem hindering effective work. List a few more issues your team faces.

This might include inefficient communication, confusion over file versions, delays at certain stages, or something else. Create a detailed list of such problems. If there are many, group them by topic: communication, task distribution, etc. Then prioritize them.

This analysis will help in the next step. Knowing what needs to be solved makes the search easier.

2. Compile a List of Options and Explore Them

With a specific request in hand, start searching for and familiarizing yourself with platforms for managing work processes. Choose a few options to begin your research.

At this stage, the reason for adding a platform to your list doesn’t matter—whether it’s frequent mentions or a visually appealing website. Don’t make the list endless. Choose five to ten options and learn more about them.

Key factors to consider:

  • Functionality: Ensure the platform offers solutions for your problems. It doesn’t have to be an all-in-one tool, but it should have the functions you currently lack for efficient work.
  • Integrations: Check if integrations with other programs are available. This is useful if your team uses specific tools. Even if not, integration with email, calendar, messenger, and other basic apps will ease the work.
  • Cost: Determine your budget for new software. Task management tools have a wide price range, so you’ll find something within your budget. Often, these systems offer several pricing packages and discounts for multiple-month payments.
  • Features: Note “conflict” points—user count, regional availability, price fluctuations depending on features, etc. Any limitations should be outweighed by benefits. Otherwise, the new software won’t make sense.
  • Complexity: The interface design is the first thing you notice when opening a site. Despite the functionality, the system should be simple and clear. Complexity can lead to resistance from the team.
  • Reviews: User feedback can significantly aid your choice. Check independent ratings like G2 and Capterra for insights. Low ratings and frequent negative comments can warn you of difficulties.

3. Use Trial Periods to Test the Platform

Most software products offer a free basic plan or at least a week-long trial. If you can’t decide which option suits your team best, test a few in real working conditions.

If there’s no trial period, consider a one-month subscription. It’s best to involve several team members to test different functionalities and share feedback.

This step isn’t mandatory. You might find the perfect solution without multiple rounds of testing.

4. Set Deadlines for Choosing and Testing

Set time limits for decision-making. The deeper you dive into research, the harder it is to choose something. Allocate a week or two for selecting and test-driving one or several systems. Limit the number of options for testing—e.g., three. Deadlines and restrictions help focus on the most important aspects.

Tracy as a Unified Workspace for Your Team

Tracy is an application builder for managing work processes, allowing you to organize a unified workspace tailored to your team’s needs.

Tracy offers many ready-made templates easily adaptable for various teams—sales departments, HR teams, office managers, etc. The platform suits IT project management, production management, field service, non-profit work, and more.

Our app builder aims to simplify daily tasks and large project management through:

  • Support for diverse data sets—orders, products, clients, etc.
  • Flexible customization of these data sets with necessary fields—text descriptions, photos, locations, lists, and more.
  • Confidentiality and different access settings for users based on their roles.
  • Stages corresponding to different process steps and notifications of changes, ensuring project flow.
  • Convenient visualization of work processes in various ways (Kanban board, Gantt chart, calendar, etc.).

Learn more about Tracy’s features in the “How It Works” section. Install the app on your smartphone, laptop, or open it in a browser and start testing a unified workspace for your team. The basic version for three users is free.