5 Tips to Keep Your Team on the Same Page Even if They’re Not on the Same Platform

5 Tips to Keep Your Team on the Same Page Even if They’re Not on the Same Platform

Post-pandemic, businesses are increasingly shifting to remote or hybrid models, and teams have become more dispersed and globalized than ever. Chances are, you have colleagues spread across multiple time zones with very different technology resources and cultural expectations. For instance, maybe you have one primarily Google-based team in New York and an office full of Microsoft Teams users in London. Or your tech team uses Linux, but the rest of your office is all on some sort of Windows-based system.

You could force all your employees to migrate to the same software, but in some cases it might not be possible or affordable. You’ve already invested in training your employees to rely on particular types of platforms and software. Instead, it might make more sense to look at ways to smoothly integrate both (or multiple) sets of technologies. Here are some ways to keep teams on the same page across platforms, departments, or even oceans.

1. Sync Schedules and Data

Use calendar management tools to sync scheduling and other data between different sources and platforms. This way, all your employees are always working off the same information, even if they use different software. APIs and specialized software can seamlessly connect tools like Google, Microsoft, and iCal calendars. This way, employees can stay up to date on each other’s schedules.

Syncing tools can also share real-time data between other types of applications, like contacts lists or email inboxes. Any time one user updates info on one platform, like adding a new contact, the change is made across both. Or, if an email arrives at a single address, it can be visible in, say, both Outlook and Gmail messages. Everyone gets the same information and gets to keep using the platforms they’re already comfortable with.

2. Use Real-Time Communication Tools

Agreeing on shared communication tools and protocols can help keep disjointed teams on the same wavelength. For example, leadership can decide that all time-sensitive messages be delivered through Slack. You can set a policy that all employees must keep notifications turned on when they are working. With shared protocols, urgent messages are less likely to fall through the cracks. They get through even if there’s an email outage, spam filter issue, or other mishap.

Slack and Teams are two of the most popular options (and competition between the two is intense) for inter- and intra-office messaging. The former is favored for its ease of use for casual chats. The latter is more often used for a wider range of functions, like video conferencing. But the tools don’t matter as much as the consensus on which you’ll use and how you’ll use them. Get your employees to buy in on the concept of fluid communication, more so than the platform.

3. Try Collaborative Software

For teams working across different software programs or locations, you’ll need some shared, collaborative tools. For example, there will be times when everyone needs to access the same document through the same platform. For these types of projects, try a free, shared document tool like Google Drive. Aim to choose tools that can be accessed from anywhere, without downloading any plugins or paying subscription fees.

Project management tools are perhaps one of the most important ways to keep all your team members on the same page. You’ll need them regardless of what software you’re using, to keep everyone on track with deadlines. Tools like Asana and ClickUp let you assign projects to workers across multiple platforms, offices, and countries. Dates and other information are automatically synced, so no one has to convert deadlines or meeting times in their heads.

4. Agree on Shared, Universal File Formats

Some file formats naturally won’t work from one piece of software or operating system to another. For certain projects, you may have to agree on shared file formats that work universally for everyone on your team. Most modern document formats, like PDF, JPEG, and DOCX files will now open on any Mac or Windows OS. But certain files, like executable files (ie. applications) may require special software or different versions for different platforms.

As with communication, the rule for file-sharing is to establish a protocol and stick with it. If the rest of your team is sharing PDF files, don’t let just one person upload a Word document. A cloud-sharing platform (did someone say Google Drive again?) is often the easiest and most accessible option for remote teams. But any type of consistency will make it much easier and less stressful for your whole team to work together.

5. Check-in, Briefly

No one likes meetings, and having tons of meetings is not a good work-around for incompatible software platforms. But it is a good idea to have some sort of system that keeps team-members checking in regularly face-to-face. A brief weekly video call that’s 30 minutes or less can be a good way to check on progress and address questions. But it isn’t a solution for larger issues with communication or workflow procedures.

One good use for video meetings might be to educate team members on the platforms their colleagues are using. Briefing each other on the ins and outs of their tech can help foster more understanding and prevent silos. This only works, though, if you can get everyone to come to the meeting in the first place. And good luck convincing Zoom users there’s ever a good reason to get on a Teams call.

Stay Connected

It bears repeating: it doesn’t matter exactly what tools you use to keep your team connected. The most important tools your team has are communication skills and a collaborative mindset. You chose your team members because they were smart and savvy — perhaps enough so to be worth hiring across borders. Establish clear workflows and channels for information-sharing, and most issues will likely take care of themselves.


I'm a technology content writer with a solid track record, boasting over five years of experience in the dynamic field of content marketing. Over the course of my career, I've collaborated with a diverse array of companies, producing a wide spectrum of articles that span industries, ranging from news pieces to technical deep dives.