A world globe.Taking company retreats is fantastic, but we all know that life--both personal and work-related—doesn’t stop while we’re away. Here are some tools we found helpful for staying connected to people back home.

Send free text messages with What's AppDownload this 99¢ app to exchange text messages without having to pay for SMS fees. This cross-platform mobile messaging service also features group chats, push notifications, and unlimited image, video, and audio messages, and it makes it easy to stay connected to friends, family, and colleagues who use the service.

Make free video calls with Skype: An oldie but still a goodie, Skype gives you free, international calling to other Skype members. These calls include optional video and can be made to an individual or a group, making it a good service for conference calling. Other features include free instant messaging and file transfers, and the ability to call mobile phones or landlines for pennies a minute. Download the mobile app so you can Skype on the go and be reached anywhere you have wifi.

Collaborate remotely with IdeaBoardz: This free site allows you to collaborate and brainstorm ideas using digital sticky notes. The interface is engaging and easy to use, and can also be used for task lists, so you can keep track of what’s going on back at the office. A tool like IdeaBoardz is helpful when you return from your trip, as well: Use it to compile your notes and discuss what worked and what didn’t among a group, post-retreat.

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