Over the past couple of years, a lot of people have found themselves working from home. For some, the idea of working from home is a dream come true (excluding thethat conspired to make that a necessity).
But video conferencing alone just doesn't cut it.raises a number of challenges, and those challenges become even more of an issue when those remote workers have to collaborate with other team members. To keep productivity and morale up, teams will need tools to come together online, to collaborate in real-time, and work as though they were still in the same building. This is vital. And these days trying to make do using email, the odd to-do list, and
Integration is key, and team members working remotely need the right online collaboration tools and project management tools that bring together features such as instant messaging, video calls, screen sharing, and time tracking to help them get the job done. Let's take a look at the best online collaboration tools currently on offer.
Best overall option
Google needs no introduction when it comes to search, but there's a lot more to the company than web searches and the browser. Our top pick for the best collaboration app is Google Workspace.
Google Workspace includes remote collaboration tools including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and communication tools including Hangouts Meet and Chat.
Pricing starts at $6 per month and user.
- Integrates well with other Google tools
- Poor choice for those not in the Google ecosystem
- Not as fully features as some collaboration tools
- No free tier
Best option with the most integrated apps
Aimed specifically at software development, Atlassian Jira allows users to plan the software, track and prioritize the creation process, release, and get reports on all steps of the project. Choose the way you work, either using an out-of-the-box workflow, or create one to match the way your team works.
Jira integrates with over 3,000 different apps and third-party services. There's a free version for those with under 10 users, and pricing starts at $7.50 per month and user.
- Lots of features
- Decent free version
- Can be quite daunting in terms of features
Best option for messaging
Slack's strong points are that it can integrate with a wide array of services that businesses are probably already using -- from Dropbox and Google Drive to Salesforce and Zoom. It's also popular, used across the world by a wide range of companies, including big names like Lyft and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
There's a free plan available for small teams, and prices start at $6.67 per month and active user. A 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA is available for higher-priced plans.
- Good price
- Lots of features
- Widely used
- Decent free plan
- Fantastic integration with other tools
- Can be quite a steep learning curve
Best cloud storage option
There's more to Dropbox Business than just file storage -- it's also a smart workspace where teams, tools, and content come together. With Dropbox Business you can create, store, and share cloud content from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and easily access your team's work from your computer, mobile device, or any web browser. There's also deep integration with tools such as Slack and Zoom.
There's a 30-day free trial. After that, prices start at $16.58 per month and user (minimum three users).
- Good integration with Google tools
- Easy to set up and use
- No free tier
Best project management option
Asana is perfect for groups that need to focus on getting projects done. It allows you to map your project out as a Gantt chart, then create portfolios of steps, and monitor the workload of each member. Asana also has a wide range of integration tools, connecting to a broad range of online services, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, and more.
There's a free plan available, and prices start at $10.99 per month and user. Paid plans come with priority support and Premium Academy trainings.
- Decent free plan
- Good support and trainings
- Bread integration
- Not the cheapest by far
- Might be overkill for some users
Best option for Microsoft users
Microsoft has a lot to offer in the collaboration world. Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are two totally different platforms that offer different features. SharePoint is a collaboration platform that integrates well with other Office 365 apps. Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, is a hub that allows remote workers to chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place.
Despite their differences, you can integrate the two platforms together. Microsoft Teams offers a free plan, while SharePoint starts at $4 per month and user.
- Great choice for those using Microsoft tools
- Good free plan
- Decent price
- Best avoided by those not using Microsoft tools
Best workflow option
Trello puts the fun -- or at least tries to put the fun -- into what is usually a tedious task. It uses boards, lists, and cards to allow you to organize and prioritize your projects in a flexible and easy-to-use way.
A limited free plan is available, and paid plans, which include larger file attachments, unlimited team boards, and app integrations, start at $10 per month and user.
- Free plan
- Pricey compared to some of the competition
- Free plan has limits
- Not as fully-features as some other offerings
Why are collaboration apps important?
Online collaboration can work, and work well, but it needs some planning and preparation. Otherwise, productivity and efficiency take a big drop -- as does morale (don't underestimate that).
With a big upturn in working from home and remote working, it's fortunate that we no longer have to try to make do with ad-hoc systems of cobbled together services, with email in one app, video conferencing in another, file sharing in another, and projects and to-do lists somewhere else completely. Integration is key to not only efficiency and productivity, but also when it comes to providing support for remote workers.
Giving remote workers the tools they need to collaborate in real-time, and to do so using a platform that makes that as simple as possible allows team members to get on with their projects, rather than be fighting with the tools to get the job done.
How did we choose these collaboration apps?
We selected these products through a combination of testing, examining the sales information, and reading customer reviews has been used in narrowing down these collaboration tools.
Which collaboration app is the best?
Our top pick for the best collaboration app is Google Workspace. However, everyone's needs are likely to be different, so it is highly recommended that you carefully consider your needs and check to make sure that the service offers what you need.
If a free trial is offered, it's advised you take the opportunity to test the service before paying.
$6/month and user
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Gmail, Meet, etc.
Email, calendar, spreadsheets, cloud storage, video and voice conferencing, and more
$7.50/month and user
3,000 different apps and third-party services
Track and prioritize projects, get reports, create and customize your teams' workflow
$6.67/month and user
Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce, Zoom, Microsoft Outlook, and more
Messaging, file sharing, huddles, clips, and more
$16.58/month and user
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Zoom, Slack, and more
Create, store, and share cloud content
$10.99/month and user
Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, etc.
Organizing group projects and team workflow, assign tasks
$4/month and user (Teams is free)
Microsoft Office 365
Collaborate with team members, message, call, and video chat
$10/month and user
Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and more
Organize and prioritize projects
Are there alternative collaboration apps worth considering?
Here are a few others to look into: