“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
For a lot of people, remote work became a standard considering the global crisis that we’re going through. Standard meetings and other business processes are changing, and the need for good and effective tools is even higher now.
According to a study done by Nintex called Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes, they have identified some major issues:
55% of workers have trouble accessing tools and documents that enable good job performance;
49% have difficulties locating documents while 43% think that sharing documents is a difficult and complicated process.
After a thorough research and some testing, we came up with a list of the best business collaboration tools for remote work. We organized them by type, so you can have a clear view of their purpose and what can you achieve by using these tools. Happy reading! 😊
Document collaboration tools allow multiple users to work together on a single document or file, at the same time, from different devices and locations using an Internet connection. The documents are usually hosted in a “cloud”, such as public Wikis (Wikipedia).
Archbee: A great platform which allows writing documentation, centralizing company's information and unifying knowledge. It has 25+ useful integrations that allow great flexibility, improves onboarding time and increases team collaboration. It can be used as an internal knowledge base or as an external documentation platform for clients and customers. It was designed with some advanced features for developers to create document APIs, architecture diagrams, changelogs, write code and others. A simple to use tool with complex capabilities, the go-to solution when it comes to documentation.
Google Docs: Arguably the most popular document collaboration tool because of it’s resemblance with Microsoft Word and being included in Google Suite, which is one of the most used workspaces in the world. With Google Docs you can create documents, share them with colleagues via official invite, or a specific link granting them editing permissions.
Zoho Docs: Really similar to Google Docs, it provides a great cloud platform for small companies where you can create and organize documents and folders, as well as grant permissions for different users. Zoho Docs provides a document management software that’s an alternative to Google Docs, but they are not really suitable as an internal documentation platform.
Real-time communication or synchronous communication implies simultaneous exchange of information between two or more people, over text, voice or video call.
Slack: Probably the most used real-time communication tool that allows teams and businesses to communicate with each other in real time. You can organize discussions by topic and group, similar to instant messaging chatrooms, and allow cooperation on documents and files. Launched in 2013, Slack has replaced e-mail discussions at many companies, although e-mail is still the dominant medium of communication in workplaces. Is the go-to solution when it comes to synchronous communication.
Zoom: Real-time communication isn’t just text. In the age of technology, video and audio are equally as important. Zoom is already the most popular videoconferencing tool in schools, higher education institutions around the world are attracted to it because of its ease of use, reliability, as well as its picture and audio quality. Zoom’s platform was specifically built for multimedia conferencing, making it easy to video chat or join a call with dozens of individuals at once.
Discord: Launched in 2015, it’s a free app mainly used by gamers, art communities, school clubs and other small communities. It allows easy communication in both text and audio/video calls. Discord is organized in servers which are organized into topic-based channels where you can collaborate, share, and talk. Even though it’s not as “business” focused as Slack or Zoom, it’s a great alternative for a small business, but we only recommend it for internal communication.
No need to explain what email is at this point. If you managed to find this blog, I’m pretty sure you already know. But…just in case you don’t know, an email is a magical place where love and affection that you once received in form of postcards or letters, can now be felt in a 21st century vibe; In simple words, “e” stands for electronic, so email is an electronic mail. You’re welcome!
G-mail: The most popular e-mail service with over one billion users, it offers a great deal of flexibility and customizability to its users. Users can arrange their inbox with filters, labels, and also utilize the wide range of third-party add-ons that extend its functionality. Easy to use and understand, free for personal use. It’s also included in Google Suite and integrated with Google Calendar which makes it easy for users to see their calendar directly from their email client.
Microsoft Outlook: An old school software that is mainly used to send and receive emails. It also integrates other functionalities where you can manage other types of data including calendar appointments, tasks, contacts and notes. First introduced to the public in 1997, Microsoft Outlook was included in many of the Microsoft Office application suites since then. On Windows 10, the application is usually pre-installed, which is pretty nice.
ProtonMail: An email service that focuses on privacy and security more than anything. Sign up can be done anonymously, there’s no logging of IP addresses and all the emails are end-to-end encrypted. The goal of this software is to provide the safest experience possible, respect user privacy and secure them against cyberattacks. Another cool fact about ProtonMail is that all user data is protected by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO) which offers some of the strongest privacy protection in the world for both individuals and companies.
Asana: A web and mobile application designed to help teams prioritize goals, stay on-task, and collaborate across all parts of a project. List, timeline, calendar, and accomplishment views let employees pick their perspective on work, while in-app messaging and integrations bring the project together one step at a time. It’s one of the most used tools in project management because of it’s good UX and ease of use.
Trello: Trello uses boards and cards to help you get things done. For any new project that you have, you create a board, add lists and populate lists with “cards” which basically allow you to collect tasks under a single project header. Each card is assigned to someone, who manages it as part of the larger project. They have this unique take on project management based on visuals and simplicity, which makes it a great tool overall.
Wrike: Was founded in 2006, managed to gather more than 1 million users and be recognized as one of the best project management tools. Wrike offers multiple options for users to manage tasks and projects. The application includes features such as task management, time tracking, Gantt Charts, and customizable dashboards. The only drawback for Wrike is that it has a lot of features and it’s hard to master and use, compared with Asana and Trello which are easier to learn and understand.
Google Calendar: Google has the edge in its usability when it comes to calendar, it includes features for creating events, integrating with other cloud services, and recognizing appointments sent to your Gmail account. Combined with Gmail, this is the best email-calendar combo that you can have. (in our humble opinion)
Microsoft Outlook: Yes, you’re not seeing double, it’s back again! Similar in which Gmail and Google Calendar work together, Outlook is both calendar and email under the same umbrella. It’s considered the old standard, and for a good reason. Many companies use it because this all-in-one client makes this tool really easy to use, intuitive, and directly integrated into user email and address book.
Calendly: We actually love Calendly, it’s a great tool that can automate meetings and connect with up to six of your calendars to automatically check availability and help you manage meetings. It integrates with both Google Calendar and Outlook, it’s really easy to use and the free version offers great features. The tool is mainly used to “schedule” meetings for you, without you even breaking a sweat, you just have to set your availability and the tool does everything for you. Pretty cool, right?
As a wise man once said: “Google it!”; we did, and Wikipedia said: “Cloud storage is a model of computer data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools, said to be on the cloud.” But in other words, cloud storage is a space owned by a provider (hosting company),with multiple servers (sometimes across multiple locations, to ensure a fast connection). These providers are responsible for keeping user data safe, available and accessible at all times.
Google Drive: We mentioned Google Suite a couple of times in this article, so you can consider Google Drive as being the “heart” of the operation: the place where all the files are stored and organized. Google’s cloud storage platform is free with an email address, extremely secure, lightning fast, and very easy to navigate. In Google Drive you can share files between users with ease and they have a great search engine that is changing how people access files. It’s the most popular solution out there, launched only in 2012 and managed to reach more than 800 million active users.
Dropbox: One of the OG’s of cloud file storage platforms, Dropbox is a great software with a simple interface, good security and awesome integrations. According to eBool - 92% of the Fortune 500 companies use Dropbox, which means that the product is great and this fact is well known by the most efficient and productive companies in the world. The price is good for the amount of space that they offer, so if you need some cloud space, this could be a good option for you!
Box: Provides the same concept as Dropbox, the difference is that they have more native apps to improve team collaboration within the platform, it’s more cost-effective, especially for smaller teams. Their focus is productivity, collaboration, and their 1500+ integrations help a lot with that.
Regardless of what software you’re using, the most important thing is that your investment makes sense and you’re not spending money for something that doesn’t bring value into your business. Every year, more and more tools are coming on the market and it’s good to be open-minded about new concepts and solutions, because they can make a big difference in your business. What was considered a good software in 2015, might be irrelevant in 2020, because of how fast things are moving in the software business. Stay safe, open your eyes and be smart with your decisions, don’t choose something just because other people think you should.