It seems that the year 2020 will be known as the year we all went virtual. Meetings, webinars and conferences have all switched to hosting virtually to keep business going as usual. But this approach can be problematic if the correct applications are not being used.
With such a plethora of application options to choose from while working from home, it can be difficult to select the best platform for your business. So, we’ve collected a list of our favourite tools that make collaborating and keeping a business afloat easier during these unprecedented times.
10 Must-Have Collaborative Remote Working Apps
Remote workers can continue to stay productive, connected to their teams and even more creative without the distractions of a busy office thanks to these applications. And some of these applications are offering discounted rates during these times, so make sure you inquire before you buy.
For those already using Microsoft Office 365, using Microsoft Teams would be a great cost-effective option compared to other platforms. Microsoft Teams allows users to jump between messaging, sharing documents and having video conferences seamlessly amongst team members. You can schedule meetings or webinars with any individual or with a large group of up to 10,000 participants. Administrators even have the ability to invite external guests to a meeting using their web browser and without downloading the program.
Microsoft Teams is best suited for any company with employees already using Microsoft Office 365. To find out more about Microsoft Teams and it’s additional features and more. We wrote an in-depth review: Is Microsoft Teams Worth Buying?: A Comprehensive Review
How Much Does Microsoft Teams Cost?
Microsoft Teams is being offered for free just as long as you have a Microsoft account. The free option gives you limited file-sharing capabilities and restricts the number of users to 300 people.
For the paid versions, the cost is determined on a monthly and per user basis. If you are a small business looking to utilize Microsoft Teams as well as additional business essentials, there is a Microsoft 365 Business Basic option for $6.40/user/month or Microsoft 365 Business Standard for $16/user/month.
When you sign up for the Business Standard option, you gain full access to the Microsoft 365 desktop application suite, Additionally, if you are a larger company in need of more business options and cloud storage, Microsoft has the Office 365 E3 plan for $26.60/user/month.
It would be fair to say that Zoom is currently one of the most popular options available since the COVID-19 crisis began. Zoom Meetings offers plenty of business-focused features to stay connected such as cloud recording, online support available 24/7, and multiple video meeting options. Zoom works on macOS, Windows, Android and iOs/iPadOS and the video quality depends on the device being used but allows up to 720p with a fast internet connection. Zoom also integrates with Outlook and Chrome, so all your devices can stay connected.
Zoom is best suited for smaller businesses that only require the use of a video conferencing platform to hold meetings or webinars. To find out more about Zoom and it’s additional features and more. We wrote an in-depth review: Is Zoom Worth Buying?: An In-Depth Review
How Much Does Zoom Cost?
There are currently 4 plan options for users to select from when using Zoom.
- Free Basic Plan that allows users a 40-minute meeting with up to 100 attendees and one-on-one meetings are unlimited.
- Pro Plan is great for small teams and supports up to 9 hosts per plan and will cost you $20.00/month/host. You also gain 1GB of cloud recording space, Skype for Business integration, and the meeting duration limit is now 24 hours.
- Business and Enterprise Plans start at $27.00/month/host and come with 10 hosts for Business and 100 hosts for Enterprise. All Business plan accounts have access to all Pro features plus the use of single-sign-on access, custom URLs, cloud recording transcripts, and meetings with up to 300 participants.
Unlike other platforms, GoToMeeting works from a web browser, so you don’t need to download any additional software and you can access meetings through your desktop or mobile device. One of GoToMeeting’s key features is the Smart Meeting Assistant, which allows for video meetings to be transcribed automatically so users can simply refer back to those transcripts at any time rather than taking notes.
GoToMeeting is best suited for large businesses that need an effective conferencing tool that also automatically transcribes meetings. To find out more about GoToMeeting and it’s additional features and more. We wrote an in-depth review: Is GoToMeeting Worth Buying?: An Extensive Review
How Much Does GoToMeeting Cost?
If you are looking to simply test the software, GoToMeeting offers a free 14-day trial with no commitments and no credit card required.
- Professional Plan costs $16.25/organizer/month when you sign up for an annual plan and $19.00/organizer/month when you pay monthly. This plan supports 150 participants and all the basic functionality features.
- Business Plan will cost you $21.67/organizer/month annually and $26.00/organizer/month with a monthly subscription. Business plans offer 250 participants, unlimited cloud recordings, note-taking tools, auto transcription, and Office 365, Google Calendar, Slack and Salesforce integration.
- Enterprise Plan is custom-designed to your business needs and supports up to 3000 participants and offers bundled savings on webinars, phones and room solutions.
4. Google Meet
Google Meet is part of G Suite’s productivity platform aimed to provide first-class conferencing software. The G Suite line includes a wide range of useful programs such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and Google Calendar. These tools are built directly into the platform, so idea sharing is a breeze and you don’t have to use outside programs to stay connected.
Google Meet is best-suited for anyone already using Google’s G Suite. Formerly known as Google Hangouts, Google Meet, however, is for users who need to host secure webinars and video conferences. To find out more about Google Meet and it’s additional features and more. We wrote an in-depth review: Is Google Meet Right For Your Business?
How Much Does Google Meet Cost?
Google Meet is not a standalone product itself so you’ll need to select one of G Suite’s three available plans or test it out with a free 14-day trial.
- Basic Plan starts as low as $7.80 per user per month with 24/7 Support by phone, email or online. Users can conference with up to 100 People and offers 30GB of cloud storage.
- Business Plan costs $15.60 per user per month with conferencing up to 150 people and unlimited or 1TB per user cloud storage if fewer than 5 users.
- Enterprise Plan costs $34 per user per month and includes conferencing up to 250 people with unlimited or 1TB per user cloud storage if fewer than 5 users and offers cloud search.
In recent years, Slack has gained a devout following amongst businesses. Mainly, due to its user-friendly and simple design that provides project management tools, effective communication options and allows users to collaborate using file sharing and a feature called Channels. With Channels, you can set up different conversation threads based on a topic, project or team. Slack also has a convenient file sharing search option where everything in your public channels is searchable, so finding important files is a breeze.
Slack is best suited for companies big or small that need an effective messaging and file sharing platform. Slack does offer virtual meeting capabilities but the picture quality and connectivity are not the best.
How Much Does Slack Cost?
Getting started with Slack is free, but there are a few limitations once you download the free version.
- Free Plan allows up to 10,000 messages of storage and Slack can be integrated with up to 10 apps. Plus 1:1 voice and video calls between teammates.
- Standard Plans start at $9.12 CAN/month and includes unlimited message archiving, face-to-face group calls of up to 15 teammates.
- Plus Plans start at $17.09 CAN/month and include advanced identity management, around the clock teamwork and assistance support available 24/7.
- Enterprise Grid plans are for extra-large businesses that require tailored support for up to 500,000 users. Pricing is on a case by case basis.
With Microsoft Whiteboard you can collaborate in real-time, wherever you are! This freeform digital canvas is integrated into Microsoft Teams and was originally designed to be an interactive whiteboard that could be used during in-person meetings, but it has evolved into a great tool for educators in a classroom setting.
Users can get very creative while using Microsoft Whiteboard, easily draw, import photos and text from the web onto your whiteboard during your next meeting or brainstorming session. Your team will be able to collaborate on your whiteboard in real-time and your board will stay safe in the cloud, ready to resume from any device.
Microsoft Whiteboard is best suited for businesses using Office 365 and who require interactive collaboration tools during meetings or brainstorming sessions.
How Much Does Microsoft Whiteboard Cost?
Similar to Microsoft Teams, you need a Microsoft account with Office 365 to use Microsoft Whiteboard. Once you are a subscriber, you can download the app for free on Windows or iOs.
When it comes to helping your team stay organized, whether it’s for work, your next vacation or a side project, Trello is here for you. This top of the line project management tool can be used to collaborate on projects from beginning to end. Trello’s To-Do list tool allows users to customize lists by its status or completion (eg. “In progress,” “ready to start, and “done”). You can really get into the details by adding attachments, comments, due dates and more to your Trello cards.
Trello’s best feature has to be the built-in workflow automation Butler. With Butler you can boost productivity and remove the need for tedious tasks with automated rule-based triggers, custom card and board buttons, calendar commands and due date commands.
Trello is best suited for companies who don’t want to use inefficient paper-based systems or long email chains for project management. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.
How Much Does Trello Cost?
Getting started with Trello is free and comes with a bunch of unlimited features and users can upgrade their subscriptions for added benefits.
- Free Plan includes unlimited personal boards, cards and lists and 10MB per file attachment.
- Business Class starts at $13.66 CAN/user/month annually and includes 250MB per file attachment, advanced checklist, priority support, observers and custom backgrounds & stickers.
- Enterprise starts at $28.47 CAN/user/month for 100 users and includes everything in Business class plus a plethora of added admin and security features.
Yammer has been referred to as the “Facebook for Businesses” with its easy to use messaging services that allow large groups to quickly post company updates. Users can also create and host town halls and training sessions for up to 10,000 attendees within Yammer. Designed to build stronger communities within an organization by sharing ideas, giving feedback and keeping employees informed.
With Yammer, you can share, create and bring the social experience to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and other Microsoft 365 apps easily.
Yammer is best suited for companies that want to improve communication and engagement within your organization. Also, if you already subscribe to Office 365, Yammer is a great tool to utilize.
How Much Does Yammer Cost?
Similar to Microsoft Teams, you need a Microsoft account with Office 365 to use Yammer. Once you are a subscriber, you can download the app for free on Windows or Mac OS.
Basecamp is a web-based real-time communication tool that will help your team stay on the same page while working remotely. Basecamp facilitates a way for companies to create and keep track of projects, organize and prioritize tasks and monitor document progress. Each project created in Basecamp contains everything related to the task at hand; every conversation, the people involved, each file and document and any important dates.
Basecamp is best suited for any organization that needs to manage a remote group effectively. With features like calendaring, message boards, group chats, to-do-lists, file sharing and automatic check-ins, remote work is a breeze thanks to Basecamp.
How Much Does Basecamp Cost?
Basecamp is offering a free 30 day trial with no credit card required and you can cancel at any time. They also offer a paid subscription with additional features.
- Free 30 Day Trial includes unlimited projects, users and clients, 500GB of storage, project templates and priority support.
- Personal is free but limited to 3 projects, 20 users and 1GB of storage space.
- Business starts at $135.33 CAN/month, flat and gives you access to all the features available during your free trial.
With Box, you get everything in a nice little package. The application boasts frictionless security features, seamless collaboration tools, a simplified workflow and excellent app integration with more than 1,500 of your favourite apps. Box is a great option for remote workers who need versatile and unlimited cloud storage, file-sharing capabilities and a secure collaborative tool you can access on any device.
Box is best suited for small businesses that use programs such as Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.
How Much Does Box Cost?
With Box, you can choose a plan that’s right for your business. They have plans for Individuals, Businesses, Enterprises or Platform Plans.
- Free Plan includes 10 GB of storage and an upload limit of 250MB.
- Personal Pro starts at $14 CAN/month and includes 100GB of storage and a 5 GB file upload limit.
- Starter costs $6.65 CAN/user/month paid annually and includes 100GB storage, 2GB upload limit and a maximum of 10 users.
- Business costs $19.95 CAN/user/month paid annually and has unlimited storage, 5GB upload limit, 1 enterprise app integrations and unlimited users.
- Business Plus costs $33.25 CAN/user/month paid annually and includes 3 enterprise app integrations.
- Enterprise starts at $49 CAN/user/month paid annually and has unlimited app integrations.
Additional pricing is available for Enterprise Suite and Platform subscriptions.
With so many collaborative remote working tools available today that help you manage projects and streamline communication, it can be daunting to decide which platform is best for your team or business. We hope this list has helped you narrow down the decision process and gave you a better understanding of what tools are available out there.
Need More Advice on Remote Work Solutions?
At Office Interiors, we strongly believe that it is our responsibility to provide our customers with answers and information they need to make an informed decision. We would love to have the opportunity to earn your business and help you to love the way you work!
We aim to answer all the questions and concerns our customers might have. After reading this article, if you still have any questions feel free to contact one of our team members. We’re always happy to help you on your journey to staying connected when it counts.