Remote working setup has become commonplace but due to the unique challenges facing organizations that adopt this work setup, it is more important than ever to find the best collaborative tools to increase productivity and efficiency. With a higher focus on team collaboration to overcome the gaps of remote working conditions, now is the best time to leverage online tools, if you haven’t already.
Here you will discover tools that are designed to facilitate online collaboration to keep your team on the same page in all aspects of your work.
What Are Collaborative Tools and Apps?
The advent of online collaborative tools has transformed the way people work online. It is any type of software that is designed to make work more efficient and boost productivity. Most collaborative tools make task designation easier to track progress. With these systems, everyone knows their roles and the tasks expected of them. In a way, this approach to doing work boosts productivity because it increases a sense of accountability with every member of the team.
All members of the team have access to this tool giving them all the resources and information needed to complete each project. Instead of using multiple tools to get the work done, they can be done within a similar platform. For example, there is a project board where everyone can see what projects are due for the week and team members can upload the documents relating to that project on the same platform. Everyone will be able to see if a new file is shared (instead of having to email members of the team individually).
Most online collaborative tools share the same set of features like file sharing, progress visualization charts, task status updates, chat support, and so on. Depending on which tool you use, there are additional functionalities such as video conferencing and live-sharing of co-created documents.
Beyond the ability to communicate in real time, these tools benefit teams and organizations by providing accurate insights into the progress with any job. As a result, you develop higher efficiency and stay on top of your schedule.
The 11 Best Online Collaborative Tools
So, what are the best collaborative tools to promote teamwork and collaboration? These are the best 12 that are available today.
Aptly named, this collaborative tool is one of the best ones around, especially for small to medium-sized businesses that want to adopt an efficient project management system.
The dashboard of Teamwork is designed so that projects are easily visible to every member of the team. This is excellent for planning ahead, especially since Teamwork is equipped with a full suite of tools such as help desk, team chat, project management, and content collaboration.
The Chat feature is also integrated into the workflow to make it easier for people from different departments to communicate and collaborate and ensures that any queries are addressed in a prompt manner. The Chat feature is integral to this tool because it makes it easier to share ideas and/or seek feedback.
This tool is suitable for all skill levels and has plenty of support materials, if you want to maximize its use. There is a free version that lets you manage up to 3 projects and is open for 5 users. If you want to go for the paid version, it will cost $10 per user per month.
This collaborative tool is considered the best for large enterprises, or for those that need to manage both projects and resources. LiquidPlanner is expensive but for those who meet the criteria above, then you will find that it is a worthwhile investment.
If you require complex project management, then this tool can get the job done. For starters, you can create projects and add notes or additional details for each project based on the provided fields and have the ability to create custom fields. You can also add checklists and milestones for every task.
What sets this tool apart is that it is not just designed to manage projects, but also resources and staff availability. You can keep track of who’s available or who’s out of the office, crucial for enterprises that want a better way to manage resources to increase their profit margin. It will help you to utilize resources across all projects with ease.
Due to the complexity of this tool, it will require an investment of time to learn, but the payoff will be worth it since it is designed to help you work smarter and more efficiently.
LiquidPlanner is available in two account levels: Professional and Enterprise. You need to have at least 5 users for each of these account types. The cost of the Professional account is $540 annually while the Enterprise account will set you back $4,140 per year. There is a minimum one-year contract requirement for both types of accounts.
Asana is one of the most popular collaborative tools online, and it lets you achieve organization to the max. Since it was launched in 2008, Asana has been considered one of the pioneers in this industry for team collaboration. TED, Pinterest, Intel, and Uber are just some of the companies that use Asana.
It is designed to be highly intuitive and even those who have no previous experience using collaborative tools online will be able to easily grasp it and use it to keep track of pending and future projects while making it easier to designate tasks. As you would expect, this tool allows you to create to-do lists, designate tasks to colleagues, and set reminders for deadlines.
When team members add posts to the app, they can also leave additional comments (such as instructions for tasks, etc), and format tasks in a list or board. The tool also comes with its own search function so you can easily find documents or files.
Basecamp is one of the old-timers when it comes to collaboration tools online. Founded in 1999, it is a multi-purpose app that serves both communication and collaborative functions and brings together all of the essential features you need from various software into one tool.
Within easy access from the dashboard, you’ll find project resources and various features and functionalities to maximize productivity and collaboration among team members such as message boards, chats, scheduling, to-do lists, and a place to upload or share files and other documents.
One of the advantages of using Basecamp is that it is reasonably priced. You will only pay a one-time fee of $99.99 for an unlimited number of users. This is a practical solution for large organizations with many team members.
If you are looking for a reliable collaborative to-do list tool, Todoist is the best in the market. Aside from providing you with an easy-to-use to-do list app, it is also excellent for project collaboration. If you are on a budget and need an efficient tool to manage projects and sort them according to priority, then this is what you need.
Todoist is superior to other collaborative tools because it syncs effortlessly with every major platform and gives you access to a variety of features and functionalities to improve collaboration. For example, you can set priority ratings and labels on your to-do lists while maintaining a clutter-free interface. For this same reason, Todoist is recommended for all skill levels of users because it is user-friendly.
Toggl makes it to the list of the best collaboration tools online because it simplifies the process of organization, collaboration, and delivery of projects. One of the most unique features about Toggl is its use of color-coded visual overviews which makes it easy to keep track of information and projects in one place because you can identify each one easily through the colour coded system.
Project managers rely on this tool to check for team availability, progress on ongoing projects, and workloads and team members can use the visual cues to identify important updates on certain projects and any upcoming ones. It is also easy for team members to work together on a single project as it is easy to add task comments and share files via this tool.
Slack is a collaboration tool that does not require any introduction. It has millions of users because it is incredibly smart and highly effective as a collaboration tool. It makes it easy to communicate with team members about projects you are working on together and you can send chats to individuals or as a group, you can even organize these conversations based on specific categories.
There is also a video calling feature in Slack, which is handy when you want to have an in-depth discussion about projects with fellow team members. Slack offers the ability to share and send files through its platform and if you require a large storage space, you can integrate this with Dropbox and Google Drive.
8. Microsoft 365
One of the most reliable tools used by organizations and teams for collaboration, Microsoft 365 is equipped with a suite of tools and features that optimize functionality. Even though you might not necessarily think of Microsoft 365 right away when talking about collaborative tools online, it has all the tools you need.
Microsoft Office, for example, is still the top office suite out there, it is integral to any business or team collaboration because it provides all the tools you need in one place – Word for document processing, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentation, and so on. Microsoft Teams is now bundled with Microsoft 365 and offers video conferencing capabilities.
If you want a clean and easy-to-use tool for improving collaboration, then Trello is one of the most recommended project management software tools out there because it makes organization a breeze. You can choose between a board and a list to sort through your projects and can designate tasks to specific individuals or add to-do lists. You may also add cards to every designated task as a way to provide additional instructions or give feedback to delivered work output.
Trello also offers integration with other productivity apps such as Google Drive, Evernote, or GitHub. Trello is available for free, but you can also choose the premium versions if you want to access more features.
Monday.com is primarily an online communication tool but it is also integrated with collaboration features. It is a great tool to keep all members of your team in sync with projects being worked on and the pending ones. It has its own work operating system that organizes tasks visually.
With this platform, you can plan, track, and collaborate on any project. It provides a drag-and-drop functionality that makes it convenient for improving workflow management and for sharing files and other documents.
You can try Monday.com before you fully implement it. There is a free trial available that does not require you to submit payment information. It gives you a “bird’s eye view” of ongoing projects so you can allocate tasks more efficiently and set realistic deadlines for each project.
EmailFlow is one of the best collaborative tools you can use when organizing and sending emails to colleagues and business partners. It streamlines the process of writing, editing, and sending emails in such a way that all members of the team can provide their input and send approval from the same tool.
Email remains as an integral business communication tool and you can leverage its power with the help of this tool. Whether you are sending out business pitches or communicating with existing business partners, you can achieve the desired level of professional and efficient communication with the help of EmailFlow.
In the end, it is all about choosing the tools that can provide the features you need to make your business successful. Your ability to succeed with these tools hinges on their correct implementation and making the most of the available features, rather than a secret and magic formula that will instantly bring results.