Best Free Online Collaboration Tools
No matter what we used to think about remote workspaces, after the Covid-19 pandemic, they have become the new norm. While some of us have returned to the offices, more and more professionals choose to keep working completely or at least part-time remotely.
To help you reach the best results, in either case, we share our list of the best free online collaboration tools. The list ranges from team collaboration to keep up morale and will surely help you find something to improve the day-to-day activities of remote high-performing teams.
Ready to find your team collaboration tools? Here we go!
1 – Instant messaging and meetings
One of the most important things that keep remote teams effective is the ability to talk to each other when needed. Thus, picking and using good communication tools is a must. Below are a few of our favorites to help your team collaborate more effectively.
Slack is one of the most widely used online collaboration tools. It is visual, easy to use, and offers quite a few integrations so that teams can find everything they need in one place. Slack goes beyond being only an instant messaging platform by letting the team members chat, audio and video call, as well as showcase statuses, and use various bots to keep up productivity.
Teams can create separate channels to work on specific projects or tasks, easily collaborate with partners outside of their company and celebrate employee achievements with integrations like HeyTaco.
One thing to keep in mind though is that you should set some ground rules on what response time is expected. By doing this, your team members will feel better about turning the notifications off when they have to focus on an important task. Instead of being distracted by new messages coming in throughout the day. Also, you should consider using asynchronous communication practices to get more things done.
Price: Starting at €6.25 per user/month.
Zoom is a group calling app that gained popularity during the pandemic. If you haven’t heard about it before 2020, you have definitely used it since and there is a good reason for that.
It is easy to use, supports great video call quality, and allows teams to record any video call for future reference. This is why many teams, schools, even gyms started using Zoom to keep up with communication while working remotely. While in a call, you can turn on the active speaker view, chat, share content, and your screen to make sure the online meeting is as close to the actual meeting as possible.
Price: Free for personal use, starting at $14 host/month for businesses.
For those using the Microsoft Suite, Microsoft Teams is another great option to use for IMs and video calls.
Just like Zoom, you can use it to hold scheduled meetings, share your screen and files, chat and host multiple participants. Microsoft Teams also offers a whiteboard that you and your team can use to draw on during meetings as well as more than 650 integrations to minimize app switching and make collaboration easier. In fact, Teamhood also has a Microsoft Teams integration.
Price: Free for basic use, starting at $5 user/month for more business features.
Krisp is not a messaging or meeting tool, but an app that removes background noise from your calls.
By using Krisp, you will be able to take important calls from anywhere and will not have to worry that you or your team is not able to hear what someone is saying. This free online collaboration tools option can be integrated into various communication apps like Zoom and Slack, thus improving your sound quality and ensuring smoother meetings.
Price: Free for personal use, starting at $5 user/month for teams.
World Time Buddy
The next entry on the best remote collaboration tools list is World Time Buddy, A time converter for distributed teams.
Use it to easily check the local time for your remote team members and set meetings that are comfortable for everyone to attend. World Time Buddy makes planning across different time zones easy.
10to8 is an online collaboration tool that helps you with scheduling and planning meetings.
Use it to arrange virtual staff meetings and appointments with clients and be sure there are no double bookings as the tool has 2-way calendar sync with most apps. Meaning you will be able to see if any other person is busy during the time you want to schedule a call. Once the meeting is set, automated reminders will also let you know when it is time to join the meeting so that you are not late.
Price: Free for small teams, starting at $9.60 user/month for larger teams.
2 – Time tracking and project management collaboration tools
Another important aspect of a remote high-performing team is project management. It will help you keep the project on track, stay up to date with the latest achievements and learn when and how to intervene. Here are a few online collaboration tools we suggest you check out.
Teamhood is a visual and easy-to-use online collaboration tool that helps you manage both – daily activities and long-term portfolio goals.
Use it to visualize your process, add in tasks, assign them to your team members and track the project as it gets going. The visual Kanban board lets you replicate even the most complicated processes and the task details hold a wide array of information from task description to comments and unlimited layers of sub-tasks.
The managers will enjoy Gantt chart, automated reports, and built-in time tracking that lets you keep tabs on the work being done for each client. While those practicing Agile can benefit from task board templates and actionable Agile metrics reports.
Price: Free for unlimited users.
Paymo is a remote collaboration tool that features built-in invoicing.
You can use it to visualize tasks in a Kanban board or a Gantt chart, collaborate with your team, and track time. But the biggest advantage of this solution comes from the built-in invoicing and budget tracking features. If this is a must for you, check out this option for the remote collaboration tools.
Pricing: Starting at $9.95 user/month.
Apploye is a simple time tracking solution for your remote team. Along with time tracking, Apploye includes features such as timesheet, screenshots, app, URL tracking, activity levels, payroll, invoicing, scheduling, team, projects & budgets, shift management, attendance, and GPS location tracking.
You can see where your employees are spending their time and track time spent on specific projects and tasks. Apploye provides remote teams and freelancers a secure platform to optimize productivity and work progress.
Pricing: Starting at $6 user/month
3 – Best online collaboration tools for file sharing
Being able to co-create and share project files and documents is another must for most remote teams. Here you have several options to choose from, but the most popular collaboration tools for remote file sharing are these:
As part of the larger Google Workspace, Google Drive, Docs and Sheets are a big help to many remote teams as you can create, edit and share information with each other seamlessly.
Use Google Drive to store all of the important project documents and control who gets access to view and edit. Teams can create shared drives for easier access and the automated AI will highlight the most important files at the moment. Thus, giving you easy access.
What makes this one of the best remote collaboration tools is the ability to use other Google Workspace tools. And you can easily create and edit as well as manage the project documents remotely.
Price: Starting at €4.68 per user/month.
Dropbox is another well-known cloud storage system that allows remote teams to share documents, keep up to date with the latest information and collaborate on files.
This solution is on the best online collaboration tools list for being easy to use and carrying various functions that make your efforts better. You will get to enjoy automatic back-ups, organize documents by teams and be sure your data is safe. Thus, making file sharing and collaboration just a little bit faster.Using integrations, you can, for example, link Dropbox to Google Sheets, synchronize its data with other platforms, and more.
Price: Starting at $9.99 user/month for businesses.
4 – Team collaboration tools for customer relationship management
Another important aspect of many businesses is customer relationship management. Use the following collaboration tools for remote teams to help you keep track of what has to be done and when.
HubSpot for customer relationship management
HubSpot is one of the most popular customer relationship management tools on the market and there is a good reason for it.
It is a remote collaboration tool that offers a variety of features in order to create the best user experience and aid customer relationship management. The tool provides you with lead generation, live chat, and customer support to ensure all of your customers are heard and not forgotten. Using Hubspot you can also take advantage of additional features like content and social media management, insights on your webpage, and SEO optimization.
Price: Starting at $41 per month.
Salesforce is another great option for those looking for a CRM tool.
This online collaboration tool offers omnichannel marketing, personalized journey for your leads, customer management, deal distribution, churn prevention, and various other features. Depending on the plan you choose, you will be able to monitor and guide each customer’s journey to make sure they have the best experience with your product.
Price: Starting at $25 user/month.
5 – Free Online collaboration tools for design
Design is a tricky subject when it comes to working remotely. On one hand, most designers can focus and perform better when not distracted by office noise. On the other, the design process requires quite a few people to review and collaborate on the final result. So here are the best virtual team collaboration tools to help you with both.
Figma is an online collaboration tool that allows team members to edit and design in real-time.
Here you will be able to work on new designs together, review the work that has been done and reach the desired result faster. Use various editing capabilities to make changes to your design, leave comments on what has to be improved, and review and share the finished product with anyone within or outside your team.
Price: Free for personal use, starting at $12 editor/month for teams.
Filestage is an all-in-one online proofing solution that helps teams to review and approve design work.
By using this collaboration tool, you will enable colleagues and clients to comment on files in real-time, collect feedback and create several versions of the same file for comparison. Filestage allows teams to collaborate on text, image, video, and audio files and eliminates the need to call or write back and forth to get the desired result. All you have to do is leave your comment and work together to reach the best result.
Price: Starting at € 89 per month.
6 – Team collaboration tools for morale
Lastly, here are some team collaboration tools designed for boosting morale. Use them to give thanks, embrace your colleagues or simply play games to give your team a break from working.
WooBoard for celebrating achievements
Wooboard is a platform that helps create a positive culture of recognition in your team.
Use this online collaboration tool to recognize achievements, instill company values, introduce gamification with a leaderboard and badges, and give rewards for a job well done. With Wooboard, the team members can initiate conversations on achievement and celebrate each other.
Price: Starting at $3 user/month.
Jackbox for online games and team building
If you are looking for a way to have more fun with your remote team, consider Jackbox.tv.
With this online tool, you can pick from a variety of games and play them with your team without actually having to be in one place. Choose something like Drawful and enjoy some light-hearted fun in your next video call.
Price: Starting at $3 user/month.
What are your favorite online collaboration tools? Let us know what we should add to this list!
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.