22 Best Online Collaboration Tools for Remote Work in 2021

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 48% of US companies were not willing to hire remote workers. As of September 2020, that number fell to 12%.

Therefore, businesses are now more open to the idea of virtually expanding their online business operations and recruitment processes across the globe.

As a result, choosing the best team collaboration tools to manage the business workflow and increase productivity regardless of the location is mandatory.

In this article, we will analyze team communication, project management, and business collaboration platforms for different budgets, team sizes, and business needs.

What Is an Online Collaboration Tool?

Online collaboration tools enable people from different locations to work together on documents and projects.

They help teams to organize video conferences, manage projects, and share files with colleagues or clients.

Here are the types of team collaboration tools we will discuss in this article: 

  • Team communication platforms. Such platforms are dedicated to making video and voice calls, creating chat groups, and sharing files. 
  • Project management platforms. These include more comprehensive tools used to manage tasks, set schedules or timelines, and track project progress.
  • Business collaboration platforms. Essentially, these are combined project management and team communication tools. Such platforms allow you to collaborate with your coworkers and clients.

Top 5 Team Communication Tools 

Here are the five best online collaboration tools to help you manage all work-related communication in one place.

1. Slack

Slack homepage featuring "speed up work with external partners, using Slack Connect"

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: built-in audio and video calls, integration with other apps
  • Best suited for: teams and businesses of all sizes

Slack is one of the most popular team communication tools.

It allows you to direct message your contacts and organize each team member into a specific team or project channel for more effective communication.

You can easily pin any message to a channel so that you won’t lose important information.

In addition to that, Slack allows to make audio and video calls directly on the platform.

It provides integration with more than 2,200 apps, including Zapier, Dropbox, and Google Calendar to optimize your workflow.

Slack offers a free plan with limited features for smaller companies. For larger teams, premium plans start at $6.67/month per active user.

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2. Zoom

Zoom home page featuring their achievements in 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Notable features: screen-sharing, in-call messaging
  • Best suited for: all team sizes

Zoom is a well-known video conferencing platform. It offers several collaboration tools, such as a meeting platform, phone system, webinar platform, and video conference system.

This platform ensures privacy by adding codes to meetings. There’s also a Waiting Room feature that allows the meeting host to admit attendees when the session starts. 

The free plan limits the calls to 100 participants and 40 minutes. To increase the duration and participant list, you need to upgrade to a premium plan, available from $149.90/year.

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3. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Team sign up for free, homepage, previewing the messaging app and video call

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Notable features: real-time collaboration
  • Best suited for: small and medium-sized businesses

Microsoft Teams is a team collaboration app that allows you to have video calls, chats, and co-edit files all from one place.

With its free plan, you can have 60-minute video calls with up to 100 participants. In addition to that, it offers meeting scheduling, background customization, and screen-sharing for presentations.

When it comes to file sharing and real-time co-editing, Microsoft Teams provides 10 GB of storage space for the team and 2 GB per chat.

To record meetings and have more storage space, you need to upgrade to a premium plan. These start at $5/month per user.

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4. TypeTalk

Typetalk homepage

Quick Stats:

  • Notable features: integration with Nulab apps
  • Best suited for: small and medium-sized teams

TypeTalk is a team chat application that offers integrations with other productivity apps from the Nulab network.

It works seamlessly with Cacoo, a cloud-based diagram app, and Backlog, a project management app. Therefore, you can get Cacoo and Backlog notifications, discuss Cacoo’s diagram, and create Backlog issues in TypeTalk.

In addition, TypeTalk offers an open API and Webhook for automation and integration with other software. However, it requires advanced customization to make it work.

The free version limits you up to 10 users and 1 GB of storage space. The premium version starts at $10/month for five users and offers 50 GB of storage space.

The app is available for Android, iOS mobile devices, and Windows, Mac computers.

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5. Flock

Flock homepage featuring "your new home for collaboration"

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Notable features: public messaging channels
  • Best suited for: small and medium-sized teams

Flock is an online messaging and team collaboration tool that provides unlimited one-on-one and group messages.

In addition to that, it allows your team to have up to 10 public messaging channels.

Flock also has a built-in video conferencing feature, but it’s limited to a one-on-one call in the free plan.

If your team has more than 20 members or requires more collaboration features, you have to purchase a premium plan. Flock Pro is available for $4.50/month per user.

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Top 9 Project Management Tools

Project management tools help your team work more effectively by displaying workflows and notifying team members about important tasks.

In order to help you pick the right collaboration software, we selected our top recommended project management platforms.

1. Trello

Trello homepage featuring that Trello helps teams move work forward

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Notable features: user-friendly interface, task automation
  • Best suited for: visual project management

Trello is a task management software based on the Kanban board system.

With Trello, you can create visual boards and use the “cards system” for your projects. Cards represent tasks that everyone in the team can simply drag and drop across the board based on their progress.

It also provides a codeless automation feature that allows you to send deadline reminders or create custom buttons to speed up your processes.

With Trello’s free version, project managers can create up to 10 boards in total and 50 automation processes per month.

To access additional tools, you can purchase a premium plan for $10/month per user. Trello also offers mobile apps for iOS and Android.

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2. Asana

Asana homepage featuring "work on big ideas, without the busywork"

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Notable features: automation, view options
  • Best suited for: project collaboration

Asana is a project and task management software with an intuitive user interface.

To visualize your project’s and team’s progress, you can choose between six options – board, list, timeline, progress, forms, and calendar, which helps to quickly sort data and identify potential issues.

Asana allows to create automated rules to optimize your company’s task management process. You can create standard checklists for employee onboarding and event planning, for example. 

The free plan has no limits on the number of projects but limits members to 15. If you have more employees, you have to purchase a premium plan, available from $10.99/month per user.

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3. Wrike

Wrike homepage featuring the power of modern, agile enterprise

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.2/5
  • Notable features: cloud storage integration
  • Best suited for: real-time collaboration

Wrike is a project management software that offers a Kanban board view and a real-time activity stream.

The board allows you to drag and drop tasks, making it easy to arrange your tasks. It also uses such cloud storage services as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, ensuring your data is always stored safely.

Its free version allows up to five users and comes with 2 GB of storage space. To collaborate with more employees and access additional tools, you need to upgrade to a premium plan, starting at $9.80/month per user.

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4. Airtable

Airtable homepage, featuring one platform and endless solutions with a man working on a laptop

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: user-friendly interface
  • Best suited for: database management

Airtable is an online database platform built to create and store records using a user-friendly interface. 

This platform lets you create and organize information about your business employees, inventories, product databases, and much more. 

Plus, you can easily link data and sort them any way you want, and present it in a calendar, Kanban, gallery, or spreadsheet-grid-based view.

Airtable’s free plan allows you to have an unlimited amount of bases, with 2 GB of file storage space and 1,200 records per base. Its premium plans start at $10/month per user.

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5. Zapier 

Zapier homepage featuring a way to connect your apps and automate workflows

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: easy to use, compatible with other software/apps
  • Best suited for: creating automated processes

Zapier lets you automate repetitive tasks between two or more apps without relying on coding or hiring a developer.

Creating an automated process – or Zap, as it is called – is easy. Users simply determine what event triggers the process and what task comes next.

For example, when you get an email with additional attachments, Zapier automatically downloads those files to your Dropbox account. You can also integrate it with Trello or Slack.

The free plan gives you five single-step Zaps with a limit of 100 tasks per month. A “single-step” is considered when one workflow will be interacting with no more than two apps.

If you need multi-step integration and additional Zaps or tasks per month, opt for a premium plan, available from $19.99/month.

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6. ClickUp 

ClickUp homepage featuring one place for all your work

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: easy-import feature
  • Best suited for: productivity and progress management

ClickUp is a comprehensive project management software. It offers more than 100 project management features, such as task and time management, team collaboration, and reporting.

Its user interface is intuitive, and you can reorder tasks by dragging and dropping items according to their priority.

If you already use other productivity tools like Wrike, Trello, Asana, or even Microsoft Excel, you can easily import your work to ClickUp.

ClickUp’s free plan restricts many of its built-in tools to up to 100 uses.

To access all its project management features and increase the usage limits, you need to get a paid version, starting at $5/month per user.

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7. Redbooth 

Redbooth homepage featuring organized work and better teams

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Notable features: Gantt chart with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Best suited for: improving workflow

Redbooth is a project collaboration software that helps you communicate with team members, organize and visualize your tasks in one place. 

The Kanban board feature offers an intuitive user interface. This allows you to organize, tag, and assign tasks to employees.

Besides, you can sort your tasks quickly, save time, and improve the communication flow with your project’s collaborators. 

When it comes to project timelines, the Gantt chart feature helps you create and visualize your timeline.

You can also create task dependencies on Redbooth’s premium version, recognizing which tasks to focus on to avoid bottlenecks.

The free version allows you to have 2 GB of storage space and two users. However, it doesn’t come with all the features Redbooth has to offer.

To access additional features and use Redbooth for larger projects, you need to purchase one of its premium versions, which costs $9/month per user.

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8. Miro 

Miro homepage featuring where remote teams get work done and to start a whiteboard

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: real-time collaboration
  • Best suited for: brainstorming and planning

Miro is an online whiteboard app for developing ideas and creating business strategies with your team.

The entire team can write, draw, and edit the same online whiteboard. The app allows you to see what other collaborators are working on and communicate with them through chat and comments. 

Miro’s free version offers three editable boards, unlimited users, and core integrations with such apps as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Dropbox.

For more features, you can get a premium plan, available from $8/month per user.

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9. Filestage

Filestage homepage featuring an easy all-in-one online proofing software

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Notable features: compatibility with multiple file types
  • Best suited for: reviewing projects

Filestage is an online collaboration software that lets you share files and invite collaborators to review them.

It works with documents, designs, audio, and video files. You just need to send them the link to your work.

Your collaborators can leave comments anywhere on the file, so it’s evident what needs to be addressed. They don’t even need to sign in.

If you need a platform where your clients can review and give feedback about your files without much hassle, Filestage is an excellent app.

Filestage is available from $89/month for up to 10 team members.

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Top 6 Business Collaboration Apps 

Business collaboration tools allow you to exchange documents, identify bottlenecks, and better communicate with your team and clients.

Here are our picks of the best business collaboration apps to improve your workflow.

1. Loop

Loop homepage featuring an all-in-one collaboration, right in your inbox app

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Notable features: shared inbox, email assignment
  • Best suited for: customer service

Loop is an email collaboration tool. This app solves email-chain issues that may occur in large teams by providing a shared inbox. 

The shared inbox allows everyone to see incoming emails and respond to them accordingly. There’s no need to forward or copy messages.

This app is most helpful for teams that handle customer emails. It allows all team members to see the message and assign a colleague to address it directly.

Loop offers a 14-day free trial if you sign up for a premium plan, starting from $10/month per user.

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2. Dropbox

Dropbox homepage featuring keeping life organized and work moving-all in one place

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Notable features: file preview, link sharing
  • Best suited for: file sharing with employees and clients

Dropbox is a popular file-sharing platform, allowing you to access documents from any device.

To share files, simply send a generated URL link. The recipient doesn’t need a Dropbox account to access your files. Therefore, it is convenient to send documents to your team members or clients to review. 

Besides, Dropbox offers previews for over 175 file types, so users don’t need any additional software or add-ons to view and add comments.

If you need up to 2 GB of storage space, you can use Dropbox for free with a Dropbox Basic account. For more storage space options, Dropbox Professional plans start at $9.99/month.

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3.  Google Workspace

Google Workspace homepage featuring "everything you need to get anything done, now in one place"

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Notable features: integrated communication and calendar tools
  • Best suited for: improving productivity

Google Workshop offers a comprehensive set of tools to improve your business workflow. 

Previously known as G Suite, it includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Meet, Google Calendar, alongside many more tools.

The Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides team collaboration tools allow you and your team to simultaneously work together on the same document.

At $6/month per user, the basic plan provides 30 GB of storage space on Google Drive and a limit of 100 participants for video conferencing.

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4. Samepage

Samepage homepage featuring work getting better on the same page

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Notable features: all-in-one collaboration tools
  • Best suited for: project management and team communication

Samepage is an all-in-one collaboration platform.

It integrates team communication, project management, meetings, and real-time document collaboration in a single platform. Thus, you don’t need to go back and forth between apps.

Samepage is another team collaboration tool in our list that uses Kanban boards for task management. Therefore, you can track project progress, assign tasks, and set due dates to prevent any job left undone. 

Samepage allows you to create and edit meeting agendas during video conferences. You can also manage tasks and projects in real-time with all the conference participants.

The free Samepage app comes with 2 GB of storage space and essential features including task management and document collaboration tools. The premium plans, available from $7.50/month per license, provide an additional 1 TB of storage.

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5. Smartsheet

Smartsheet homepage

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Notable features: spreadsheet templates, great flexibility
  • Best suited for: spreadsheet-based project management

Smartsheet is an online project management tool that helps you plan, track, and report your company’s tasks.

It allows you to create a Gantt chart or resource management sheet to manage projects. It’s also possible to build Kanban boards to track tasks, progress and assign team members to each one.

To get started quickly, Smartsheet offers hundreds of templates built explicitly for various industries. While they are ready to be used right out of the gate, it is possible to adjust them to fit your business’ needs better.

You can test Smartsheet using its 30-day free trial. Once it expires, you must choose one of its paid versions, starting from $14/month.

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6. Pastel

Pastel homepage

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Notable features: easy-to-use website import, unlimited reviewers
  • Best suited for: client collaboration

Pastel is an online platform that allows web designers and clients to collaborate on web development projects effortlessly.

Users add their website projects, copying their URL into a workplace called “canvas”. To invite teammates or clients, simply send them an email invitation.

Once clients and collaborators are on the same canvas, they can leave comments or approve projects. This helps reduce redundant communication and speed up the approval process.

With Pastel’s free plan, you have unlimited canvases and guest reviewers, but you only have a three-day window for leaving comments.

Premium plans are available from $19/month.

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Free Collaboration Tools for Online Work

To help your company stay within its budget, we also included the two best free collaboration tools.

1. Google Hangouts

Google hangouts homepage

Quick Stats:

  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Notable features: file-sharing, cross-platform availability
  • Best suited for: teams with up to 10 members

Google Hangouts is a messaging, voice, and video call platform. It’s easy to use and available for Android, iOS, and Google Chrome

Users can have one-on-one conversations or group chat rooms and attach files to the conversation. 

The desktop version enables video conferences for up to 10 people, so if you’re looking for a cross-platform app for a small team, Google Hangouts is one of the best choices out there.

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2. Spacetime

Spacetime homepage

Quick Stats:

  • Notable features: premium features available for free, integration with Slack
  • Best suited for: remote teams

Spacetime is an app designed for businesses with members scattered across the globe. 

This app gathers all your team members and displays their current time zones, saving precious time when you need to find a suitable time slot for a team meeting. 

Spacetime also integrates with Slack, displaying your team member’s time zone directly on the app.

The Google Calendar integration is available with Spacetime’s premium version, which costs $24/month.

However, Spacetime’s premium version is currently available for free.

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Benefits of Using Collaboration Tools

Collaboration software allows you to perform tasks and activities with your coworkers online.

From screen sharing to planning strategies, these tools provide several benefits for your company:

  • Keep track of your work. Project management apps and team collaboration software can show how much work you’ve done and how much you have left to do. Plus, you can easily stay up to date with the tasks’ timeline so you won’t miss any deadlines.
  • Better communication. You no longer need to email your colleagues back and forth. Messaging and video conference platforms allow you to discuss issues and solve problems in real-time.
  • Improve workflow. Project management tools can automatically notify people about completed jobs or issues created. Some platforms allow multiple individuals to edit and leave comments on files simultaneously to speed up business processes.
  • Transparency. Work processes can now be visualized and shared. It helps team members and managers see the overall progress and results. Therefore, it’s easier to identify potential obstacles and solve them.

Conclusion

Collaboration tools are dedicated for improving business workflow and increasing productivity. However, it’s important to pick one that’s more suitable for your organization’s needs.

Slack, and Zoom are excellent choices if you need collaboration software with screen sharing, messaging, and video-call features in one place.

For project managers, Samepage and Smartsheet management features include task and progress tracking to avoid missed deadlines.

Combining more than one tool can give you more flexibility when managing tasks and improve team communication. For example, Slack and Miro offer many integrations with other tools to keep your workflow organized in one place.

If you have any more questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment down below.

Author
The author

Leonardus N.

Leonardus is a technical content writer at Hostinger. He has a passion for digital marketing and IT. When he's not writing articles, he's busy writing music.