In light of recent events, being able to provide your team with tools to work remotely has never been more important. It may seem like a daunting task to transition quickly and efficiently. Fortunately, there are a variety of light-weight collaboration software available to make things easier for small businesses.
Below is a curated list of software our team currently uses or has evaluated for small business usage.
Staying in communication with your team is the first priority when working remotely. The solutions below make it easy to communicate via messaging and video conferencing. Each can scale from a team of two all the way up to hundreds of users.
Price: Paid tiers start at $6.67user/mo
Slack is great for team chatting and messaging in an organized manner. You can create separate feeds, called channels, and chat in real time for a shared view of progress and purpose. This software also offers small group video chatting, with up to 15 people on the paid tiers. There is also a free tier that is perfect for getting started.
Price: Paid tier starts at $5/user/mo (includes Office 365 features)
Microsoft Teams is similar to Slack, offering chatting, messaging, and small group video chatting. This software is perfect if you already use or have thought about using Microsoft 365 for documents and/or email. Microsoft Teams is included in the suite of Microsoft 365 products and makes collaboration easier with Word docs and files. There is also a free tier with a smaller number of features.
Google Hangouts Meet
Price: Starts at $6/user/mo (Includes G Suite Features)
Google Meet is a video chat platform with the capability to include over 100 people at a time. This is perfect if you have a large staff and need to be able to talk to them all at once. Meet is fully integrated with G Suite, allowing you to create meetings through Google Calendars and email.
Price: Starts at $14.99/host/mo
Zoom is also a video chat platform allowing a large capacity of people in a single video conference room. 100 or more participants can chat for the price of a single host, making it a very economical option for large teams who don’t use G Suite or Microsoft 365.
Real-time collaboration on documents and file-sharing is important whether your team is together or working remotely. This software makes storing documents, spreadsheets, and files easy while offering a suite of other features to make your team efficient.
Microsoft Office 365
Price: Starts at $5/user/mo
Office 365 offers integrated solutions designed for small business. If you’re comfortable with Microsoft Word or Outlook email, this is the software to choose. Plans integrate the Microsoft Office suite of software, collaboration and communication tools, email, calendars, and file sharing and storage.
Google G Suite / Google Docs
Price: Starts at $6/user/mo
G Suite offers everything you need in one package. If you’re comfortable with Gmail or have used Google Drive, this is the software to choose. Plans include email, calendars, video conferencing, storage, and a suite of document software comparable to Microsoft Office.
When you need to facilitate projects, tasks, or work that needs to be done, project management software is the best solution. These software options include real-time collaboration to help facilitate projects and share information among your whole team. The best part? Each option below has a free tier to get you started. Depending on your team’s needs, you may not need to upgrade!
Price: $0 – Paid tier starts at $9.99/user/mo
Trello can be best described as organized sticky-notes. Each note is a topic or set of tasks with messaging and file sharing capabilities attached to each. It is light-weight, easy to understand, and a great option for people who are newer to project management software. However, it can also be powerful, with awesome advanced features. Trello is a favorite among the Cemah team.
Price: $0 – Paid tier starts at $10/user/mo
Airtable functions more like a database of information, with items stored but easy to see, filter through, and navigate. It is a good middle ground between a software like Trello and a regular spreadsheet, but includes a ton of flexibility and organization.
Price: $0 – Paid tier starts at $8/user/mo
Notion is a super-powered note taking app with features to also facilitate project management. Notes look more like documents, with real-time collaboration, light-weight database functionality, and the ability to assign tasks in each. Think of it like a Word document on steroids.
Price: $0 – Paid tier starts at $9/user/mo
Teamwork’s strong suit are its tasks, with the ability to have multiple task lists inside of projects and a strong task delegation system. Each team member can easily see what they need to do now and in the future. It allows you to focus on the work that matters. Teamwork also has a suite of other software integrations, including a helpdesk, chat system, CRM, and content collaboration.
Virtual Phone Systems
If you and your team cannot work in the office but need to answer office phone calls, a virtual phone system will help. These software options allow you to register or port a phone number and are Internet based VoIP systems. Each has Apple and Android apps for the team to use their own cell phones, and web based applications for computer use.
Price: Starts at $10/user/mo
If you’re already using G Suite, Google Voice is the best option for you and your team. You can make and receive phone calls using your work phone number from anywhere. Voice is easy to set up instantly, and has a simple interface through G Suite.
Price: Starts at $15/user/mo
Like Google Voice, Dialpad allows you to move your phone system, conferencing, and call center to the cloud. Make business calls from anywhere on any device. This software also includes a voice intelligence feature, transforming your conversations into something you can see and use.
Price: Starts at $30/user/mo
Aircall has the benefits of the other virtual phone systems, but also includes powerful call center features and productivity integrations. Connect Aircall to your CRM, Helpdesk software, eCommerce platform, and more.
Price: Starts at $24.99/user/mo
Ringcentral is a cloud phone system with robust features. This software also includes messaging, file sharing, task management, and HD-quality video conferencing.
Price: Starts at $69/mo
Earthclass Mail is a fully virtualized PO Box that collects, digitizes and optionally re-routes mail deliveries. You are provided with a PO Box address to have mail sent to that is then picked up and handled by Earthclass Mail. Each letter is scanned and stored until you either have the mail destroyed or shipped to an address of your choice. Earthclass Mail can optionally remit checks to your bank account for deposit as well.
Ruby Virtual Receptionists
Price: Starts at $309/mo
Ruby is a virtual call center that can dynamically handle calls in a professional and friendly way. Operators are provided with instructions on how to properly respond to and route calls. An included app allows you to change route settings and responses in real-time.