Asana has been around for long enough to make its mark now, and is the go-to free project management tool for a lot of new startups. The super simple user interface is great for leaders who are starting out with project management tools, but its feature list doesn’t impress too much until you start getting up to the paid versions.
In terms of project management, Asana is one of the great free online collaboration tools, but users will still have the issue of having a load of tabs open for all their different needs.
Airtable is a hyper-customizable project management tool that you can twist and turn into literally anything you want. It has become very popular among developers who have turned what looks like a simple spreadsheet into a CRM, a project planner, and an inventory tracker. While it doesn’t have any dedicated communication tools, you can pass notes focused on projects through Airtable.
The main drawback of Airtable is that you have to have quite a technical mind to use it to its full potential. This is why it is a favorite among developers and techies, but for regular project managers, something a little more simple is probably your best bet.
Slack is one of the most popular online collaboration tools for programmers — and the geeky (but funny) messages you see when it loads show you why. It has made its name by being one of the leading instant messaging services on the web, and it allows users to set up channels based on topic. This makes it a great tool for online teams. By focusing the entire chat room on one topic, you avoid muddled conversations where important messages can get lost.
Although it doesn’t have too many extra features aside from file sharing, it was one of the pioneers of integrations, so you can link it up to a whole host of other apps.
nTask makes your project management, time tracking, and budgeting a piece of cake. The billing and invoicing tool is especially adaptable for all kinds of businesses, whether you charge per hour, job, or materials.
In terms of project management, you have a wealth of settings, such as subtasks, deadlines, and dependencies. With time tracking, you record time spent on tasks and use that to plan your future projects. Within each task, all your subscribers will get notifications for comments and updates, and you can also share documents.
nTask is so close to being one of the best all-round free online collaboration tools, but it does require you to get Zoom involved if you need to do any video calls.
No list of online collaboration tools for business would be complete without Zoom. The video calling app has become a part of daily life for teams all over the world and it’s here to stay. Zoom’s number one position in the world of video calls is partly due to its reliable connectivity, but also thanks to being incredibly intuitive and free for 40 minutes.
Despite its total market domination, it is relatively tunnel-visioned in its approach, with only video calls and instant chat in its arsenal. Even so, Zoom has easily earned its spot in the 7 best free online collaboration tools in 2021.
Teams is another communication app that skyrocketed during 2020 and continues to do so into 2021. Like Zoom, it connects your team via video, screen sharing, and chat, but goes one step further with document collaboration. Being able to edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more within the app makes Teams one of the top free online collaboration tools out there.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is still asking for payment for project management tools, so you are still limited as a manager. But that’s not the end of the world. If you’re already a heavy Microsoft user, Teams is a great addition for remote and even in-house teams.
Whether you’re just looking for internal instant messaging, a cloud-based CRM, or anything in between, Bitrix24 has got it all. It stands out among other free online collaboration tools because of its diversity, with features for communication, HR, project and task management, as well as document collaboration.
And it’s not about quantity over quality. Take its project management for instance. Rather than a stripped-back basic platform, it has great online visual collaboration tools such as Kanban boards and Gantt charts, so you have pro performance at no cost. All of the Bitrix24 features integrate with each other from the outset, so it works as a 360-degree business tool that goes even further than pure working collaboration.
We’re sure that after this analysis of the best online collaboration tools out there, you’ve got a clearer idea of what is possible. It is a relief that not everything out there costs a small fortune, and all the apps in this list impress.
That being said, it is difficult to find a platform that has all your collaboration tools in one. Most apps out there focus on one area, whether it’s video calling or project management capabilities, but Bitrix24 really ticks all the boxes.
Whether you’re looking for free online collaboration tools to get a small team off the ground or even if you’re well established, you can’t go wrong with Bitrix24. With so much to explore, you can improve your business as a whole, rather than targeting just one area like so many other tools offer.