Online collaboration software has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. It has increased productivity, improved communication between employees, and helped businesses thrive even during the pandemic.
Some statistics released in 2020 can back up these benefits. Forrester discovered that online collaboration tools helped employees save two to four hours in a workweek and increase their productivity by 10%.
In addition, Absolute has seen an increase of 176% in businesses using collaboration tools due to its accessibility and effective communication system.
Since there are many team collaboration software, choosing the right one can be challenging. To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best ones.
What Is the Best Online Collaboration Software?
Monday.com is a great tool that can cater to different people and purposes. Aside from task management, you can use it in monitoring designs, product launching, and marketing.
It offers the flexibility and power to manage your team members and workflow while maintaining user-friendliness. You won’t feel bogged down by unnecessary features, and you can easily find what you need with its intuitive interface.
Although Monday.com is impressive enough, it still allows the integration of your favorite apps for a more seamless experience. For example, you can connect Zoom for audio and video calls and Google Calendar to schedule meetings.
There’s a reason why we choose Monday.com as the best overall team collaboration platform. Aside from its user-friendliness, it also offers an impressive set of features that come in handy for any team. Here are some of them:
- Customizable templates. Monday.com provides ready-made and editable templates you can use to get started on your projects or team workflows.
- Automations. This project management tool lets you receive real-time updates, send automatic emails to your team, and reduce tedious tasks by setting up triggers.
- Productive Workdocs. Co-edit a document with your team, add videos and dashboards, and connect docs with other automation or campaigns in your workspace.
- Multiple project views. It allows you to see your data in eight different views. It has a calendar, timeline, Kanban, and Gantt views.
You can enjoy many features in the free plan like 200+ customizable templates, unlimited boards and docs, and additional two members. But if you want to upgrade and get more features like higher storage, more data views, and better automation, here are the paid plans:
- Basic. This plan costs $8/user per month, and it’s perfect for small teams and individuals who only want to manage projects.
- Standard. Get access to some automation, integrations, and data views for more optimized processes at $10/user per month.
- Pro. For $16/seat per month, this plan is ideal for companies with complex workflows that need better automation and integrations.
- Excellent dashboard environment
- Fantastic for beginners
- Range of features like time tracking and budgeting
- Suitable for larger teams
- Built for multiple. users
- Supports extensive integrations for CRM and marketing
- Visual boards allow for accurate tracking
- Offers alternative views
- Highly customizable platform for tracking task progress
- Offers extensive real time collaboration features
- Simple and intuitive dashboard
- No free version
- Basic plan offers very limited functionalities
- Doesn’t offer a Gantt chart view option
- Requires a bit of learning curve –you will need to dedicate time to learning the platform
Best for Automations
Smartsheet is great team collaboration software for automating workflows and projects. Whether you’re managing a small project or working on an enterprise-level solution, this tool can cater to your needs.
Contrary to its overflowing features, Smartsheet is relatively easy to use. It lets you access everything on a cloud-based and secure platform without coding.
Smartsheet offers better capabilities than other project management tools for automation. It allows you to assign people on workflows, update requests, set time-based and frequency-based automation, and set triggers on a more specific level, allowing more control and customization.
- Seamless integrations. The tool lets you get more work done in less time by easily connecting your favorite apps.
- Data Shuttle. Smartsheet increases your team efficiency and productivity by allowing access to all projects and data in one place.
- Advanced reports. Get a quick overview of your business processes across your sheets and workspaces.
- Different permission levels. Control the access of your collaborators to your data and workspace by assigning them as an admin, editor, commenter, or viewer.
Smartsheet doesn’t offer any free plan, but you can enjoy a free trial for all paid plans. Moreover, its most basic plan offers more advanced features and higher storage than other project management apps.
Here are the paid plans of Smartsheet:
- Pro. Create unlimited sheets and dashboards for your team and allow up to 10 people to view data with ease for $9/user per month.
- Business. Get access to unlimited workflows and integrations and quickly generate or publish reports for $32/user per month.
- Data-driven automation for more efficient workflows
- Easily customizable platform
- A highly visual solution makes task tracking easier
- Critical task management features help drive productivity at scale
- Reliable automation of critical business processes for team and projects
- Secure platform deployment
- No time tracking feature
- Doesn’t offer an auto-save option
- Limited calendar view
- No time tracking feature
Best Free Plan
ClickUp proves that cheaper platforms can still provide quality online collaboration tools. It’s a cloud-based solution packed with features and yet very affordable.
ClickUp offers a free forever plan like some others on this list. However, it has the most generous amount of features. You can have an unlimited number of tasks, projects, and team members for free.
Depending on its paid plans, you can get access to 15 powerful views of your data, team sharing, and advanced automation. You also access reports, collaborative docs, and built-in video recording.
- Progress Tracker. Stay on top of every aspect of your project and monitor your team’s accomplishments.
- Drag-and-drop. Easily organize and sort your tasks in your dashboard with just a few clicks and minutes.
- Multiple devices. Download and access your workspace from anywhere and on any device.
Customizable tasks. With its flexible task management system, create, assign, and manage projects, tasks, and sub-tasks the way you want.
ClickUp offers one of the best pricing and plans among the online collaboration tools. Aside from a great free plan deal that allows access to unlimited members and tasks and 24/7 customer support, Click up is also one of the collaboration tools that offer affordable plans.
Here’s an overview of ClickUp’s paid plans:
- Unlimited. This plan gives you unlimited access to storage, integrations, custom fields, and dashboards for $9/seat per month.
- Business. For $19/seat per month, you’ll get access to timelines, mind maps, a time tracker, and build custom reports.
- Business Plus. Get team sharing feature, API access, and priority support for businesses with multiple teams for $29/seat per month.
If you choose to pay yearly, you can get as much as a 45% discount.
- Customizable dashboards
- Features and functions best suited for solopreneurs and small teams
- Comprehensive freemium plan
- Built-in chat feature for both private and public communication
- Offers extensive features with the option to customize under the free plan.
- Provides multiple options for project organization or individual tasks or team-based projects.
- “Free forever” for unlimited tasks adn users for up to 100MB of storage
- Onboarding process can be complicated
- No built-in video conferencing feature
- Additional customizable features will require an annual fee
- Platform can easily overwhelm new users
Best for General Project Management
Teamwork is the ideal online collaboration tool for business owners, freelancers, and account and project managers. If you’re offering a client-based service, this online platform is a great way to keep everyone in the loop, from your team to your client.
Users can easily monitor the team’s time, progress, milestones, budget, billable time, and the total bill.
Teamwork is ahead of its competitors regarding resources available for project management. It offers time-tracking and client permission features that Asana doesn’t. Moreover, it has better CRM integrations and a more organized structure than ClickUp.
- Client collaborations. This feature lets your clients access your workspace to edit tasks, comment on projects, and gain more control over the work being done for them.
- Pre-built templates. Teamwork provides easy-to-use and customizable templates for various projects to help you skip the tedious task of starting from scratch.
- Custom fields. Admins have the power to add custom fields on tasks ideal for tracking unique details needed in projects and workflows.
- Instant chat. With Teamwork, you can easily attend to your team’s or client’s problems without using a different platform.
Teamwork also provides a free forever plan, but it is constrained. Paid plans are the best option for more management features such as time tracking, team chat, and project templates.
- Deliver. This plan costs $12.6/user per month and is for project managers holding multiple clients.
- Grow. It starts at $22.5/user per month and can cater to bigger teams and more complex workflows.
- Great for tracking milestones and goals
- Project templates to get you started
- Time tracking and invoicing included
- Agile, custom workflows
- Great chat application
- Very easy to add and remove team members
- Task assignment is quick and simple
- Offers built-in time tracker
- Extensive customization options
- Built-in invoicing capabilities
- Free account is available
- Offers a big picture overview function for at-a-glance task tracking
- Can be a little clunky in places
- Not the best customer support
- Reporting feature isn’t very comprehensive
- Overall platform design isn’t great
- Lacks image markup or PDF options
- Mobile app can be clunky
5. Zoho Projects
Best for Small Businesses
Even for small businesses and startups, having good collaboration software can help a lot in productivity and work efficiency. But sometimes, the fees can get in the way. Zoho Projects is the best online collaboration software if you’re on a tight budget.
Zoho Projects provides access to essential features that other tools like Monday.com and Smartsheet have but at a fraction of their price. That includes multiple views, time tracking, reporting features, and integrations.
Some great tools you can connect with your Zoho dashboard include Dropbox, iCal, and Microsoft Office. Aside from that, it also has third-party apps that you can use to manage customer interactions, documents, and emails.
From task management to apps accessibility, Zoho Projects has everything you need in an online collaboration platform. Here are some of the good features:
- Resource management. Zoho Projects lets you break down tasks into milestones, lists, and sub-tasks to increase productivity and efficiently allocate tasks.
- Detailed chart and reports. This tool provides a clear overview of your tasks, projects, team’s timesheet, and project budget.
- Online feed. Easily share your thoughts with the team in a single space to save time and avoid frequent meetings.
- Automation blueprints. Create and customize your workflows in minutes by editing the blueprints through the drag-and-drop function of Zoho Projects.
Zoho Projects Pricing
Zoho Projects provide monthly and annual billing option to its users. You can save up to 20% off if you opt for the yearly payment plan.
- Premium. You can get more features at $5/user per month, such as a time tracker, multiple views, and custom fields.
- Enterprise. This plan offers better customization of tasks and projects, access to portfolios and custom domains at $10/user per month.
- Generally easy to set up and navigate
- Multiple ways to communicate in app
- Deep configuration options
- Strong time-tracking tools
- Great pricing tiers given available features per plan
- Built in time tracking and billing features
- Customer support is reliable and efficient
- Provides built-in Gantt chart reports, Kanban boards, forums, templates, timers, and other important features at no added cost.
- Offers full Zoho Office suite access for free
- Does not include premade templates
- Slightly unusual resource management view
- UI for task searches needs improvement
- Frequent reports of dashboard bugs
- Risk management is unavailable
Best for Workflow Management
Asana is one of the most popular online collaboration tools in the market. And for a good reason. It offers an impressive set of features and a well-designed interface.
Asana is known for its all-in-one workflow solution. Unlike some of its competitors, it offers a better management tool that isn’t only for project tracking but also marketing campaigns, creative production, and team progress.
Asana has a long list of popular tools and services for integrations. Some featured integrated tools are Adobe Creative Cloud for creative projects and Microsoft Teams for video calls.
- Workflow builder. With Asana, you can streamline your workflow creation, improve your teams’ productivity, and enhance your processes.
- Custom forms. Asana Forms helps you monitor and organize your teams, clients, and work request.
- Portfolios and workloads. These features let you stay on top of your projects and your teams’ progress, so you won’t miss anything.
- Multiple ways of communication. Comment on tasks, send a direct message, start a team conversation, or use visuals to deliver your message with Asana.
Asana’s Basic plan is free. It’s good enough if you’re a startup or professional who just wants a simple collaboration platform. However, if you need the features such as the workflow builder, admin controls, and custom forms, you’ll need to subscribe to the Premium or Business plan.
- Premium. Monthly billing starts at $13.49/seat. This plan gives you access to unlimited dashboards and task templates.
- Business. Enjoy more customization and features like workload and portfolios for $30.49/seat per month.
- Tons of great integrations
- Easy to use and clean environment
- Lots of timeline tracking tools
- Automation features built-in
- Various customization options
- Supports rule based automation to simplify workflows
- Supports over 100 integrations
- Offers a free plan for up to 15 members
- Extensive integrations with popular third-party tools and apps such as Zapier and Hubstaff
- Perfect task management tool for teams running multiple projects and teams
- No budgeting or invoicing features
- The volume of features can be overwhelming
- No time tracking feature
- The volume of features can be overwhelming
- No time tracking feature
- Functionality is often dependent on third-party integrations
- Can be quite complicated and complex for a project management tool
- Time tracking is not included as a key feature
Best for Ease of Use
Most online collaboration tools on this list have an excellent and clean interface. But nothing can beat Trello when it comes to simplicity. It’s famous for its Kanban board that allows you to view your tasks and deadlines on the same page.
Trello is suitable for small businesses and teams who want an online collaboration tool that’s navigable and quick to set up. Despite its user-friendliness, it still offers features necessary for online collaboration software. You can easily do task tracking, data sharing, project managing, and automation.
Trello is also one of the most versatile online collaboration tools. It’s perfect for managing your work, clients’ and teams’ projects, and even your personal life. With Trello, individuals, small and large businesses can increase their productivity without sacrificing flexibility for ease of use.
- Multiple Trello boards. Aside from the typical Kanban view, you can also see your tasks and data in a timeline, calendar, or table view.
- Built-in automation. With Trello’s free automation tool, you can improve your workflow and save time by setting up triggers on repetitive tasks.
- Trello templates. Trello’s community provides copyable and customizable templates in different categories such as marketing, product development, human resources, and more.
- Free and paid powerups. Powerups are integrations that give additional functionality to your online boards. Trello provides over 200 powerups, and most of them are free.
Other than ease of use and the free forever plan, one attractive factor of Trello is affordability. The prices shown in the table above are only applicable for annual billing.
- Standard. The cheapest plan costs $6/user per month if you pay annually. It gives you access to unlimited boards and an advanced checklist.
- Premium. Multiple Trello boards are only available in the Premium plan. If you want to use them with other features like priority support, you can pay $12.50/user per month.
- Enterprise. At $17.50/seat per month for the yearly plan, it has premium features suitable for organizations. That includes unlimited workspaces, attachment permissions, and public boards management.
Best Free Online Collaboration Tools
While free tools offer enough features and benefits for startups and beginners, they lack the necessary functions that growing businesses need. Some usual limitations of free tools are the number of projects, users, and file storage.
This is where freemium options like most of the tools above are advantageous. They can cater to newbies with a free plan and provide advanced features on the paid plans.
From the list of the best collaboration tools above, only Smartsheet doesn’t offer a free forever plan. So depending on your needs, you can go for ClickUp, Monday.com, Teamwork, or Zoho Projects.
Meister Task and Miro are some online platforms that aren’t included but also provide good features.
Online Collaboration Software Buyers Guide
What Is Online Collaboration Software?
Online collaboration tools can help remote teams work together on tasks and projects at their core. It allows users to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and communicate with each other in real-time.
What Are the Benefits of Online Collaboration Software?
There are many benefits to using online project management tools. Some of the most notable ones include:
- Increased productivity. Users can work on projects from anywhere and at any time.
- Improved communication. People assigned to projects and tasks can easily see real-time updates and communicate with each other.
- Enhanced collaboration. Team members can work together on projects, regardless of location.
- More organized and efficient. With online collaboration tools, you can create to-do lists, set deadlines, and track progress easily in one place.
What To Look for In the Best Online Collaboration Software?
The best tool for you will depend on your specific needs. However, there are some general factors that you should look for in team collaboration tools, such as:
Interface refers to how the software looks and how easy it is to use. You should look for online collaboration software with a clean, user-friendly, and functional interface. If the interface is cluttered or difficult to use, it will only add to the frustration of managing projects.
Online collaboration tools with downloadable mobile apps or those that can work well on mobile devices also have an advantage.
In the first place, you’re investing in tools to make your life easier and your work more efficient. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the software you choose has all the features you need. Some of the must-have features in online collaboration software include real-time communication, task and project management, file sharing, and automation.
Although most tools are reasonably priced, it’s important to compare them before deciding. Consider whether the price is worth the value and if it fits your needs and budget. Once you’ve done that, you can narrow down your options to tools that match those criteria.
Since online tools are prone to glitches and bugs, choosing a platform that offers excellent customer support is essential. You can easily connect with them if you run into any problems. Look for apps with a live chat or 24/7 support to get answers in real-time.
Online Collaboration Software FAQ
Q: What is the most popular collaboration tool?
Aside from the five platforms above, Slack and Evernote are other well-known platforms.
Q: What is the disadvantage of using an online collaboration tool?
The main disadvantage of using an online collaboration tool is the reliance on the internet. It will be difficult to manage projects and communicate with team members without stable connections.
Q: What type of companies can benefit from using collaboration software?
Any type of company can benefit from using online collaboration software. These tools can help manage projects more efficiently and enhance communication among teams from small businesses to large enterprises.
Choosing The Best Online Collaboration Software
When choosing online collaboration software, it’s important to consider the features offered, price, and customer support. Additionally, make sure that the software has a user-friendly interface and is easy to use. By taking these factors into account, you can be sure to find suitable software for your needs.
So here’s what you need to remember from the best online collaboration tools I’ve mentioned above:
- Monday.com is the best overall tool because it can cater to different people and purposes and maintain user-friendliness with an intuitive interface.
- Smartsheet offers an easy-to-use, cloud-based interface and automation features that help power productivity.
- ClickUp is a cloud-based project management software with the most generous free plan features.
- Teamwork is the ideal tool for users handling client-based services who want to keep their team members and clients updated with the project and budget.
- Zoho Projects is the best for small businesses and startups who want a team collaboration tool that provides all the essential features at a much more affordable price.
- Asana is well-known for its all-in-one workflow solution, impressive features, and intuitive interface.
- Trello offers a simple and user-friendly interface while still providing features necessary for online collaboration. It is perfect for work and personal use.
Have you tried any of the platforms above? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!