Workplace collaboration looks different everywhere. Depending on size, structure, and geographic distribution, teams have unique needs and face various challenges when it comes to working together. Luckily, there is no shortage of collaboration tools to help teams get things done. From all-encompassing project management tools to simple video conferencing apps, there are plenty of ways to collaborate more effectively at work.
To make sense of them all, we are breaking down the best collaboration tools, based on the specific needs they satisfy. To make sense of this list, you should first determine your team’s specific needs. Consider the following questions:
- How does our team communicate best? – Do you prefer to just use your collaboration tool to communication? Do you like to use email as well? Answering these questions will help guide you to the best collaboration tool for your team.
- What types of projects are we collaborating on? – The tools an agency team would use to collaborate are very different from the tools that a team working in, say, manufacturing or real estate would use to collaborate. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the types of projects your entire team will be working on.
- How many people will be collaborating at one time? – This will affect the way you communicate, share information, and update on progress.
- Do we want to integrate multiple tools or do we want one, all-purpose platform? – Understanding your current tech stack and figuring out if you want to add to that or replace it is critical.
Once you determine how your team can best work together, use this list of collaboration tools to see which one best suits your needs. We will continue to update this list, so keep coming back for the most up-to-date recommendations.
1. Hive: Best Tool For Project Collaboration
Hive has been named one of the best online collaboration tools because it brings all aspects of work into one single dashboard. With Hive, team members can manage their to-do lists, communicate with others in real time, collaborate on schedules, share files, and document the latest project progress. Native chat, email integrations, and collaborative notes also help team members stay connected without ever leaving the platform. Hive is a great option for teams of all sizes, and is currently powering teams at Starbucks, Comcast, Toyota and more.
Some Features Of Hive:
- Flexible project views, including Gantt, Kanban, calendar, table, and portfolio view
- Ability to add comments, sub-actions, dependencies, and attachments to action cards
- Proofing and approvals
- Over 1,000 integrations with tools like Jira, Salesforce, Zoom, and Adobe Photoshop
- Accessible via web, desktop, and mobile apps
- Time-tracking and timesheets
- Easily duplicate repeatable tasks and projects with Hive Templates
- Analytics for tracking project completion and productivity on the individual or team level
2. Google Slides: Best Tool For Presentation Collaboration
Google Slides is a great collaboration tool for teams to create, edit, collaborate, and present slideshows from anywhere. The business plan option, available via Google Workspace, takes the classic Google Slides tool to a new level. With this plan, teams can access increased protections and controls over presentations, making it even easier to collaborate internally and externally.
Some features of Google Slides:
- Templates make it easy to start with pre-made pitches, portfolios and other presentations
- Cloud storage lets you access documents from anywhere
- Offline editing and presentation options
- Auto-save feature prevents work from being lost
- Real-time editing, commenting, and chatting within presentations
- Share with anyone (internally or external) with a variety of permission options
3. Slack : Best Tool For Instant Messaging
There’s a reason why Slack has become a household name in recent years. This tool is one of the most popular instant messaging and collaboration tools for businesses of all sizes. Slack combines all work communication in one platform, with various options including direct messages, group messages, channels, voice calls, and video calls. These different options for communication can help your team organize conversations and focus on the work that is most important to you.
Some features of Slack:
- Option to keep channels and groups public or private
- Slack connect lets you work with multiple organizations in one channel
- Searchable History, even when projects or channels have ended
- Over 2000 integrations with other apps and services, including Hive x Slack
- File and document sharing in channels
- Accessible via web, desktop, and mobile apps
4. Bit.ai: Best Tool For Document Collaboration
Bit.ai is one of the best and most powerful document collaboration tools that empowers teams to work together to create dynamic notes, documents, deliverables, wikis, training guides, and more. These collaborative documents are modern and beautifully designed, with the ability to flow from text to video, to inserted spreadsheets, and more. Users can stack elements together in unlimited ways. Once in a document, users can co-edit and comment on elements in real time.
Some features of Bit.ai:
- Option to create workspaces around projects, teams, and clients
- Enrich documents with any kind of digital content, including: videos, social content, music, cloud files, maps, charts, surveys/polls, code, graphic design prototypes, presentations
- Connect team members with @mentions, real-time notifications, shared workspaces, permissions, and guest access
- Tracking analytics provide real-time insights on shared documents
- Customized lead capture form on documents
- Content library lets you share and streamline assets used in the platform
5. Brandfolder: Best Tool For Digital Asset Management
Brandfolder is a highly rated digital asset management platform used by enterprise creative and marketing teams, including those at Slack, P.F. Chang’s and Mastercard. This software is used to upload, store, organize, access and track digital assets across multiple channels and campaigns, and is one of our top collaboration tools. Brandfolder is great for large companies and enterprise organizations because it allows users to simplify distribution by sharing one single asset, a collection of assets, or even the entire platform with various levels of privacy controls and user permissions.
Some features of Brandfolder:
- Upload, store, organize and share unlimited files in secure location
- Everything is stored securely with multiple levels of protection
- Easy bulk upload and drag & drop options
- Guest upload allows partners to add files without having full access
- Supports images, video, audio, and documents in many different file types
- Integrations with creative tools, project management platforms, CRM apps & more
- Top integrations: Google Analytics, Salesforce, HubSpot, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office
6. MindMeister: Best for Visualizing Ideas
MindMeister is a digital mind mapping tool that is perfect for everyday business situations. Mind mapping and collaboration tools like MindMeister are helpful for visualizing data, planning projects, and brainstorming ideas. This tool helps teams collaborate and share ideas in real time using pre-set map themes, or customized maps with colors, styles, formatting, and images that best fit your needs.
Some Features of MindMeister:
- Share maps with as many people as you want, inside and outside the organization
- Integrated chat functionality
- Ability to comment or vote on ideas
- Cloud-based platform lets you access maps from anywhere
- Built-in presentation feature lets you export slides in PNG format, embed the presentation on a website, or broadcast live
7. Dropbox Paper: Best Tool for File Sharing
We all know that Dropbox is a great tool for storing files in the cloud. With a simple account, you can upload files to a shared folder online, allowing you– and anyone else with access to the folder– to view the documents on any device. What is less known, however, is that Dropbox also has a collaborative tool called Dropbox Paper.
Dropbox Paper can be used to collaborate on your stored files and documents in real time, similarly to how Google Drive does. However, it takes collaboration a step further by also helping users plan projects, collaborate on ideas, and take meeting notes in real-time with assigned next steps. DropBox is helpful for teams that already use other project management tools, as seamlessly integrates with Hive and other platforms.
Some Features Of Dropbox Paper:
- Take notes in meetings, create agendas beforehand, and lay out next steps
- Option to use pre-set meeting templates
- Calendar integrations let you link documents to specific meetings
- Add comments and annotations to images
- Task management features to assign tasks, add due dates, and mention team members
8. Hugo: Best Tool For Meeting Notes
Hugo provides a centralized place for teams to manage and store their meeting notes. This tool lets team members collaborate in real time during the note taking and editing process. From there, tasks can be assigned out to specific people for actionable next steps. This tool is great because it integrates with many of the tools your team already uses, helping you keep everything streamlined and connected.
Some Features of Hugo:
- Calendar-based tool. Links to meetings in Microsoft Office 365 & Google
- Multi-user note editing in real-time
- Shared meeting agendas
- Agenda templates to help you set the framework for productive meetings
- Integrates with over 20 tools, including Slack, Zoom, Jira & Hubspot
- Free for small teams (up to 40 members), with additional paid options
Do you have any other collaboration tools you’ve been absolutely loving? Let us know in the comments below.