13 collaboration tools for productive teams

By Michael Higashi
Collaboration tools - white number 13 surrounded by multi-colored squares
Today’s cloud-based collaboration tools aren’t just for remote team members. They’re for everyone. While it’s true that cloud-based platforms can be used anywhere — that’s one of their benefits — what’s even more important is their efficiency. 

The best collaboration tools help team members to work together. They automate menial tasks and put everything teams need in one place. That improves the employee experience and collaboration in the workplace, helping teams feel empowered and engaged.

That’s why the collaboration tools we’ve compiled here:

  • are easy to learn and use
  • automate repetitive work
  • simplify tasks and collaboration

They’ve also been widely adopted across many industries and locations, so you can be confident that they’ve proven themselves in the real world.

Here are the best collaboration tools that made the cut.

1. For single sign-on: Okta

It’s a challenge to find a company that doesn’t use Okta, and there’s good reason for that. Okta controls which employees have access to which tools and provides a single, secure sign-in. In short, they offer one-click permissions for all your team’s web-based applications — Google Workspace, Zoom, Evernote, Proofhub, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, or any of the other 7,000 integrations offered.

2. For internal communications: Simpplr

For thousands of employees around the globe, the next step in their day is checking internal communications for news, updates, assignments, and more. Simpplr’s intranet platform integrates with your tech stack to keep work organized and keep teams on the same page. 

Set up employee onboarding flows for new hires. Segment newsletters and announcements by location, job function, longevity, and more. Control social media messaging. See what’s popular with built-in metrics, and use prescriptive analytics to improve your content.

The first real-time employee experience management platform, Simpplr’s Live EX™️ is changing the way companies measure and manage internal culture.

3. For video conferencing: Zoom

Zoom makes video calls fast and easy whether you’re connecting two people or hundreds. With built-in screen sharing and whiteboards, employees can collaborate on actual work from different floors of the building or different sides of the country.

The free plan offers an easy way to try the technology if you haven’t already, and the mobile ios and Android apps make face-to-face business communication easier than ever.

4. For team messaging: Slack

A collaboration tool that focuses on instant messaging, Slack is an easy choice for this category. The secure messaging platform lets you set up unique group chat channels for specific teams, projects, or themes of discussion as well as offering direct messaging.

The real jewel in Slack’s crown? This smart team collaboration software lets you control your notifications so you won’t get interrupted during meetings, on weekends, over your vacation, or when you simply need to stay focused for a few hours.

5. For general productivity: Google Workspace

Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace’s ubiquitous collaboration tools include Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Gmail, and Google Calendar. Everything from spreadsheets to calendars can be synced and stored together.

The Workspace apps offer seamless real-time collaboration — two or more people can easily work in the same document at the same time. While Google Sheets doesn’t have quite as many features as Microsoft’s Excel, that’s usually a good thing. It’s customizable enough to fill your business needs without needing a specialist to operate it.

6. For cloud-based file hosting: Dropbox

As far as file storage goes, nothing beats Dropbox for the ability to share files and store them. While Google Drive is great for your own day-to-day work, Dropbox is often preferred for team resources like image assets, logos, templates, messaging docs, and the like.

With an incredible amount of cloud storage available, you can store and share anything from spreadsheets to webinars and more. An individual account comes with 2TB of space and an account for 3+ members boasts 5TB available.

7. For scheduling time: Calendly

Calendly is fantastically simple: people sign up for the free spots in your calendar to schedule meetings. The app syncs with most major calendar systems and lets you specify your availability. Then customers, coworkers, or just about anyone can sign up for the available spots.

While company calendar systems like Outlook or Google Calendar can solve this problem internally, Calendly is great for automating the calendaring process with those outside your organization.

8. For design & whiteboards: Figma & FigJam

These two apps are created by the same company. Figma is an excellent tool for professional designers. It connects designers and other stakeholders to simplify the process of collecting actionable feedback on designs and revisions.

FigJam is a fantastic whiteboard tool for team collaboration and brainstorming, and you don’t need to be a designer to use it. Its collaboration features are fun and easy to use, facilitating teamwork for planning, idea generation, and more.

9. For charts, diagrams & workflows: Lucidchart

This agile collaboration tool makes it easy to create charts and diagrams for any business need — business models, flow charts, organizational charts, and more.

The potential for project planning is immense, but it’s the ability to share ideas quickly and easily that makes Lucidchart stand out. The creation process is intuitive, and the resulting charts help teams streamline explanations while keeping everyone on the same page.

10. For project management: Jira or Asana

Task management and to-do lists are the specialties of project management software like Jira and Asana. Work in small teams on agile sprints and keep your larger team organized with kanban boards and Gantt charts.

See how each project is progressing and who’s doing what. Link related files and leave comments. When used well, these project management tools keep everything you need for each task in one place, making work and collaboration simple.

Asana’s free version is also great for personal work management.

11. For wikis and team documentation: Confluence

Confluence is a collaboration tool that lets you build a wiki system that’s internal to your company. Robust page management features let you control who can view pages or make changes.

This excellent team collaboration tool provides a central location for information that employees may need to reference, from product pricing to database documentation to company holiday calendars. Unlike other communication tools, Confluence’s functionality helps teams document company information in a more persistent way.

12. For financial operations: Bill.com

Bill.com helps accounting and finance teams by offering accounts payable and accounts receivable automation as well as a variety of payment options. The platform streamlines invoice-related data entry, communications, and approvals, and its intuitive user interface makes for quick training.

13. For human resources: Workday

A great resource for HR departments, Workday consolidates personnel management, time tracking, and payroll data into one place for approvals and real-time insights. Workday offers a wide variety of services, from workforce scheduling to recruitment tracking.

Stay ahead of the productivity curve

One of the best reasons to implement these top team collaboration tools is that great collaboration and strong internal communications enhance the employee experience.

To learn more about connecting and engaging your teams, watch our free webinar 3 Pillars to Boost Your Employee Experience.

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