3 Free tools to make collaboration a heck of a lot easier

Online illustrations by Storyset

Whether you’re working on a project with your team or trying to streamline communication with a partner or customer, being able to work together effectively is key. With the rise of remote working, however, collaboration has become more difficult. A recent study showed that difficulties with communication and collaboration was the second biggest challenge with working remotely (source).

Remote workers often feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, which can lead to decreased productivity and morale. There are plenty of free tools available to help make collaboration a breeze, even when you’re working remotely. 

In this blog post, we share three free tools that can help you, your team and stakeholders work together more efficiently and effectively. So, whether you’re a small business owner, a manager, or just someone who wants to make your work life a little bit easier, read on to learn more!

Free Collaboration Tool 1 (To help run online workshops/ meetings) – Miro

What is it:

Miro is a great online collaboration tool that allows teams to visually organise, brainstorm, and plan projects all in one place. It’s like an online version of an in-person workshop with sticky notes and a huge whiteboard. As it’s a digital tool you can also add media like images, videos, and links which makes it a great tool to keep everything organised and on one page.

What’s great about it:

One of the great things about Miro’s free plan is that it allows for an unlimited number of users and up to 3 editable boards. This means that teams of any size can use the platform without having to worry about hitting a limit or needing to upgrade to a paid plan. It’s an incredibly simple tool with a very simple drag and drop user interface making it easy to use for those who aren’t confident with technology. There is also a big library of templates that you can use to help you get started.

What are the limitations:

Aside from the restrictions of editable boards there are a few other limitations that you need to be aware of. The biggest in my opinion is that on the free plan all your boards are public, this means that, technically, anyone can view what’s on them (if they get the link). So you may need to be careful of what data is stored on the boards.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan – There are a lot of features that are not included in the free plan, but having unlimited users and 3 editable boards is great for not having to pay anything.

Free Collaboration Tool 2 (To help explain your point in an online meeting) – Witeboard

What is it:

Witeboard is a very simple tool that gives you an online whiteboard that allows teams to draw shapes and add text or images to a blank online canvas, making it perfect for brainstorming, planning, and visualising ideas.

What’s great about it:

A couple of things I really like about Witeboard, it’s super simple to use and setup you literally go to the URL and get started – no logins required. It also allows for real-time collaboration – means that multiple users can work on the same whiteboard at the same time, making it perfect for remote teams or for teams that need to work together in real-time. You can also download the output as an image as well to keep for later.

What are the limitations:

Witeboard, by design, is super simple. So there are limitations in terms of functionality, for example once you import an image you can’t move it and you get limited version history to ‘undo’ any mistakes. I’d also avoid putting any sensitive or private information on the board as it’s open to everyone.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan – No login or sign up required to be able to use it for free.

Free Collaboration Tool 3 (To help you work together on a project) – Notion

What is it:

Notion describes itself as an all-in-one online collaboration tool that allows teams to organise, plan, and collaborate on projects all in one place. Its actually a very versatile and configurable platform that offers a variety of features including notes, tasks, wikis, and databases, making it perfect for teams that need to organise and manage a wide range of information in one place.

What’s great about it:

One of the great things about Notion’s is how configurable it is, meaning you can use it for a range of different purposes like task lists, gantt charts and project documentation all of which are accessible by your team in one place. The free plan also enables you to create an unlimited number of pages within your site giving it good scale at limited users. Personally I’ve found it a useful tool for personal life admin planning as well.

What are the limitations:

The free plan has a lot of limitations, some of the biggest are a limit on the number of ‘block’s you can include on pages – rumoured to be around 1,000. File uploads have a limit of up to 5MB each and you can only have a maximum of 10 collaborators at a time. I also found the platform had a bit of a steep learning curve in terms of setup so you’ll have to invest a bit of time to learn how it all works.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan – Whilst there are a lot of restrictions on the free plan, for a small team or project Notion works really well with their free plan.

Additional Help

Check out my Quick Tips Guide for information on how to get started with these platforms, as well as examples of how I’ve used them and the results I’ve achieved – you’ll need to enter your email address to download.

In our next post, we’ll share 3 free tools that will save you money on things you need to buy today.

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