Virtual collaboration is more important than ever before. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated remote work, this flexible working style was on an upward trajectory. And while many professionals who work remotely enjoy increased productivity and engagement, it’s not always easy to keep the entire team on the same page — especially when several are remote.

 

This is where web conferencing software and online collaboration apps come in handy. According to our report, during the first month of the pandemic, there were more than 3.2 million attendees to online events hosted on ClickMeeting alone — more than a 267% increase from the year prior. These tools are valuable and in increasing demand.

Whether it’s quick chat messages, group video calls, or even basic project management you need, there’s a tool that can do it. And the beauty is, most are affordable and offer free trials. Here are some of the best:

 

Collaboration and communication tools for teams with free trials

 

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is at the top of this list because, let’s face it, it’s one of the easiest platforms out there. You get an unlimited number of online meetings and webinars, along with HD quality video and calls. Other features include:

  • Screen sharing;
  • Presentation mode;
  • Whiteboard;
  • Group and private chat;
  • Polls and surveys;
  • Event recording;
  • Up to 2 GB of file storage.

ClickMeeting offers one of the most generous free trial periods out there. You can use the platform free of charge for 30 days, no strings attached. After that, paid plans start at $25 per month and cover all users — so there are no growing costs with a growing team.

 

Bitrix24

Cloud-based Bitrix24 has a suite of communication, task management, and CRM tools. When it comes to team communication and collaboration, Bitrix24 accommodates voice and video calls, document storage and organization, and task management. It also has group and 1:1 chat tools.

What comes for free:

  • 5 GB of storage;
  • Basic task management, chat, and video calls;
  • Basic collaboration tools.

Most of Bitrix24’s most valuable features come with a paid plan, which will cost anywhere between $19 and $159 per month. There are several plans to choose from, each coming with more storage and advanced features. You can try it out for free for 30 days.

 

ClickUp

Less of a team chat app, and more like project management tools, ClickUp offers a range of free features. It lacks video conferencing and 1:1 chat but facilitates task management, assignments, deadlines, file sharing, commenting, and comment threads.

What comes for free:

  • Unlimited users;
  • Unlimited tasks;
  • 100 MB of storage.

Paid plans come with unlimited storage, integrations, dashboards, and custom fields. A higher-tier business plan is also available with advanced security features. Paid plans range from $5 – $19 per month per user, depending on the plan and billing cycle. ClickUp also has a free trial for its paid plans.

 

Rocket.chat

Rocket.chat offers two options for organizations in need of online collaboration tools: self-hosted and cloud-based. In the former, you’ll need to set up and host it yourself — and you can use Rocket.chat’s free community plan to get started. To access Rocket.chat’s cloud-based offering, you’ll need to pay for a plan.

What comes for free:

  • Self-hosted;
  • Up to 1k users;
  • Unlimited message history;
  • Unlimited integrations;
  • Mobile and desktop apps;
  • Up to 5k push notifications.

Paid options for self-hosting are available at $30+ per user per month and come with more push notifications, integration options, and online ticketing. Their hosted options range from $2 – $4 per user per month (less if billed annually). Rocket.chat offers a 14-day free trial for all paid plans.

 

Troop Messenger

Troop Messenger is an online meetings and chats app. Its features include HD video chats, audio calls and messaging, screen sharing, read receipts, and remote desktop control. Other unique features include flagging and the option to respond later.

What comes for free:

  • 7-day free trial of the enterprise plan, which includes:
    • 1-to-1 messaging;
    • Message forwarding;
    • Group chats;
    • File sharing;
    • Screen sharing;
    • Google Drive and Dropbox integrations.

Troop Messenger doesn’t actually have a free version of its platform, though you can try their enterprise plan for free for seven days. After seven days, you can pay $5 per user per month to stay with the enterprise plan or downgrade to $2.50 per user per month for the premium plan.

 

Best free collaboration and communication apps for teams

 

Slack

Slack is a popular team chat and messaging app, accessible on both mobile and desktop. It facilitates both group chats and 1:1 messaging, offering support for text, images, videos, links, emojis, GIFs, and more. You can also integrate tons of other apps and platforms, including communication, analytics, project management, and more.

What comes for free:

  • 10k searchable messages;
  • 10 apps and integrations;
  • 1-to-1 video calls;
  • Two-factor authentication.

There’s the option to upgrade to Slack’s paid plans for additional features like group voice and video calls. You’ll pay per user, with prices ranging from $6.67 to $12.50 per month per user. Slack also offers custom enterprise-level pricing.

 

Flock

Flock is a robust communication and productivity tool that facilitates collaboration with built-in data analytics. Main features include voice and video calls, channel messaging, guest users, real-time file sharing, and voice notes. Team members can create to-do lists, polls, notes, and reminders. There’s also a customer support team available 24/7.

What comes for free:

  • Unlimited 1-to-1 and group messaging;
  • 10k searchable messages;
  • 10 channels;
  • 5 GB storage;
  • 1-to-1 video calls.

Flock offers a 30-day free trial for paid plans, which are available at $4.50 per user per month or $8 per user per month. Both come with unlimited messaging, 10 GB and 20 GB of storage respectively, group video calls, and screen sharing. Flock lacks a free trial, though you can invite multiple guests for free for 90 days from the invitation date.

 

Twist

Twist is one of the Doist’s productivity and collaboration apps, creating a “distraction-free space where teams can balance focused work with collaborative conversations.” Its features are particular to team messaging, including channels, 1:1 messages, and threads.

What comes for free:

  • Access 1 month of comments/messages;
  • Up to 5 integrations;
  • 5 GB file storage;
  • Unlimited guests.

If you want unlimited searchable messages, integrations, and file storage, you’ll need to upgrade for $5 per month per user. There is no free trial.

 

Discord

Similar to Twist and Slack, Discord is another messaging app for businesses. You can download the app for Mac, PC, or mobile, or access the platform from a web browser. Create group channels, offer 1:1 messaging, and host voice and video calls.

What comes for free:

  • Group voice and video calls;
  • Screen sharing;
  • User roles;
  • Unlimited users and messages;
  • Basic emojis.

Discord Nitro is available at a yearly cost of $99.99 and comes with advanced emoji support, user profiles, 100 MB file uploads, and HD video conferencing.

 

Zoho Cliq

Zoho users might already know of Zoho Cliq, which offers team collaboration, live chat, task management, and video conferencing. Businesses can also use it to track hours, host live streams, and set away statuses for things like coffee or lunch breaks.

What comes for free:

  • 10k searchable messages;
  • 100 GB file storage;
  • Up to 100 participants per channel;
  • User provisioning and de-provisioning;
  • Google/Google Apps sign-on;
  • SAML based single sign-on (SSO);
  • Screen sharing;
  • Read receipts.

Zoho Cliq’s paid pricing structure is a bit complicated and based on the total number of users. You’ll pay anywhere between $3 and $1 per month per user (less if billed annually) – the bigger your team, the lower the per-user cost. There is no option for a free trial.

 

Asana

Much like ClickUp, Asana is mainly a project management tool. Its free features are more limited than ClickUp, though users find its scaled-back features easier to learn and get used to. You can create and assign tasks, upload and attach files, collaborate in team workspaces, and leave comments.

What comes for free:

  • Up to 15 users;
  • Unlimited tasks and projects;
  • Unlimited file storage (100 MB per file);
  • 100+ integrations.

Paid Asana plans are pricy compared to other options on this list, starting at $10.99 per month per user for their Premium plan. This includes a timeline, dashboards, unlimited guests, and private projects for secure internal communication. There is no free trial.

 

Moving forward with ClickMeeting’s free trial

In a world of uncertainty, one thing’s for sure: the need for virtual collaboration and communication apps isn’t going anywhere. It’s important to get set up with the right tools that meet your needs now and in the future — and don’t require a massive budget or technical skillset to execute. ClickMeeting checks all the boxes for the most powerful and intuitive features, all in a super-simple platform.

Start your free trial today to discover if ClickMeeting is right for your team collaboration needs.

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Posted by Alexandra Sheehan

Content Writer @ ClickMeeting

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