Man uses communication platforms to work from home.
Part of running a successful business is providing your workers with the right tools. That means understanding what kinds of communication apps are available to startups and SMBs. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

When it comes to team communication tools, you have plenty of options to pick from, but not all of them will fall within your price range. If you’re looking to cut down on your monthly expenses, here are nine free communication tools that can help.

[Read more: 5 Top Tech Tools for Customer Communication]

Best tools for chat

  • Slack: Slack is still one of the best options for team communication tools, which is why it comes first on this list. Slack organizes team communication into different messaging channels, so everyone can stay in the loop. Slack’s free plan gives you access to unlimited messages, channels and video calls. It also integrates with up to 10 different apps. This makes it a great deal for growing teams that want to give Slack a try.
  • Flock: Flock is making a name for itself as one of the top Slack alternatives. The app makes it easy for your team to stay in touch and keep the conversations out of your inbox. The free version comes with unlimited group chat and one-on-one messages, and you can easily search up to 10,000 messages. Each team member receives 5GB of storage, and you can access up to 10 different channels.
  • Microsoft Teams: Initially, Microsoft Teams was designed for companies that had an Office 365 subscription. But now the company offers a free plan for small businesses and startups. The app is free for up to 300 users, and you receive unlimited messages, channels and search history, and it integrates with over 140 different popular apps. These features make Microsoft Teams one of the best free communication tools available.

[Read more: 6 Ways To Keep Your Team Productive When Working From Home]

Choosing a combination of chat, video and file sharing apps will provide your workers with the tools they need.

Best tools for video conferencing

  • Zoom: The right video conferencing software is a must right now, and Zoom is one of the top contenders. The software provides robust screen-sharing capabilities, HD video and private chat options. The software is free for up to 100 participants and you receive unlimited one-on-one meetings. However, all group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.
  • RingCentral: RingCentral is a secure and reliable way to host video and audio calls with your team. The software works across all your devices, and it’s easy to set up and use. With RingCentral, you can share your screen, record meetings, and utilize group and private text chat. However, the software is similar to Zoom in that there is a 40-minute limit on all group calls, and you receive unlimited one-on-one calls.
  • Skype: Skype is one of the most widely used and best-known video conferencing platforms. It provides audio and HD video calls, public and private chats, and screen sharing. One of the things that is unique to Skype is its voice translator, which supports 10 different languages. This feature makes it possible to do multilingual meetings. And the free plan supports up to 25 participants on group calls.

[Read more: Top Tech Tools To Keep Your Team Connected During Coronavirus]

Best tools for file sharing and project management

  • Google Drive: If you need to collaborate with your team over documents in real time, then Google Drive is going to be your best bet. When you sign up for Google Drive, you gain access to Docs, Sheets and Slides. One of the advantages of using Google Drive is its powerful search capabilities. You can easily find the documents you’re looking for, and the software integrates with many popular apps that you’re already using.
  • Trello: Trello is an all-in-one project management software for teams. You can use Trello boards to manage every aspect of a project from beginning to end. Trello lets users assign tasks and due dates, tag other users in comments, share documents and create built-in workflows. The app integrates with other popular apps, including Google Drive, Dropbox and Slack. With the free version of Trello, you’ll get access to 10 different team boards, and you can use up to 10MB per file attachment.
  • Asana: Asana is one of the best apps for assigning tasks and staying on top of the progress your team is making on various projects. Not only will it improve team communication, but it makes it easier for you to hit your goals as well. The basic plan is free for up to 15 team members, which makes Asana perfect for growing teams. With this plan, you can assign tasks and view upcoming due dates in either a board, calendar or list view. Plus, Asana integrates with dozens of popular apps.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published June 18, 2020