An increase in remote workers, and the decentralization of businesses in general, has forever altered the way business people collaborate. This has resulted in a growing demand for tools that make it easier to communicate, whether it's across town or across oceans. As a result, the market is currently flooded with solutions that make everything from conference calls and project planning to video chatting and managing the books simpler. The trick is narrowing the field to ones you'll actually use.
Slack is a video, text and audio chat tool that's beloved by established small business owners, major enterprises and newbie startups alike. Within Slack, users can set up different channels that other users have access to and even invite temporary workers (like freelancers or contractors) to join in the conversation. There's a free version of Slack you can try without obligation as well as a paid version that exists at two levels ($6.67 per user, per month and $12.50 per user, per month).
While it's not the powerhouse Microsoft Office is, the G Suite is a great option for small businesses that don't want to invest in more Microsoft products but still need to communicate and collaborate. Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar and email as well as Hangouts (for chatting via text or video) are powerful productivity and collaboration tools, especially when you consider that they're all free.
This collaboration tool isn't as well-known as some of its competitors, but it's worth noting, because it offers unique functionality that's especially valuable for SMBs with international clients and partners. With UberConference, users can host conference calls without a required PIN and without internet access. This service may be used for free with up to 10 users at a time, but there's also a $10 per month per-user subscription that offers more robust functionality (like custom call-in numbers)
For file syncing, especially among a spread-out workforce that's not necessarily all using the same OS or software, Dropbox is a great tool. Rates begin at $10 a month for each terabyte of space. The minimalist design is easy to use, allows teams to access and share information together, review items, leave notes and stay organized.
If your business already uses the Microsoft Office Suite, then taking advantage of OneNote is a no brainer for collaboration. OneNote users can sync their notes across different devices, share notes and add to them, limit permissions on different notebooks and even do some light project management, all using OneNote. Additionally, since it's a Microsoft product, it is fully compatible with the rest of the suite (including Excel).