Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are adjusting to a new normal of working from home. Whilst there are benefits to this, it can present a unique set of new challenges. One such challenge is how to effectively communicate and collaborate with our colleagues without being in the same office.
The good news is there is a huge range of software designed for this purpose to choose from. In this article, we will cover the four most prominent on the market today and examine the advantages and limitations of these.
1. Microsoft Teams
Part of the Microsoft 365 suite, Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration platform which replaces Skype for Business. Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage and collaboration on files.
- Comes with Office 365 at no additional cost (depending on license)
- Instant messaging eliminates the need for long email chains
- Video calls with multiple colleagues at once
- Easy to implement and use
- File sharing and collaboration
- App integration
- Requires an Office 365 subscription
- Team set up and permissions can be complex
Zoom is a cloud-based online meetings platform which has recently gained a lot of attention due to its ease of use and media coverage. Video conferencing, chat and business telephony services are their main offerings.
- Use of the video conferencing platform is completely free for up to 40 minutes with a maximum of 100 participants
- Sign up is not required for participants by default
- Easy to use and works on most devices
- Up to 1000 video participants on business plans with 49 video feeds on screen
- Screen sharing and annotation
- File sharing
- Information security professionals have raised concerns about Zoom’s data security and privacy practises
- “Zoom-bombing” – where unwanted users can enter a meeting and disrupt it if they find the meeting link
- Audio and video quality can deteriorate when large numbers of participants join a meeting
Slack is an instant messaging application to which has been around since 2013. It is relatively similar to Microsoft Teams in terms of its offerings.
- Ability to create channels to divide your teams and dedicate people to focused discussions and work
- Channels allow you to host video calls, chat separately within your own team and host virtual meetings
- File sharing between teams for collaboration
- Easy to use, simple design
- Automated actions and reminders
- High volume of “urgent” messages
- Can be difficult to retrieve important information from a Slack chat
- Private channels cannot be changed to public if needed
- Can become expensive for larger companies
4. Google Meet
Available as a part of G Suite, Google Meet is Google’s enterprise video conferencing software. You can have a maximum of 250 participants on the enterprise license.
- Comes with G-suite at no extra cost
- Works in-browser on Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari without installing any additional software or plugins
- Integrates with other meeting solutions
- Guests can join using a dial-in phone number in case of not having internet access
- Dashboard is not as clean as in some other meeting software
- No free option (you must have a G suite subscription to host meetings)
- No end-to-end encryption of video meetings