5 Productivity and Collaboration Apps to Test for Free

Maricel Rivera
Maricel Rivera is a financial researcher and freelance writer. She currently writes web content for MyAmplifiers.com, a market-leading provider of mobile phone signal boosters for homes, office buildings and vehicles. She also writes for Comindware, a BPM software provider. When not writing for various business and tech blogs, she writes about freelancing and writing at the The Sourcing Pen.
Maricel Rivera
Maricel Rivera
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productivity and collaboration

Completion of big projects is better carried out through effective team collaboration. But sometimes, when collaborating with a team, confusion in roles, team vision and goals can’t be avoided, especially if members are collaborating remotely. Adding more organization and transparency into the overall picture, down to the tiniest bits of tasks, can help teams easily comprehend and follow directions without getting lost or isolated.

Collaboration is founded principally on effective communication. And while email is an effective communication tool, it is not necessarily the best collaborative tool to grace the world of work. Among other things, with email, tasks can get lost or buried under a pile of other messages, document versions can get mixed up, and collaborators may have a hard time sifting through messages to find the data or information they need to carry out their assigned tasks.

This being the case, here are five collaboration applications you can test for free to ensure teamwork and productivity:

#1. Social Collaboration

Bitrix24 is a social collaboration application that’s offered free for small businesses with a total of 12 team members. While free, it’s packed with a whole slew of capabilities that include project and task management, activity streaming, a fully functional CRM, real-time viewing, instant messaging, phone and video conferencing, time tracker, daily planner, workforce and reports management, file/document upload and sharing, among other things.

With over 25 HR tools, such as absence chart, private social network, resume storage, centralized searchable employee directory, organizational chart, leave/time-off requests, and more, Bitrix24 can also be used as a human resources information system (HRIS).

For companies of more than 12 users, upgrade starts at $99 per month for unlimited users.

#2. List Collaboration and Sharing

A to-do list at the core, WorkFlowy is a browser-based organization and task management tool that’s fast, simple and easy to use, with nearly every function available via a keyboard shortcut. Your document or to-do list is instantly turned into a web page with a URL that is shareable.

You can share parts or sublists that others can update and collaborate on with you, a feature also available during live use. For example, when taking notes, you can readily share your notes to other users as you take them. Anyone can view and edit a separate copy even without having to create their own

Workflowy account.

For those interested in the Pro version that includes unlimited lists, automatic backup of data to Dropbox, password-protected collaboration, premium support and more, upgrade costs $49 per year.

#3. Collaborative Mind Mapping

Mindmeister is a mind-mapping application that you can use alone to map your thoughts or expound on an idea, or for collaboration with other members of a team. Its visual style of mapping data online allows users to easily brainstorm with as many others in real time. Another nice feature of Mindmeister is its change history function, which is perfect for reviewing edits made to the main mind map.

With its Web 2.0 functionality, you can expect user experience to be breezy and uncomplicated, so you can be sure to integrate the app into your operations quite easily.

The free/basic application allows sharing, import and collaboration of up to three maps. Upgrades cost $5.99 per month for a Personal account, $9.99 for Pro and $14.99 for Business accounts.

#4. Visual Collaboration

If you’re into something resembling a real environment, Mural.ly is an artful choice with its post-it-inspired interface. Aesthetically pleasing, the environment is called a mural and is a charming visual stimulation for collaborators. With its real-time capability, you can see pictures of other users who are participating in your mural, much like a social media profile picture.

Borne out of videogame developers’ needs, Mural.ly was first created to find a way to create an online inspiration board out of pictures, music, videos, quotes, and the like that would also let teams to shape their ideas collectively.

The free account allows you two murals and one room with 50 collaborators. Upgrade price starts at $29 per month, depending on which of the currently available, specifically tailored products you choose for your purposes.

#5. Wiki-Style Collaboration

Previously called PBWiki, PBWorks is a hosted wiki-style collaboration solution that’s suited for educational and organizational purposes. Progress monitoring and live editing updates are made easy with IM and Twitter-like functions integrated into the system. PBWorks supports real-time discussion among collaborators even while doing live editing.

This feature also works for voice, such as in audio web conferencing, so you can collaborate with real-time audio while working on a project, all without having to go through the normal procedures required in other web conferencing tools. Sessions can be stored and recorded automatically.

A free account includes five workspaces, 50 MB of storage, 15 internal and five external users, and a free email for customer support.

Image credit: Vlado | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. Hi Maricel,

    I think collaboration is important for big project. But I am very new to the concept you just shared with us here. Thanks for the explanation
    Okto recently posted…How Mobile Marketing Can Shape Business TodayMy Profile

  2. Great tools to make the often burdensome task of collaboration easier, Miracel. Though some of these tools are completely novel to me, it is me belief that trying them out would offer no harm – only the possibility of more (and greater productivity).

    Do have a very great day!

    Always,
    Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…TOP 10 WORDPRESS PLUGINS YOU SHOULD USE ON YOUR BLOGMy Profile

    • Thanks for the comment, Akaahan. Indeed, there’s always a first time, even with collaboration tools. Give them a try, and soon enough, you’ll discover which work best for you. As you keep on using them, they become easier to tackle. Thanks again!

  3. Brian Elliott says:

    Apart from PBWiki (now PBWorks), all the other apps are new to me. I am looking at WorkFlowy, although the $49 cost seems a bit high to me.

    • Hi Brian,

      You can give it a try, and if you think the value the app gives you is worth the cost, then, I suggest you go for it. There are others in the list that won’t have to cost that much though.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. All these platforms and tools are new for me. To be honest, I haven’t tried any of the above, but how to test some in the near future. I have to admit that I am not the most organized person. Though I am using custom solution to work with my team.

    • Thanks for adding in your thoughts, Kaloyan. I’d say getting organized and staying organized can sometimes be a challenge, but it can be done with a little help. Great that you have a custom solution that can help you and your team out.

  5. I’d also like to add Sandglaz to this list! It’s a great tool to minimize email yet improve communication (and hence collaboration) within a team. For example, it allows you to chat with team members right within the context of your task, and also allows you to attach files to the task that you need to share with your team.

  6. Hey Maricel,
    Nice post and thanks for sharing these apps with us. Most of the app which you mentioned above are new to me but really seems interesting. This post really gonna help many people.
    Sudipto recently posted…Best Android Phone Under 5000My Profile

  7. Hi Maricel,

    All these productivity and collaboration apps are new to me. Will check them out.

    Thanks for sharing! :)
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  8. Hi Maricel, Thanks for a tremendous post with apps that really makes us to get things done smarter. I will definitely try out WorkFlowy. I need something like that.
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  9. Hello Maricel, truly speaking, this list is a very handy list and can be very helpful. I have not used any of these tools though after reading your article, it seems that some of these tools can be great help for me. Going to explore them one by one and will keep you posted on the result.

  10. Thanks for these lists of productivity apps, this is great to use these apps. I have tried few of them. But now I will give all of them a try.
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  11. Nice post. To be honest, I haven’t tried any of the above, but will test some in the near future.
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  12. Hey there….
    Thanks for adding in your thoughts, Kaloyan. I’d say getting organized and staying organized can sometimes be a challenge, but it can be done with a little help. Great that you have a custom solution that can help you and your team out.
    Thank you again
    lalina recently posted…Gmail Login – http://www.Gmail.com – Gmail Sign InMy Profile

  13. Hi Maricel,
    I haven’t tried any of the above, but will test the Collaborative Mind Mapping. This is great to use these apps. Thanks for sharing.

    Boris

  14. I haven’t tried these out. But the description is pretty appealing! I know how collaborating could be a tough task. Specially in work environments mails are the preferred means of communication. And i find it very much time consuming and slow. Trying these out could help build up better production after all.
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  15. I just signed up for murally. Their signup process was very simple with google account. It came with a 30 day free trial. It was fun to go green and use digital sticky instead of real ones.
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  16. Great apps, will definitely try some of these.
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