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Best Virtual Tools For Businesses In 2021

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While we’re all ready to slam the door on 2020, we know that everything didn’t magically go back to normal at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Many businesses are still keeping employees remote, and many others have decided that virtual is the wave of the future, with no plans to return to in-person and the costly overhead that comes with it.

If your team is starting the New Year remotely and you want to improve collaboration and productivity, here are the best virtual tools to adopt in 2021. Bonus: all of these tools have a free version that many small- to medium-sized businesses will find perfectly sufficient!


Collaboration: Slack

Instant messaging apps have come and gone over the years, but the overwhelming popularity and user preference makes Slack a business communication tool that is here to stay. Slack keeps teams uber-organized with “channels,” which are group chats that admins control access to by making them public or private. There is also a “direct message” section where team members can collaborate separately in groups of 2-8 people. Slack’s highly intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone non-techy to jump in and start collaborating, and its clean look (and fun, motivational messages) make it positively enjoyable to use.

What’s more, Slack has more than 1,500 integrations with popular business tools, such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, and SalesForce. It’s completely free to use, but once your team gets hooked you’ll likely want to unlock its full suite of features, which starts around $12 per user per month, making it an affordable tool for small-medium sized businesses.


Video Conferencing: Zoom or Google Meet

Another communication tool that has soared in popularity this year is the video conferencing app, Zoom. The free version is sufficient for most SMBs, and it takes seconds to set up and launch a meeting. It has a simple to use interface, and overall outstanding performance and audio/visual quality. Bonus: it comes with built-in backgrounds to hide the clutter in your home office!

An alternative to Zoom is Google Meet, which also has a free version with the premium version included with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) subscriptions for businesses. It also offers excellent call and video quality, plus enhanced security with the premium version, making it a great choice for enterprise-level businesses.

With the free versions, Zoom tends to edge out Google with its 49 person gallery view and ability to record meetings, which is only available with the paid version of Google Meet.


Project Management: Asana

There are loads of project management platforms on the market, but for teams just making the switch from in-person collaboration to virtual, Asana is an excellent, easy-to-use tool to help you keep track of who’s doing what. The interface is clean and intuitive, making it easy to create projects, add collaborators, assign tasks, set due dates, and communicate right within individual tasks. Multiple views allow you to see tasks in lists, on a calendar, or timeline, and even in graphs that show which projects having lagging open tasks.

The free version of Asana will work just fine for SMBs, but the paid versions have advanced features that help large teams work even more efficiently.


Productivity: Google Workspace

It’s no secret that we love all things Google here at PixelPeople, but it is true that Google’s cloud-based productivity tools are the complete package for any size business. From email and calendar solutions, to spreadsheets, slide decks, word processing, and much more, Google increases employee productivity by allowing real-time collaboration all in one place—from anywhere.

Google’s productivity apps are free for everyone, and many small businesses will find the free versions perfectly workable for their team. When you need more storage, enhanced security, or email @ your custom domain name, Google makes it easy to scale with their Google Workspace paid plans for businesses, starting at just $6 per month per user.


PixelPeople Supports Your Business From Anywhere!

Although we’re based in the Chicago area, we work with clients all over the country. Our team is adept at collaborating virtually and can support all of your Web Development, Branding, and Digital Marketing needs no matter how your team is working. Contact us to learn more and schedule a virtual consultation!


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