When communicating with your team as a hybrid or remote manager, you face unique challenges and opportunities.
Yes, you rarely or never have to sit face-to-face with team members anymore, but at the same time, you rarely or never can sit face-to-face with team members.
And we say new ways because it’s not about copy-pasting how you used to work in the office to an online environment. It’s about rethinking communication for the hybrid and remote management era and finding the right tools and practices to excel in this new world of work.
“Hybrid and remote communication is not about copy-pasting how you used to work in the office to an online environment.”
Effective communication has become the linchpin of success as you embrace flexible work arrangements and often collaborate across geographical boundaries, making you prone to costly miscommunication.
Communication software has become the cornerstone of modern managerial success, from virtual meetings to casual team chats.
But with so many options available, each with its own ways to positively impact how you connect and collaborate, how do you choose the right software for your hybrid or remote team?
In this article, we’ll discover the best communication software tailored specifically to your needs as a hybrid and remote manager based on our experience of being a hybrid team ourselves.
It's time to delve into the tools and strategies to empower you to thrive in this new era.
What is communication?
It may seem straightforward, but online, we can communicate in many ways.
For modern teams, especially those who work from home some days of the week or are fully distributed, the most common ways to communicate or via chat or during online meetings and by using project management and document editing software.
In this article, we’ll look into some of the tools that’ll make it much easier for you to communicate successfully with your hybrid or remote team – and have more fun along the way.
Top 20 Communication Tools for Hybrid and Remote Teams (Unbiased Reviews)
When we speak of communication tools, we have to distinguish between three key categories.
The first one we'll look at are Virtual Meeting platforms. These platforms help you faciliate your online meeting seamlessly.
The second category are Team Messaging or "Chat" apps. These platforms help you communicate and collaborate with your team outside of meetings.
Finally, we also feature Documentation & Collaboration platforms that can be used in tandem with the other categories.
For example, overly complicated and highly secure platforms (*cough* MS Teams *cough*) may be great for enterprise requirements. Still, they could limit the ability and appetite of team members to join and engage in your online meetings.
With this in mind, let’s look at the various options for your virtual meetings:
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
1. Google Meet
Let’s start with the one we use!
Google Meet is a user-friendly and widely accessible video conferencing platform for personal and business communication. It offers essential features for virtual meetings, making it a reliable choice for remote and hybrid managers. It’s also very easy to use and feels younger and lighter than some of its competitors.
- Video Meetings: Host high-definition video meetings with up to hundreds of participants.
- Screen Sharing: Share your screen or specific application windows with meeting attendees.
- Integration: Seamlessly integrates with other Google Workspace apps like Google Calendar and Gmail.
- Recording: Record meetings and save them to Google Drive for future reference.
- Scheduling: Easily schedule and join meetings directly from Google Calendar.
- Mobile Access: Access meetings on the go through the Google Meet mobile app.
- Live Captions: Enable live captioning for improved accessibility.
- Security: Strong security measures, including encryption and meeting controls.
Platforms: Google Meet is accessible through web browsers and offers dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Integrations: It integrates seamlessly with other Google Workspace apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Google Docs. It also supports third-party integrations through extensions.
“Google Meet addresses the issue of separation by facilitating meetings promoting global cooperation. This provides users with the advantage of enabling work, flexible interactions, and minimizing the need, for travel. It boosts productivity and fosters connections, in our interconnected world today.” – G2 Reviewer
- User-friendly interface suitable for beginners and frequent users.
- Easy integration with Google Workspace, streamlining scheduling and access.
- Strong security measures, including encryption and meeting controls.
- Accessibility features like live captioning.
- High-quality video and audio.
- Limited advanced features compared to some competitors.
- Some features, like recording, may require a paid Google Workspace subscription.
- Limited customization options compared to other video conferencing platforms.
Pricing: Google Meet offers a free version with basic features. For advanced features like recording and expanded participant limits, users can subscribe to a Google Workspace plan, with pricing starting at $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan.
Google Meet is a straightforward and accessible video conferencing platform suitable for remote and hybrid managers. Its integration with Google Workspace, strong security measures, and ease of use make it a reliable choice for businesses and individuals looking for a video conferencing solution. While it may lack some advanced features found in competitors, its simplicity and accessibility make it a popular choice for virtual meetings.
You may have heard of this one…
Microsoft Teams is a comprehensive collaboration and communication platform that provides a wide range of features tailored for virtual meetings and team collaboration, making it one of the essential tools for hybrid and remote managers.
- Chat: Real-time chat for one-on-one or group conversations with threaded messages.
- Video Meetings: High-quality video and audio meetings with screen sharing, recording, and meeting scheduling.
- File Sharing: Seamless integration with Microsoft 365 for sharing and co-authoring documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Channels: Create dedicated channels for organizing discussions and files by project or topic.
- Integration: Deep integration with Microsoft apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Collaboration: Collaborative editing of documents within Teams, eliminating the need for external editing tools.
- Security: Enterprise-level security, compliance, and data protection.
- Customization: Customize Teams with apps, bots, and extensions from the Microsoft App Store.
Platforms: Microsoft Teams is accessible through web browsers and offers dedicated desktop and mobile apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Integrations: It seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 apps, SharePoint, OneDrive, and hundreds of third-party applications, including Trello, Asana, and more.
“The tool has been a boon to all the corporate employees in Covid. It is very elaborative and consists of all the features through which colleagues can interact easily. The UI is quite easy to understand and there are proper bifurcations for all the functionalities, be it calls, calenders, files, etc. It also allows us to easily connect to other apps of Microsoft suite like Power BI, Word, Excel, and Power Apps. Also, company-specific apps can also be integrated with it to give it a more personalized touch.” – G2 Reviewer
- Deep integration with Microsoft 365, offering a comprehensive suite of productivity tools.
- Robust video meeting capabilities with scheduling and recording.
- Versatile channels for organizing discussions and files.
- Extensive customization options through third-party apps and Microsoft's Power Platform.
- Enterprise-level security and compliance features.
- Requires a Microsoft 365 subscription for full access to advanced features.
- The steeper learning curve for new users due to its feature-rich nature.
- Limited free version compared to competitors.
Pricing: Microsoft Teams offers a free version with limited features. Paid plans are available as part of Microsoft 365, with pricing based on the level of Microsoft 365 subscription (e.g., Business Basic, Business Standard, Enterprise).
Microsoft Teams is a comprehensive collaboration platform tailored for hybrid and remote managers. Its integration with Microsoft 365, advanced virtual meetings and team collaboration features, and robust security measures make it a powerful choice for organizations looking to enhance their remote work capabilities. If you’re already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, you will find Teams a seamless extension of your existing tools.
A note on Microsoft Teams and Google Meet:
Both platforms offer great video conferencing opportunities, chat, and other features you need to communicate with your hybrid or remote team.
For most teams and companies, choosing one of these platforms is enough to cover all online communication use cases, especially when combined with specialized platforms that fulfill your specific requirements.
If you haven’t already, starting with one of these two platforms is likely the best way to improve online communication.
If you decide which of the two to choose, survey your team and potential collaborators. What they have been used to in previous roles is important to consider, as people usually prefer the more corporate MS Teams or the more “startuppy” Google Suite (often combined with Slack.)
Cue the Zoom memes….
Zoom is a widely used video conferencing and communication platform that offers a range of features suitable for virtual meetings, hyper-focusing on the online meeting part. It facilitates real-time communication, collaboration, and webinars.
- Video Conferencing: High-definition video and audio meetings with up to thousands of participants, breakout rooms, and virtual backgrounds.
- Screen Sharing: Share your screen or specific application windows with participants for presentations or collaborative work.
- Messaging: In-meeting chat for text-based communication during meetings.
- Recording: Record meetings for later reference or sharing.
- Scheduling: Integrated calendar for scheduling and sending meeting invitations.
- Webinars: Host webinars with extensive audience engagement features.
- Integration: Integration with third-party apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Calendar.
Security: Password protection, waiting rooms, and encryption for secure meetings.
Platforms: Zoom is accessible through web browsers and offers dedicated desktop and mobile apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Integrations: Zoom integrates with various third-party applications, including productivity tools and messaging apps, enhancing its functionality.
Zoom allows us to interact with our co-workers when someone cannot come onsite due to illness or other obligations. It also enables us to schedule brief webinars and Lunch and Learn sessions to help educate employees. – G2 Reviewer
- User-friendly interface for easy setup and use.
- Versatile features for meetings, webinars, and collaboration.
- Scalable to accommodate both small team meetings and large webinars.
- Strong security measures to protect meetings.
- Broad compatibility across devices and operating systems.
- Some users may experience "Zoom fatigue" from prolonged video meetings.
- The free plan has time limits on group meetings, which may be restrictive.
- While user-friendly, some advanced features may require additional configuration.
Pricing: Zoom offers a range of pricing plans, including a free plan with limited features. Paid plans are available for businesses and organizations, with small teams to large enterprises pricing options. Pricing varies based on the number of hosts and participants, with additional features included in higher-tier plans.
Zoom is a versatile and widely used platform that caters to the communication needs of hybrid and remote managers. Its robust features, scalability, and compatibility across devices make it a popular choice for virtual meetings and collaboration.
However, when selecting a plan, you should consider their specific requirements and budget and whether it’s worth paying for Zoom on top of your core communication platforms like Microsoft Teams or Google Meet.
Working across time zones or with a largely remote team?
Loom is a versatile video messaging platform that empowers remote and hybrid managers to communicate effectively through asynchronous video messages – and this is really where it shines compared to the platforms above. It simplifies the process of creating and sharing video content for both internal and external communication.
- Video Messaging: Create quick video messages for team updates, project explanations, or customer support.
- Screen Recording: Capture your screen with voice-over to provide clear instructions or presentations.
- Instant Sharing: Share videos via links or embed them in emails and documents.
- Viewer Analytics: Track viewer engagement and gather insights into video performance.
- Integration: Seamlessly integrate with tools like Slack, Google Workspace, and Trello.
- Mobile App: Access and create videos on the go using the Loom mobile app.
- Security: Secure video sharing with options for password protection and expiration dates.
Platforms: Loom is accessible via web browsers and offers dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Integrations: Loom integrates with popular collaboration tools such as Slack, Google Workspace, Trello, and Zoom, making it easy to incorporate video messaging into existing workflows.
You can record a video and talk to someone, show them how to do something, or if you need to send a sensitive email, this is way better! You can speak to someone instead of trying to type a perfectly crafted message that could be misconstrued! :) I've recorded 90-second videos and 90-minute videos. Plus, with the addition of AI, the tool is so good! And as soon as you finish recording, you can send anyone a video with a link (URL). – G2 Reviewer
- Simplifies communication with quick and engaging video messages.
- Versatile screen recording capabilities for tutorials and presentations.
- User-friendly interface suitable for both beginners and experienced users.
- Robust integration options enhance productivity and workflow efficiency.
- Viewer analytics provide insights into video engagement.
- Strong emphasis on security and privacy features.
- Limited editing capabilities compared to dedicated video editing software.
- Some advanced features, such as team management, are only available in premium plans.
- The free plan has limited video storage and access to certain features.
Pricing: Loom offers a free plan with basic features, including unlimited video messaging. Premium plans start at $8 per user per month (billed annually) for the Business plan, which unlocks additional features like team management, custom branding, and viewer analytics.
Loom is an excellent tool for hybrid and remote managers looking to enhance their communication with engaging video messages and screen recordings, especially when asynchronous communication is important.
Its simplicity, integration capabilities, and emphasis on security make it a valuable addition to remote work communication tools. While it may not replace dedicated video editing software, it provides quick and effective ways to convey information and collaborate visually with teams and clients.
Who still Skypes these days? It turns out some teams still swear by it.
Skype is an OG communication platform offering text, voice, and video chat capabilities. It is a versatile tool for remote and hybrid managers to connect with teams, clients, and colleagues worldwide.
- Instant Messaging: Send text messages to individuals or groups for quick communication.
- Voice Calls: Make high-quality voice calls to anyone online.
- Video Calls: Conduct video meetings with up to 100 participants for face-to-face interactions.
- Screen Sharing: Share your screen during calls for presentations or collaborative work.
- File Sharing: Send files of various formats directly through the chat.
- International Calls: Make affordable international calls to landlines and mobile phones.
- Skype for Business: Business-focused version with additional features like meeting scheduling and integration with Microsoft Office apps.
Platforms: Skype is available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web.
- Integrations: Skype integrates with Microsoft Office 365, allowing seamless integration with apps like Outlook and SharePoint. It also integrates with third-party plugins for additional functionality.
In countries where other communication apps do not work as well as in the Western world, Skype is king and continues to connect us with those countries, for example, some Middle Eastern countries. Having Skype has kept the doors open for me with acquaintances there. – G2 Reviewer
- Established and widely recognized communication platform.
- Offers a free plan for basic communication needs.
- Supports instant messaging, voice, and video calls.
- Cross-platform compatibility for desktop and mobile devices.
- Screen sharing feature for collaborative work.
- Affordable international calling rates.
- Skype for Business provides business-oriented features.
- While the basic version is free, some features may require a subscription.
- It is not as feature-rich as some dedicated team collaboration tools.
- Some users may experience connectivity issues, depending on their internet connection.
Pricing: Skype offers a free plan that covers most basic communication needs, including messaging, voice, and video calls. Skype for Business is part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions for business users, which start at $5 per user per month for the Business Basic plan and offer additional business-focused features.
Skype remains a reliable choice for remote and hybrid managers seeking a straightforward communication tool that covers instant messaging, voice calls, and video conferencing.
It's especially valuable for individuals or small teams looking for a familiar and widely accessible platform.
While it may not have the advanced collaboration features of some newer tools, its simplicity, and integration with Microsoft Office make it a practical choice for many business users.
For more options, check our unbiased guide to 13 Virtual Meeting Platforms.
If you’re not using Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, and their chat features don’t leave you feeling satisfied, it may be worth considering a dedicated team messaging (“chat”) platform. We’ve outlined some of the best options for you.
We use Slack in tandem with Google Meet. (Yes, even though Google Meet has chat and Slack has video calls…)
Slack is a leading team collaboration platform designed for remote and hybrid managers, offering real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration with various third-party apps to streamline communication and productivity.
- Channels: Organize conversations into channels based on topics, projects, or teams for clear communication.
- Direct Messaging: Send private messages to individuals or create group chats for focused discussions.
- File Sharing: Share documents, images, and files directly within conversations.
- Notifications: Customize notifications to stay informed without being overwhelmed.
- Integration: Connect with hundreds of third-party apps, including Google Drive, Trello, and Zoom, to centralize work.
- Search Functionality: Find messages, files, and information quickly with powerful search features.
- Video Calls: Initiate video calls and conferences with Slack's built-in calling features.
- Workflow Automation: Automate repetitive tasks with Slack's Workflow Builder.
- Customization: Customize Slack with themes, emojis, and custom emoji sets.
- Guest Access: Invite external collaborators to channels for seamless collaboration.
Platforms: Slack is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers, ensuring accessibility across devices.
Integrations: Slack boasts an extensive library of third-party app integrations, including Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and many more. This wide range of integrations enhances collaboration and productivity by centralizing information.
Slack has evolved into our primary channel for internal communication across our enterprises. Slack divides Discussions into channels according to subjects, projects, or departments. Additionally, Slack makes it simple to collaborate on papers, photos, and other media types. It's similar to WhatsApp for your workplace, which is wonderful because it feels professional while also being individualized, adaptable, and user-friendly. I adore how you can react with amusing emoticons and infuse your office with a lively, youthful vibe. – G2 Reviewer
- Streamlined Communication: Channels and direct messaging keep conversations organized and accessible.
- Extensive Integrations: Connect with popular productivity and business tools for a cohesive workflow.
- Customizable: Tailor Slack to your team's preferences with themes and emojis.
- Search Functionality: Easily retrieve past conversations and files.
- Guest Access: Collaborate with external partners seamlessly.
- Video Calls: Conduct video meetings directly within Slack.
- Workflow Automation: Simplify tasks with automation using Workflow Builder.
- Pricing: While Slack offers a free plan, many advanced features are only available in paid versions.
- Learning Curve: New users may need time to become fully comfortable with all of Slack's features.
- Message Retention: Free plans have limited message history retention.
Pricing: Slack offers a free plan with basic features, making it accessible for small teams. Paid plans include
- Standard: $6.67 per monthly user, offering increased message history and app integrations.
- Plus: $12.50 per monthly user, adding even more storage and advanced admin tools.
- Enterprise Grid: Custom pricing for large organizations with advanced security and compliance features.
Slack is a robust team collaboration platform that keeps remote and hybrid teams connected and productive. Its extensive integration options, customization capabilities, and straightforward communication features make it a top choice for businesses of all sizes. While the pricing may deter some, its value in terms of streamlined communication and productivity often justifies the cost. Plus, it does GIFs… What more could we ask?
Is Slack not cutting it for you? Maybe it’s time for Flock.
Flock is a team communication tool that enhances collaboration among remote and hybrid teams. It offers instant messaging, file sharing, and video conferencing features to streamline communication and boost productivity.
- Team Messaging: Flock provides real-time chat and direct messaging for individual and group conversations.
- File Sharing: Share documents, images, and files within chats, making collaboration easy.
- Video Conferencing: Initiate video meetings and conferences directly within Flock for face-to-face discussions.
- Channels: Organize conversations into channels based on projects, teams, or topics for efficient communication.
- Integrations: Connect Flock with third-party apps like Google Drive, Trello, and Asana to centralize work processes.
- Task Management: Create and assign tasks to team members within Flock, keeping projects organized.
- Polls and Surveys: Gather quick feedback from your team using Flock's polling feature.
- Search Functionality: Easily find past messages, files, and information with a robust search function.
- Customization: Tailor Flock to your team's preferences with customizable emojis and themes.
- Guest Access: Invite external collaborators to specific channels for seamless collaboration.
Platforms: Flock is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers, ensuring accessibility across devices.
Integrations: Flock offers integrations with popular apps like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Dropbox, and GitHub, enhancing productivity and collaboration.
The major problem it is solving is collaboration; today, in the era of working from home, there is a need for instant messaging apps for business. It also solves problems of disorganized information, email overload, collaboration challenges, lack of visibility, communication gaps, security concerns, and geographical barriers, resulting in improved productivity, efficiency, and user teamwork. – G2 Reviewer
- Real-Time Communication: Flock enables instant communication, reducing email reliance.
- User-Friendly Interface: Its intuitive design makes it easy for teams to get started.
- Video Conferencing: Conduct video meetings without switching to a separate app.
- Task Management: Stay organized by managing tasks within the same platform.
- Polls and Surveys: Gather team input and make data-driven decisions.
- Customization: Personalize Flock to match your team's preferences.
- Limited Free Plan: The free plan limits message history and integrations.
- Learning Curve: While user-friendly, it may take time for some to explore all the features.
Pricing: Flock offers a free plan with basic features. Paid plans include:
- Pro: $4.50 per monthly user, offering unlimited message history and app integrations.
- Enterprise: Custom pricing with advanced security, compliance, and support features.
Flock is an interesting choice for remote and hybrid teams looking for a straightforward yet powerful team communication tool. Its focus on real-time messaging, video conferencing, and task management makes it a versatile platform for businesses of all sizes.
While the free plan is a great starting point, the Pro plan unlocks additional capabilities, making it a compelling option for teams aiming to enhance collaboration and productivity. At the same time, there will be a learning curve for people who are likely only used to MS Teams or Slack.
If you’re in Asia, like us, you may have heard from Lark.
Lark is a comprehensive collaboration and communication platform designed to streamline work processes and was created by Bytedance, the company behind TikTok.
It offers a suite of tools for messaging, video conferencing, task management, and document collaboration in one integrated workspace.
- Messaging: Real-time chat, one-on-one, and group messaging, @mentions for effective communication.
- Video Conferencing: High-quality video and audio calls, screen sharing, recording, and scheduling meetings.
- Task Management: Create, assign, and track tasks within chats or dedicated task lists.
- Document Collaboration: Real-time co-editing, version history, and document templates.
- Calendar: Scheduling, event invitations, and integration with other Lark features.
- Cloud Storage: Secure storage for files and documents, accessible across devices.
- Integration Hub: Connects with third-party apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Trello.
- Attendance Tracking: Monitor and manage team attendance for hybrid work settings.
Platforms: Lark is a web application that offers dedicated desktop and mobile apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Integrations: Lark integrates with various third-party applications, including Google Workspace, Dropbox, Trello, and GitHub.
Lark is the ultimate tool for collaboration with your team members(mostly) for streamlining your workflows. It is a great platform for work that consolidates almost everything in one place, let it be projects, meetings, etc. It has helped me share tons of projects, files, etc., with my team and work on them together. I could plan, execute, and sync without any disturbance and focus on the core matter of our enterprise. – G2 Reviewer
- All-in-one platform for communication, collaboration, and productivity.
- High-quality video conferencing with screen sharing and recording.
- Real-time co-editing and document collaboration.
- Extensive integration options for seamless workflow.
- User-friendly interface with mobile and desktop apps.
- While feature-rich, the extensive capabilities may have a learning curve for new users.
- The availability of some advanced features may depend on the subscription plan.
Pricing: Lark offers various pricing plans, including a free plan with limited features. Paid plans are available for businesses and organizations, with pricing tailored to the number of users and specific needs.
Lark is a robust communication and collaboration platform that caters to the needs of hybrid and remote managers, providing a unified workspace for efficient team communication, project management, and document collaboration.
Its integration capabilities and user-friendly interface make it a valuable tool for modern work environments.
And probably most importantly, it’s free for many people, making it a very attractive alternative for young startups who want Slack without the costs.
Twist, developed by Doist, is a team messaging and communication tool designed to promote asynchronous collaboration. It emphasizes organized conversations through threads, making it suitable for remote and hybrid teams with value-focused discussions and reducing message noise.
- Threaded Conversations: Twist's unique feature is threaded messaging, allowing users to organize discussions into distinct threads or topics.
- Asynchronous Communication: Team members can respond at their convenience, reducing the need for immediate responses.
- Direct Messaging: Send private messages to team members when needed.
- File Sharing: Share files and documents within threads for context.
- Integrations: Connect Twist with apps like Google Drive, GitHub, and Trello for seamless workflow.
- Customizable Notifications: Choose when and how you want to be notified to maintain focus.
- Search Functionality: Quickly find past conversations and information.
- Multi-Platform: Twist is accessible on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers.
- Team and Project Channels: Organize discussions into channels based on teams or projects.
- Mentions and Emoji Reactions: Mention team members and add reactions to messages.
Platforms: Twist is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers, ensuring accessibility across devices.
Integrations: Twist offers integrations with popular apps like Zapier, Todoist, and Google Calendar, enhancing productivity and workflow automation.
My team members and I are frequently separated by countries, and we have many clients. This app is great because it is not intrusive during intense focus or busy times. – G2 Reviewer
- Threaded Conversations: Keeps discussions organized and focused.
- Asynchronous Communication: Reduces interruptions and respects individual work rhythms.
- Customizable Notifications: Maintain concentration without missing important updates.
- Search Functionality: Quickly retrieve past information.
- User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive design promotes easy adoption.
- Learning Curve: Some users may require time to adapt to the threaded conversation model.
- Limited Free Plan: The free plan limits message history and integrations.
Pricing: Twist offers a free plan with basic features. Paid plans are $5 per monthly user, offering unlimited message history and integrations.
Twist (Doist) is ideal for teams that value organized and asynchronous communication. Its threaded conversation model helps reduce message clutter, making it easier to focus on important discussions.
Twist's emphasis on thoughtful collaboration aligns well with remote and hybrid work environments, where immediate responses may not always be feasible.
While some users might have a learning curve, the benefits of structured communication make it a strong contender for teams seeking a more organized way to collaborate.
Discord? Yes, Discord!
Discord is a versatile communication platform originally designed for gamers but is now widely adopted by various communities and businesses.
It offers text, voice, and video chat features, making it a popular choice for social and professional communication, including remote and hybrid teams.
- Text and Voice Channels: Discord provides text and voice channels for written communication and real-time conversations.
- Video Calls: Host video meetings with screen sharing for presentations and collaboration.
- Server Organization: Create customized servers for different teams, projects, or communities.
- Roles and Permissions: Assign roles to members with specific permissions, ensuring control over server activities.
- Direct Messaging: Communicate one-on-one or in small groups through direct messages.
- File Sharing: Share files and media within channels and direct messages.
- Bots and Integrations: Integrate with various bots and third-party apps to automate tasks and enhance functionality.
- Emojis and Reactions: Express reactions and emotions with many emojis.
- Cross-Platform: Discord is accessible on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers.
- Moderation Tools: Manage server security with moderation features and anti-spam measures.
- Community Building: Create a sense of community with features like custom emojis, roles, and server themes.
Platforms: Discord is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web browsers, ensuring accessibility across devices.
Integrations: Discord offers a range of integrations, including connections to platforms like YouTube, Twitch, GitHub, and many more, enabling users to enrich their servers with diverse functionalities.
We were able to prioritize voice chat over text chat, which means complex things get discussed faster rather than typing out a long message and waiting for dots to turn into a long reply. – Reviewer on Zapier.com
- Versatility: Suitable for text, voice, and video communication, making it adaptable for various purposes.
- Community Building: Ideal for creating and fostering online communities and engaging with audiences.
- Customization: Servers can be tailored to suit specific needs and branding.
- Moderation Tools: Effective tools to maintain server quality and security.
- Free Tier: Offers a robust set of features for free users.
- Extensive User Base: A large, active user community with many resources and support.
- Learning Curve: The abundance of features and options can overwhelm new users.
- Privacy Concerns: Some users have raised concerns about data privacy and security.
- Resource Intensive: Discord can be resource-intensive, particularly voice and video calls.
Pricing: Discord is primarily free to use with robust features. It offers a premium Nitro subscription for $9.99/month or $99.99/year, providing additional benefits like higher-quality screen sharing, larger file uploads, and custom emojis.
Discord's versatility and extensive feature set make it a valuable communication tool for many users. Its combination of text, voice, and video channels and customization options provides flexibility for professional and social interactions.
So, is Discord a real alternative to a tool like Slack?
According to Zapier, “Slack is all-in on business, calling itself a "digital HQ." Discord, historically branded as a gaming tool, these days aim to serve online communities more generally and use language like "hang out" in its homepage pitch.”
Discord focuses more on voice messaging, while Slack excels in text messaging and a wide range of chat features.
For most teams, Slack will make more sense. Still, Discord's active user community and the availability of numerous integrations make it a compelling choice for those seeking a multifaceted communication platform, especially for a lifestyle & gamer audience.
10. WhatsApp / Facebook Messenger / Telegram
Not every team and business wants to use ‘new’ messaging software, sticking to platforms people already know instead.
Several popular instant messaging apps, like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram, offer text, voice, and video communication with widespread global usage. Some key features of these apps include text messaging, voice and video calls, and group chats.
These apps are compatible with various platforms, such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. However, the integrations with third-party apps may be limited. Whatsapp recently even released a Mac app for video calls of up to eight people.
These apps are widely used and accessible on mobile and desktop devices. Additionally, some of these apps offer end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp.
However, these apps may have limited business-focused features and require phone numbers for registration. It's worth noting that these apps are typically free to use but with limited business-oriented features included. Data confidentiality and privacy may be another issue, especially when team members leave the company.
Documentation & Collaboration:
Communication isn’t just chatting and meeting.
Especially when you embrace some of the best practices most remote-first companies follow, like documentation and transparency by default, you’ll want to invest in platforms to document and collaborate. Much communication will occur there through comments, review questions, and more.
Some platforms you may consider for this purpose include:
Notion is a versatile workspace designed for teams that provide a range of features, including document collaboration, task boards, databases, and templates.
Many teams and companies use Notion as an internal knowledge base to keep everyone up to date outside of transient channels like email and chat.
Notion is a robust platform that enables teams to work more productively, collaborate efficiently, and maintain a centralized knowledge repository.
Basecamp is a comprehensive project management and collaboration tool that caters to the needs of teams and companies. It offers diverse features, including to-do lists, check-ins, message boards, and chat, all within one centralized platform.
Teams across various industries rely on Basecamp to streamline project management, facilitate efficient communication, and keep all relevant information accessible in one place, minimizing the chaos often associated with scattered email and chat exchanges.
Basecamp serves as a dependable hub for teams, enhancing productivity, fostering effective collaboration, and serving as a centralized repository for essential knowledge.
Confluence provides a range of features, including document creation, editing, and sharing, making it an excellent choice for internal wikis and knowledge management.
Countless teams turn to Confluence to maintain a centralized repository of essential documents and collaborate seamlessly. It boasts customizable layouts, templates, and integration options, offering a user-friendly way to manage and organize information.
Confluence is the go-to solution for teams looking to enhance their organization, improve collaboration, and build a robust knowledge base accessible to everyone.
14. Dropbox Business
Dropbox Business is a cloud-based storage and collaboration tool that offers secure document storage, sharing, and editing, making it an essential platform for internal documentation and file management.
Teams benefit from Dropbox Business's ability to share and store documents effortlessly. It also provides robust security features to protect sensitive information. The platform seamlessly integrates with various third-party applications, enhancing its versatility.
Dropbox Business is the top choice for businesses aiming to streamline their document management, improve collaboration, and secure their files. With pricing plans catering to different needs, it's a flexible solution for businesses of all sizes.
ClickUp is a project management and productivity platform that offers a range of features for efficient task management, including assignment, tracking, and prioritization. The platform's customizable views and dashboards provide teams with a tailored workspace.
One of ClickUp's notable features is its flexibility, making it adaptable to various work styles and methodologies. It also integrates with several third-party apps, expanding its functionality.
ClickUp offers pricing plans for different business needs, making it a practical choice for those seeking to enhance project management and collaboration without unnecessary marketing flair.
Weekdone is a task management and progress-tracking tool that aims to help teams stay organized and focused on their goals. It provides a straightforward approach to managing tasks and measuring progress.
Teams can use Weekdone to set and track objectives and key results (OKRs), which can be a helpful way to align everyone toward common goals. The platform offers a clear view of individual and team progress, which can motivate decision-making.
Weekdone's simplicity is one of its strengths. It's easy to use and doesn't overwhelm users with unnecessary features. While it may not have as many bells and whistles as other tools, its focus on OKRs and progress tracking can be valuable for teams looking for a streamlined approach.
Pricing plans are available to suit different business needs, making Weekdone a practical choice for those seeking a straightforward tool to help with goal setting and progress monitoring.
Range is a work management platform designed to help teams stay connected and aligned while working remotely or in hybrid setups. It provides daily standups, check-ins, and goal tracking tools to improve team collaboration and productivity.
One of Range's standout features is its emphasis on facilitating communication and transparency. Daily standups and check-ins enable teams to stay updated on each other's progress and challenges, fostering a sense of connection even when working remotely.
The platform also offers goal tracking and OKR management, which can help teams set and monitor their objectives effectively. Range's straightforward interface keeps things simple without overwhelming users with excessive features.
For teams looking to enhance their remote or hybrid work experience, Range offers pricing plans tailored to different business needs. It's a practical choice for those seeking a tool to improve team communication and alignment without unnecessary complexity.
Hypercontext is a team collaboration and productivity platform that enhances communication and alignment within remote or hybrid teams. It focuses on streamlining the feedback and goal-setting processes to boost team effectiveness.
One of Hypercontext's standout features is its emphasis on feedback. It provides a structured framework for giving and receiving feedback, which can be valuable for teams striving to improve communication and performance. This feedback-centric approach can help teams develop a culture of continuous improvement.
The platform also supports goal setting and tracking, making it easier for teams to align their efforts with organizational objectives. Hypercontext's user-friendly interface keeps things simple without overwhelming users with excessive features.
For teams seeking to enhance their remote or hybrid work dynamics, Hypercontext offers pricing plans to suit different business needs. It's a practical choice for those looking to improve team collaboration and communication without added complexity.
Other Communication Platforms
19. Virtual Workspaces like Spot
Spot has "All the features of Slack and Zoom plus the things you used to do in the office: walk up to your colleagues' desks, high-five, gather around the watercooler, celebrate big wins, decorate your office..." It's a type of virtual workspace that adds a bit more experience beyond just chatting or meeting. Other examples include Gather Town and Kumospace.
20. Whiteboarding Tools like Miro
Sometimes, a drawing says more than a thousand words. To communicate well online, getting in front of a virtual whiteboard may reduce the time needed to get to the right outcome, and have more fun in the process. Miro help solve many communication challenges with a big template library. Other examples include Mural and whiteboard apps integrated in MS Teams and Google Meet.
How to choose the best team communication tool?
Selecting the right platform for your team or company can be a crucial and heartwrenching decision. Betting on the wrong platform can lead to months or years of productivity losses and employee dissatisfaction.
Here are key questions to ask yourself and survey your team when choosing a communication and collaboration platform:
- What Are Our Specific Needs? Identify the unique requirements of your team or organization. Are you primarily seeking project management, document collaboration, internal communication, or a combination?
- How Scalable is the Platform? Consider whether the platform can grow with your organization. Ensure it can accommodate additional users and features as your company expands.
- What's the User Experience Like? Test the platform's user interface and ease of use. It should be intuitive and require minimal training for team members. If you're a cool, young team, you will have different demand and expectations than a big enterprise.
- What Integrations Are Available? Check if the platform integrates seamlessly with your existing tools and software. Compatibility with other apps can streamline workflows.
- What's the Cost? Determine the pricing structure, including any hidden costs. Consider your budget and whether the platform offers value for money.
- Can You Customize it? Assess whether the platform allows customization to adapt to your organization's workflows and processes.
- What Are The User Reviews Saying? Research user reviews and recommendations to understand how other teams or companies have benefited from the platform.
- What's the Onboarding Process? Understand the onboarding process for getting your team up to speed with the platform. A smooth transition is crucial.
- How Well Does it Align with Your Company Culture? Consider whether the platform's features align with your company's culture and values. It should enhance, not hinder, your working environment.
By addressing these questions, you can decide when to select a communication and collaboration platform that best suits your team or company's needs.
How can you use collaboration tools to improve team communication?
Collaboration tools and communication tools serve distinct purposes in the workplace:
- Communication Tools: These are primarily focused on facilitating conversations and exchanging information. Examples include email, instant messaging apps (like Slack or Microsoft Teams), and phone systems. Communication tools are essential for sending messages, discussing topics, and sharing updates.
- Collaboration Tools: These are broader in scope and are designed to facilitate teamwork and productivity. Remote collaboration tools encompass features for communication but also include tools for document sharing, project management, task tracking, and collaborative editing. Examples include Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Trello, and project management software like Asana or Jira.
In summary, communication tools are mainly centered around messaging and conversation, while collaboration tools encompass a wider range of features to support teamwork and productivity, often integrating communication features within them.
However, as we've seen above, a lot of platforms and especially suites of products like the ones Microsoft and Google provide, can be used for both. In some ways, collaboration and communication are interwoven.
Collaboration tools, such as Slack and Zoom, can improve team communication by providing a centralized platform for messages and real-time interactions, fostering better understanding and connection among remote and hybrid teams.
This guide aims to help you understand and select the online communication tools that will level up your hybrid and remote management game.
To find the right tools, start by understanding who will be using them and what you'd like to get out of them. Then, review our selection and trial the platforms that seem the best fit.
We hope this article was helpful, and we are always eager to hear about your experiences and recommendations!