Slack was one of the biggest tech darlings of the pandemic, alongside the likes of Zoom and Hopin. Millions of businesses flocked to the platform to deal with the almost overnight shift towards remote working. In the time since, the collaboration tool market has exploded.
Today, there are any number of apps, services and platforms that either serve as an alternative to Slack or that complement. Their aim: to bring deeper, more specific or more advanced collaboration features.
So what are some of the best Slack alternatives and complimentary tools? Below we’ve rounded up some of the best collaboration tools to help you and your business take advantage of this shift, and unlock the true benefits of remote and hybrid working.
Direct Slack alternative
Slack recently raised its prices from £5.25 per user, per month up to £7 on a monthly plan, citing the fact it now sees itself as a “digital HQ”, rather than just a messaging app. If this increase puts Slack out of reach, or you’re looking for a cheaper alternative without sacrificing on features, give Pumble a go. Not only does its free plan offer twice the amount of storage, but it doesn’t limit the chat history to 90 days, as is the case with the free version of Slack. Its Pro plan works out at around 77% less a month, which for a team of 250 users could save you £1,690.
Project and time management
Monday.com describes itself as a “work OS” where workflows, projects and departments collaborate via a single dashboard. It offers general workflow tools, as well as specific tools for marketing, sales, dev teams and project owners. It supports Gannt and Kanban workflows, offers automations, and natively integrates with the likes of Slack, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Zapier and more to cover all bases of your workflow management.
Trello is one of the original digital collaboration tools, and still one of the best. It’s based on the Kanban-style of agile project management where tasks are represented on a board, assigned to team members and where everyone can view the status of every task within a project. Cards can be added and assigned in seconds, workloads can be transparently distributed, and flows can even be automated by linking Trello to Zapier (or similar tools).
There’s a certain irony in installing an app to help solve the problem of too many apps, but Mio brings several benefits. Built for enterprise clients, Mio calls itself the “bridge that connects Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex and Zoom Chat for one unified chat experience”. Colleagues send cross-platform messages and share files without having to leave the app they’re in. It’s currently used by Cisco and Zoom, among other big names, and because it’s built for enterprise, it has enterprise-level security baked in.
Remote meetings and collaboration
Claap calls itself the world’s first asynchronous video collaboration platform. Instead of relying on either written collaboration – Slack, Google Docs, Notion et al – or having to schedule meetings over Zoom, Claap combines the two. You can quickly share and receive short videos and screen recordings which your team members can watch in their own time, annotate and provide feedback on. The video then generates a thread where you people can vote via polls, discuss ideas, and jump through highlights. It’s currently used by the likes of Kavak, Revolut, and Libeo and many features are free. You only need to pay if you want to search in your Claap archive, or if the free 15-minute recording and 5GB storage limits aren’t enough.
Cosmos Video acts as a virtual HQ for remote-first teams. Colleagues can virtually walk up to each other to have conversations, play games on breaks and have the digital equivalent of a quick, ad-hoc catch up. It doesn’t replace the interactions you get in the office, but it does a good job of virtually replicating them.
Continuing the remote meeting theme, Katch helps people connect through ad-hoc chats at times that suit everyone. When someone wants to catch up, they simply send their colleague a note asking for a call. When the recipient is free, they accept the invite and can make the call directly through the app. Calls are only made when both people are marked as available and Katch helps identify the best times, manages time zones and sends reminders.
Tuple is a somewhat niche tool compared to others in this list, but it solves an important problem faced by remote businesses – pair programming. Pair programming refers to two people coding software together on a single machine. One developer writes the code, while the other oversees and checks it on-the-go. It effectively adds a built-in quality check to all code but also allows for collaboration and discussion that is difficult to mimic remotely. Tuple goes beyond simple screen sharing by giving mouse and keyboard control to both parties.
Figma is built for design teams, although it offers a number of features that benefit most businesses. Namely its FigJam brainstorming tool. This works as a digital whiteboard where everyone can add sticky notes, annotate, map ideas and processes and even add voice notes. Designs that then make it through to the creation stage are managed via Figma, at which point everyone in the process can design, edit, annotate and finalise projects from one place.
Similarly to Figma, Miro is a digital whiteboard where teams collaborate, ideate, brainstorm and manage projects across all of their devices. But its use cases are broader. It has templates for design, but also engineering, marketing, product management and sales teams. Its mapping tools help keep track of tasks and keep projects on track, and it’s also a great alternative to static slide decks when presenting to clients or similar.
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