Best Zero-Budget Productivity Software
For virtual, hybrid, or even fully in-person workforces productivity software has become the newest must-have technology for organizing team members and upcoming projects. Productivity software is any program that boosts team member productivity by putting all documents, calendars, databases, and files in an easily accessible digital format on one platform.
Corporate giants have turned to productivity software as a sleek, modern means to organize employee assignments and streamline collaboration, and it’s time small businesses consider doing the same so that they can streamline projects and remain competitive. While many of the most popular software solutions are paid tools and several more software solutions lock key features behind paywalls, there are, however, several zero-budget productivity software options for small business teams to consider when looking to kick your cooperation into overdrive.
This software collection is in no particular order of preference, as each piece of software is best suited for certain types of teams and businesses. By learning more about each productivity software’s individual perks and features, you can best determine which software solution is best for your team.
Asana is one of the most well-known productivity software options for small and large teams. The app’s sleek look is distinct and professional. It’s suite of features is robust, allowing quick integration of data visuals and a unique Timeline feature that shows a timetable overview of every team member’s assignment. Asana has integrations with Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive and Microsoft Outlook making it one of the most accessible companion tools on the market today.
Pricing: Asana’s free version allows for unlimited tasks, messages, and file storage. Free users have access to almost every feature in Asana’s diverse suite, but only 15 team members can join at once.
Bitrix24 prides itself as the business software solution for any size team. Bitrix24 uses integrated video call and chat services. By cutting down on the number of programs employees must keep track of, Bitrix24 advertises themselves as a “single ecosystem” solution. Bitrix24 is especially helpful for companies with sales teams as their built in CRM suite allows salespeople to run customer support, market analytics and real-time quotes and invoices all from one page.
Pricing: Bitrix24’s free version is notably feature rich. Unlike Asana, Britix24 has no team member limit. The company increased their free software’s team member limit from 12 to unlimited during the COVID-19 pandemic and have made no indication when the limit will return. Free users have access to up to 5GB of cloud storage and basic access to CRM solutions. The only features fully cut in the free version of Bitrix24 is their outward marketing program for CRM and their Sales Intelligence advertisement data synthesis tool.
Trello is the quintessential, no-consequence, free productivity software solution. While Trello doesn’t have nearly as many specialized features as its paid competitors, Trello offers unlimited members with unlimited storage to effectively organize projects. With bold testimonials from eBay, Wall Street Journal, and even the Detroit Red Wings, Trello asserts itself as an industry player fit for any team. Trello even has no-code automations functioning – almost identical to paid software like Monday.com – which makes projects less of a chore as statuses go from “working on it” to ‘done.”
Pricing: Trello is completely free for unlimited users, but there is a paid version which adds some additional dashboard viewing options and ups the number of boards from 10. The strict functions of Trello are free and equally as effective as paid solutions.
IFTTT is different from the other productivity software on this list. While every other software works with boards and collaborative calendars to coordinate team members, IFTTT is a program that allows a team to consolidate all other apps and software for their job into one place using their proprietary format: Applets. IFTTT is one of the most succinct solutions for merging every piece of software a team uses into one place. For example: if a team uses slack, outlook, Monday.com, Google Drive, Zoom and several other programs daily, IFTTT Applets allow an easy no-code way to put all of those apps on one landing page, making workspaces considerably less cluttered for team members.
Pricing: IFTTT’s free version allows a user to make 3 Applets. In order to combine all workplace software, a team would only need to make one Applet. Free users can also access unlimited Applets created by other users.
Todoist functions both as a desktop and mobile app allowing team members to connect from wherever is most convenient. Todoist allows users to connect accounts from Dropbox, Google Calendar, IFTTT and even Amazon Alexa to update dashboards and work calendars with real-time updates from other apps. Todoist also includes a unique “Karma” system that rewards team members for completing tasks. Todoist functions near-identically to paid services like Monday.com but has its own flair through “productivity visualizations” which gamifies tasks. Todoist’s slate of tools and unique features as well as it’s pricing model gears it toward small teams collaborating on one or a few projects.
Pricing: Todoist’s free version has a 5-user cap and only allows one week of activity history. Free users can also only upload files up to 5 megabytes, meaning video production collaborators may seek out different tools.
Wrike is production software for perfectionists. Wrike prioritizes customization and uses AI systems to make automations and visuals approachable. Wrike allows users to build their dashboard from the ground up, meaning it can be developed to suit any kind of team. Wrike’s proprietary features like Gantt charts and Kanban boards also make the software one of the best tools for collaboration. Wrike’s“visual proofing” system keeps a detailed log of changes to projects and documents rivaling the detail of the G Suite. Wrike is likely best suited for startups or companies looking to collaborate multiple teams or branches at once; its project portfolio management system could easily bridge information from a sales team to a marketing team with quick detailed visuals.
Pricing: Wrike’s free version is surprisingly robust. There are no active user caps and file sharing has no data caps either. Free Wrike comes with 2 gigabytes of storage, but also allows integration from free cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox. Some of the program’s more advanced features like Gantt charts and shareable dashboards are locked behind paid versions of the software, but the free version is more than sufficient for organizing a team.
Slite brands itself as the zero-learning curve productivity software. Their claim proves entirely true as the program’s template and table features are natural and intuitive to use. Slite allows full integration from Google Drive, Drop Box, Github and even Asana. Slite’s dashboard is notably sleek and devoid of clutter. The program’s “Catch Up” feature is very snappy and features more than the basic daily updates integrated into most productivity software. Slite morning updates will feature team trends and other data like if a team member made a change to an uploaded document.
Pricing: Slite’s free version is a great bargain. There is no cap on team members or the number of integrations you can add to your team’s dashboard. Slite’s free version only allows 50 documents to be uploaded at one time, but integrations with Google Drive or Drop Box could easily replace Slite’s document viewer. Slite’s paid version is comparably kind when looking at its competitors. Slite is one of the very few productivity programs that does not have an annual fee. Also, Slite only charges for each user that was active during the month.
Airtable is supremely effective for planning marketing campaigns or coordinating writing campaigns. Airtable’s calendar and grid view templates allow photo integration which spices up what is often the most boring part of productivity software: the dashboard. Airtable’s sleek design is reminiscent of 2010’s MacIntosh minimalism and offers one of the most diverse customization options for grid and work board views. Airtable is especially helpful for marketing teams and has endorsements from Time, Levi’s Jeans, Autodesk, and Buzzfeed. Airtable’s dashboard system allows easy integration of content campaigns, ad spending and asset collections all in one place. The program’s diverse set of tools could likely be reworked to suit any team, but Airtable’s sleek design and quick ad integration makes it the marketers’ dream tool.
Pricing: Airtable’s free version has no team member cap, allows real-time commenting and collaboration, 100 automation runs per month, and two-week revision history. Free users also have access to Airtable’s best dashboard view options including grid, calendar, Kanban, and gallery. The only advantage paid users have is access to longer revision history, slightly larger attachment size limits and access to advanced visuals like Gantt charts.
Miro is the premier online whiteboard and brainstorming option for remote teams. Miro’s impressive collection of tools and features allows for seamless collaboration from remote workers on a digital whiteboard. Miro is a masterful piece of software best suited for design teams and brainstorming sessions. Overlaying Miro during a Zoom brainstorming session is one of the best means to layout flow charts, sketches, or even just virtual sticky notes. While Miro does not offer calendar view dashboards like its competitors, it is entirely conceivable that a team may prefer to layout projects in Miro’s freeform whiteboard system. Integrations with Slack, Google Drive and DropBox make Miro the best tool for guiding a meeting but lacking in scheduling features.
Pricing: Miro’s free version allows a team to use three editable whiteboards at a time. There are, however, no limits to the number of team members that can collaborate on each board. The only features locked behind the Miro paywall are an increased amount of boards and additional integrations with apps like Asana. Basic apps like Google Drive and DropBox still work with the free version. Miro paired with Asana is likely one of the most feature-rich options for teams willing to pay for both services at once.
Sligrid is an effective tool for small teams to organize projects and ideas. Like the other programs in this list, Sligrid offers grid and calendar views of upcoming projects and assignments. Sligrid, however, offers another more free-flow system for organizing and connecting tasks called workspaces. Workspaces function like flowcharts and allow one task to connect to another in a visually engaging way. Sligrid is as feature-rich as other free and some paid competitor and is likely best suited for teams benefitting from more open-ended dashboards.
Pricing: The Free version of Sligrid allows 5 team members per workspace and up to 3 workspaces. Free users have access to Sligrid’s collection of basic templates and real-time collaboration modes making the free version a solid choice for small teams. The paid version of Sligrid unlocks the number of workspaces and team members, but not many more features.
Navigating the Dense Market of Productivity Software
Remote work caused such a radical boom in productivity software that it can quickly become overwhelming when deciding which program is best for your team. Each program has its own unique flair, but the base function of each is the same: to help organize your team. Since each program is free in some capacity, feel free to test out each program’s proprietary features to see which best suits your style of work.
If you know of any free productivity software that should be added to this list, please contact us at Kapitus.