Remote work is on the rise. The number of employees working from home has increased from 1.4 million to 1.7 million in a matter of 8 years (2000 – 2008), according to Stats Canada. It’s an attractive option and, with the Covid-19 outbreak, many more employees have begun to work from home.

Thankfully, there is a plethora of online tools available for small businesses to take advantage of while their employees work from home. The best part? Many of them are free or offer free versions. We’ve outlined some of the best free software tools you can use to communicate with your employees, automate your workflow, and get stuff done on a budget.

Communication

Microsoft Teams

One of Microsoft fastest growing apps, Microsoft teams allows you to chat, call, and conference from anywhere. The free version offers unlimited messaging and search for up to 300 people. There is audio and video calling and unlimited app integrations. Teams provides up to 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal storage for individuals.

Slack

Though Slack offers many pricing models, the free version works well for small businesses.  In Slack, you can create multiple different conversation channels and decide who is a part of each conversation. The free version includes 1-to-1 video calls, 10 apps integration, 10k searchable messages, up to 5GB of file storage, and two-factor authentication.

Skype

Another Microsoft application, the free version of Skype is great for individual entrepreneurs seeking to meet with a client. Skype can be used on a phone, computer, or tablet to make free audio or video calls. Screensharing is a valuable feature that allows individuals to share the contents of their computer screen with the other caller.

Zoom

Zoom is a video communication software. The basic, or free, version can host up to 100 video participants with simultaneous screen sharing. You can host an unlimited number of meetings, but there is a 40 minute limit on group meetings.

Marketing

Canva

Canva is an online graphic design software. Premade templates for presentations, posters, banners, flyers, social media content, and more can help anyone design stunning, aesthetically pleasing marketing content. Their free version offers a huge repository of free photos and templates to work with.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management system that can help you schedule and manage content while also viewing your social media results. Its free plan allows you to manage 3 social profiles and schedule 30 messages. Until July 2020, Hootsuite is providing free access to Hootsuite Professional for small businesses to help them stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that can help you find your audience, build your brand, manage multiple campaigns, and provide insights. The free version allows you to manage 7 marketing channels and use their basic templates. Additional features include marketing CRM, behavioural targeting, custom domains, and websites.

Workflow Automation

Asana

Trusted by the likes of NASA and Comcast, Asana is a powerful management platform that helps businesses stay on track and hit deadlines. With Asana’s basic plan, you can manage and plan for up to 15 people using tasks, lists, and calendar views.

Monday

Monday’s premade, easy-to-use templates and fully customizable boards help businesses efficiently manage projects and workflows, even as employees work remotely. The free version can be used by an unlimited number of people. You can create up to 1000 items and store up to 500MB of files.

Trello

With Trello, you can organize and prioritize your projects with adaptable boards, lists, and tasks. The free version allows you to create unlimited personal boards, cards, and lists. You can make 10 team boards, and there is a limit of 10MB per file attachment.

Accounting

Slick Pie

Slick Pie is a small business expense management software. The free starter version offers online voicing and billing, automated data entry, financial reports, expense tracking, and more.

Wave

Made specifically for entrepreneurs, Wave is an online financial software. A free account provides you with accounting software including income and expense tracking, reports on invoices and cashflow, financial statements, and more. Also on the free account, you can created an unlimited number of invoices and accept payments, as well as scan receipts.

Tech

Support.com

Support.com is offering free tech support for those working remotely during the Covid-19 outbreak. The tech pros are ready to troubleshoot issues and figure out solutions out by phone, chat, or virtual house calls.