Microsoft 365 and Google G Suite may be the most commonly heard names in the productivity suite arena, but that doesn’t mean they are the only two options worth mulling over for a business looking for an all-inclusive package of collaboration software.
In fact, both these services tend to be somewhat on the expensive side, prompting many Bahraini startups to look for viable alternatives that go easy on their limited budget. And that’s where Zoho Workplace promises to fill in.
Zoho is one of the fastest-growing alternatives to G Suite and Microsoft 365 not without a reason. The platform offers an exhaustive and high-quality suite of collaboration software for a price that’s affordable to pretty much anyone — be it small and medium businesses, startups, nonprofits, freelancers, or independent contractors.
Not only that, there’s a free version available as well. Yes, FREE — and we promise to get there in a bit, but let’s first have a quick overview of Zoho Workplace and the key features it has to offer.
What is Zoho Workplace
Zoho is probably the most prolific, maker of cloud-based software suites. With over 7,000 employees across seven countries, the software giant has a sizeable portfolio of programs for both personal and business users to its name.
Zoho Workplace offers a wide range of web-based software with a set of tools and solutions to boost workplace productivity. It is a collaboration software package equipped with a comprehensive set of solutions that enables team members to collaborate, communicate, and co-create in real-time and with the optimal efficiency.
The suite bundles various tools for email, communication, document management, and presentation including Zoho Mail, Zoho Cliq, Zoho Connect, Zoho Writer, Zoho Docs, Zoho Show, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho ShowTime.
Not only that, but Zoho’s Workplace includes Zia, an AI program that can help you streamline your workflow. For example, in Zoho Writer, there’s intelligent writing whereby Zia could give an alternative and better choices of words for an email you’re typing up. Zia will also give you a readability score to the content and mark it based on ease and simplicity.
Likewise, when it comes to Zoho Sheet, Zia is able to give graphical representation of data as an insight automatically. Zia can also alert users about upcoming events or meetings, and update them if there are any changes made in the timing or location.
Overall, Zoho offers 40+ tools and apps to go along with its affordable package of productivity software.
Why startups should consider Zoho’s cloud-based offering
For starters, the cloud-based tools in Zoho Workplace lets users work and collaborate on projects anytime, from anywhere. This is particularly beneficial for organizations that rely on remote employees or freelancers.
Furthermore, almost all Zoho tools are available as mobile apps too, which further adds to the flexibility by enabling users to create, collaborate, and communicate on the go.
As you have probably already figured out, Zoho Workplace encompasses all the tools the typical workforce uses in their day-to-day operations. This ensures that businesses don’t have to spend sizeable amounts on procuring, integrating, and maintaining third-party proprietary platforms.
Zoho Workplace also supports documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created using these tools — although you need to be aware of the minor changes to the fonts and formatting during conversion.
Best part of it all? Zoho tools are compatible with Windows, Mac, Chromebook, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices.
You are allowed to download files from the shared file space and store them locally on your computer’s hard drive (or in the internal memory of your smartphone/tablet). And don’t worry if you are on the move and internet connection is temporarily shaky because Zoho lets you create new files and edit existing ones offline. It will sync all your offline work to the shared file space once connectivity is restored.
Some of the most popular programs and features in the Zoho Workplace suite includes:
- Document editor
- Spreadsheet editor
- Presentation editor
- Presentation sharing
- File storage
- Business email
- Email forwarding
- Instant messaging
- Corporate social network
- Team collaboration
- Group sharing
- Unlimited groups & channels
- Smart inbox search
- Multiple domain hosting
- Advanced analytics & reporting
- Audit trail
- Custom branding
- Unlimited file recovery
- Cloud storage
- Active Sync
- Password protection
- Unlimited groups and channels
Zoho Workplace offers a free, no-strings-attached version with a lifetime validity. Of course, there are limitations in the free version, but we believe it has enough provisions to be useful for not just freelancers and individual users, but also small businesses with up to five employees.
(The company frequently comes up with special offers whereby you can add more users to your free Zoho Workplace account by spreading the word about the platform and inviting new users.)
The free version includes support for up to five users, 5GB of file space, email hosting for one domain, and unrestricted web access.
As for the paid versions, there are three different categories: Standard, Professionals, and Email Only Plan. At press time, the three plans started at $3, $6, and $1 respectively. Visit the official Zoho website for more updated info on pricing.