Best Productivity Software for Businesses 2021

Updated: June 2021

Productivity platforms are vital for businesses aiming to streamline their operations. Businesses worldwide rely on the software in this article to modernise their day to day operations. 

Microsoft, Google, Monday.com and Airtable offer a range of differing services. Google and Microsoft's services come with each company’s preexisting products like Docs or Word. In contrast, Monday.com and Airtable only offer cloud-based services.  

This article summarises the differences between the software and offers some guidance on the benefits of each.

We cover a couple of categories of productivity platforms in this article:

- Comprehensive productivity suites. 

- Cloud-based workflow solutions. 

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 fall into the former while Monday.com and Airtable belong in the latter. 

Comprehensive productivity suites

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is the larger of the two comprehensive productivity suites. 

Microsoft 365 sets the gold standard for office suites. The software works flawlessly, the mobile apps sync with the desktop versions, and the programs allow for offline work.


All the Microsoft 365 apps are aesthetic, customisable and functional. Also, Microsoft helpfully keeps the interface consistent throughout its apps, making navigation easier.

Microsoft sells its products through subscription packages so you can download each program and work offline.  

Microsoft supplies the entire spectrum of applications including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. These applications provide great value to businesses especially with it’s collaboration features. 

Teams is an especially useful platform for organisations reliant on remote workers. The app lets you gather your team by department or group and host recorded voice or video conferences. You can also organise your schedule, plan upcoming projects and assign tasks to individual employees.  

Exchange is another useful tool packaged in with a 365 subscription. The app helps organise your calendar and email with state of the art AI while streamlining your workflow. 

To read our review of Microsoft 365, click here. 

Read our comparison of Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace here.

Google Workspace

Google Workspace is Google’s cloud-based answer to Microsoft 365. 

Simplicity and usability are Google Workspace’s key attractions. 

Workspace adopts the best features from Microsoft’s programs and repackages them into simpler apps. You won't find some of the more advanced features from Microsoft Word. 

Cloud-based platforms like Google's help your team collaborate on any project through the web with live document editing, screen sharing, team messaging, shared calendars and more.

Offline working is where Google Workspace lacks some capability. While you can use Google Docs and Sheets offline, the applications don’t work as well offline as Microsoft’s programs. 

To read our review of Google Workspace, click here. 

Read our comparison of Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace here.

Cloud-based workflow solutions

Both Monday.com and Airtable streamline your workflow by handling repetitive administrative tasks and supporting your team and project management. 

Monday.com

Monday.com is a collaboration platform that centralises a company's workflow into a shared online workspace. The platform has an intuitive interface that helps managers organise their projects and staff. 

Several industry titans have moved their operations onto monday.com, including Uber, Adobe and Hulu. 

The platform lets you build projects from scratch or from a template. You then invite the employees and assign them tasks, each with a different priority rating. You can also group workers together to collaborate on specific parts of the project and track their workload. 

Monday.com organises your data into graphs to help you make informed decisions about your project. This is what Monday.com is all about; collecting and using data to help you make data-driven decisions. The data will also highlight your project’s blockers and help you effectively allocate staff. 

Besides the project management tools, monday.com has a few other unique features. These include daily task management and department planning tools helping to keep every level of your business on track.

One of Monday.com's newest features is automations. Automations can be as straightforward or as complex as you need them to be.

The tool cuts hours from your admin budget by performing basic-level tasks for you. For example, they can notify you when employees complete tasks or if someone misses a deadline.

The platform also integrates with third-party apps like MailChimp, Dropbox and Google Drive. 

There are plenty of instructional videos to help you get started, and the site provides a vast template library. It may take a few hours to tailor the templates to your needs, but once you have, can leave them to take care of keeping things on track.

Monday.com is a valuable tool that any sized business looking to streamline and organise its operations would benefit from. It's user-friendly, the user interface is aesthetic, and the subscription is affordable.

Read our full Monday.com review here.

Airtable

Airtable is an online collaboration program built to help you power and streamline your team's workflow. You can build and collaborate on all kind of projects, including marketing, production, operations, HR, sales and finance. 

Airtable is similar to Monday.com, but it’s more of a shared database with collaborative tools than a cloud-based workspace. If that doesn’t sound like much of a difference, you’d be right - it isn’t. 

Before you let the dull-sounding "database” deter you from reading on, know that Airtable’s tools are easy enough to learn. 

You can plan events, work schedules or projects and integrate your database with apps like Gmail, Facebook and Microsoft Teams. 

You can also organise your marketing efforts, plan and execute your social media campaigns and track your sales. 

A tool included by Airtable but not by Monday.com is app-building capabilities. You can build an app that can present your data in various ways, create and scan QR codes or sync business bank accounts into one database. Your app can also pull data from anywhere on the web using an API.  

Like monday.com, Airtable has released an automations feature to reduce unnecessary admin hours. These could include meeting reminders, missed deadline alerts, and record updating.

Airtable is one of the most straightforward online workflow tools you can find anywhere. New users won't struggle at all while learning the ropes. 

Due to its versatility, Netflix, Expedia and Medium use Airtable to streamline their operations.  

There's also a handy community guide section on the website and attentive customer service should any issues crop up.

Read our full Airtable review here.


Summary 

All the productivity programs described in this article could benefit your business in one way or another. Which one is best for you depends entirely upon your business and individual preferences.

Read our comparison of Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace here.

To read our review of Google Workspace, click here. 

To read our review of Microsoft 365, click here. 

Read our full Airtable review here.

Read our full Monday.com review here.