man working on his laptop with a cat

Things are pretty crazy at the moment, and with the country on lockdown, a few people are asking us for tools to use to connect with others, whether for work or with family and friends. Here’s our top ones:

Whatsapp
An obvious one, but it’s a great little app. It’s free, easy to use and allows for chat and video calls.
You can also create a group and then do a group call, so everyone in the group will be able to listen and talk if they want to!
Did you know you can also download Whatsapp for desktop? That’s right. This means you can use it on your computer if you’re working from home too.

Image Source: App Store

Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts brings conversations to life with photos, emoji, and even group video calls for free. You can download the app on your phone or use it on your desktop. The tool is great for chatting form home or remote business meetings (you can add up to 25 participants for free) and we love how easy it is to share your screen with the rest of the people on the call, so everybody can be on the same page, literally. This article from TechRadar goes through how to use Google Hangouts in detail.

Zoom
Zoom is the new kid on the block. Literally everyone is using them at the moment, to connect and chat with friends or to simply host business meetings, training webinars or the equivalent to pub quizzes! But what makes Zoom such a popular option to connect with others? Firstly, they have a free version, which allows you to add up to 100 people to a call, it gives you unlimited 1-2-1 meetings, chat and video and online support – all FREE. Ok… so where’s the catch then? Well, the free package only allows online meetings for 40 mins at a time. But hey, who said that’s a bad idea? Maybe that will help your meetings to be concise and to the point!

Image Source: Zoom

Another great thing about Zoom is that, if you really need more than 40 mins and you want better features, their next plan up is only £12/month which is surprisingly affordable. Oh! and you can also download it on your phone as it’s available as a mobile app.

Slack
Slack is a free platform that you can use to chat with others, share files and also make video calls. You can create different channels and invite your team to join so you can chat while you are working on projects or have catch up calls.

Image Source: Slack

We’ve used Slack at Creative Blend for a while now and we always recommend it to our clients, as it’s really helpful to stay connected. We love Slack as you can search text or files on a conversation, story links in your own channel, the possibility to connect with other apps (Google calendar, Asana etc) and that you can also download it on your phone.

Whereby
We really like Whereby. It’s quick and very easy to use, plus you don’t need to download anything! With their free version, you can have an online meeting with a maximum of 4 people, desktop and mobile access, secure conversations, screen sharing and lock rooms. It also integrates with YouTube so you can play YT videos for everyone in the room.

Image Source: Whereby

Skype
We couldn’t finish this roundup of tools without an absolute classic, good ol’Skype!
Skype is perhaps the most well-known, free video conferencing platform out there. You can use it on your desktop or on your phone, you can share your screen and exchange files, and even record the video conference and save it for later. Skype is reliable and easy to install, plus it offers a secure calling experience.

Skype screenshot

Image source: Skype

We do use Skype with our Team and our clients but, the issue with Skype, from our perspective, is that the quality of the video calls isn’t always great, as it depends on what bandwidth you currently have, and also, it picks up background noises easily, which isn’t ideal!

We hope you found our article helpful if you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line – we’d love to help you!