With armies of people now working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations everywhere are scrambling for software that supports videoconferencing, remote team collaboration, virtual classrooms and other activities.

The scale and speed of the shift has turned this into an unprecedented challenge for all kinds of companies, but especially smaller ones who haven’t yet invested heavily in remote-working technology. Government agencies and hospitals on the frontline of tackling the COVID-19 crisis are also looking for software that can help teams get to grips with the virus and share information with one another and with the wider world. And schools and universities are ramping up their ability to deliver teaching remotely as classrooms and campuses close.

In response, software companies are rolling out a growing number of free products and services, as well as free customer upgrades to more advanced tools, to help organizations cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

This is our initial take on some of the products and services already out there. It highlights the technologies involved and provides a quick summary of what’s being offered. Things are changing incredibly fast and we’ll be updating the list regularly, so be sure to check in here again soon. 


Focus: Software design tools and webconferencing. 

Offer: The company is allowing its educational customers to request free home accessfor students and teachers to its Creative Cloud suite of tools. This will be available through May 31. Adobe has also made its webconferencing service, Adobe Connect, free for schools, businesses and government agencies on 90-day licenses that can run until July 1. The company has also pulled together a useful collection of content on distance learning here.


Focus: Online databases and spreadsheets

Offer: Any non-political, humanitarian effort tackling COVID-19 can use the company’s Airtable Pro product for free for the next three months. Airtable has said it’s also planning to make the service free for students too. 


Focus: Workflow and team-collaboration tools.

Offer: The company’s flagship products, such as its Jira issue-and-project-tracking software and Confluence team-collaboration offering, will now be free for teams of up to ten people with no time limit. Atlassian is also offering K-12 schools and higher education institutions free one-year subscriptions to its Trello Business Class service, which can be used by teachers to schedule coursework and other activities.


Focus: Videoconferencing service.

Offer: The company is making its service available for free to first responders and NGOs helping communities manage COVID-19 outbreaks. They will get organization-wide access for 90 days and the company says it could extend that term if circumstances warrant doing so.


Focus: Cloud content collaboration and storage.

Offer: Box has made the business edition of its service, which offers things such as unlimited storage and data-loss protection, available for free for 90 days according to a tweet by the company’s CEO, Aaron Levie.


Focus: Scheduling software integration with videoconferencing services.

Offer: Calendly used to charge for integrating with some videoconferencing services such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. This integration is now free and the company will also be offering unpaid access to its premium service for teams working on projects to tackle COVID-19.


Focus: Visualization and spatial-analysis software.

Offer:  The company is making its service free of charge to public and private organizations fighting COVID-19 via its grants program, which has already helped other kinds of public-interest projects.


Focus: Videoconferencing service.

Offer: The creator of Webex is boosting the capabilities of the free version of its videoconferencing software in countries where it is available. It’s scrapped time limits on meetings and has expanded the service’s capacity so that it can support up to 100 people on a call. (If you are looking for musical inspiration, the Webex team has curated its own work-from-home playlist here.)


Focus:  Cloud-based phone system and videoconferencing service.

Offer: Dialpad is giving any business in North America and Japan its cloud-based phone system, Dialpad Talk Pro, for free for the first two months of usage. Customers can cancel without cost at any time during that period, which may be extended. The system comes with Dialpad’s videoconferencing tool, UberConference Business, so those who sign up will get that for free as well.


Focus: Cloud content collaboration and storage plus electronic agreements.

Offer: Dropbox Business, which enables people to work remotely, and HelloSign Enterprise, which manages electronic agreements, will be free for six months for nonprofits and NGOs involved in the battle against COVID-19.


Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: A premium version of Workplace Advanced, which provides users with an internal version of Facebook complete with services such as video calling and file sharing, is now available for free to emergency services and governments for 12 months. Organizations have until June 30 to sign up for the offer. When the unpaid period of their contracts expires, they can choose to stay with the premium service or drop down to a more basic free one. 


Focus: Videoconferencing service and online productivity tools.

Offer: Google Cloud has announced free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities for all customers of its G-Suite and G-Suite for Education services. This enables calls of up to 250 people and also allows meetings to be recorded and saved on Google Drive.


Focus: Videoconferencing, webinars and device management.

Offer: LogMeIn, which offers the GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar services, has created special bundles of its products to support emergency remote working. As well as supporting virtual meetings, LogMeIn’s software can also help manage remote workers’ devices and apps. It’s offering three-month site-wide licenses for free to organizations such as healthcare providers, educational institutions and municipalities. Existing customers can tap these bundles and get site-wide licenses for additional tools for three months at no extra cost.


Focus: Videomessaging service.

Offer: Loom is scrapping a limit on the number of videos that a user can access under its free plan through July 1 (previously the limit was 25) and extending the free trial period of its premium Loom Pro service from 14 to 30 days. It’s also making Loom Pro free for students and teachers at K-12 schools, universities and other educational institutions with no time limit.


Focus: Electronic information sharing.

Offer: MailChimp’s platform is used by marketers to distribute e-mail newsletters and other online promotions. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the company is offering free accounts for its more feature-rich service to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits and other organizations that need to communicate critical health information about the disease. Existing customers who fall into these categories will not be billed during this period and those who are on MailChimp’s free or basic plans will be upgraded to the standard one at no cost.


Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform. 

Offer: Microsoft Teams, the company’s collaboration and communication platform, is scrapping the user limit on its free version, which was previously restricted to 300 people. Microsoft has also announced it is making the basic version of its Office 365 enterprise suite of productivity tools such as Word and Excel free for six months to organizations, which gives users access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams.


Focus: Capture and distribution of video content.

Offer: Panopto Cloud, which can be used by executives, teachers and others to record and distribute video content, is letting new users have the service for free for three months and won’t cap the amount of material that can be captured and streamed.


Focus: Cloud-based health system and data plus team collaboration platform.

Offer: The cloud giant is providing free access to its Health Cloud service for response teams, call centers and care-management groups for health systems impacted by COVID-19. It is also making the basic service of its Quip team collaboration software available for any Salesforce customer or nonprofit through September 30. The company’s Tableau unit has also made available a free hub of coronavirus-related data resources.


Focus: Emergency-response applications.

Offer: ServiceNow, whose software helps organizations digitize workflows, has rolled out several new applications. One that was developed in conjunction with the state of Washington State’s Department of Health manages incident-response workflows and is being made free to other agencies. The other applications, which are free for ServiceNow customers and can be accessed by non-customers too, include ones that help businesses deal with workflows associated with sharing COVID-19-related information and situations in which employees have to self-quarantine.


Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Slack is offering free upgrades to paid plans for organizations working on coronavirus research, response or mitigation, as well as to local media organizations and scientific publications covering these areas. The company has also removed the 250-user cap on its Standard Plan service for all nonprofits for three months. 


Focus: Recording and distribution of video content.

Offer: The company is making its screen recording tool, TechSmith Snagit, and its collaboration platform, TechSmith Video Review free to use through the end of June. It’s also allowing existing customers to increase their usage of TechSmith’s digital-learning platform and online video-collaboration environment for no extra cost over the same time period.


Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Another software firm whose tools enable remote work, Threads is making its Pro offering, which can support up to 100 members, free through July 1.


Focus: Videomessaging service.

Offer: As COVID-19 spread, Vidyard accelerated work on a service it was developing to help employees communicate with one another and to allow employers to share video messages with their workforces. Vidyard for Internal Communications will be available at no cost through June 30.


Focus: Cloud-based productivity tools.

Offer: To help small businesses, which are a big part of its customer base, Zoho has launched a program that will waive the cost of the applications being used by up to 20,000 companies for three months. Customers must apply for assistance and Sridhar Vembu, the company’s co-founder and CEO, has said Zoho will prioritize the ones most in need. The company has also launched a new set of free applications to support remote working.  


Focus: Videoconferencing service.

Offer: Forbes was the first to report, Zoom has removed a 40-minute meeting limit on its free Basic accounts for students and teachers at K-12 schools in America. The company has partnered with Clever, the most widely used single sign-on service used by U.S. school districts, so that schools who don’t have access to its service can get it quickly. It has also scrapped time limits on meetings for K-12 schools in a growing list of other countries impacted by COVID-19.