As a business, you need smart tools that enable easy team communication, collaboration, and productivity, no matter your size or scale. Inevitably, you’ll hit (or have already hit) the age-old debate that continues throughout the digital landscape: Google or Microsoft? Which suite of software solutions is the reigning champion?
The answer is not as simple and clear-cut. Both Microsoft 360 and Google Workspace offer extensive features, collaborative capabilities, and online and offline working options. A key consideration that many businesses and employers leave out is employee exposure and preference when selecting an office suite.
According to a survey conducted by Invisibly, an overwhelming number of employees still prefer to use Microsoft 360 over Google Workspace.
Work Communication – Microsoft 360
For work communication, 40% preferred using Microsoft Teams while only 19% stated a preference for Google Hangouts.
Video Meetings – Tie
There was no significant difference when it came to video meetings, with 15% preferring Google Meets and 11% favoring Microsoft Teams.
Documents, Decks, and Sheets – Microsoft 360
For documents preference, 64% preferred Microsoft Word while 36% opted for Google Docs. Spreadsheets showed a significant difference, with 61% primarily using Excel compared to 39% who used Google Sheets. Decks also had a clear preference, with 64% preferring PowerPoint and 36% preferring Google Slides.
However, there could be a generational factor at play here. Multiple studies have found that younger Millennial and Gen Z employees tend to favor Google Workspace over Microsoft 360, especially for productivity and collaboration. In a survey commissioned by SADA, 75% of college graduates chose Google Workspace over Microsoft 360 when asked which products they would use for working with a team.
Another study found that 78% of college students, when working on collaborative projects, used Google instead of Microsoft.
This could boil down to workplace structure and resultant priorities. Research from Zight found that the majority of Millennial and Gen Z employees surveyed work remotely or partially remotely, making the need for easier collaboration more of a priority compared to Gen X and Baby Boomer employees.
While Microsoft 360’s structure and features focus extensively on productivity and individual business-task management, Google Workspace places a greater emphasis on simplicity and ease of collaboration.
But, when it comes to individual work and performance, Microsoft still tends to win over Google. This is thanks to a long-cemented legacy as the primary candidate for digital office tools combined with more detailed, complex features that allow for more creativity.
But, employee preferences aside, which solution is ideal for your business operations and goals? Let’s take a closer look at both options.
Google Workspace includes all well-known office productivity applications, including Gmail, Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Calendar, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It also offers digital note taking with Google Keep, web hosting with Google Sites, and instant messaging with Google Chat.
What sets Workspace apart from Office 360 is the degree of integrations Google offers between these core applications.
Google Docs, for example, allows multiple users to view and edit documents at the same time, as well as in Sheets and Slides. Furthermore, Google will soon introduce Meet picture-in-picture that lets employees see and hear each other in shared documents, fostering easier real-time collaboration.
All of Google’s features are available in app form for mobile use, collectively known as Google Workspace Apps. Google currently doesn’t offer desktop versions of these apps.
Google Workspace is completely cloud-based and users can access their files via Google Drive. Despite being web-based, users can select and work on files offline in the event of a disruption to internet access. All work completed both online and offline is saved in Drive ensuring data loss prevention and protection.
There are currently four Google Workspace plans: Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, and Business Enterprise.
Microsoft 360 offers more extensive, advanced features compared to Google Workspace, including Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, One Drive, Lens, Viva Engage, Planner, Authenticator, Sharepoint, Excel, Skype for Business, Microsoft To Do, Lists, Power Automate, Loop, Stream, Whiteboard, Copilot, Azure Information Protection, and Dynamics 365 among others.
While Microsoft might not offer the same integrative and collaborative capabilities as Google, its feature-rich productivity software simplifies work tasks and allows employees to work from anywhere.
Microsoft 360 offers both cloud-based and desktop versions of its applications, meaning employees can work both online and offline without interruptions to productivity. Many employees still prefer to work and save files to their desktop, so 360’s desktop application offerings still provide a massive advantage.
360 also offers mobile and web-based apps for their office suite applications for Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS.
Microsoft’s plans are more complicated compared to Google, with different plans containing different features and capabilities. In essence, there are three business plans: Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium.
A key difference between 360 and Workspace is that 360 does offer many office apps and services on an individual basis, meaning that users can pick and choose additional apps and purchase them individually to add to their existing plan.
So, which office suite do employees prefer: Microsoft or Google? In short: it depends on your organization’s structure, nature of work, and employee age range and responsibilities. For individual work, Microsoft seems to be the victor while Google is the winner for collaborative work. By extension, Google is the clear choice for remote work while Microsoft seems to be preferred for office-based employees and teams.
We’d recommend considering your workplace structure, team structure, employee demographics, current workflows and operations, and long-term development goals. Both Workspace and 360 have their advantages and limitations. Which one is better will depend on the business in question.
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