Opinion: Disruptions to child care and school had a profound impact on families during the pandemic

Low-income families experienced more anxiety, depression, and negative behaviors when the kids’ lives were thrown up in the air

The Issue:

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected American families and children in many ways, including through rupture in the nature of their primary care and school settings. Even one year into the pandemic, children have to contend with unpredictable disruptions to their learning that were unheard of before the pandemic began.

Sources of disruption range from internet and software failures to sudden classroom closures, meaning that learning mode—whether remote, in person, or hybrid—cannot fully insulate families from these disruptions.

We followed families of hourly service workers with young children as the pandemic unfolded, and discovered that a large share of the families participating in our study experienced unpredictability and disruptions on any given day. Moreover, we found that on days when care or school did not go as planned, family well-being dropped markedly.

Frequent, unexpected disruptions in the care and schooling of children have significantly contributed to the daily burden for families during COVID.

The Facts:

A daily survey of low-wage service workers with young children, which started in late 2019, provides a window into how the pandemic impacted their day-to-day lives. We recruited a representative sample of hourly service workers in retail, food service, and hotel establishments who had young children in Philadelphia during late summer and fall of 2019 to understand the effects of parents’ unstable work schedules on family well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the original goals of the study. However, we continued to follow this sample of highly policy-relevant families throughout the pandemic. Because the children were between 3 and 8 years old in the fall of 2020, they could not be left alone while parents worked, and parents therefore faced additional challenges balancing their work and family responsibilities. Most of the families in our sample were not able to work from home.

Throughout the first half of the 2020-2021 school year, the families in our sample faced frequent disruptions to their children’s care and school arrangements. Each respondent in our study answered the following question every day for 30 days: “Did your child(ren)’s child care/school go smoothly today—happened on schedule, internet worked if needed, etc.?” Those who checked “not at all”, “somewhat” or “mostly” were categorized as having experienced disruptions. The share of days on which school or care did not go as planned was strikingly high, at nearly a quarter of days (see chart above). The vast majority of families, 77%, experienced at least one disruption in the fall.

While daily disruptions were frequent overall, they were significantly more common for families using only remote learning (23.9% of days) than for those using only in-person school/care (17.6%), with the highest rates for those using both modes (26.1%), likely because those families faced disruptions from multiple sources.

We used a simplified approach so as to allow us to have a large sample answer this question daily. However, this meant that we were not able to ask detailed follow-up questions, so we are not able to parse out from this data whether a given disruption was due to internet failure, COVID-19 cases, or some other specific source.

Both children and parents had more mood or behavior problems when the kids’ day was disrupted.

Children fare worse when care or school is disrupted. On days when children’s care or school did not go as planned, the share of parents who said that their children were uncooperative “some or a lot today” was 21.1%, a striking and significant increase of 9.2 percentage points from a base rate of 11.9% on days without disruption (see chart). The pattern was similar for effects on parents reporting that children appeared to be sad or worried “some or a lot today,” with a significant overall increase of 6.0 percentage points (more than doubling the base rate of 5.2% on days without disruption). Disruptions led to increased uncooperativeness and sadness whether children were in remote learning or in-person care or school, but the increase was somewhat smaller for children in remote learning compared to the increase in uncooperativeness and sadness that children attending in person experienced when there was a disruption. 

Parents’ mood and behavior have experienced measurable declines with the pandemic and show further deterioration when care or school is disrupted. Parents in our sample reported very high levels of anxiety and depression, with 38.5% of parents reporting these symptoms on any given day. This finding, while extremely high, is in accordance with findings of broader national surveys: The percentage of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression averaged 38.1% in the Household Pulse surveys conducted from April 2020 through February 2021. In comparison, about 11% of U.S. adults reported experiencing these symptoms from January to June 2019 in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey conducted in 2019 using similar questions, according to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Learning disruptions strongly affected daily parent mood above and beyond these elevated levels. The share of parents in our sample who said they felt fretful, angry, irritable, anxious, or depressed that day increased by a significant 12.7 percentage point. Perhaps not surprisingly given effects on mood, parents were significantly more likely to lose their temper with their child on a day with a disruption; the overall increase was 5.6 percentage points, double the base rate of 5.6% on days without disruptions. These increases were consistent for parents with children learning in-person or remotely.

Differences by race and ethnicity are significant, while patterns are strikingly uniform across groups. Although the debate around whether or not schools should be reopened during the pandemic has often invoked the needs of families of color, little research has actually provided empirical evidence of the experiences of different modes of learning among families from different racial and ethnic groups, particularly within income and occupation strata.

Within our sample, Hispanic parents reported the highest incidence and frequency of disruption and of difficulty supporting learning, while non-Hispanic Black parents’ reports were lower and non-Hispanic white parents’ reports were in between. For all race and ethnic groups, the frequency of daily disruptions to learning was higher in remote than in in-person school or care, but the differences were significantly larger for Hispanics (40% more frequent disruptions in remote than in in-person learning) and non-Hispanic Blacks (60% more frequent) than for non-Hispanic whites (29% more frequent).

By contrast, the effects of daily disruptions on child well-being were larger for non-Hispanic whites than for families of color (the difference between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics was significant for child sadness or worry, while the difference between non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic Blacks was significant for uncooperativeness). Similarly, effects of disruption on temper loss were larger for non-Hispanic white parents than for parents of color (the difference with non-Hispanic Black parents was statistically significant).

At the same time, for all of these child and parenting outcomes, effects were substantial in size and statistically significant for all three racial and ethnic groups. On parent well-being, we observed large and significant effects of disruption for all race and ethnic groups, with no statistically significant differences in estimates between groups. 

What this Means:

There has been little evidence about the experiences of disruptions to children’s care and school arrangements as the pandemic has persisted through the 2020-2021 school year, nor about the effects of those disruptions on child and family well-being. By using innovative daily survey data gathered in the fall of 2020 from a representative sample of hourly service workers with young children, we are able to shed light on the frequency of disruptions to school and care, and the consequences of those disruptions for child and parent mental health, among a group of families with significant but common vulnerabilities.

While previous work had documented that universal, short closures (such as snow days) had few effects on children, we document that frequent, unexpected disruptions in care and learning have significantly contributed to the daily burden for families during the pandemic.

Policies to increase the safety, accessibility, and predictability of in-person learning hold promise to reduce disruptions. Moreover, as school districts prepare for a new school year in which many plan to continue offering remote options, additional support and resources for families in remote modes may be needed to stabilize their day-to-day experiences.

Finally, this research provides further evidence on, as well as identifying additional sources of, emotional distress among children that schools and other child-serving organizations will need to address as they try to repair the damage incurred in the pandemic.

The Ultimate List of Small Business Software & Tools

When it comes to running a small business, having the right tool for the job can make a huge difference in both your workday and your business performance. That’s why now is a great time to be an entrepreneur — you still need to wear a lot of hats, but there have never been more business tools available to help you fit into those hats a little better.

The key is finding the right tool, right when your small business needs it. That’s why we created this giant list of software and other resources — from accounting software to small business marketing tools and everything in between. We’ve even included some of our picks for the best options within the category.

Accounting & Bookkeeping

1. Wave Apps

Totally free solution that includes accounting, invoicing, payroll, and more.

2. QuickBooks

All-inclusive accounting software with packages designed specifically for small businesses and contractors.

3. FreshBooks

Comprehensive accounting solution tailored to service-based small businesses.

4. Xero

Robust and complete software that’s hosted in the cloud, so no downloads or installations.

Website Building

5. Squarespace

An all-in-one website building solution that make it super easy to create a stunning, professional-looking website for your business.

6. WordPress

Choose from thousands of free and premium themes to get your small business’ website or blog up and running in no time.

7. Wix

Drag-and-drop web building tool lets you choose from thousands of themes and customize individual pages.

Online Payment Tools

8. PayPal

Accept credit cards and PayPal payments on your online store — PayPal handles the processing, security, and mobile compatibility.

9. Square

You can create an ecommerce store through Square and accept online payments or use the Square payments app with 3rd party web platforms.

10. Stripe

Add Stripe Checkout to your small business’ website to utilize their pre-designed and customizable payment forms.

11. Shopify

Build your entire online store through Shopify and they’ll take care of everything from marketing to payments & shipping.

12. Amazon Payments

Make checkout easier and faster for customers by integrating Amazon accounts and checkout.


13. HubSpot

Choose from CRM, sales, or full-fledged marketing software to help you automate your marketing process.

14. Marketo

End-to-end marketing automation covers everything from lead management and consumer marketing to email and customer base marketing.

15. Hatchbuck

All-in-one small business marketing tool and CRM solution helps you plan, automate and monitor marketing activities.

16. InfusionSoft

Inclusive sales and marketing automation software that handles lead capture and conversion and some CRM tasks.

Email Marketing

17. MailChimp 

Fully customizable email campaigns and automation that integrate seamlessly with ecommerce solutions like Shopify.

18. Campaign Monitor

Simple drag-and-drop function allows you to design unique and engaging email marketing campaigns.

19. Emma

Create results-oriented email campaigns and leverage insightful reporting to meet your goals faster.

20. AWeber

At the forefront of email automation, they offer powerful integrations with sites like PayPal and WordPress and boast A+ customer support.

21. Constant Contact

Customizable drag-and-drop templates, powerful automation, and real-time reporting make it easy to see success.

Social Media Marketing

22. Buffer

Create and schedule engaging social posts on all of the big social media sites — from Twitter and LinkedIn to Pinterest and Instagram.

23. TweetDeck 

Keep track of everything that’s happening on Twitter by creating searches and hashtags, and get alerts when new content is posted.

24. Hootsuite

The all-in-one social media scheduling, listening, and reporting tool helps you do more with your social presence.

Paid Advertising

25. AdWords 

Create text-based searches, set your budget, and choose keywords to bid on to decide where your ads show up in Google searches.

26. Bing Ads

Advertise your small business in Bing search results, where you’ll get more value for your marketing dollar.

27. Outbrain

Help you content reach more eyeballs by creating pay-per-click campaigns and advertising on huge sites like People and CNN.

Content Marketing & SEO

28. Contently

A platform for all your content marketing needs from topic generation to execution by a huge network of talented freelancers.

29. Uberflip

Tailor your content to your customer’s journey and integrate your content platform with automation solutions like HubSpot and Marketo.

30. SumoMe

A web analytics tools to help you build email lists, optimize landing page conversion, and increase social shares.

31. Moz 

A tool for small business marketers to simplify the complicated worlds of search marketing and online paid advertising.

Print Marketing

32. Moo

A tool for all paper collateral — especially adept at helping you design unique and eye-catching business cards.

33. Vistaprint

Known for their high-quality business cards and reasonable pricing, they also offer additional marketing collateral.

34. Printfection

The home of all things merchandise and company swag — choose from a huge variety of apparel, drinkware, and other products.

35. Startup Threads

You can design custom branded apparel for your small business and automatically send to loyal customers without holding any inventory.

Public Relations

36. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) 

Get mentioned in publications small and large by using your expert knowledge to become a source for journalists.

37. Buzzstream 

Keep track of outreach efforts including prospects, their contact info, and a full history of communication.

38. Mention

Monitor billions of sources in real-time for any keywords you want, and reply to engage with key influencers.

39. Google Alerts 

Create weekly or daily alerts for key topics surrounding your brand and get an email roundup of the most popular content.

Customer Service & Helpdesk

40. HelpScout

Manage email at scale with features designed to maintain an organized team and happy customers.

41. Groove

Collaborate across your team on everything from emails to social media posts to phone calls all with one system.

42. Zendesk

Almost like a CRM for support, you get a help desk solution, self-service tool, and insightful data on engagement.

43. Desk.com

Robust, out-of-the-box support with self-service options and easy scalability as your team grows.


44. Slack 

Create a channel for your team and groups within to focus in on specific projects or departments.

45. Skype

All-inclusive audio/video calls and messaging for your team to keep in touch from mobile, landline, or VoIP.

46. Grasshopper 

Keep in touch with the office while you work from anywhere in the world with a toll free or local number that forwards to your mobile phone.

Project Management

47. Trello 

Create team boards with individual or project-based lists and cards with a deadline for every step of the way.

48. Basecamp

A productivity app taken to the team level includes messaging, to-do lists, and document & file sharing.

49. Asana

Projects are easy to track from beginning to end with clear-cut responsibilities and next steps outlined.

50. Teamwork

Easily keep track of every team project in one place and collaborate with messaging and file sharing.


51. Evernote

Everything you need to get done or remember, all in one place and organized into notebooks — it’s as close as you can get to paper note-taking.

52. Todoist

It combines the accessibility of native apps with tools for collaboration and design that fosters productivity.

53. Any.do

Task management for both your work and home life that syncs seamlessly across simple mobile, desktop, and web apps.

54. Boomerang 

Maintain inbox zen without losing track of important messages — send them away and Boomerang will return them whenever they’re needed.

55. Unroll.me

Keep your email subscriptions in check with the quickest and easiest way to unsubscribe from marketing emails at scale.


56. StayFocusd

Stay on track by using this plugin to limit your time on distracting websites (like Facebook) or block them all together.

57. RescueTime

Find out where all your time going by tracking the time you spend on different apps and websites so you can maximize your workday.

58. RainyMood 

Block it out, block it all out with the ambient sound of a rainstorm — you can even set it to music.

59. Spotify Focus Playlists 

Listen to tracks expertly selected to enhance focus and keep you on-task.

Hiring & Human Resources

60. Workable

Recruiting software that combines job posting, candidate organization, and team collaboration to streamline the hiring process.

61. BambooHR

HR software targeted at small and medium sized businesses ticks off hiring tools with an employee database and reporting.

62. Workday 

Recruiting, time-tracking, and payroll (among other features) all rolled up into one, scalable solution.

63. Insperity

Choose from a full-service, outsourced HR team or an individual solution tailored to your human resources needs.

Document Management

64. Google Drive 

Create and store word documents, slide presentations, and spreadsheets in the cloud that are accessible from anywhere.

65. Office 365

Get access to the full Microsoft suite of products and 1 terabyte of cloud storage that you can access from up to 5 of your devices.

66. Box

Share files securely with team members and even create, edit, and review documents in real-time.

67. Dropbox

Collaborate, store, share, and backup documents, photos, and videos that automatically sync across all your devices.

Tax Software

68. TurboTax

Tax returns made easy with straightforward questions customized to you and live, on-screen help.

69. H&R Block

All your forms and information in one, secure place and step-by-step guidance to help you get the most refund possible.

70. TaxAct

Access to over 300 available deductions and credits and a price-match guarantee to get the best value.

71. Jackson Hewitt Online

Simple, online filing with affordable pricing for small businesses and a maximum refund guarantee.

Entrepreneurial Growth

72. Clarity.fm

Talk to a variety of experts with experience in every aspect of starting and growing a business.

73. EDx

Choose from a huge bank of professional courses online and complete them at your own pace.

74. Udemy

Take courses on all types of topics, from learning Java coding to leveraging Microsoft Excel, to help you become more effective.

75. Grasshopper Academy

Learn everything you need to know about starting, running, and marketing your business with advice from experts and successful entrepreneurs.

Best Small Business Software

According to a recent survey, the average entrepreneur spends 68% of the time tackling day-to-day tasks and only 32% of the time on long-term goals, strategic planning, and other tasks that can help their business grow.1 Due to their limited operating budgets and small staffs, small businesses usually can’t afford the tools and systems that will help them streamline their daily operations. 

We reviewed dozens of software platforms built specifically to help small businesses take care of the tasks that will help them thrive. We chose the best based on common business needs, quality of the platform, ease-of-use, and affordability. Here are our top picks.     

The 7 Best Small Business Software of 2021

  • Wave Accounting: Best Accounting Software
  • Wix: Best Website Builder
  • MailChimp: Best Email Marketing Software
  • Trello: Best Project Management Software
  • Slack: Best Team Communication Software
  • Freshteam: Best Hiring Software
  • Google Workspace: Best Document Management Software

Best Free Software: Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting was created in 2010 by co-founders Kirk Simpson and James Lochrie who were frustrated by the lack of free and easy-to-use financial software for small businesses. Today Wave has more than 250 employees serving small businesses around the world. We chose it as the best accounting software because it lets small businesses track income and expenses, send invoices, scan receipts, track sales taxes, and more, all for free.

Wave helps users connect multiple bank accounts and credit cards and set up profiles for multiple businesses to help keep track of income and expenses. The software organizes accounts, payments, and invoices to make tax time easier and also offers robust reports to help identify cash flow trends.

Users can create and send professional, branded invoices from Wave’s dashboard or mobile app. The invoicing software can set up recurring invoices and automatic credit card payments for repeat customers and automatically syncs invoice and payment information with its accounting software.   

Wave’s mobile app lets users scan receipts anywhere and sync them seamlessly with their Wave account to help keep track of business expenses. Users can also email invoices to their Wave account or scan receipts offline to be synced the next time the device is online.

Although Wave is completely free to use, it also offers additional paid services, including accepting credit cards and bank payments and setting up payroll for employees and contractors. 

Wave Accounting

  • Free accounting
  • Free invoicing
  • Free receipt scanning

Wave Payments

  • All Wave Accounting features
  • 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, Discover
  • 3.4% + 30¢ per transaction for American Express
  • 1% per ACH transaction ($1 minimum fee)

Wave Payroll

  • All Wave Accounting features
  • $35 plus $6 per employee/contractor per month (tax-service states)
  • $20 plus $6 per employee/contractor per month (self-service states)

Best Website Builder: Wix

Wix was founded in 2006 by three entrepreneurs frustrated with the difficulty and expense of creating a website. Today, the company has a staff of 2,700 employees worldwide and 150 million users in 190 countries. We chose it for the best website builder since it lets users create professional-looking websites with no coding knowledge for an affordable price.

Wix comes with hundreds of professional templates and a drag-and-drop editor, making it easy to create a professional business site in just minutes. Every website is designed to look great on mobile devices and features engaging effects including animation, video backgrounds, and scrolling.

Businesses that want to sell online can take advantage of Wix’s advanced e-commerce features. Users can set up an online store, manage inventory and orders, and get revenue and conversion rate reports using a simple, intuitive dashboard. Wix also lets store owners accept payments via Wix Payments, PayPal, and AliPay and integrates with Instagram and Facebook.  

Although creating a basic website is free, upgrading to a paid plan is the only way to unlock Wix’s business and e-commerce features. All of Wix’s paid plans include a 14-day free trial, free hosting, Google Analytics, and the ability to link a custom domain.

Business Basic Plan

  • $23 per month
  • Accept online payments
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 20GB storage
  • Connect your domain
  • Remove Wix ads
  • Five video hours
  • Google Analytics
  • Free domain for one year
  • $300 ad vouchers
  • Site Booster app
  • Visitor Analytics app

Business Unlimited Plan

  • $27 per month
  • 35GB storage
  • All Business Basic Plan features
  • 10 video hours
  • Professional logo
  • Social media logo files

Business VIP Plan

  • $49 per month
  • Accept online payments
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 500GB storage
  • All Business Unlimited Plan features
  • Unlimited video hours
  • Priority Response
  • VIP Support

Best Email Marketing Software: MailChimp

MailChimp was created in 2001 by web design agency owners Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius who wanted to create an affordable email marketing service for small businesses. It has grown into a full-fledged marketing platform offering landing pages, websites, postcards, and more. We chose it as the best email marketing software because it offers small businesses high-level email marketing with both free and affordable paid plans.

MailChimp’s free email software makes it easy for business owners new to email marketing to get started. The platform offers premade email templates, opt-in popups and signup forms, audience segmentation, and basic personalization. Users also get a mobile app that lets them view campaign performance and send emails with just a few clicks.  

MailChimp’s drag-and-drop templates let users create professional, branded emails with no design skills. A built-in analytics tool also keeps track of open rates and clicks, and segments data to help show what’s working and what’s not. Users can automatically send out targeted emails based on user behaviors, like a welcome message for new signups or a related product recommendation for a recent buyer.       

Most small businesses can get pretty far using MailChimp’s free plan. The paid plans add more subscribers and lists as well as more detailed automations:

Free Plan

  • FREE
  • 2,000 subscriber limit
  • 10,000 emails per month
  • Basic email templates
  • Integrations with 200+ apps
  • Landing pages and popup forms
  • Google, Facebook, and Instagram retargeting ads
  • Single-step automations
  • Segmentation
  • Basic reports  

Essentials Plan

  • $9.99 per month (based on the number of subscribers)*
  • 50,000 subscriber limit
  • 500,000 emails per month
  • All Free Plan features
  • Access to all email templates
  • A/B testing
  • Remove Mailchimp footer
  • 24/7 email and chat support

Standard Plan

  • $14.99 per month (based on the number of subscribers)*
  • 100,000 subscriber limit
  • 1.2 million emails per month
  • All Essentials Plan features
  • Behavior-based automations
  • Multi-step automations
  • Send time optimization
  • Delivery by time zone

* Use the MailChimp calculator to determine pricing based on the size of the email list.

Best Project Management Software: Trello

In 2011, a company called Fog Creek Software launched a prototype of a project management tool designed to solve high-level planning issues. Later named Trello, the software grew to over 500,000 users in just one year and 4.75 million by 2014. We chose it as the best project management software because it offers a free, flexible, and visual way to manage projects.

Trello uses Kanban-style boards for task and project tracking and makes it easy to manage both individual projects and ongoing workflows. Its simple and intuitive interface lets users create custom boards and lists with cards that can include images, files, links, checklists, due dates, and more. 

Users can get started in seconds with a blank board or choose from hundreds of categorized templates created by other users that can be modified as needed. Trello offers integrations with Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, and dozens of other third-party platforms as well as mobile apps to streamline collaboration and workflows.  

Trello offers a lot with its free plan including unlimited personal boards, lists, and cards. The free plan is limited to 10MB per file attachment, 10 team boards, and one third-party integration (Power-Up) per board. The Business Class plan comes with expanded features and a 14-day free trial:

Free Plan

  • FREE
  • Unlimited personal boards
  • Unlimited cards
  • Unlimited lists
  • 10MB per file attachment
  • 10 team boards
  • One Power-Up per board

Business Class Plan

  • $9.99 per user per month
  • All Free Plan features
  • 250MB per file attachment
  • Unlimited team boards
  • Unlimited Power-Ups

Best Team Communication Software: Slack

Slack was originally built as an internal communication tool for a game development company started by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield in 2009. Launched publicly in 2013, it currently has over 12 million users in over 150 countries. We chose it as the best team communication software because it offers real-time messaging, feedback, and collaboration in a free, online platform.

Slack was developed to eliminate the inefficiencies and delays of email communication. The software lets users create channels that can be organized around a topic, team, project, or even a client. Channels can be public and open to all users of a Slack account or private and accessed by invitation only.

Besides communicating in real-time, Slack offers tons of integrations letting teams share files, create polls, schedule meetings, and connect to third-party project management, cloud storage, and productivity tools. The platform offers free, one-click voice and video calls and even lets users spin-off discussion threads to keep larger conversations focused and uncluttered.

One of Slack’s most useful features is its search function. No more sorting through emails or written notes hoping to find that one valuable piece of information. Slack lets users search for a conversation, mention, or user and share or bookmark it no matter how long ago it took place.        

Businesses that only need a single workspace, one-on-one video calls, and only a few app integrations can get by with a free Slack account. The free account also limits searches to 10,000 messages:                

Free Plan

  • FREE
  • Search up to 10,000 messages
  • Up to 10 third-party app integrations
  • One-to-one video and voice calls
  • 5GB storage per workspace

Standard Plan

  • $8 per user per month
  • Unlimited message search
  • Unlimited third-party app integrations
  • One-to-one video and voice calls
  • Group video calls up to 15 people
  • Screen sharing
  • 10GB storage per user
  • Guest accounts and shared channels
  • Priority support

Plus Plan

  • $15 per user per month
  • All Standard Plan features
  • 20GB storage per user
  • User management
  • 24/7 support with four-hour first response time

Best Hiring Software: Freshteam

Freshteam was developed in 2017 by Freshworks, a developer of communication, sales, and marketing tools since 2012. The software allows businesses to manage hiring, onboarding, time-off, and employee information. We chose it as the best hiring software because it helps small businesses hire new employees in an easy-to-use and affordable online platform.

Freshteam’s applicant tracking system (ATS) makes it easy for small businesses to post jobs, screen resumes, track applicants, and even send offer letters. Users get access to job description templates and can post positions on free job boards, including LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, and Adzuna. 

Freshteam helps users create custom workflows so they can track candidates from application, to interview, to hiring. The software can also automatically convert emails into applications and add senders as applicants. Finally, Freshteam lets users create a mobile-friendly career page and share job postings on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.     

Once an employee is hired, Freshteam sends her all the paperwork she needs to sign electronically as well as employee handbooks, other internal documents, and a welcome letter. The software adds new employees to the business’s org chart, securely stores employee data, and can even manage employee time off. 

Freshteam’s basic plan, called Sprout, is free for companies with fewer than 50 employees and lets users post up to three jobs. Every plan also comes with a 21-day free trial and 24/7 email and 24/5 phone support:

Sprout Plan

  • FREE
  • Three job postings
  • Basic career site
  • Recruitment team inbox
  • Candidate application via email
  • Employee directory
  • Employee org chart
  • Mobile apps (iOS and Android)
  • Basic time-off management

Blossom Plan

  • $50 per month per 50 users
  • 10 job postings
  • Customizable career site
  • All Sprout Plan features
  • Recruiting automations
  • Custom interview scorecards and kits
  • Custom hiring pipelines
  • Interview scheduling with Google and Outlook Calendar
  • Job board Integrations
  • Time-off approval workflows
  • Up to two holiday calendars
  • Up to two time-off policies

Garden Plan

  • $100 per month per 50 users
  • Unlimited job postings
  • Advanced career site
  • All Blossom Plan features
  • Social recruiting
  • Offer management
  • New hire onboarding
  • Unlimited holiday calendars
  • Sponsored job postings on Indeed

Best Document Management Software: Google Workspace

Formerly Google Suite, Google Workplace is a collection of online office tools, including email, document creation and management, cloud storage, calendars, chat, video meetings, and more. We chose it as the best document management software because it offers secure, branded, cloud-based document creation, storage, collaboration, and sharing.

Google Workspace is a great option for small businesses that want to create an efficient, collaborative, cloud-based work environment without having to pay for expensive software or worrying about everyone having the same computer. Because every tool in the Google Workspace platform is a Google product, users can move seamlessly from app to app.

Businesses can start by creating a branded email address using Gmail, one of the most popular mail apps on the marketplace. Other tools include Google Calendars for team scheduling; Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with real-time collaboration; Google Drive for cloud storage; Google Chat for team messaging; and Google Meet for video meetings. 

Aside from the integrations between each app, Google Workspace also lets users connect to hundreds of third-party platforms, including Zoom, DocuSign, Salesforce, Trello, Asana, and many more. Google Workspace add-ons only access the minimum required data needed to complete an action to ensure that each business’s information stays secure. 

Although anyone can get access to all Google Workspace apps by signing up for a free Gmail account, Google Workspace paid plans allow businesses to create business email addresses, get more cloud storage, and increase security. Google also offers a 14-day free trial on any Google Workspace paid plan:

Free Plan

  • FREE
  • Personal email account
  • One-on-one chat
  • Personal calendar
  • Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides
  • 15 GB Google Drive cloud storage

Business Start

  • $6 per user per month
  • Business email accounts
  • All Free Plan features
  • Google Chat and Google Meet
  • Shared calendars
  • 30 GB Google Drive cloud storage per user
  • Admin controls
  • 24/7 standard support

Business Standard

  • $12 per user per month
  • All Business Start Plan features
  • 2 TB Google Drive cloud storage per user
  • Cloud Search 1st party data

Business Plus

  • $18 per user per month
  • All Business Standard Plan features
  • 5 TB Google Drive cloud storage per user
  • Vault and advanced endpoint management
  • eDiscovery and Retention Policies


  • All Business Plus Plan features
  • Customizable with no limit on storage
  • Cloud Search 1st & 3rd party data
  • Security Center
  • Enhanced management and compliance tools
  • 24/7 enhanced support

What Are Software Programs for Small Businesses?

Software programs for small businesses are designed to make small businesses more efficient by streamlining work, automating processes, and helping with day-to-day tasks which may be taking away from the business owner’s more important duties. These software programs are specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses owners, who can use them to link banks and credit cards, set up business profiles, manage accounting and payroll features, and store documents. 

How Much Do Software Programs for Small Businesses Cost?

Software programs for small businesses vary in their functions, features, and capabilities. They also vary in price. There are some free small business software programs. For paid programs, you can expect the cost to range from $5 per user per month to $150 per user per month. Credit card transaction fees are billed separately. 

Are Software Programs for Small Businesses Worth the Cost?

Software programs for small businesses are worth the cost if they increase efficiency and allow the owner or managers to focus more on tasks that bring in money, help the business grow, and meet long-term revenue goals. Software that helps with automation is typically worth the cost so that the owner can focus less on mundane tasks and have more time for serving customers and managing employees. 

How We Chose the Best Software Programs for Small Businesses

We thoroughly reviewed and researched the best software programs available to small businesses before deciding on our top choices. We eventually narrowed it down to the best options based on cost, features, functions, integrations, compatibility, and more.