These days, small businesses everywhere are facing a very fortunate conundrum: which high-quality, intuitive and affordable productivity suite to pick.

When it comes to the Workspace vs Office 365 debate, both offer powerful, popular tools and competitive pricing, so at the end of the day, which one is right for you and your organisation comes down to your personal preferences and what you value and need the most in your day-to-day life.

To help you choose between Workspace and O365, we’ve put together the brief guide below to talk about the similarities and differences between the two.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to know when choosing your productivity suite.

The Workspace user experience

With Workspace, you get a very intuitive user interface packed with similarly intuitive tools for writing, storage, compiling spreadsheets and presentations and more.

The Workspace lives on the web and is fully cloud-based with excellent collaboration functionality, making it a great choice for remote teams.

Your files live on the cloud-based Google Drive, which has both desktop and mobile apps and allows you to download files and work on them offline. It’s also easier to locate files and shared folders using Google Drive’s search parameters and simple interface than it is with Office 365’s OneDrive.

Another feature that supports remote teams is the fact that Workspace offers free domestic calls thanks to Google Hangouts and Google Voice.

With Office 365, you only get access to Skype for business with Business Premium and above plans and you’ll still need to purchase Skype credits to make calls to phone numbers.

Workspace also offers unlimited cloud storage with their business and enterprise plans for organisations with more than 5 users, while users on the basic plan get an impressive 30GB of storage with the opportunity to buy more of it if need be.

You can easily collaborate on files with your colleagues on files or simply give them the opportunity to view and/or comment on files and download them on their work devices, and although the Workspace is web-based, it also allows for working offline.

Several people can edit and comment on a file simultaneously, making collaboration easy as pie.

The Office 365 user experience

Office 365 is made up of popular, classic tools like Word and PowerPoint in a cloud-based format to support modern ways of working.

Despite what plan you’re on, you’ll get 1 TB of storage, plus an extra 50GB of storage for your email. This means that storage-wise, it’s likely the better option for SMEs.

It uses OneDrive to store and manage files, and this tool also comes with desktop and mobile apps that make it easy to access files offline, work on them and then sync them back into the cloud.

It’s also easy to share documents online with colleagues by using OneDrive, and this tool also integrates seamlessly with Windows 8 and Windows 10.

That being said, because Office 365’s cloud-based tools mimic their desktop counterparts, these collaborative features are not quite as intuitive or easy to discover as those within Workspace.

This means Office 365 is not quite as good as Workspace for remote teams who greatly value collaboration.

Workspace apps & cybersecurity

While Office 365 apps started life as traditional desktop tools, Workspace apps were created for the cloud, and this can be both a pro and a con for choosing the Workspace for your SME productivity suite.

On the one hand, their apps are intuitive but on the other hand, they’re not quite as feature-rich as those found in Office 365.

Because Workspace tools are built on the same cloud infrastructure as Google itself, it has the same level of cybersecurity behind it.

This means you benefit from automatic risk detection against suspicious activity such as phishing attempts.

Administrators can set policies to prevent unauthorised access and you can enforce two-factor authentication across all your organisation’s user accounts.

You also get data leak protection by blocking certain keywords from outgoing communication, and your Workspace tools come equipped with built-in spam, virus, and malware detection.

Office 365 apps & cybersecurity

As we already mentioned, one of the pros of an Office 365 subscription is that it gives you access to classic, feature-rich applications like Word, PowerPoint and Excel that have been making workplaces across the world work better for years.

For desktop PC users, these apps are still the most complete office application suite out there.

Excel and Word both come with heaps of different functionalities and templates – for example, Office 365 has more than 60 budget templates, while Google Sheets has only three.

Excel offers a whopping 17 different graph types that data analysts love, while Google Sheets has only seven.

That being said, because Office 365 tools were originally created as desktop tools, it’s not a huge surprise that their cloud functionality is not quite as high-quality as that of Workspace tools, and collaboration is not quite as seamless or intuitive.

O365 web apps offer a slightly pared-back experience when compared to their desktop counterparts, but due to the fact that O365 desktop apps are so feature-rich, this seems like a fair trade-off.

As for cybersecurity, similar to Workspace, you can enforce multi-factor authentication for all user accounts, and the suite’s AI tools learn users’ work habits so that it can detect changes in these patterns in case there’s something malicious behind it.

Office 365 also uses the same spam, virus, and malware detection tools as Microsoft to scan your documents, emails and attachments for threats.

The bottom line

Workspace and Office 365 both offer similar pricing structures and levels of cybersecurity.

If you like to work mostly independently, want to do your work both online and offline and need lots of functionality for things like spreadsheets and presentations, Office 365 is likely your best bet.

On the other hand, if you’re a remote team that works collaboratively on projects and wants an intuitive user experience even if that means less feature-rich apps, Workspace might just be the better choice for you.

Both are a fine choice, but here at Jera, we’re definitely bigger fans of Office 365.

This is because what the Workspace has in terms of user-friendliness and intuitiveness, Office 365 makes up for with its more powerful, feature-rich and sophisticated tools.