Keeping the workplace connected and engaged may not always be the easiest task, but a surefire way to help is to provide employees and their peers with an intuitive platform that fosters camaraderie, organization and increased workflow. Lark is one such tool.
Available for desktop and mobile devices, Lark takes a number of familiar apps, such as document sharing, calendars, and messaging, and integrates all of these must-have tools into one cross-platform app. Oh, and it’s totally free.
Is Lark worth the onboarding process? We tested the tool to find out.
serve as intuitive communication and collaboration hub for industries such as tech startups, education, retail, and media, Lark consolidates a number of common work tools into a single, easy-to-use interface. Available for Windows and Mac desktops, as well as iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices, anything you can do on your work computer with Lark, you’ll also be able to do from your home or work phone.
Whether you or your company are new to work suites like Lark or you are transition from a different platformLark does its best to look and work like a number of basic workflow programs and web browser extensions.
On the surface, there’s Lark Messenger, where users can create customizable chat threads with project collaborators, management, and other team members. For anyone who knows Soft Where Microsoft Teams, Lark’s Messenger tab will look quite similar. Lark Messenger allows users to keep tabs on interaction history, and even allows users to adjust message priority settings and track message delivery status.
There’s even a chat bot feature that can be customized to drop messages into certain threads at pre-determined dates and times, which is great for things like meeting and deadline reminders.
If you are joining an established team on Lark, the Calendar feature can be easily synced with Google calendarswhich facilitates the capture of any existing event.
Other great features of Lark include:
- Lark Docs for cloud-based file sharing of Docs and Sheets
- Lark Contacts to add new Lark and email contacts and create larger workgroups
- Lark Meetings to create, join and schedule conferences
- Live screen sharing features that let you share a number of file types before, during, and after Lark meetings
And best of all, if you or a peer get stuck on how to use something in Lark, the company offers 24/7 support from live reps, email support, FAQs and a number of excellent training materials in the form of blogs, how-to videos, webinars and documents.
Lark’s desktop and mobile apps take user data very seriously, which is essential for any web-based workflow tool. While Alouette Is it that collect user data (including messages, files, audio, etc.), it is about providing users with the absolute best experience when using the platform. Lark also uses data to manage support requests and to authenticate users.
When it comes to uploading content to the platform, all transmissions are protected by military-grade AES-256 encryption, with a rotating encryption key managed by Key Management Service – an Amazon backup solution.
All of Lark’s major tools are available for free for desktop and mobile users. While there’s an Enterprise subscription tier for larger organizations (you’ll need to contact Lark for pricing), most users will be happy with everything the free version comes with. This includes:
- Unlimited video call minutes for up to 350 participants
- Unlimited searchable messages
- 200 GB of cloud storage and 500 GB of email storage
- Unlimited app downloads, multiple team admins, and customizable workflows
The Enterprise level offers additional benefits. For a premium, Enterprise users get unlimited cloud storage, a dedicated client access manager, and 24/5 priority support.
We tested the Lark desktop app on a MacBook Pro (2020). We appreciated that before downloading the wizard, Lark asked us if we had a Mac device with an Intel or M1 chip (our test computer uses Apple’s proprietary M1). The initial download was quick, and after dragging the app into our Applications folder and going through the setup wizard, we were ready to test the software.
Right away, we were blown away by how clean the user interface was. When launching the application, the default screen is Lark Messenger. All threads are displayed on the left side of the tab, with the main part of the tab being occupied by the chat you are currently typing in. Chat history, file management, and settings are available on the right side of the tab. screen.
A left-aligned ribbon of additional tabs includes all of the other main Lark tools, with options like Meetings, Calendar, Documents, Contacts, and a tab for Lark Workplace – an extensions portal for adding popular apps like Zoom, Asana and Trello to your Lark Account.
With all of Lark’s many features, it’s also amazing how gently the desktop app works, with little to no lag when using any part of the platform.
We also tested Lark’s mobile interface on an iPhone 12. Frankly, we like the look of the mobile version even more than the already excellent desktop platform. The left-aligned Tools tab is pushed down, with the top parts of each screen relegated to the tab you’re using (Messenger, Calendar, etc.).
From page to page, the iOS app worked without a hitch. We also like the inclusion of a search (magnifying glass) feature at the top of the app, allowing you to search for anything from documents to contacts and message threads.
Zoho meeting is a Lark competitor that focuses on online meetings, video conferencing, and webinars. The free version allows up to two meeting participants and up to 10 webinar participants, with unlimited webinars and meetings, screen sharing, and a host of other features.
The meeting plan starts at $3/month and adds benefits like cloud storage for video recordings, an administrative portal, and audio options (VoIP, phone, and toll-free). Webinar pricing starts at $16 and includes live streaming, email personalization, and Q&A polls.
Device Magic is another platform that goes hand in hand with Lark. With a focus on form and data collection rather than comprehensive communication, Device Magic allows users to create, import, and share checklists, audits, inspections, and more. Although there is no free tier, the software only costs $25/year per device, with customizable enterprise pricing available for larger organizations.
Lark is an excellent workplace collaboration suite. The software works seamlessly for desktop and mobile devices, and there are plenty of tools, apps, and extensions to create the kind of workflow environment that works best for you and your team.
Best of all, Lark gives you all the essentials (except unlimited cloud storage and some priority support benefits) for free. If we were starting a new business or wanting to migrate an entire team from a workflow communicator to a better one, Lark would be our go-to solution.
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