Before we get into the list of remote work tools, we want to take a moment to cover the why of it. What makes these tools worth downloading, learning to use, and even paying for, if necessary?
Why use tools when you’re doing fine without?
You might wonder why you need tools at all when your current set up seems to be working fine. You probably can manage without these tools but you cannot streamline, scale and automate without these though. It definitely isn’t the best way to work.
The right tools can offer you a couple of benefits you wouldn’t otherwise have. Here’s what makes tools worth investing.
Better collaboration: From collaborative tools to communication channels, collaboration is the primary motive to using tools.
Increased productivity: With the right tools at your disposal, the productivity levels of your teams certainly go up.
Greater visibility: It’s important to have transparency and visibility in a remote setting for clarity and accountability.
Avoid confusion: Can you imagine sending an email or a message for every update you had to make? There are tools that can provide a better view and higher clarity.
If that hasn’t convinced you to seek tools to make your work life easier, we’re sure the ones listed below will.
Communication is the cornerstone of getting any work done. It’s especially critical while working remotely- When your team runs remotely, the tools you use to connect your team become your office. We don’t have to stress on how important it is that you choose your communication channels carefully. The tools you pick can impact not just how you communicate but can define your very culture.
Imagine having to call a colleague, every time something comes up. By not choosing the right channels and tools, you’ve chosen to interrupt and intrude on your coworker all the time. You might as well say you have no respect for the other’s time and trade.
The following are some tools to keep you going.
How easy is it for teams to be able to get their work done in one place? Hangouts is such a feasible option which helps the teams to collaborate easily and efficiently from direct messages to group conversations. Other than working with 28 different languages, it finds out the needs of the users with the help of AI and machine learning.Pricing starts from $5/month per user G Suite Basic plan for core G Suite apps including Hangouts Chat with 30GB storage and $10/month per user G Suite Business plan for unlimited storage, smart search across apps, retention policies, and audit reports.
Are you looking for shorter but more focused meetings? Is the group work simplified enough? Can you share your ongoing projects and collaborate in real-time? Microsoft Teams is a viable option for those looking for such benefits. It is the ultimate tool for collaborating at work. Microsoft team provides a fully decked out document storage, chat, and online meeting environment. It is just another option like Slack or Google Hangouts with few additional benefits- direct access to email, Skype, OneDrive, and SharePoint, access Teams across all of your devices, and Integrates third-party applications quickly.
Pricing starts at $12.50 per month, per user.
Though famous in specific communities, you can also use Discord for strong communication and coordination via private servers that let you text and voice-chat with other people. Though discord is a free and the most popular team communication app for gamers, it provides users with familiar Slack-like UI, Skype-like video, and voice chats but it also meets collaboration challenges many companies face. It‘s also the only chat in this list that offers push-to-talk features and the Instant Invite link that lets you share a chat server with anyone.
To categorize tasks and projects, set up chats, control content access, and use multiple apps and email to streamline team communication, Ryver is a useful tool you can opt for. You can use it for instant messaging, project and web collaboration. It is basically a “many to one” communication tool. It has no storage issues with uploading images to share them on the platform.
Pricing may vary depending on the type of collaboration you are looking for starting at $49/month.
It doesn’t matter if it is a real small shop or a big enterprise, Slack connects individuals in the same organization by not mentioning freelancers, contractors, and remote workers just to keep everyone on the same page. You can pin the messages and put reference links to the channels, manage and track documents by syncing up with file management mainstays like Google Drive and Dropbox Paper which can be accessed and can discuss files directly in your channels. Also, if you’re not sure which file contains the information you seek, linked files are indexed, which means all of their contents can be instantly searched for in Slack.
Pricing starts at $6.67 per month, per user.
Video conferencing tools
If you’re wondering why we chose to list video conferencing and communication tools separately, it’s intentional. They serve an additional and very important purpose – staying and feeling connected.
Gone are those days when there was no “face time” with the C-suite, no after work happy hours to build team connections and not even gaining extra points for showing up early and staying late. As far as remote work is concerned to maintain a happy work-life balance, video conferencing with the co-workers is leading. You feel connected to your co-workers without being isolated.
But do video conferencing increase the productivity of the business? They actually do, not just as an extension of a happy team. Due to it’s accessible and affordable features, it can easily serve the modern workplace.
There are diverse applications and platforms for video conferencing and collaboration. The best of them are here below which might be of use to you.
It is one of the most popular quick fix to any profession. It is an enterprise video communications tool, with a cloud platform which can be easily used even on smartphones. You can video/audio conference,and can even use it for collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices. In this, a feature-rich free tier is available where we can accommodate at least 100 people for up to 40 minutes.
Prices may vary depending on the basic personal meetings to $19.99/month/host.
It is one of the trendy web conferencing services these days. Other than video/audio conferencing features, it also provides screen sharing and allows you to highlight the presenter’s screen along with the whiteboard characteristics. You can easily record the sessions and send the recordings to those who weren’t able to attend.
You can also start a conference on your smartphones and can set the image and voice quality. Also, with one-tap you can send invites to your colleagues to join meetings. Price ranges from $14/month for groups of up to 10 meeting participants to $29/month for at least 150.
If you’re looking for a low budget video conferencing tool, Skype might be of some use to you. Other than being in touch with the family and friends,this Microsoft’s video chat tool has a cross-platform app that also supports group video calling for up to 50 people. There is a screen sharing option which allows you to focus on who you are speaking to, automatically blurring the backgrounds. You can record chats and there is also an option of live subtitling of conversations. The price for premium and group video calling cost around $4.99.
With the Remo conference tool, you can create online conferences, webinars, summits, workshops and what not. There is no clunky software involved. It doesn’t require any downloads or installations. Someone who wishes to join the online sessions can directly go to the browser. It runs in 15 seconds or less.
It has particularly 3 chats option- for the attendees, for the group and the individual. You can also Go live with your events with an in-built, directly from your browser. It has four different plans depending on the gatherings which involve few additional features. The standard plan start at $50/month for up to 25 attendees.
Wisp Remote Collaboration
If you don’t have any constant access to news updates, company policies, a complete list of co-workers, no need to worry. Wisp is one of the most common HR apps which helps you to collaborate with remote employees in a more engaged and effective way. It helps to create a handbook of tiny details of a company employee in just 15 minutes.
You can share company news, create polls, communicate company policy, share files up to 200 MB in all formats. You can have meetings together with quick voice chats and extended video and screen share sessions. Prices may vary depending on the strength of the company. For small companies with less than 49 employees, it starts at $49/month only.
Project management is about as much management as it is right tools.
Are you struggling to manage your remote team and still figuring out how you’ll be able to organize your remote team? Well, in that case, Project management tools might be of use to you. Due to the advancement in collaborative tools and software solutions, delivering projects is no longer restricted by a physical location for the workforce. Let’s have a look at some popular managing tools.
Are you managing a remote team and still lagging behind because assigning projects through emails is getting difficult? Asana is a cloud-based tool that helps you to improve communication within your team and manage projects. You can easily break down projects into specific tasks and assign them equally to your teammates. It is a productive & collaboration tool for teams where you can manage multiple projects and sub tasks.
The free version of Asana is available for teams of up to 15 people. Asana Premium costs $10.99/user/ month when billed annually and $13.49/user/month when billed monthly.
It is a single dashboard that enables visibility on what your team is working on. Creating tasks, projects and missions and then designating among your teammates becomes 10 times easier with the help of this tool. It also has a key feature that allows you to collect and arithmetically relate connected projects and tasks and then keep them organized in a historical spreadsheet so that it becomes easier for the user to find them when needed. It is smartly integrated as it is connected to Dropbox, Zapier, Google Drive, and similar sharing and management tools.
Pricing varies for different plans like Basic Plan: $25/month for 5 users, Standard Plan: $39/month for 5 users,Pro Plan: $59/month for 5 users and Enterprise Plan: $188/month for 5 users.
Topping the list of the smartest collaboration apps, Trello is a simple and lightweight app that delivers the basic and core project planning needs of many teams. It has a board & card system where separate projects are marked with boards consisting of cards for every task. On the other hand, cards contain tracking lists that prioritize individual assignments. Later, the progress of your tasks can be obtained along with the status of your employees thus converting your complex project into a simpler form.
Trello pricing starts from $5/month.
Counting itself in the list of top project management tools, Basecamp eliminates documents and projects getting lost in inboxes and spreadsheets with challenging retrieval methods. Having handy features of being an intuitive and user-friendly program, you can run in minutes. Unlike others, it is hosted in the cloud and provided as a service thus, no need to take care of maintenance and updates. It has a different section for live Q & A, where you can have all questions answered in no time. Surprisingly, at the end of the projects. Basecamp summarizes accomplishments, and generates automated reports for you, and saves even more time.
It’s available for fixed and flat pricing of $99/month.
It is an intellectual tool used by many businesses as their sole project management software. It keeps a track of tasks to collaborate and stay in tune with updates. You can easily gain control over them through subtasks, recurring tasks, and dependencies.
It is a cloud-based software that helps in collaborating with employees, clients, vendors, and consultants remotely. A few of its handy features involve Project planning, Gantt-charts, Feed, Preparing sheets, and documenting later which helps in time tracking, identifying, and resolving issues essential for organized management of virtual teams. Its Gantt-charts gains you visibility over reports and in-depth insights for tracking your team’s progress and comparisons.
It’s paid plans start at $25/month to $100/month for enterprises.
Time tracking tools
Remote work is becoming very common nowadays. Several apps and tools have emerged that can help us keep track of the amount of time we work during. Time tracking apps development have been of great use. Let’s have a look at some of the best time tracking apps.
Hubstaff is a simple application to track time, activity levels, and take screenshots to find the time efficiency of employees. It also tracks mouse/keyboard activity along with numerous integrations across many project management tools.
Workers can select their project and the tool will track the time of the specific project. Lightweight native applications for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and the Chrome browser have been built up. Hubstaff integrates with over 30+ third-party applications like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello. It’s totally free for a single user.
Time tracking can be simplified using Jibble, an award-winning app for the “Best Value Time and Attendance software” by Capterra 2018. It has features that involve track activities of the client and the time being spent on the projects. We can track time via Web, Mobile, Chrome extension, or our smart bot in Slack and Microsoft Teams.
It has direct access to employee statistics for performance reviews and productivity enhancement. Also, managers can quickly view who’s working and get notifications.
Jibble pricing starts at $1.50 per month, per user.
Toggl is a time management tool with a good number of integrations which helps remote teams for a good collaboration. It has a feature-rich in the visualisation of useful data to make you sure of the profitable projects and clients at a quick glance. The Toggl Button and Toggl Desktop apps remind you when you’re not tracking. Even if you forget to stop the timer, Toggl detects idle time and lets you decide what to do with it later.
Integrations put the Toggl Button inside your favorite online apps, allowing you to start tracking immediately. You can quickly set it up for projects & clients to begin tracking time. You can boost productivity and win back your time with the help of the project dashboard.
Toggl pricing starts at $9.00 per month, per user.
Teamwork is an official app that can be easily used by everyone working in a team to see what they’re working on, who they’re working with. Reduction in the level of complexity in collaboration ultimately helps the teammates to work in their own way. You can make an hourly report using this great app. Teamwork project s offer a powerful set of project management features with a great design. TeamWork has task-level time-tracking and incorporates a desktop timer that can be used on both Windows and Linux. You can create custom time reports of time logged on the project and can export your report and time log entries as Excel, CSV, or PDF.
Teamwork pricing starts for $9/user/month billed annually.
Time doctor is an ideal app for remote workers who want to improve their productivity. If you want to monitor the activity of your workforce, whether they’re remote or in-office. It also provides a view and information on the sites visited and the apps used within working hours.
The app also helps the users to focus on the projects by alerting them when they start doing non-work related activities.
Time doctor also provides seamless integration support for 35 CRM and project management platforms.
Pricing starts in three different packages. The first one is free but has limited capabilities. The second is a solo plan available at $5 a month, the standard plan is for companies that want to manage their employees available at $9.99/user /month.
After using all these tools, there is a need to document every data. What if you save your data somewhere on your system and due to some circumstances it gets deleted or didn’t get saved at its first place? Then why not to work safer for a complete backup? Documentation management tools save your data automatically even if you don’t particularly save them.
Here’s a list of few documenting tools which might be of use to you.
G Suite (Google docs, sheets, slides)
One of the best documenting tools being used from a student to a business employee, Gsuite has been of great help to the people. You can easily view, share, and edit all the documents even when your teammates are working on it, anytime and anywhere whenever you have internet access. It provides a great facility of downloading and sending emails in different formats, so that work can be collaboratively done regardless of time and distance. It is totally free to be used.
Are you facing difficulties with the sharing of larger files and reports all at once? Dropbox makes it easier for you. It is a modern workspace that offers various features for managing remote employees where syncing, sharing, and collaboration of documents is done within no time. This cloud storage system has an API that makes it useful for remote collaborators. You can deftly share large files with anyone.
A Dropbox Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space. You can download free apps to access Dropbox from your computer and mobile device.
If you manage your data in a better way, won’t it become easy for you to keep it manually and find it with ease whenever in need? Airtable gives you the freedom to arrange your work just the way you like. It features a centralized database to help teams work together coherently and becomes 10 times more efficient. It is also useful for any business requiring a collaboration space using the familiar interface of a spreadsheet. You can instantly make changes synced across everyone’s devices in real-time.
Airtable can store information in a spreadsheet so it is easy for you to add whatever contents to its field, just to work in an organized manner from any corner. When it comes to pricing details, you cannot create date ranges in a calendar view, nor can you plot multiple date fields on a calendar view on a free plan. The Airtable Plus plan costs $12/user/month on the monthly billing plan.
Ultimately, you don’t have to feel forlorn as a remote employee. You can make use of such tools to stay connected with your co-workers.
Do you have any other good tools in mind to share with us? Did we miss any tool? You can share your ideas in the comment section or can drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.