As a broad classification of software tools and applications used to perform work remotely, remote work tools can be something as simple as a chat application or entire ecosystems like digital workplace platforms. Remote work tools are digital tools meant to help remote workers collaborate, communicate, transact and accomplish work in tandem with their managers and colleagues from wherever they are based.
But with so many options available in the market, it can be difficult to pick the right tools. To help you out, we have put together the ultimate list of the best remote working tools that can get you through the coronavirus pandemic.
Choosing the right remote working tools is essential for optimum efficiency
While the number of remote working tools available online can seem rather overwhelming, it is important to pick the tools that work that are able to align with the requirements and challenges of the team. It is also important to use minimal tools so that your team members don’t have to switch between applications all day, which can make things even more difficult for remote work. At the same time, the purpose of each tool should be clearly defined to make sure employees are using the tools in the right way.
Try a Digital Workplace
Remote teams need a vast number of tools just to manage their everyday work. Organizations were already using 16 SaaS apps on an average and now this number is expected to increase as more and more companies go remote in the post-pandemic world.
A digital workplace is a unified platform that gives you access to a large set of digital tools that you need to perform your core work responsibilities. It helps employees collaborate, communicate, and perform in an effective way, without the need to constantly switch between different applications.
An ideal digital workplace offers project management, task management, instant messaging, cloud storage and all the other features that remote teams need to work together without any disruptions, even when they are physically present in the same office.
1. Kissflow[ Get Started Now ]
Kissflow is an all-in-one digital workplace platform that allows teams to collaborate, communicate, and manage their work, all through one single application. It is designed especially for organizations that are struggling to keep up with multiple applications at the same time. The tool combines all the features of remote working tools and allows teams to work together seamlessly without the need to switch between different applications.
Kissflow allows you to manage projects, assign tasks, streamline and automate processes, track cases and tickets, and collaborate closely with team members.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams allows users to collaborate on documents, chat, and video call. You can create separate ‘teams’ where members can assign tasks, publish posts, share documents, and leave comments. Microsoft Teams gives you access to all the major Microsoft software from one single place which makes it only suitable for companies that are already using Microsoft tools for their other work.
Collaboration and communication
Employees can’t collaborate effectively if they can’t communicate with each other. Effective communication tools with features like instant messaging and video/voice chat can help teams collaborate easily if they are workly remotely.
Slack is a powerful team messaging app with a wide range of features and customization options. It allows teams to create separate workspaces and channels, set reminders for messages, track documents, and quickly find previous messages. Its close integration with third-party tools is the reason why it is so widely used.
2. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts allows you to chat or have voice/video calls with other Google users. You can access Hangouts through the web or its dedicated mobile apps. Gmail users can access Hangouts directly from the bottom left corner of their mail home page.
3. Workplace by Facebook
Workplace by Facebook is a collaboration tool that lets teams communicate through instant messaging. The biggest advantage of Workplace chat is that it resembles Facebook Messenger which most people are already familiar with. This in turn decreases the learning curve and makes it easier for new members to join.
A robust project management tool becomes all the more necessary for remote teams to streamline their upcoming work and tasks while still maintaining transparency. It reduces the need for back and forth emails, and also makes sure everyone is on the same page.
Basecamp focuses primarily on team collaboration. For every project, you can create a dedicated message board, to-do list, file manager, and calendar. But its outdated interface can make it difficult for new users to use Basecamp and leverage its full power.
Asana lets you break down projects into smaller sections, tasks, and sub-tasks. For every task, you can select an assignee, due date, task description, and label. While Asana started as a list based project management tool, it has since expanded and now it allows you to build project boards, calendars, and even forms to capture data.
Trello allows users to organize projects in a kanban board format. You can streamline your project workflow by creating custom lists and adding tasks in the form of cards. The tool also lets users upload files, assign cards to members, and add comments.
Write offers a highly intuitive interface with a completely customizable dashboard. The tool allows users to edit documents on the cloud without the need to download them. It also has other features like time tracking, task management, gantt chart, and third party integration.
With a remote desktop app, you can access your desktop virtually from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. This can be especially helpful for employees who use PCs at work and might need to access information when they are outside the office.
A free remote access program, AnyDesk runs in portable mode by default, which means you can install it on your laptop just like any other software. It supports unattended access and also allows you to transfer files. The tool can automatically alter your connection to offer the best possible speed and video quality.
2. Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is a tool developed by Google and it is available on web, iOS, and Android. While it is easy to set up and use, the free version of the tool has relatively basic features. Moreover, you would need a Chrome browser to use it and the mobile application doesn’t offer the same functionalities as the desktop one.
3. Remote PC
RemotePC allows you to manage and access multiple remote computers in real-time, record sessions. You can transfer files, view all the remote computer screens together, and play sound remotely. It can be accessed through the web, PC, or a mobile app.
With a time management tool, employees can track the time they spend working, department heads can monitor employees, and even bill clients directly based on the total number of hours spent on the project.
With Toggl, you can start tracking time by clicking on a single button. For the different sections of time tracked, you can add a project, client, description, and label. It is also possible to create separate workspaces for different teams, add billable hours and extract in-depth reports based on app data.
Clockify uses a digital stopwatch to help users track time for every task that they are working on. Team leaders can allocate specific time duration for every project to make sure the employees stay on track and you can also mark certain blocks of time as billable to invoice clients.
Harvest is another popular time tracking tool that allows you to track time for different clients and projects. You can track billable and non-billable hours for every project, send invoices, analyze data, and even submit your timesheets to the manager with the app.
Screen Sharing applications can help team members understand each other’s perspectives and it can even be helpful for support teams working remotely to connect with clients and resolve their problems faster.
TeamViewer is a remote access screen sharing tool with enterprise functionalities. While it was primarily made for tech support teams, its interface makes the tool incredibly easy to use for all users. You can collaborate with others, annotate reports, and record screen-sharing sessions that can be synced to the cloud.
Screenleap is a simple and bare-bones screen sharing tool which doesn’t come with a lot of advanced features, but the lack of complexity in the tool is what makes it incredibly fast. The tool can generate a permanent URL that you can share with others or you can also give them your unique six digital share code.
Join.me is a screen sharing and video conferencing tool with advanced features like screen region sharing, annotation, and an interactive whiteboard. To screen share, you can either create a custom URL or share the screen code with other team members.
Video conferencing has become the main way for teams to have meetings and collaborate in the current pandemic-stricken world. The ideal video conferencing tool should support group chat for even your biggest teams, allow you to hold web seminars, and let employees record important calls.
Skype was one of the first and most popular video calling apps in the market and it’s still the quickest way to make a call for most Windows users because the app comes pre-installed in Windows PCs. You can make group calls to up to 25 users for free and even let people directly join the call from the web, by installing a browser plugin.
Zoom has quickly become a new favorite of people for personal and work video calls during an ongoing pandemic. The tool allows free video calls with up to 50 people with a 40 minute call duration limit. Paid users can add up to 500 people on a video call. Zoom lets users record full-length videos, chat while a video call is going on, share the screen, draw on a whiteboard, and schedule calls in advance.
3. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex is an enterprise grade video conferencing tool which is used by many leading companies and even governments around the world because of its reliability and security.
With Webex, you can also collaborate on a whiteboard and even annotate on the screen. It also works for larger meetings, allowing you to broadcast videos to up to 3000 people.
When choosing a cloud storage platform, it’s best to choose a tool that is affordable, highly secure, and reliable. It should also follow all the necessary compliances while allowing employees to access important company data from any device or location.
1. Google Drive
Google Drive is used as the default cloud storage app by most Gmail and Gsuite users because of its close integration with Google’s other applications. More importantly, Google Drive is closely integrated with Google Docs which allows users to quickly edit and save the Word, Powerpoint, and Excel files that they upload on the drive. Google Drive can automatically sync offline folders and allow you to share files/folders through email or links.
Dropbox was one of the first standalone cloud storage apps that was launched in the market to make it easy for users to share files and folders. Its neat interface, powerful file sharing features, and collaboration options have made it a cult favourite. Dropbox also has a Paper app which lets you edit Word files directly inside the tool without the need to download anything, though you can’t edit any other file formats.
OneDrive by Microsoft allows users to upload and sync data online, and access it from anywhere. Like Google Drive, OneDrive also lets users edit files online due to its close integration with Office 365. It also allows you to access selected files offline, share files and folders with other users, scan documents, and sync offline folders on your PC to the cloud.
From noting down important client conversations to quickly clipping an article from the web, note-taking apps can help remote employees stay on top of their work. These handy apps let you keep a note of everything including texts, voice memos, and images.
1. Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneNote is a part of the Office 365 suite and it makes taking notes incredibly easy, especially if you use a touch screen device and want to create notes that are a combination of handwritten text, typed content, and drawings. OneNote allows users to create different sections on the same note page, which can then be moved around. While the desktop app might seem outdated, the mobile app is user friendly and powerful.
Evernote is one of the OG note-taking apps that was launched in 2008. The tool lets you organize notes in the most effective way possible, making it easy to find and search data. You can edit rich text and share notes with other users. Its web clipper is one of the most powerful additions to the tool, which lets you clip a web page or part of it and directly save it to your Evernote account.
Notion is a comparatively new note taking, but it has quickly become popular. It has a highly flexible interface which allows you to take notes and create to-do lists, and organize them into lists, kanban boards, calendars, or tables. It supports a huge variety of content types and has a wide range of templates that make it easier for you to get started with Notion.
Whiteboarding apps can replace the physical whiteboards in meeting rooms and help teams brainstorm ideas even when they are working from their homes. You should go for a whiteboard app that lets you draw with a free hand and also gives you the option to add different shapes, lines, and sticky notes in real-time.
InVision Freehand allows teams to collaborate through a whiteboard in real-time. There are two ways to use InVision for whiteboarding — create a LiveShare session where team members can share a space and start drawing directly or you can just start with a blank whiteboard with the screen as your canvas and present it to your team.
Sketchboard is a virtual whiteboarding tool that lets remote teams collaborate closely for brainstorming and ideation. The tool comes with a wide range of pre-designed icons for use in roadmaps, software diagrams, and project workflows. You can add tags to each whiteboard and set custom permissions (private, password shared, teams or public).
Miro comes with a wide number of project templates (software planning, UX design, customer mapping, and more) that you can use to quickly get started. It’s also possible to add multiple templates in the same whiteboard and zoom/scroll to navigate through different sections of the board. You can add text, sticky notes, and shapes to the board. You can collaborate with other users by inviting them through email or Slack.