The Best Tools for Remote Teams 2020
Remote working is the new normal. What once was a nice job perk, has now become an expectation and even a necessity. Employees are no longer location-bound and chained to a desk for 8 hours a day. And companies can hire the right person for their positions, regardless of locale, creating fully remote dispersed teams.
Not only is it satisfying to start the work day off in your pajamas, remote working actually includes a number of benefits for both the employer and employee.
But how can you make sure that your team is staying on track and keeping up to date with their tasks, projects, and plans? We’ll outline some of the features to look out for when choosing the remote tool that’s right for you. Plus, we’ll give you our picks for the top 15 best tools for remote teams broken down by category.
If you're new to remote team structure or you're looking for some additional advice, check out our comprehensive guide to virtual teams. Find out the difference between remote teams and virtual teams, some of the challenges they may face, best practices to mitigate those challenges, and how to better lead through technology.And if you are looking for some more great ideas, check out our list of the 20 best virtual management and collaboration software of 2020.
The Best Tools for Remote Teams in 2020
Communication and virtual meetings
An integral aspect of remote work is keeping in contact with your team. Here we present some ways to help you meet up for daily chats or hash out your big plans in online meetings. Bonus: these remote tools are all free!
Enterprise cloud video conferencing, online meetings, and group messaging in one easy-to-use platform. Zoom lets you join a meeting without downloading any additional software, and host one with only a simple sign-up. The free version lets you host up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes, with stable connections and useful screen sharing. Plus, scalable paid packages let you choose the features you need.Zoom's high quality audio and video chat makes it easy to connect your remote teams and hold your meetings from anywhere.
Open-source software that was originally developed for gamers. But its rich features, easy setup, and smooth UI give Slack a run for its money. Discord describes itself as an “All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that’s free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone.” If you can get past the gamer feel, you’ll see why many are considering this their office and remote team tool.
Ubiquitous video calls and chat software from Estonia’s first unicorn company. Skype lets you create group chats (with up to 600 participants!) and group calls (up to 50) from your phone or desktop, for free and from anywhere you have wifi. Plus, its end to end encryption means all your messages are secure. The fact that you probably already have it downloaded is another reason to integrate it with your remote team.Tip: Just because you're remote doesn't mean you need to plan MORE meetings. There's actually a lot of ways to communicate that won't require 3 hour long phone calls. See what we mean with our virtual team management hacks. Giving you 10 best practices to keep your team's rhythm in sync.
Brainstorming and planning
As opposed to your office’s bulky whiteboard, this software helps you collaborate from anywhere in the world. Get creative with the interactive features and encourage your team to participate in more engaging meetings.
This Polish based start-up offers cloud-based software to help teams collaborate visually in real-time. Use the whiteboard for meetings, as there’s high-quality voice chat, and you can take notes in Explain Everything's web-based interface. Record meetings or video presentations, add images, or draw your own in the tool. From there you can share it with your team, your stakeholders, and even send it to non-users. Connect and sync across all devices with their IOS and Android apps.Explain Everything is cloud-based collaborative software that lets you visually express your ideas. You can use it in a meeting or record a presentation and send it to anyone.
Conceptboard is an online, infinite canvas which acts as a centralized hub for your team’s content and ideas. The shared workspace lets you manage all your visual projects seamlessly, across teams and timezones. You can follow actions on-board, screen share, or video chat, so even if you’re remote you can collaborate together.
Described as an “online collaborative whiteboarding platform” Miro helps you build and develop ideas across remote teams. Visually map out your team’s strategy on an infinitely zoomable canvas, in real-time or asynchronously. Integrate with your workplace’s favorite apps to seamlessly coordinate all your projects and see why they say it’s where “distributed teams get work done.”
Read on: Find out some ways to enhance collaboration and teamwork with some advanced tactics for remote teams.
Project status tracking and resource management
Keep everyone up to date with their tasks and changes to projects. This software ensures everyone knows what they need to do and when.
7. ProofHubOnline project planning software with loads of features. ProofHub offers Kanban boards, Gantt charts, proofing and collaborative abilities, project notes, calendars, and more. All organized in one central location. Assign different roles within the software so your project manager can keep track of your projects’ progress with overviews and timesheets. Plus, the mobile app means you can use it on the go.
Read on: If you are still using Excel for your virtual project management, STOP! Check out 5 reasons why spreadsheets spell disaster for your remote and dispersed teams.
Created by a fully remote team, Todoist understands the challenge of remote work and what tools it takes to tackle it. More than just a to-do list, with real-time sync across 10+ platforms, your team can create projects, add tasks, set due dates, and assign responsibility. A centralized admin view lets you see your team’s activity by project or even by team member. Color code your tasks by priority and get a clear overview of everything your team is working on, what’s already been done, and what’s coming next.
Tip: Want to find out more about resource planning? We’ve compiled a list of the best resource planning tools and their benefits.
Online resource planning software that visualizes your resources, tasks, and projects through Gantt charts. Ganttic’s easy drag and drop capabilities means you can make schedules in no time and share it with as many people you’d like via a simple URL. Because the pricing works per resource, you may add as many users as you need, who can then either edit their tasks or merely view the plans. Plus, set reminders and alerts before a task is supposed to take place or when your plans change. Keep everyone up to date and no longer stress about what your team is up to.Tip: Read our case study and find out more about how Ganttic helps remote teams stay in sync.Gantt charts visualize your team's projects, tasks, and plans. Even from afar or in the field, your team will know exactly what they need to do and when.
File sharing and syncing
Remote working can’t happen without your team having the correct files or docs. Here is some software for sharing and making sure everyone is in sync.
Easily and securely share files on Nextcloud’s self-hosted premises. Its user-friendly web or mobile interface enables hospitals, banks, notaries and government agencies to safely send and receive files from other users on the server. Plus, you can create and send password-protected public links, to let others upload files to the private cloud. And get notifications on your phone or desktop when a user on another cloud server shares or edits the files.
Samepage is an “all-in-one tool” which combines “chat, video conferencing, screen sharing, task management, file sharing, and real-time document collaboration in a single cloud-based collaborative workspace.” With the software you can drag and drop files onto a page, edit them, and share the changes with your team. Or edit them from Dropbox and even your desktop and share them when you’re done.
Tip: Check out some other tools which offer a great alternative to Excel.
Samepage keeps all your files in one handy location. Allowing you to store, edit, and share them with your team.
Wimi provides file sharing and online file storage that's accessible from any computer. Your information is synchronized and available whenever you need it and from whichever device you have on hand. Create secure and customized file-sharing workspaces that allows you to preview or edit most file formats. Manage the access rights and collaborate with your team, clients, and external partners. Plus, with files too big for email, you can send a link to download.
If remote working has your team missing the office, here’s some great alternatives. All without the long commutes, fluorescent lights, and drab cubicles.
Built by a fully remote team, My Digital Office is the solution for those who feel disconnected from their coworkers and those who’ve “grown tired of green status circles.” Build your own digital workspace with desks to store documents, an office phone for chats with coworkers, and meeting rooms with an online whiteboard for team meetings. The chat recreates those inspiring water cooler moments and your avatar communicates your current status.My Digital Office recreates the office feel and connects your remote teams. Plus, the digital workspace stores documents, has chat, and online whiteboard features.
Pragli is free open-beta virtual office software. Put a face to your voice by designing a live avatar or update your status with a live photo. You can instantly start audio chats with colleagues, similar to a walkie-talkie, making it easier to check-in, get quick status updates, or clarify a confusing task. Or set up a meeting with video or screen sharing options. Another cool feature lets you go into the “silent room” to get some work done.
Qube’s virtual office transforms how you work remotely, by providing an online office context - who's talking to who, who's out of the office and who just stepped out to lunch. It connects with Slack and Zoom and you can chat with coworkers in the common rooms or in private meeting rooms. The “people watching” feature sends you a notification whenever the person you need to talk to is available. And it works the other way by sending you a list of people who want to get in touch with you.
Don’t let distance determine how you work
With these tools, your remote teams will be able to stay connected, and be more productive than ever before. Mix and match and see which ones work best for you.And read on for some more tips on on remote work management challenges and how to solve them and well as some of the top benefits of remote work.
Or if you are looking for a different set of tools that help your dispersed teams stay in touch, check out our list of the best virtual tools of 2020.