The Best Tools for Remote Teams & Hybrid Working in 2021
Updated April 2021.
Remote working was the biggest change for companies in 2020. But this year, there will be some other changes on the horizon.
Hybrid workplaces and semi-remote employees are predicted to replace onsite teams and those working from home due to the pandemic. These will be able to balance the flexibility of remote work with the camaraderie and support that comes from being in an office.
With companies like Microsoft and Google already rolling out initiatives for this practice, it seems likely that others will follow suit - once it’s deemed safe to return to the office.
When this happens, the question then becomes, how will you effectively connect your hybrid team?
To help with that, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most useful tools for your hybrid and remote teams. These will cover all the important aspects of this new way of working. And help you to mitigate the inevitable challenges along the way.
Here’s our picks for some of the top tools for your hybrid teams and remote work, broken down by different categories.
For some more tips on remote work and hybrid working check out a few of our other articles:
The best tools for remote teams and hybrid workingWe broke our recommendations down into 5 categories.
- File Sharing
- Virtual Offices
Remote team collaboration tools
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 software makes the daily brainstorming and planning process more visual and more fun!
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.
Tools for managing remote employees
Keep everyone up to date with their tasks and changes to projects. This software ensures everyone knows what they need to do and by when. And helps your PM more effectively tackle their project planning, resource scheduling, and task management.
Lumeer is an absolutely flexible collaborative team and project management tool. It enables easy digitalization and automation of workflows, transparency, ad-hoc reporting and insights into what to do next, how to do it and why it matters. Tasks, clients, projects, features, bugs, invoices, inventory, budgets, expenses… connect everything within a single space. And use the right visual view that fits your needs. Lumeer introduces agile collaboration in teams, anywhere, anytime.
Tip: Still attempting to manage projects with Excel?
Not only is this ineffective and time consuming for you, the PM, but it's much more likely to get buried under a mountain of your team mates' emails. Not to mention the potential security risk for your company. Cloud-based apps can be a safer, more convenient alternative to Excel.
This project and teamwork management platform has taken a leap to make digital Kanban boards more visual. Teamhood‘s “advanced Kanban board'' not only features horizontal swimlanes for categorizing items into stages or areas, but also sub-swimlanes for sub-processes. The detailed visibility allows high level project management and operational teams to collaborate smoothly on the same board. That way you can control the process with Kanban, the timing on the Timeline, and the resource capabilities and availability with the Workload view.
Online resource planning software that visualizes your resources, tasks, and projects through Gantt charts. Ganttic’s simple drag and drop capabilities means you can make schedules in no time. Then share it with everyone on your team. The cloud-based tool comes with an advanced timeline, that’s as flexible as Excel, but without any of the hassle or security issues.
Plus, dedicated project management features such as capacity planning, reports, charts, Kanban boards, and more ensures you’re creating the most efficient use of your resources with each plan. Use the app’s integrations with Outlook or Google to notify your team or build it yourself with Ganttic API or through Zapier. Keep everyone up to date and no longer stress about what your team is up to.
Tip: Interested in how resource planning can save you time, money, and stress? Take a tour of Ganttic to learn more. You can also sign up for a personal webinar and demo, where we can walk you through set up and answer all your burning questions.
Project and task management software to organize projects, team, and tasks in one place. Orangescrum keeps your team or customers on the same page. And it has tons of features to simplify your collaboration and workflow. Scrum board, Kanban, sprint help to keep you agile a maximize productivity. Plus, OrangeScrum offers project planning capabilities such as milestone/task groups tracking, task status tracking, priority settings, document sharing, and invoice management.
Remote team communication toolsAn 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!
The ubiquitous tool of 2020 isn't going away anytime soon. 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.
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.
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: Watch out when scheduling meetings for your remote and hybrid team. There's actually a lot of ways to communicate that won't require 3+ hour long conference calls. See what we mean with our 10 tips on managing your virtual project team.
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.
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: You can't effectively manage a remote team with Excel. Don't believe us? Here's 5 reasons why Excel is so ineffective when you're a virtual PM.
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.
Virtual office tools
If remote working has your team missing the office, here’s some great alternatives. All without the long commutes, fluorescent lights, and drab cubicles. Create your own virtual office for your so no one ever misses a beat.
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.
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 workRemember that with starting this new year, flexibility is key. Flexibility for how you and your team work. And flexibility for where you work. But flexibility doesn't mean disorder.
Quite the opposite! With these tools, your remote teams will be able to stay connected, and be more productive than ever before. And you'll be able to ensure an uninterrupted workflow, whether you're
in the office or working from home.
Wherever you're working, if you're a PM you need to be able to plan out the next year with ease and efficiency. With Ganttic, you can plan future and ongoing projects, manage portfolios and bookings, as well as schedule your staff, tools, events, or machinery. Gain a clear overview of your day-to-day
and create transparent plans to keep everyone on task.