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The Best Tools for Virtual Teams 2020

Categories: remote work, Management Tips
The best tools for virtual teams are ones that help you connect and collaborate from anywhere.

Virtual team tools are the key to creating a better virtually dispersed team. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean a one-size fits all solution. Because more often than not, you could be left with something that doesn’t actually do as advertised. Think spork.

Promising of doing the job of both a spoon and fork, the flimsy, useless instrument, fails to do either. And it may be surprising to find out that this plight of many in-flight meals has actually been utilized for more than 150 years! The spork makes hard work of digging into your baked fish, as well as your pasta primavera. And it’s not what you should be aiming for when selecting your next perfect tool.

Whether you are the manager of a global virtual team or circumstances have led your team to work remotely, technology and tools can help your organization. But they can completely hinder the process if you make the mistake of using the wrong tool.

So as to avoid a “spork situation” for your company, this article will give you 20 great tools to choose from for your virtual team management. Broken up into categories on how they can be used, these are all highly specialized for the needs of your virtual team’s goals.

Why use virtual team software?

Virtually dispersed teams are made up of members that are brought together by technology. Similarly to remote teams, the tools they use are imperative to helping members complete their tasks and projects. Digital communication has come a long way since phones and fax machines, and as such virtual team tools have become more specialized. While this is mostly positive, it can be overwhelming to figure out which tools are the best. Which ones are necessary. And which ones you can skip.

Though some of the benefits of virtual team management software might seem obvious, there are indeed 3 major areas that you should see improvements on, once implemented. With the right virtual tool you should notice better team communication, organization, and collaboration. Read on to find out which tools can do what. And how you can start seeing improvements, immediately.

What’s the difference between remote teams and virtual teams? Though the two may seem synonymous, there are some differences in terms of the reporting structure. Find out if you are actually managing a remote or virtual team here. And if you are instead looking for some remote team working tools, check out our list here.

The best software and technology for virtual teams 

Here's our list of the top 20 tools and software for virtual team work. 

Collaboration tools

Since distance has made your office whiteboard obsolete, these tools can take its place. Here are three platforms which give your team a digital workspace and an area to cooperate simultaneously on projects and tasks.

Zoho Connect

What is it?
Team collaboration software that brings people and the resources they need to one place, making it easier to get work done. Create exclusive spaces for your team and let them spitball ideas and plans in real time, then translate these into reality with all your tools and files in one convenient location. 

Features of this tool:
Personalize how you want your team to communicate. Create different channels, groups, feeds, and forums for different levels of engagement. Plus, share and compile all your materials in one place so everyone can be on the same page. A built in calendar lets you track events and tasks keeps everyone abreast of deadlines. Then extend collaboration beyond your team with the possibility for integrations and custom apps.

Visit their website.

Watch their story here:


eXo Platform

What is it?
From governments and institutions to financial services, healthcare and technology, clients use eXo Platform as a digital workplace solution tailored to their needs. Connect your employees, leverage collaboration, and empower your workforce in one centralized hub for your team, information, and tools.

Features of this tool:
eXo Platform helps display your files, conversations and business tools, so you can engage your employees and build a better company strategy. Use the software to easily create content pages, consolidate external media channels, and monitor your social media streams. You can also create internal social networks which enable better teamwork and collaboration.

Visit their website

Take the tour here:


Lighthouse

What is it?
Self-described as “beautifully simple issue tracking” Lighthouse lets you collaborate effortlessly on projects for any sized team. Focus on what’s important with a streamlined design for a faster workflow for ticket tracking and whatever else you need to work with your team on.

Features of this tool:
Keeps your projects and milestones organized in one handy location. You can customize your work using tagging, notes, and an advanced queuing system. Simple to navigate with an activity stream of your projects’ progress. Plus, work even on the go and integrate with dozens of applications with their robust API.

Visit their website

Take the tour and try it for free

Project and resource management tools

Project and resource management software is crucial for virtual team work. Keep track of all your work - projects, tasks, and resources - with this software. Not only will it help your virtual team stay organized and set up to meet those deadlines, but these tools can increase efficiency and eliminate the need for long meetings, clogged inboxes, and project delays.

Ganttic

What is it?
A resource management tool that’s completely customizable and applicable to all of your needs - from simple scheduling, long-term project planning and forecasting, and even project portfolio management.

Features of this tool:
Get an overview of all your projects, tasks and resources with colorful and customizable Gantt charts, which can be shared amongst the whole team with different viewing and editing options. Monitor utilization of your resources and teams and for better balance and efficiency. Easily and quickly allocate tasks and projects with simple drag and drop. Plus, advanced filtering and custom data fields, lets you group resources and design projects around information that helps you plan better. The best part? Your team can try Ganttic for free for 14 days.

Visit the website

Watch the video and take the tour here:



Redmine

What is it?
Redmine is an open source, flexible project management web application. Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database with multi-language support. Used in multiple sectors from education to public sector and private companies around the world - the application also supports dozens of community created integrations.

Features of this tool:
Some of the features of the software include: Multiple projects support, flexible role based access control and issue tracking system, plus time tracking with Gantt chart and calendars for easy project viewing. Redmine allows for tons of customization - with custom fields for issues, time-entries, projects and users. Plus, there’s news, documents and files management with customer support with per project wikis and per project forums. Read the guide here and get started today.

Visit the website.

Watch the intro video here:


Apollo

What is it?
Apollo is project and contact management software that’s trusted by thousands of people around the world. Comment and collaborate on plans as well as keep tabs on your contacts and leads. Organize tasks by monitoring them or breaking them into smaller pieces for more accessibility and ease of use.

Features of this tool:
Track time, schedule duties, proof images, and much more with this all-in-one software. Use Gantt charts to plan more efficiently, set and meet milestones, and collaborate with your virtual team on projects with "writeboards." Take your planning to the moon! You can try it for free and plans start at 23 USD per month.

Visit the website.

Watch the intro here:


If you’re new to working virtually, you might assume you can manage your projects in a similar way to your co-located team. However, there are unique challenges for virtual and remote teams that software like Excel and spreadsheets just cannot handle. Take a look at some reasons why you should stop and rethink your Excel usage for your virtual project management.

Document storage and file sharing

Everyone knows about Google’s suite of tools, so it seems pointless to include them and take up space from some lesser known software. Perhaps you’re looking for something with more security or industry specific features. If that’s the case, these are some great tools for storing important work documents or sharing files between your team members.

Box

What is it?
Box offers you “secure collaboration with anyone, anywhere, on any device.” Seamlessly collaborate with your virtual team with a simplified automated workflow, utilizing high-grade, secure cloud software.

Features of this tool:

User friendly interface with built-in integrations from Zoom, Slack and Office 365. Get your team on the same page, with their collaborative note-taking tool, Box Notes. This creates one place for everyone to share ideas and allows multiple people to work at once and see each others' edits in real time.

Visit the website

Watch the video:



Onhub

What is it?
A cloud storage solution which allows you to upload files quickly and easily. All on a secure, completely customizable workspace. Edit document permissions for clients and team members and collaborate on-the-go via any device.

Features of this tool:
Onehub provides drag-and-drop folder uploads, intuitive folder-based organization, automatic versioning, and a secure FTP gateway for mass uploads. Integrations with Google Docs and Microsoft Office online are also available.

Visit the website.

Watch the case study of how the University of Washington uses Onehub: 


Dropbox

What is it?
The tool you know and love for personal cloud-based storage is also available for businesses. Organize all your team’s content, tune out distractions, and get everyone coordinated with a familiar, smart workspace. Collaborate from anywhere with a secure, distributed infrastructure.

Features of this tool:
Dropbox Spaces brings your files and cloud content together - now your PowerPoints can live next to your Google Docs, Trello boards, and any other tools your team needs and uses. Sync and share files and make comments while being able to track changes to your documents. Team plans start from 12 euro per month.

Visit the website

Watch the video:


Chat tools

These tools make it possible to communicate with your team even if they are a continent away. Offering secure platforms for text and many times audio and video chat, find a more efficient way to connect that doesn’t clog your inbox with long email chains.

Rocket.chat

What is it?
Open-source software which lets you control communication and manage your data all while removing the need for CC/BCC. Using Rocket.Chat’s Channels and Private Groups, speak to your team openly and with greater transparency on a fully customizable platform.¨

Features of this tool:
A laundry list of features include audio and video conferencing, guest access, screen sharing, file sharing, LiveChat, LDAP Group Sync, two-factor authentication (2FA), E2E encryption, SSO, and dozens of OAuth providers. Plus, a unique feature of machine learning for automatic real-time message translation between users and an interface available in more than 50 languages, it’s great for teams that are spread out all over the world.

Visit the website

Watch the video: 


Mattermost

What is it?
Mattermost is a flexible, open source messaging platform, enabling secure team collaboration. The software lets you build intuitive workflows and collaborate across large teams without worrying about security or data privacy.

Features of this tool:
Use the hundreds of existing integrations, or build out custom workflows that scale to tens of thousands of concurrent users. It works seamlessly with mobile security and compliance systems to connect your virtual team’s people, tools, and automation to increase collaboration.

Visit the website

Watch the video:

Grape

What is it?
Grape operates an interactive online platform which offers secure video, voice and text conversations embedded inside your favourite business tools.

Features of this tool:
Built-in integrations with Atlassian, Confluence, Trello and more with API, you can rest assured that your chats are secure, searchable and accessible either in the Euro-Cloud or on your own servers. Fully compliant with GDPR, the software can help save your organization time and money.

Visit the website

Watch the video:

Jabber

What is it?
Cisco Jabber helps you find the right people, see whether and how they’re available, and collaborate more effectively. On any device and form anywhere in the world.

Features of this tool:
Delivering instant messaging, voice and video calls, voice messaging, desktop sharing, conferencing, and more. Be more productive even on the go!

Visit the website.

Watch the video here.

Meeting tools

When your team is apart, having some face to face time, even if it is digital, can help build trust, clear up misunderstandings, and foster a better team spirit. These tools can help provide that by giving an opportunity to meet up with your members as a group or individually. The best part? You really only have to be dressed nicely from the waist up!

GoTo Meeting

What is it?
This award-winning solution works instantly on any device. There’s a reason why millions of businesses trust GoToMeeting for reliable, professional online meetings and on-the-go collaboration.

Features of this tool:
Perfect for webinars, presentations, or one-to-one consultations, share your screen or use the software to record, without needing to take notes. Start for free and scale to your company’s needs.

Visit the website

Watch the video here:



GlobalMeet

What is it?
GlobalMeet’s user-friendly conferencing platform lets you meet on PGi’s best-in-class global audio network. GlobalMeet is an easy way to share presentations and collaborate with large groups online.

Features of this tool:
Broadcast from anywhere in the world with HD video streaming. Plus the enterprise grade security helps you maintain network security which helps protect your teams and those on the other end of the line.

Visit the website.

Watch the video here:


join.me

What is it?
Collaborate instantly with free screen sharing, unlimited audio, and ridiculously simple video conferencing.

Features of this tool:
The software allows for customization - of your personalized URL and your background. You can also integrate it with Slack. Get started hosting or joining a meeting now for free.

Visit the website.

Watch the video here:



Lifesize

What is it?
With Lifesize, users can host free and instant video calls with their team from their phone or browser. No downloads or sign-ups required — just share the link and go.

Features of this tool:
The cloud-based solutions bring 4K video conferencing and wireless presentation to any size meeting. And a slew of integrations demonstrate why the software is used by thousands of people around the world. Lifesize also offers end-to-end encryption, making it safer than Zoom, which isn’t necessarily end-to-end encrypted.

Visit the website.

See why Lifesize might be for you.

Virtual team games

When you create a virtual team from all over the world, you might not have the opportunity to ever meet face to face. Barring talking about your latest project or how crazy the weather is, your members might be limited in what you can talk about. These tools are a great way to get the conversational ball rolling and help your team connect.  

QuizBreaker

What is it?
Trusted by hundreds of teams all over the world, QuizBreaker is a scheduled virtual team building quiz delivered to your inbox. There your team members answer the curated questions in their own time, and then guess what their colleagues said as well.

Features of this tool:
Set up takes less than 3 minutes, and the automated system runs on the schedule that you set. Not only will you have a fun time learning about your teammates, but you’ll be able to find out things you have in common, and which might not naturally come up in a Slack conversation or meeting. Plus, you can get started for free.

Visit the website

Watch the video here:

Water Cooler trivia

What is it?
Customized quizzes that can be sent via email or Slack. Team members can answer in their own time, and the random trivia knowledge helps your dispersed teams bond.

Features of this tool:
Fun random trivia lets you find out who’s also a movie junkie or an ABBA enthusiast and give your teammates something more interesting to talk about. Create some office fun for the price of 25 K-cups with plans starting from 7.50 per month. Even get your first month for free.

Visit the website

Watch the video here.


Global Team Building

What is it?
Specifically designed for virtual teams, Global Team Building offers a variety of activities that help your teams collaborate together. Competitive and fun virtual games help your teams interact in new and exciting ways, building trust and rapport along the way.

Features of this tool:
With activities ranging from escape rooms to scavenger hunts, you can tailor build the experience you want for any sized team. Prices start from 9.95 per person.

Visit their website

Watch the video for their flagship game here. 

Better tools for better teams

Whether your virtual team is spread across different countries and timezones or merely across town, there’s unique requirements to help your team work together better and reach your organization’s goals. These 20 tools for your virtual team can help with that.

What virtual tools do you recommend?

If your goal is better time management and a more efficient use of your resources, consider giving Ganttic a try today. With our free 14 day trial, there’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain.