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The Best Remote Team Tools for Collaboration and Productivity

Mathew Maniyamkott

10 min read

While remote work has been synonymous with Covid-19, that is not the case. Remote work was slowly gaining acceptance much before that, thanks to the gig economy and the fact that it allowed for a lot of flexibility. There has been a lot of research too, which validates the claim that occasional remote work is great for the mental health of employees. Which we’ve curated some of the best remote working tools to check out for in 2020. 

In this article, we will choose a plethora of collaboration and productivity tools that have different functions like the following- time tracking tools, communication tools, file sharing tools, designing tools, project management tools, software tools, and so on. We have tried to choose the ones that are extremely popular thanks to its suite of features. From Zapier that connects your favorite apps to Google Drive, which allows you to share and store files on the cloud, each of them makes running your business easier. It makes the life of your employees who work remotely feel great too.

Using remote working tools for collaboration and productivity becomes all the more important in these times. Here are 15 of the best tools for remote working:

Remote Working Tool #1. Slack:

At one time, it was the fastest-growing app in the world. Ever. Slack is considered as a virtual office by many companies as it has all the features that allow you to connect with the employees and get all your work done from a single place. You can follow everything related to individual projects, topics or even groups. By sharing a channel on Slack, you can work with all your vendors, partners and clients in a single place. At SurveySparrow, we’ve been using Slack to remote check in and check out. conduct stand ups, collaborate ideas, roll out employee engagement surveys, etc.  

By bringing all communication in a single place, all the employees in the office can stay updated and make decisions quickly. 

Features of Slack:

  • Integrations with more than 2200+ apps
  • Create workflows so that you can automate routine actions
  • Work with people outside your company using Slack Connect
  • Use hashtags for projects to stay organized
  • You can use special text-formatting commands to work inside the tool

Slack is one of the most popular and widely used project management and collaboration tools out there. Its project-friendly structure and task list management abilities put it ahead of most of its competitors. 

Remote Working Tool #2. ProofHub:

With a unique set of project management and collaboration features, ProofHub is also a popular tool. It even lets you define custom roles so that the accessibility of various sensitive files doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Have one-on-one and group chats with your team and clients inside the app itself. 

Features of ProofHub:

  • Easy-to-use product that has a short learning curve
  • Have total control over your projects 
  • Create discussions topics to bring your team and clients together
  • Assign tasks with clear deadlines 
  • Create recurring tasks for the ones that need regularity
  • Kanban boards, Gantt charts, Calendars- you can have everything

It has markup tools that allow you to speed up the reviews of designs, documents, etc. Want to keep track of your billable hours? Get it ready in the app itself. You can get details about the resources available within the app itself. Want to know about the status of projects, you can view it in a dashboard in real-time. Assign project managers to projects so that there is equitable distribution of work. 

Remote Working Tool #3. Trello:

It is a visual collaboration platform that lets teams collaborate on projects. Trello’s Kanban-style board system is what makes it so effective. Projects are marked with boards, and each of them has a card for a task. Each of these cards contains tracking lists so that you can prioritize assignments and update the progress and track it for all the stakeholders who are involved in the project. 

Features of Trello:

  • Progress meter checklist
  • Quick overviews of front and back cards
  • Deadline alerts and notifications
  • SSL Data encryption
  • Activity logs
  • Information backups
  • Discussions
  • Assignments to both individuals and groups

With Trello, employees have a private channel to communicate with each other, give updates on projects and follow real-time updates. Trello does a good job of keeping your project management organized. You can fully customize your lists and even make use of automated notifications to keep track of all the changes that you require. 

Remote Working Tool #4. Serene:

It is a free productivity tool for remote workers and teams and is exclusively for the Mac ecosystem. Serene helps individuals focus on just one task instead of multi-tasking. To ensure that the day’s task is completed, Serene asks you to write down that one goal you want to finish and makes you divide into multiple bits. 

Features of Serene:

  • It blocks websites that distract you 
  • Serene makes you work in sets of 20-60 minutes to maximize your productivity
  • With its to-do-list, it helps you manage your tasks
  • Define your goal for the day and stick to it with the app
  • It puts your phone on silent to avoid any distractions
  • Background music is played on your laptop to keep you focused

Remote Working Tool #5. Toggl:

It is an app that tracks the time taken to complete a task. Originally, it was built for freelancers so that they can invoice accurately and get paid for the work done. It is not just a time tracking tool anymore. Toggl is a productivity-enhancing tool that allows businesses to compare profits against the time that was spent on each activity. 

Features of Toggl:

  • Find better projects which can boost your profits
  • Access it in any platform in any device
  • Get the results of the time involved in each project so that you can make business decisions
  • Measure the productivity of your team members
  • See how much time it takes to get your projects done
  • Eliminate projects that take up a lot of time while not bringing in much profits

Toggl also allows you to see how much time each member spends on individual projects to check their productivity. It will help you identify if someone has too much workload or if there is anyone who can be assigned more work. If you have a problem of not getting your tasks completed on time, then Toggl is the tool to use to understand the gaps and how you can meet them. 

Remote Working Tool #6. Zoom:

Zoom is easily one of the most important remote tools that we have. There was a time when the video conferencing tools that we used had lots of issues, with technical glitches like screen freezing, poor audio, no sound, etc., being so common. In fact, the video conferencing tools were so bad that everyone thought that it would remain the status quo. 

Features of Zoom:

  • Built-in tools for screen sharing
  • One-on-one and team chats
  • HD Audio and Video calls
  • Robust security solutions
  • Supports up to 1,000 video participants 
  • Role-based user permissions
  • Built-in recording and transcripts feature
  • Easy adoption with WebRTC technology

This is when Zoom came into our lives and has been a beacon of hope for everyone who works remotely. Many remote companies are powered by Zoom because that’s how reliable it is. Although security has been an issue, especially during the Covid-19 boom, they have worked on it, and it is improving. You can even add virtual backgrounds.

Remote Working Tool #7. GitHub:

Considered as one of the best software development tools, it is a development platform where you can host and review codes, manage projects and build software. It is a great tool for collaboration, thanks to its security and administrative features. GitHub has more than 300+ integrations, including Slack, Trello, Zoom, BaseCamp, Asana, Freshdesk, Zapier, etc. 

Features of GitHub:

  • Project and team management
  • Collaboration tools and review
  • Feedback collection
  • Milestone tracking
  • Monitoring
  • Permission management
  • 3rd party integration
  • API
  • Access control 

Using GitHub Enterprise, individuals and businesses can write better code and that too faster. Lightweight code review tools are built into every request. Teams can review processes which improve the quality of the code and add it to your existing workflow. It helps projects stay transparent and on schedule by letting project managers coordinate, track and write code in one place. 

Remote Working Tool #8. Dashlane:

When you are working remotely, there is all the more reason to be wary about your data getting stolen or a hacker trying to access it. Even more terrifying is for someone to access your data by getting your passwords which you have written down on a word document. This is why a tool like Dashlane will help you with managing your passwords. You need to provide access to certain files and tools; you cannot afford to lose it to any infiltrator. 

Features of Dashlane:

  • Unlimited password storage
  • Secure synchronization including access to your data on all devices simultaneously
  • Personalized alerts for dark web monitoring
  • Store up to 1 GB of files in Secure Notes
  • VPN for Wi-fi protection
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Premium support options

Dashlane makes it easier for team members to log into essential tools. It is designed to offer you a greater level of protection which is not available in other places. The tool automatically logs you into online accounts, fills forms, payment information, etc., using highly advanced security strategies. 

Remote Working Tool #9. Monday.com

Another terrific collaboration and productivity tool are Monday.com. It is a recently released software, but it has managed to capture the attention of businesses around the world. It has a bunch of built-in templates that makes it easy to set all your tasks and processes related to your projects. You can save a lot of time working on these activities instead of having to start from scratch. With Monday.com, you can easily create workflow apps within no time to run your business. 

Features of Monday.com:

  • User access controls
  • Pipedrive integration
  • Activity logging
  • Integration with G Drive, Slack, Gmail, Jira, Trello, etc.
  • Execution board
  • Due date tracking
  • Survey options

Remote Working Tool #10. Google Drive:

File management is no joke, and the most popular name in this line is Google Drive. Especially for remote companies, if there is no way to share files across without compromising security, then you are in for a surprise because it is impossible to run your business without it. 

Features of Google Drive:

  • Share documents, files and spreadsheets using Google’s suite of products
  • 15 GB of storage for free
  • Keep files of any format
  • You can keep the files private or share it with others
  • SSL security for data
  • Work with smart apps like Google Forms, Google Drawings, etc

Google Drive’s Quick Access feature allows you to quickly access recently modified files. For those who are working every day on the app, this is a great feature. You can even set up offline access to the files so that you can work on the go while you are on your commute. The changes that you have made on a document when you are offline will be synced as soon as you get back online. 

Remote Working Tool #11. Zapier:

Businesses work every day these days as if there is a ticking bomb. Time is precious; everyday work doesn’t happen; there is a huge loss happening. The only way to get things done in a fast manner is to use a workflow automation software like Zapier. When you are working remotely, there is all the more need to create workflows so that there is constant communication. Using a tool like Zapier ensures that there is no communication mismatch and ensures that it happens with minimal intervention. Zapier also makes integrating our online survey tool, SurveySparrow with hundreds of applications. 

Features of Zapier:

  • Automate time-consuming tasks by extending your workflows
  • Send data anywhere
  • Create triggers for performing any kind of actions
  • Route tickets to the right department
  • Accounting integration
  • Application integration
  • QuickBooks integration

Zapier connects apps together so that there are data transmission and workflows that help with instant communication. It links most of the systems in a remote office. It allows you to integrate with more than 1000+ apps and has a user-friendly interface making it easier for everyone involved. 

Remote Working Tool #12. Loom:

Sharing information is the backbone of having a well-managed team. Suppose you cannot put the information across to your team members swiftly. Imagine if each file that you want to send would take at least a day for it to get delivered? It will slow down the performance of all online businesses in the world. Even brick and mortar businesses will be affected because online apps are used there too. 

Features of Loom:

  • You can pause and resume your screen
  • Trim the contents of your video
  • Loom offers unlimited cloud storage
  • Users can add comments and reactions at a specific time in the videos
  • Protect your video with passwords

One of the most efficient methods of sharing information is to record your screen and send. A screen recording allows you to add your own voice, provide extra information, all of this while sharing the screen as well. So there is immense clarity for the receiver. When your team is working in different time zones, it gets easier as you can just take a look at the screen recording video that was sent instead of waiting for the person to be available.

Remote Working Tool #13. Stackby:

Create a company-specific work management platform with databases which are in the form of spreadsheets. These sheets can be customized according to the specific requirements of the business. Automate your team’s workflows so that you can get a lot done with little effort. Stackby has more than 75+ built-in templates which you can use to build your database, instead of having to start from scratch. 

Features of Stackby:

  • Customize information with more than 25+ unique column types
  • View the sheet in multiple formats- Kanban, Grid, Calendar, etc. 
  • Link columns to 3rd party apps like Clearbit, MailChimp, YouTube, etc
  • Keep track of the updates in real-time

For businesses that have to jump between CRMs, spreadsheets, and project management apps, Stackby is a great choice, especially since you can customize it for any workflow. Collaborate with your team on the sheet itself. 

Remote Working Tool #14. Spark:

Spark is an email client that prioritizes each of your emails and categorizes them based on different parameters. Create email workflows and personalize your sidebars, widgets, and more. You can schedule emails to be sent later or even set reminders to follow-up on emails. Businesses can also set it in such a way that only the important emails will be sent notifications. 

Features of Spark:

  • Smart Inbox which gets the important ones and cleans up the rest
  • Find any email using natural language search
  • Snooze emails so that you handle it at a time you decide
  • Discuss emails with your clients
  • Use a real-time compose editor with your teammates
  • Use pre-written templates to send quick responses
  • Has integration capabilities with various tools

With Spark, remote team members can work on the same emails at the same time. You can also assign emails to other team members, share drafts, send them reminders and even schedule emails to send them at a later time. It is a great tool for businesses where emails are a primary source of communication with customers and vendors. 

Remote Working Tool #15. Doodle:

It is a collaborative scheduling app that helps businesses to set up meetings without having to send emails back and forth. Even for meetings that happen between remote teams which are working across different time zones, Doodle is a breeze. The Doodle app works like a charm for all kinds of businesses, big or small. 

Features of Doodle:

  • Team scheduling which allows it to arrange meetings, schedule video calls and collaborate within the app
  • Add private meetings and tasks hidden from team members
  • Show your time availability so that it is easy for others to schedule meetings
  • Set reminders for your meetings

Doodle allows people to set times when they are available and based on that, meetings can be scheduled. All that the user needs to do is respond if they want to confirm the meeting or they can ask for a different time. 

Wrapping up.. 

Productivity tools are important for businesses, especially so when everyone is working remotely. Remote team tools are the only connection for teams that are working remotely from different parts of the world, which it is a must that you choose apps that reflect what your business needs and stands for. Find tools that have features that you want, even if it doesn’t have one feature that is pivotal to your business, it is wise to choose a different app. There are lots of options available for any collaboration tool. 

Do not restrict yourself to the collaboration and productivity tools that we have mentioned here. Roll out employee engagement surveys, NPS surveys, check employee pulse and customer satisfaction by creating engaging online surveys using SurveySparrow’s online survey sofwtare. There is a wide array of choices for you. All you need to do is find the ones that relate to your business.

We hope the above list of the top remote working tools help you choose the right tool for your business. Stay safe!

Mathew Maniyamkott

Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow

Regular contributor to various magazines. Passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, and productivity.

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