The Internet has made remote work a possibility for many. Whether you are working from home or on a lonely island in the Maldives, the important thing is that you get results.
To boost the productivity of remote workers, many companies have come up with ingenious tools that make it easy to manage everything from a solo entrepreneur to a hundred-man team.
Remote working tools come in a variety of categories. So, depending on your type of work, you might need one and not the other. This post lists the various categories of remote working tools and the best choices for each niche.
Best Remote Working Tools
|Trello, Basecamp, Zoho & Jira
|Storage & File Sharing
|Google Drive, Dropbox & OneDrive
|Slack, WhatsApp, Mattermost & Discord
|Toggl , Time Doctor, Hubsaff & Teamwork
|Bit.ai, Hypercontext, ZipBoard & Mural
|Zoom , Teams, GoTomeeting & Webex
|Evernote, Google Keep & Sketchboard
|CallHippo, CloudTalk, Dialpad
|Zapier & IFTTT
|Join.me – TeamViewer
|Upwork – Guru – WeWorkRemotely – Fiverr – Freelancer – Toptal
|Chrome Remote Desktop – AnyDesk – RemotePC
|GitHub – BitBucket – GitLab
1. Project Management Tools
If you are part of a remote team or have to manage one, then you will have to use one form of project management or the other. A good project management system makes it easy to coordinate your work with your team members and achieve all the goals within the given constraints, which typically include time and budget.
A good project management system makes it easy for everyone to see where each project stands, who is doing what, and what comes next. It also makes it easier for the team leader to allocate tasks and maintain flexibility.
Some project management software like Trello uses the Kanban approach, while others use Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Gantt charts, and so on. It is left for you to check out some and see what you like.
2. Storage & File Sharing Tools
The odds that you will be sharing data with your remote team members are high. So, file storage and sharing systems are equally important.
Here, the big players from Google to Microsoft are competing with each other, so there is a lot to gain. Google offers 15GB of free storage with its free account, while dropbox offers free 2GB, and Microsoft offers free 5GB with its OneDrive package.
All these vendors have premium plans for when your data needs go above the basic levels. And they also offer many methods of sharing your files, including dedicated smartphone apps. If you want the best, then go with Google Workspace and its 15GB Drive.
3. Live Chat Tools
Communication is key to your team’s success, so you need to find the right tool and stick to it. There are quite a few to choose from, depending on your needs. Slack is fast, organized, and secure. While Discord is better suited for those that love voice- and video-chatter.
More advanced or paranoid teams who still don’t trust the end-to-end encryption of tools like WhatsApp can go for a self-hosted open-source option with Mattermost.
4. Time Management Tools
You can also use time management tools to boost productivity in two ways. The first is that it helps you to keep track of yourself, so you know how much time you are spending on certain programs or websites.
This breaks your time down into productive activities like using auto-cad software and non-productive ones like browsing social media.
The second way is that it helps to monitor work done, so you know how much to bill a client or to pay an employee. Many of the top time-management software tools also come with additional features to boost your productivity.
5. Collaboration Tools
These tools aim to make it easier for remote teams to collaborate. While online storage platforms like Google Drive are great, they can quickly get messy with cluttered data. Bit.ai for instance provides the same storage function but goes further with design, management, and interactive features.
Other collaboration tools like Mural and Hypercontext make it easier for team members to share and work on ideas on a visual platform. While ZipBoard is more targeted at developers.
6. Video Meetings
While online collaboration tools are great for teams that have to work online and bounce ideas off each other, video meetings are more important for some other groups.
Managers might meet online, a team supervisor might want to have a one-on-one, there could be a conference, and so on.
Online video meeting systems are available for companies of all sizes. From Zoom for startups to Webex for enterprise clients, your needs and budget will determine which is best for you.
7. Note Taking
All creative people depend on some inspiration for success. But there is no guarantee of when and when not you will get inspired. The solution, therefore, is to make notes of your ideas for future use.
There are many ways to go about this and different companies have come up with different ideas. Google Keep, for instance, uses flexible cards that you can move around. It also includes tick boxes and lets you change colors easily.
Sketchboard, on the other hand, is more of a collaborative tool, as it lets teams make notes together. While Evernote includes task management and organizational features.
8. Business Phone
Despite the growth of email and online video conferences, telephone calls remain the lifeblood of many businesses. So, if you find yourself needing to make calls more often, then you may want to consider a business phone system.
CallHippo, for instance, is a virtual phone system for small and larger businesses with local and toll-free numbers in many countries. It is cloud-based, includes AI features, and offers integration with over 80 services.
CloudTalk and DialPad are equally similar. They provide simple workspaces to either connect to your team or customers in a smart, efficient, and affordable way.
Process automation can help you to boost productivity by saving you time. This also frees you up to engage in other, more rewarding work.
Though the perfect automation route is to write custom computer programs for the task at hand, online platforms like IFTTT and Zapier make it possible for non-coders to automate quite a lot.
The systems are similar and simple. First, you need to identify the trigger. This is any event that signifies the starting point of the task. For example, when you receive an email from company XYZ.
The next step is to tell the system what to do next. This could mean editing the email or sending a notification to someone. You could also carry out multiple steps at once, or one after the other.
10. Screen Sharing
TeamViewer and Join.me have been the most popular screen-sharing applications for a long time and they continue to find good uses today.
You should note, however, that most of the newer video chatting and collaboration apps also come with similar features. So, you might want to check your default team communication app first, before going for one of these dedicated screen-sharing applications.
Screen sharing is important for many reasons. You may have to present an idea to your boss, a client, or partner. Or you may just have to show something to someone that could make a difference to your business or income.
Screenleap is a free and simple solution that lets you share your screen in just seconds to any device with a web browser. And with no installation required.
11. Time Zones
Top Time Zone Tools: WorldTimeBuddy
Working remotely can mean working with a team that is distributed around the world. This also means that team members will be living in different time zones. And this can be a headache if want to schedule meetings and are new to it all.
Some user interfaces like the Gnome desktop allow you to add as many time zones as you like to your desktop clock. This can be helpful, but there is still room for improvement when it comes to scheduling cross-time-zone meetings.
WorldTimeBuddy solves this problem in a cool and elegant way. Simply add the different locations of your team members. Then mouse over the multi-zone clock to select a nice time for your meeting, which you then click on.
WorldTimeBuddy lets you export this schedule with just a click to Outlook/iCal, Gmail, Google Calendar, and your system’s clipboard.
If you are a business owner, then the chances are that you will need a helping hand sooner or later. The good news is that you can also hire gig workers remotely and this can save you some money.
Many platforms offer this service. From budget ones like Fiverr, where sellers offer services from $5 upwards, to more general platforms like Guru. There is also Toptal for those who need only the top 3% of talented workers.
13. Remote Desktop
There are many reasons to use remote desktop software. First, you could have a computer at work and wish to connect to it from your laptop, either from home or while on the road.
A second reason is for IT support to help you out with technical issues. While other reasons include having an assistant log in and do some work on your computer or showing others how to do stuff.
No matter your remote connection needs, there is a solution for it. So, you may have to check out different tools like Chrome Remote Desktop, RemotePC, and AnyDesk first to find the right solution.
14. Software Development
If you are a software developer, then you must have heard of Git repository systems and the online Git platforms that make them globally accessible.
A Git repository makes it easy to iterate software development by efficiently managing its many versions. While online Git platforms make it easy for remote teams to collaborate on such projects.
Git platforms from GitHub to BitBucket and GitLab are used by all kinds of organizations – from globally distributed open-source contributors to commercial enterprises of all sizes.
We have come to the end of this list of the best remote working tools to boost productivity and you have seen all the top solutions out there.
As you can imagine, we all have different jobs and productivity needs, so there is no single solution for everyone. You may have to combine a few of these tools to get the right stack for your job.