Working remotely is getting more and more common nowadays. It is a logical step for startups, because you only have a few employees, and you can save some money by not renting an office, which can be a lifesaver when you are just starting. Moreover, you don’t have to limit your choice to people in and around your city when hiring! This means you can choose the best candidate, no matter where they are. But not only startups are using this flexible method of working! According to “The 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2015”, big and prestigious companies such as Apple, Amazon or IBM are also embracing telecommuting and working from home. These companies are now offering positions where you can work from home, or telecommute.
But having a remote team can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. Thankfully, there is a wide selection of all kinds of tools and programmes that are designed to make remote work easy and manageable. In this article, we have collected 50 tools that will help you create an efficient and enjoyable environment for your team. We have separated them into categories based on what functions they are best for: we have tools for keeping up with your team, tools for project management, tools that make it easy keeping up with events and people, and a bonus round of other useful tools. We have thought about freelancers and solo entrepreneurs too! Many of these tools are just as useful for you too.
Tools for keeping up with the team
You might not even notice how easy it is to communicate in an office: your co-workers are just a few desks away, you have lunch breaks together, or have a chat by the watercooler. Having a chat with someone is very easy, and you know everyone well. When you switch to working remotely, this becomes harder: you can no longer walk over to their desk to ask a question, or tell them a good joke while waiting for the coffee in the kitchen. Thankfully there are many tools designed for this small-talk and quick questions, and for creating a sense of togetherness in remote teams.
Slack is a very popular messaging app for remote teams. It is a free tool available on Mac, Android and PC, with many useful functions: you can make private or open channels for different teams or projects, you can chat directly with your colleagues, you can share your files easily, you can connect other tools to it, and what’s best: you can easily find anything later, because everything is archived! Even documents are searchable based on their content.
|Price||basic edition is free, Standard edition is 6,65$/user/month, and Premium edition is 12,50$/user/month|
|Main functions||private or open channels, chat, file sharing, integrating other tools, searchable archives|
|Good for||keeping all communications in one place|
Join.me is a tool for virtual meetings, with a screen-sharing function. Screen sharing is a useful function for remote working, because it makes it easier to communicate and understand what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done. It is simple to use, and viewers don’t need to download it to watch.
|Price||basic version is free, Pro version is 20$/user/month, and Enterprise version is 25$/user/month|
|Main functions||meetings, screenshare, viewers don’t have to download it to see it|
Communicating with your team online is easy with Skype: it is great for having some one-on-one time with your colleagues or to add some personal touch to your meetings. There is also the possibility to call numbers abroad for a low rate, which helps if you need to call someone on the other side of the world.
|Price||basic version is free, business version is 2$/user/month (call credits not included)|
|Main functions||chat, voice and video call, calling phone numbers for a low price|
|Good for||quick communication|
Yammer is a private social network, just for your company! It’s like having your own Facebook, but only people who have an email at your company can join. It is a very good way for communicating and collaborating from anywhere, anytime. A special feature is that it is a Microsoft product, so it is designed to work perfectly together with Office 365, giving you the option to start a discussion directly from the document you are working on, thus getting feedback very quickly and easily.
|Price||it’s part of the Office 365 Business plan: Essential edition is 5$/user/month, Business edition is 8.25$/user/month, Business Premium is 12.50$/user/month|
|Main functions||communication and collaboration, designed to work perfectly with other Office 365 products|
|Good for||easy communication and getting quick feedback|
HipChat is a chatting tool for businesses – you can chat, share your screen and have video calls. You can work from anywhere since it is compatible for mobile devices, and can be integrated with other tools. It is searchable so you can easily find what you need.
|Price||basic edition is free, Plus is 2$/user/month|
|Main functions||chat, screen share, video calls, searchable archives|
|Good for||casual communications and meetings|
GoToMeeting is another tool for online meetings. You can do video or voice calls, share your screen, record the meeting, and set up a custom URL if you want to. This is useful if you have meetings very often, or if you need to record your meetings. You can integrate it with Outlook or Google Calendar.
|Price||Starter plan is 24$/organizer/month, Pro plan is 39$/organizer/month, and Plus plan is 49$/organizer/month|
|Main functions||video and voice calls, screen share, recording the meeting, custom URL|
7. Google Hangouts
Using Hangout is a convenient way for communicating with your team and clients, especially if you are using other Google products. You can simply message your contacts from Gmail, or set up a video or voice call for a more personal communication. You can also share your screen or watch videos together.
|Main functions||chat, video or voice call, screen share, watch videos together|
|Good for||casual and quick communication|
Webex is a group of tools made for meetings, events, webinars, training and remote support. It is a bit different from the others, as in you have separate tools for holding meetings with your remote team, for hold webinars and training courses, and for taking care of customer support remotely. Very versatile product group.
|Price||the price depends on which product would you like to use, and how many people is involved.|
|Main functions||meetings, webinars, trainings, remote support|
|Good for||bigger teams|
UberConference is a tool for conference calls. You can share your screen, and you don’t need a PIN to join the conversation – you also see the who joined the call and who is talking. An interesting feature is the ability to check the attendees’ profiles on social networks.
|Price||basic edition is free, Business edition is 10$/organizer/month|
|Main functions||chat, screen share, video calls, searchable archives|
|Good for||conference calls|
Flowdock is a collaboration app, with chat and inbox functions. It keeps communication in one place, and it is searchable so you can find it all later. Available for mobile devices, so you can be updated on the go,and can be integrated with many other tools.
|Price||free for teams under 5 members and students, for others it’s 3$/user/month|
|Main functions||collaboration, chat, inbox, searchable|
|Good for||keeping communication in one place|
Sqwiggle aims to create a company culture for remote teams – it can be used for video calls, chat and an interesting feature is that you can see your co-workers’ faces. Sqwiggle takes snapshots through the day so you can see what mood your co-workers are in, what are they doing, and it also tells you if someone is not at their desk. By clicking on their picture, you can instantly start talking to them, and as usual, you can integrate this with other tools and share files on it.
|Price||Basic edition is free, Plus edition is 9$/user/month, and Enterprise edition is 25+$/user/month|
|Main functions||chat, video calls, snapshots of your team|
|Good for||quick communication, bringing the team closer|
15Five is a tool for managing employee engagement. It is a simple idea: once a week, employees take 15 minutes to answer questions about how work is going, do they have problems, if yes what etc. The next step is answering and engaging in conversation about this topic. Sometimes it can be hard to manage a remote team, but with this tool you can easily discover where they need help, and what do you need to do to create a better environment.
|Price||first 10 people 49$/month, additional users 5$/user/month|
|Main functions||sends a few questions each week to your team|
|Good for||bringing the team closer, measuring engagement and satisfaction|
Sameroom is a bit different than the other communication tools in this section. Sameroom in itself is not a tool for communication, but it belongs here since it connects other tools together. It is for a situation where your team uses different tools for communication – for example, you use both Skype and Slack at your startup. In this scenario, Sameroom is handy, since it connects the two platform, and you don’t have to switch between the two.
|Price||Trial version is free, Basic version is 9$/month, Pro version is 49$/month, and Sumo edition is 99$/month|
|Main functions||connects other communication tools|
|Good for||when your team uses different tools|
Tools for managing projects
How you manage your projects is a very important question, no matter if you are a remote team or not. The following tools were made to make it sure everyone has a clear picture of what is happening, what has to be done, who has to do it, and many of them also gives the opportunity to directly work together on documents.
Trello is a popular choice for team management. It is easy to use, and makes it easy to oversee projects – it is like sticking notes onto a board. You can have different boards, and within the boards you have lists. You can add cards to the lists, and you can add members, checklists, due dates, description, attachments and labels to cards. Within a card, members of the board can leave comments, so you will have all communication related to an idea or process in one place.
|Price||Basic version is free, Business version is 8.33$/user/month, and Enterprise edition is 20.83$/user/month|
|Main functions||boards, lists, cards, assigning members, comments, checklists, due dates, attachments and labels|
|Good for||project management of all kinds|
Asana helps you track projects from start to finish. You can keep track of projects, tasks, dashboards and conversations. It visualises progress, so it is easy to see how your projects are going. You can assign team members for different projects/tasks, and comment directly on the task/project . You can also add due dates and attachments.
|Price||basic version is free, Asana Premium is 8.33$/user/month|
|Main functions||assign members to dashboards, tasks, comment on them, visualise progress, also has option to add due dates and attachments|
|Good for||project management of all kinds|
16. Google Docs
Google Docs is great for sharing your files, and working on them at the same time. You can organize your documents and share whole folders, then you can either come and work together real-time, or leave comments on the file. It is a very simple and easy to use tool.
|Main functions||share files, edit together in real time, chat and comment on documents|
|Good for||editing and sharing files together|
Quip allows you to create and communicate at the same place. Similarly to Google Docs, a team can edit the same document at the same time, and each document has a chat thread, so you can see all comments and feedback in one place. It is compatible with mobiles and tablets too!
|Price||basic edition is free, the Team edition is 10$ for 10 people or 40$ for 20 people per month, the Business edition is 12$/user/month, and the Enterprise edition is 25$/user/month|
|Main functions||edit together, has chat and comment function inside the document|
|Good for||editing documents together|
Basecamp is another tool for keeping track of projects, and who’s doing what in the team. It has six different functions. To-dos help you see tasks and who’s assigned to it, and the schedule gives you an overview of what’s happening. You can communicate in threads within the message board. For a quicker communication, use the campfire (the watercooler of Basecamp). You can use automatic check-ins (“What did you do today?”) to stay in touch with your team, and last but not least you can have all your files in the same place, organize them into folders, and even color-code them.
|Price||the first Basecamp is free, and after that it is a fixed price per month, no matter how many users. The “Basecamp for us” is 29$/month, and is recommended for teams without clients. The “Basecamp with clients” is 79$/month, recommended for teams with clients. The “Basecamp big” is 3000$/year, recommended for enterprises.|
|Main functions||to-dos, schedule, message board, the campfire, automatic check-in and file-sharing|
|Good for||cooperation, project management and keeping the team close|
PivotalTracker is a project management tool for software teams. It simplifies collaboration within software teams, and it is built to clearly communicate priorities to the entire team. By using this tool, your team will always be up to date on who does what, and how is the progress going. Every project is broken down into simple tasks called stories, which are organized based on their priority. The most important task is always on top – and if priority changes, you can just drag and drop it elsewhere.
|Price||Pivotal Tracker offers Startup packages (free, 15 or 35$ per month) or Pro packages (75, 150 or 300$ per month). The price depends on how many collaborators, projects and storage place would you like to use.|
|Main functions||prioritise, deliver, accept, collaborate, share|
|Good for||cooperation and project management for software teams|
Jira is a software development tool for teams. As usual, you can plan projects and tasks, track how is it going, and deploy your software when it is ready. It is used by many organizations, such as Linkedin, eBay, and even NASA, and it’s a great tool for helping teams ship outstanding software. It is harder to use than Trello, but very effective.
|Price||the price depends on how many users you have and the extra functions/other programmes you would like to have with Jira, and if you want them to host or not|
|Main functions||plan, track and deploy projects and software|
|Good for||cooperating and project management for software teams|
Confluence is more of a team management tool than a project management one. You can use Confluence to collect and organize information, create new documents, discuss and give feedback on the work, assign people, and to create a knowledge base. It can integrate Jira, which is useful if your focus is on software development. You can also search between the files, notes, meetings and people you have here.
|Price||depends on the number of users, additional functions/programmes, and if you want them to host or not|
|Main functions||collect and organize information, create and discuss documents, assign people, create a knowledge base, search|
|Good for||team management, especially for teams using Jira|
Assembla is a project management tool for web developers. You can keep track of teams, projects, tasks, code and files here. It is also great for collaborating with clients, tracking time spent on a project, and can produce reports so it is easy to see the results and process.
|Price||personal version is 24$/month, Group version is 49$/month, and Pro is 99$/month|
|Main functions||manage projects, tasks, code and files, collaborate with clients and each other, track time and produce reports|
|Good for||web development teams|
Github is a project management tool for web developers. Great tool for collaboration, code reviews, and code management – it is easy to communicate using this tool, so it is ideal for handling a remote team of web developers. You can integrate various other tools to it.
|Price||they offer 5 personal and 5 organization plans, and the price depends on how many private repositories would you like to have|
|Main functions||collaboration, code reviews and management|
|Good for||web development teams|
Podio is a very flexible project management tool, specialized for easy sharing and collaboration between teams. You can share files, manage tasks, and there are different features and extensions so it is easy to customize it to your needs. It also integrates with many other tools.
|Price||basic is 9$/user/month, Plus is 14$/user/month, Premium is 24$/user/month|
|Main functions||easy sharing and collaboration, task management, a lots of features and extensions|
|Good for||very flexible project management tool for teams|
Sandglaz is a simple to use project management tool, which is flexible so you can customize it easily. What separates this tool is that it is very quick – you can tag people and sort tasks with hashtags into categories. As usual, you can comment on tasks and share files, plus integrate many other tools.
|Main functions||share files, assign tasks, comment, easily customizeable|
|Good for||quick and simple project management|
Taskworld is a project management tool, which allows you to organize every aspect of work, communicate and collaborate with your team and keep your knowledge in one place. You can also create channels and groups, chat, and give feedback easily on the work.
|Price||11$/user/month/workspace (the workspace is your virtual office)|
|Main functions||chat and collaboration, keeping your knowledge organized, option to make channels and groups|
|Good for||project management of all kinds|
Prodpad is a project management software, where you can capture ideas and make product development plants. Roadmapping is very easy, as is saving the important ideas and feedback from your team or users. It also help you manage your backlog, and it integrates with many other tools such as Trello or Jira.
|Price||Plus is 59$/month, Premium is 299$/month, and Unlimited is 2499$/month|
|Main functions||capture ideas, manage product development, roadmapping, saving ideas and feedback, backlog management|
|Good for||managing product development and for product management|
Duet is a project management app for freelancers and small businesses. This integrated project management and invoicing tool is simple to setup and easy to use, yet gives you full control over data, and provides an efficient way to keep clients updated constantly. As usual, you can save, assign and give feedback on tasks and have discussions, and it also tracks time so you can precisely see how much time you have spent on something.
|Price||49$ – one time fee!|
|Main functions||save, assign and give feedback on tasks, discussions, time tracking, and invoicing|
|Good for||freelancers or small businesses|
Cloud9 is a tool for code development. It contains a code editor and an Ubuntu workplace in the cloud. It supports 40 languages, and you can code together in real time with your team. For developing, you don’t need to set up and maintain a system, you just have to pick the configuration, and you can start right away!
|Price||Basic is free, Micro is 9$/month, Small is 19$/month, Medium is 39$/month, and Large is 79$/month|
|Main functions||code editor and development, Ubuntu workplace, code together in real time|
|Good for||code development teams|
Draft is a collaboration tool specifically for writing. It is quite simple: you share your document or presentation, and the people you invited can suggest changes to it. After this you can decide to keep or reject these changes, and you can also save drafts as you go along. You can compare these in a view which highlights changes. This is a useful tool if you and your team are working on something, where it is important to see the changes and previous versions. It also has a neat transcribing function, so you don’t have to switch between windows when you need to transcribe something.
|Main functions||save drafts, track edits and changes, transcribing|
|Good for||writing together|
Hackpad is for instant collaboration. You can use it to save your ideas, or invite your team or all of your Twitter followers to collaborate with you. Similarly to other collaboration platforms, you can break down projects into smaller tasks, and assign it to teammates. It is a very flexible platform, you can form it according to your needs. You can use it from anywhere, anytime – your stuff is in the cloud, but you can also access it offline.
|Price||free for personal use, private workspaces are 2$/user|
|Main functions||lots of collaboration functions, assign tasks to members, customizable|
|Good for||easy collaboration|
Glip is a tool for task management, sharing calendars and files, chatting online and organizing video conferences. Since it aims to have all communication in one place, you won’t have to spend so much time in your inbox – and as a bonus, everything is searchable, so it is really easy to find what you need. You can also integrate other project management tools into it, so that is even more time saved!
|Price||Basic version is free, Basic is 5$/user/month, and Pro is 10$/user/month|
|Main functions||task management, calendar and file sharing, chat, video conferences, search|
|Good for||task management and communication|
Tools for keeping up
We think it is also important to take a slight de-tour and mention a few tools that you can use for keeping up with people and events. These are not necessarily remote-work oriented, but you can benefit from using a good calendar to remind you of events and deadlines, or having a note-taking app ready, so you can always write down your ideas, no matter where you are.
Charlie is a personal assistant app, that does research for you. If you have a meeting with someone, Charlie will look up that person for you, and will send you a document with all the necessary information and recent news about your meeting partner. This saves a lot of time for a busy entrepreneur.
|Main functions||researches the person you are meeting with|
|Good for||people who have a lot of meeting but not a lot of time to do research|
34. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a simple, yet effective tool to keep track of your meetings, schedules and due dates. It is very simple to use, and sends you reminders of the events you registered in it. You can share your calendar with your colleagues or clients, so they can see what you are doing – this can be useful for example when you are scheduling meetings, or just to keep track of what your team is doing.
|Main functions||save events, meetings and due dates, set up reminders, share with others|
Evernote is a great tool for replacing sticky notes! It is online, so accessible no matter where you or your teammates are, you can clip interesting articles, notes and photos from around the web, and you can collaborate, communicate and share easily. An interesting function is that you can present your notes at any time, as it has the ability to automatically transform into a presentation.
|Price||Basic version is free, Plus is 24,99$/year, and Premium is 49,99$/year|
|Main functions||save ideas and interesting things you read on the internet, collaborate, communicate and share easily, plus converts to presentation|
|Good for||quick sharing and saving ideas/interesting things|
OneNote is a digital note-taking app, similar to Evernote. You can use it together with your team to share ideas and notes, clip interesting stuff from the internet, and to save fotos. It is accessible from all kinds of devices.
|Main functions||same as Evernote|
|Good for||capture ideas, thoughts, and to-dos|
Wunderlist is a personal to-do list, which you can also share with others. It’s a simple tool for keeping track of what you have to do, and when it is time, it reminds you to do it. You can access it from a wide selection of devices, even from your smartwatch.
|Price||free for personal use, Pro version is 4,99$/month, and the Business plan’s price depends on the size of your team|
|Main functions||to-dos, due dates, notes, and in the Business version you can also assign, comment, and share files|
|Good for||small teams or those who are working alone/on the go|
38. Time Trade
Time Trade lets others see when you are available, and they can set up meeting with you automatically, which then shows up in your Google Calendar due to automated syncing. This saves time for both parties, and particularly useful if you are travelling or just have a busy week, or keep irregular work hours.
|Price||a basic/personal account is free, the Professional version is 49$/year, and the Workgroup edition is 99$/user/year|
|Main functions||automatic meeting scheduling, syncs with your calendar|
|Good for||remote teams and people with unusual business hours|
To finish this list, let’s talk about a few apps that are also very handy and useful to have for remote teams. These are miscellaneous apps, some are good for managing different time zones, some help you keep your passwords safe, and some take over routine tasks for you, so you have more time for quality work.
Toggl is a tracking tool, that helps you track tasks in real-time. You can mark what you are tracking – a meeting, doing work for client #1, or having your coffee break. It is built for teams, easy to use, and boosts productivity – there are handy reports and pie charts where you can see how much your team was working on a task, or how much time did it take to finish a project.
|Price||Basic account is free, Pro is 5$/user/month, and Business is 59$/user/month|
|Main functions||tracks time, generates reports and pie charts|
|Good for||remote teams and freelancers|
When you are working remotely, you might get a few time zones away from your audience at times. This can be problematic if you are handling social media accounts, as timing is very important here. Buffer is a solution for this problem – you can schedule your posts with it on different social networks, so your posts will be out at the best time for your audience to see.
|Price||2 plans for individuals (free and 10$/month), and 3 plans for teams and agencies (50, 100 and 250$/month|
|Main functions||schedule posts on social media networks|
|Good for||social media management on the go|
iDoneThis is a tool for tracking your progress easily – each evening you get a reminder asking what you have done today, and the next day you get a report with the answers of all your teammates. It’s a simple tool for keeping up with what is happening with your team.
|Price||Personal version is free, Gold is 5$/month (it only adds extra functions to the personal version) and for teams it is 5$/user/month|
|Main functions||tracking progress|
|Good for||freelances or remote teams|
42. IFTTT – If This, Then That
IFTTT is a tool that allows you to automate routine processes with a help of “recipes”. There are two kinds of recipes, the DO recipe, and the IF recipe. IF recipes are automatic: IF you post a picture on Instagram, THEN it saves it to your dropbox. DO recipes are not automatic, but only a click away: for example, you can upload pictures to Facebook with one click, or turn up the heat.
|Main functions||IF and DO recipes, automates functions|
|Good for||saving time, eliminating routine tasks|
Zapier is another tool that connects your apps and automates functions: for example, it saves the documents you attach to your emails into Dropbox., or sends you an sms when you get an email. This is good for eliminating small time-consuming routine tasks.
|Price||free to use, Basic version is 20$/month, Business is 50$/month, Business Plus is 75$/month, and Infrastructure is 125$/month|
|Main functions||automated functions|
|Good for||save time, eliminate routine tasks|
Dropbox is a well-known, simple file-sharing tool. All your documents, presentations, reports and other files are stored in one place that is easy to share with your team. You can access your files even without the internet, since it saves the files locally too. Files update automatically when you are online, so you always have the newest version available.
|Price||Basic is free, Pro is 9.99€/month, and Business is 12€/user/month|
|Main functions||share files, access it offline too|
|Good for||sharing files|
Boomerang is an addition for Gmail, which lets you schedule emails to be sent later – this is a very useful function if you are working with a team that is in a different timezone. It also lets you archive messages, and bringing them up again when you need it (so for example it pulls out the email with your plane ticket the day before your trip). There is a reminder function too, so you will never forget to follow up on important emails.
|Price||For personal use, the Basic version is free, Personal is 4,99$/month, Pro is 14,99$/month, and Premium is 49,99$/month. For teams it depends on the number of people.|
|Main functions||send emails later, achieve messages until you need it, get reminders|
|Good for||email management|
Prezi is a cloud-based tool for creating and storing presentations. Your presentations are available anywhere, anytime, and it syncs automatically if changes are made. It is a simple, yet effective tool for the workers on the go.
|Price||free to use, but your presentations can only be public. The Enjoy version is 9€/month, the Pro is 18€/month, and the Teams version is 13.25€/month|
|Main functions||create and store presentations|
47. World Clock
World Clock is an app for Macs, and you can see the different times on a world map. This is very helpful if your team is all over the world. With this app it is easier to manage communication with a global team, and it also helps you schedule meetings.
|Price||6.49$ – one time fee|
|Main functions||see time in different time zones, schedule meetings|
|Good for||a global team|
48. Figure It Out
Similar to World Clock, this app shows you what time it is in different timezones. This is an add-on for Chrome, and every time you open a new tab, you will see what time is it in the locations you added.
|Main functions||see what time is it in different time zones|
|Good for||a global team|
Obindo is a tool which takes the important information out of your emails, and saves it to the appropriate place. For example, you set up a meeting with a client via email, and Obindo automatically adds this meeting to your calendar, or it downloads and saves all the attachments to one place.
|Price||basic is free, Starter is 25$/month, Business is 75$/month|
|Main functions||imports important data from your emails and saves it|
|Good for||a team who emails a lot, and to eliminate small routine task|
Meldium is a tool for managing passwords within teams. By using it, you can easily give access to your team for all apps you are using without actually sharing passwords. This is a great method, as it protects from phishing and makes it a lot easier to set up new employees. In case you and your team are using many apps, it also makes life easier, because it remembers all the passwords for you, and you only need to remember one!
|Price||Basic is 29$/month, Premium is 79$/month, and Professional is 199$/month|
|Main functions||manage passwords|
|Good for||a team who uses many tools and services|
We hope you found this list useful, and could find a tool to make your work easier and more efficient! Let us know if you have any other tools, creative ways of use these tools or any thoughts on remote work in general. We would love to hear from you 🙂