In a shifting landscape that demands flexibility and employee autonomy, the office of the future might just be in your living room.
Over the past decade and a half, the number of people who work remotely has skyrocketed by 173% — those numbers are still climbing.
With conferences and business travel canceled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, more companies (like Indeed) have urged employees to work from home.
According to Remote.co, people who work from home are in better health and more productive than those who have to commute long distances to work. When employees have more control over their work schedule and perceive that their time is spent more efficiently, their happiness tends to be comparatively higher, with less stress and improved work-life balance.
But this comes with unique set of challenges, and you have to make remote work – well, work (more on that, here.)
Understanding the needs of your offsite team and effectively connecting with them can be more difficult. It might also be more challenging for team members to work together without the ability to communicate face-to-face.
Remote teams need robust remote tools – software designed to facilitate collaboration and communication across time zones, manage complex processes, and tighten up efficiency.
First things first: AppSumo has compiled a powerful collection of remote tools designed to make working from home a breeze. Check them out here!
Meanwhile, over at Process Street, we’ve recently secured a $12M Series A from Accel, Atlassian, Salesforce Ventures, and other amazing investors. Along the way to this huge milestone, we’ve refined a toolkit of what we consider to be the best remote team tools for getting things done.
In this article, I want to present the most valuable tools that will smooth over some of the common challenges of remote work and strengthen your team’s efficiency and productivity (among other things!).
Let’s take a look at Process Street’s very own list:
Best Tools for Remote Teams
- Slack – Best Team Communication Tool
- Zoom – Best Video Calls and Screen Sharing Tool
- Zapier – Best Tool for Integrations and Automation
- Process Street – Best No-Code Workflow Management Tool
- Google Drive – Best Tool for File Management
- 1Password – Best Password Manager for Teams
- Airtable – Best Spreadsheet-Database Hybrid Project Management Tool
- Loom – Best Screen Recording Tool
1. Slack – Best Team Communication Tool
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw
One of the biggest challenges remote teams face is weak communication. It’s pretty straightforward for you and your employees to be able to work together in the shared physical space of an office. But when you’re working from home, things aren’t so simple (especially when your team members are in different timezones).
Slack is a remote team tool that specializes in streamlining your team communication. It provides an always-on digital communal space for you and your team to chat, exchange thoughts and ideas, and share comments instantly for more efficient collaboration within your company. Slack makes it easy to send images or files and even create reminders for your team.
Using Slack also helps keep all communications centralized. It allows you to create different channels for different subjects, therefore keeping all of your conversations cataloged and easy to search. Of course, if you do need to communicate with an employee privately, you can do so easily through instant message.
Slack also offers mobile apps for iOS and Android for an even more integrated service.
2. Zoom – Best Video Calls and Screen Sharing Tool
When you’re not in the same room as your team, one of the most important tools to utilize is video conferencing software.
Zoom is one of the most reliable tools out there for video calls and screen sharing. It offers great video quality, an intuitive and simple to use interface, and fair pricing. You’re also able to record any of your video calls and share your screen during calls for more streamlined meetings.
If you’ve been working in a remote team for a while, you’ve probably had some frustrating experiences with unreliable video conferencing tools. Glitching, freezing, and lagging can all get in the way of your team’s communication.
That’s why Zoom has grown so rapidly in the past several years. It’s vastly superior to its alternatives when it comes to the quality and array of features it offers.
Some of its features include:
- Video conferencing for up to 50 participants
- HD video and audio
- Recordings and transcripts
- Ability to share your screen, pictures, documents, etc.
- Live chat
Honorable Mention— Remo Conference
Why go through the TSA to get to your conference? Remo Conference is a virtual platform for hosting interactive digital events, offering presentations, round tables, and networking.
Easily navigate a digital event space featuring segmented round tables that instantly connect you to a shared video chat. You’ll be able to connect on LinkedIn, schedule private meetings, and join the conversation seamlessly.
You can monetize the conference with sponsors in banners, as well as run giveaways and promotions. Plus, deliver keynotes and panels with up to eight people in Presentation Mode, where you can share your screen, use a whiteboard, and answer chat questions.
It’s all the benefits of a physical conference in a virtual setting.
Honorable Mention— MeetFox
If you’re spending your precious WFH hours coordinating meetings, juggling admin tasks, and chasing down invoices from clients, you need to add MeetFox to your arsenal.
MeetFox combines all the tools you need to run your meetings in one place with simple scheduling, video conferencing, and invoice management. By taking all the grunt work out of meetings, you can focus your energy on collaborating and doing the work you enjoy. The cherry on top? Meetfox is available on AppSumo right now with a lifetime subscription!
3. Zapier – Best Tool for Integrations and Automation
Automating workflows is a gamechanger. I can’t tell you how much time we’ve saved by automating manual tasks with Zapier. We use it for pretty much everything, including streamlining our blog production process, automating Slack messages, sending emails, generating Google Calendar events. You name it and we’ve probably automated it with Zapier.
Zapier basically allows you to combine all of the apps you use on a daily basis and get rid of the tedious busywork of carrying data and information between those apps.
What’s even better is that Zapier works seamlessly with Process Street, so it makes our lives easier when managing all of our internal processes.
4. Process Street – Best No-Code Workflow Management Tool
We designed Process Street to be the gold standard of remote team tools for no-code process and workflow management. In a nutshell, it offers super-powered checklists that help walk your team through recurring processes.
Process Street is an invaluable tool for us, and we use it every day to manage internal processes across all departments. It helps us improve our time management and allows us to automate workflows by easily prioritizing tasks and following clear, well-written processes. That way, we can get everything done efficiently every time.
Using Process Street allows you to create custom process templates, assign your team members to specific tasks, and keep track of their progress from the dashboard. You’re also able to schedule recurring tasks in specific intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually), so you can get reminders when they need to be repeated.
Best of all, you can sign up for a free trial to Process Street. Gain access to all of its features and see its value for yourself!
5. Google Drive – Best Tool for File Management
Managing your internal digital files is an essential part of running any company, but it’s even more crucial given the nature of remote companies. When their coworkers can’t be reached, employees in a different time zones need to be able to properly access important files.
Google Drive is a cloud storage platform that gives you and your team the ability to store files, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and pretty much anything else in a single secure location. You can also synchronize your account across various devices and share your files with others, as long as you have internet access. Since it’s a Google product, this tool comes with the added benefit of seamless integration with all other Google tools, such as Sheets, Docs, and Slides.
Google will also give you 15GB of free cloud storage just for signing up, so there’s no reason not to give this one a try.
Honorable Mention— Icedrive
Icedrive makes cloud storage as secure as it is accessible with zero-knowledge, 256-bit Twofish encryption.
Drag-and-drop your files to the web app or download one of the mobile apps for ultimate accessibility. You can also upload pictures taken from your phone or make media files available online for a perfect on-the-go storage solution.
Mount the drive to your Windows desktop for all the functionality of an external hard drive, with updates and version histories saved across the cloud.
Sharing is super simple with public links and direct user-to-user sharing for streamlined collaboration.
Get lifetime access to Icedrive now!
6. 1Password – Best Password Manager for Teams
With collaborative remote teams, you and your employees need access to the same tools, and therefore access to the same login information. Now more than ever, it’s unsafe to store sensitive information, such as passwords, in documents or spreadsheets on your computer where they can easily be stolen.
That’s where a password management tool, like 1Password, comes into the picture. This tool makes it quick and easy for your team to log in to necessary remote team tools. Most importantly, it keeps your passwords safe.
1Password allows for full control over who has access to your company’s private information. You can instantly grant and revoke access to the information, whether you’ve got new hires or former employees who have left your company. You’re even able to safely recover access to accounts that may have previously locked you out.
7. Airtable – Best Spreadsheet-Database Hybrid Project Management Tool
In order to be efficient and proactive as a remote worker, you need strong self-management skills. Airtable is a visual project management tool that allows its users to personalize the way they organize their work.
We use Airtable to keep track of outstanding works and organize our sprints. The versatility of organizational views offered by Airtable, combined with its powerful database features, helps us stay on top of our work and keep things agile.
Airtable offers user-friendly templates, so team members can start building their workflows and structuring important corresponding information. It encourages customizing task and calendar layouts so that workflows are easy to follow for each specific user.
Airtable utilizes both mobile and desktop apps, allowing remote team members to edit, comment on, or reorganize their tasks and data from any location. These changes are then instantly synced across all of their devices, so there’s no need to worry about any disorganization.
Honorable Mention— Stackby
Stackby lets you to create your own company-specific work management platform with customizable spreadsheet-style databases and business APIs.
Build your database from scratch with imported data from pre-existing sources (spreadsheets or Google Sheets), or choose from 75+ pre-built templates across multiple categories. You’ll be able to automate your team’s workflows in a breeze.
Plus, you can customize information with 25+ unique column types and view it in multiple layouts — including Grid, Kanban, Calendar, and Forms.
Sync data automatically by linking columns to third-party apps and keep projects refreshed and up-to-date at all times.
8. Loom – Best Screen Recording Tool
When managing or working with a remote team, it’s important to quickly and effectively share information between your colleagues. One of the more efficient methods is screen recording.
A screen recording tool grants you the benefits of speaking fluently in a video call, providing supplementary information through screen sharing. With screen recordings, you’re also able to easily send videos to team members regardless of whether they’re available to speak at the moment. This comes in very handy when employees are working from different time zones.
Loom is a free screen sharing tool that offers many convenient features within a simple and easy-to-understand interface. Loom provides features which most other screen sharing tools neglect, including the ability to pause, resume, and trim your recording. This is especially helpful when you mess up a take and can save your team hours that would otherwise be spent rerecording videos.
When you’re finished recording, the video is automatically uploaded to Loom’s cloud storage. All Loom users get unlimited video storage, which is crucial for remote companies who might have a lot of employees or create numerous screen recordings related to support.
You and your remote team will be able to share videos through links. Plus, users can contribute comments and reactions at specific time marks for videos. If you’re an administrator, you’ll also have the ability to password protect videos with sensitive information, download videos, and review any comments or reactions that were left on videos.
Honorable Mention— Clapboard
Clapboard is a simple Chrome plugin that lets you record, edit, and share videos to generate leads and engage with your customers.
This tool makes it easy to record videos from your webcam or screen, and then customize, share, and track their performance with deep analytics. You can use the in-video tools to highlight key features, focus on important details, and more.
Plus, customize the video player and landing page with your brand colors and logo. Gate your content with a form and add compelling CTA buttons and banners to get more qualified leads.
Track video performance and key metrics in the analytics dashboard and use heat maps to identify qualified leads without all the noise.
Best Remote Team Tools for Startup Success
So, there we have it – our very own list of remote team tools. This toolkit is the foundation of collaboration and productivity for our team, and it’s been indispensable when it comes to bridging the gap between onsite and remote employees. To sum up the tools we’ve talked about today:
- Slack: Facilitator of seamless remote communication
- Zoom: Excellent tool for long-distance conferencing and collaborative screen sharing
- Remo: Powerful digital conference tool for digital events, presentations, round tables, and networking
- Meetfox: All-in-one meeting tool with scheduling, video conferencing, and invoice management
- Zapier: Everything you need to create well-oiled automations between your everyday work apps
- Process Street: Makes recurring work fun, fast, and faultless for teams everywhere
- Google Drive: The rock-solid file storage solution for all remote teams
- Icedrive: Zero-knowledge encryption cloud storage tool to easily access and share files anywhere
- 1Password: Essential security tool for efficient and reliable remote collaboration and password management
- Airtable: Deep, intuitive spreadsheet-database hybrid for next-level project management
- Stackby: All you need to create a company-specific work management platform
- Loom: Straight-to-the-point screen capture and sharing for effortless remote communication where it counts
- Clapboard: Easy-to-use screen recording tool that lets you track video performance and metrics seamlessly
Welcome to the future of teamwork and happy remote working!