Best Remote Working Tools for Remote and Distributed Teams

If you want to expand your company by employing international talents from around the globe, you might also be worrying about how to get together with your co-workers due to geographical constraints. Here is a list of the best solutions to your struggles that could help manage remote workers as if you are working closely together!

Table of Contents

1. Internal communications13. Recruiting candidate testing
2. External communications14. Performance management
3. Project Management15. Employee happiness tracking
4. Design collaboration16. Time tracking
5. Team Building17.  Employee Monitoring
6.White-boarding18. Employee expense card
7. Time Zones19. Meeting transcription
8. Documents, sheets, slides20. Remote meeting scheduler assistant
9. Internal documentation21. Airpod auto-connector
10. Video/screen recording22. Reduce background noise during calls
11. Screenshot/GIF capture23. Deep work focus
12. Process workflow24. Unplugging from work

1. Internal communications

Slack

While communication is always essential to foster teamwork, it is exceptionally important when it comes to remote work. Slack is known to be a hub that serves this function. Bring your company together with Slack where teams can keep colleagues from across the world. You can always find a place to communicate with private channels and direct message here, so that you could work smoothly and efficiently with the help of Slack.

Remo

If you are working remotely, it is inevitable for you to feel a sense of loneliness, especially when you don’t know who to catch up with your work. With Remo, you will feel everything coming into reality, that you will feel like you are working in a real office together with your colleagues. You will know who exactly are talking to each other, so that you won’t bother to disturb them. Instantly interact with a coworker just by entering the same room, then you can enjoy a face-to-face conversation beyond the limits.

2. External communications

Zoom

Image result for zoom desktop app

If you are having an external meeting with your clients and you have no choice but to resort to a virtual meeting, Zoom could give you a better experience. Connect your potential customers, and suppliers with Zoom. Give them a professional image of your company even if you are conducting a meeting at home.

3. Project Management

Trello

Need a task management app? Trello can provide you with a visual overview of what is being worked on and who is working on it, so you can better manage all your pending tasks. The shareable visual Kanban boards allow you to pack all the details, where you ideas are represented as a whiteboard filled with post-it notes. With this system, you can definitely keep your production levels high and maintain flexibility wherever you work.

Asana

To further maximize your project management efficiency, you really need Asana. Project management might seem to be complicated, because you need to initiate, plan ahead and execute your work of the team. If you are managing a remote team but you are still assigning tasks or projects to your team through emails, you are really lagging behind. With Asana, you no longer have to worry about this. It is very user-friendly, that you can manage multiple projects and sub-tasks.

Nifty

Project management has been a complex task, especially for remotely working teams which make the situation even more difficult to handle. Nifty has been trusted by thousands of forward-thinking teams, where team collaboration meets project management. Just use this tool to plan your projects ahead and collaborate with your teammates stakeholders. When you can automate your progress reporting with ease, you will realise how fast and easy it can be to jointly finish a task even you are apart.

4. Design collaboration

Figma

If you find sketching too time-consuming and difficult to share, you should give Figma a try. Figma has a powerful feature set with design, prototype and collaborate all in one browser at every phase, so that you can manage and easily share a consistent visual language your remote team. Let your ideas flow beyond distance with increased efficiency and flexibility today.

Marvel

Another alternative that you can try would definitely be Marvel. Using the Marvel design platform, you can find everything you need to bring ideas to life. You will be given access to all the core functionality you need to build digital products, so that you can generate your design products in one place.

Lingo

If you are doing sketch designs but you just have no idea how to organize them nicely, Lingo might be a good choice. Store all components here because Lingo supports symbols, artboards, layers, text styles and many more. When you can visually organise all your assets in one place with Lingo, you can create and share new designs easily with your remote team.

InVision

What is more convenient than having a stand-alone design presentation app that allows you to create any prototype starting from scratch to finish? InVision can help! You can also share your ideas and designs using the Live Share function, which allows you and your co-workers to collaborate remotely in real-time using an in-browser screen share. Each person has their own mouse, so you can point and see what other collaborators are talking about. Just let your prototypes collaboratively come into reality with the help of this app!

5. Team Building

Remo

No man is an island, right? I mean, you can work individually, but you won’t enjoy it apparently, because it is simply not FUN at all. Remo takes the isolation out of your boring individual work with an amazingly fun platform. Enjoy the flexibility of remote work at the same time interact with your team easily and naturally here. There are also other useful tools for your team to chill and relax, which are pretty essential in building stronger bonds with your colleagues. Working at home but not alone, you could never imagine how powerful it is to feel connected with this fantastic tool!

Togethertube.com

Maintaining a remote team dynamic is hard but TogetherTube can fix that. You can use TogetherTube to watch videos together and have a movie night even when you’re apart. Create a room for your team where you meet after work and watch the latest videos while you chat how your day went. Get rid of the stress of work and enjoy the happy hour online!

Donut.com

If you are working remotely for some time, you will mostly likely feel isolated because you don’t think you have counterparts. This explains why team building is especially important if you want to manage your remote team well. Keep your employees connected, empowered and poised for growth with the help of Donut.com, and let your remote workers engage more in the team with a structured feedback system!

JackBox Games

If you want to add more variety to your remote team building activities, playing online games together would be a good choice for you to think of. JackBox has been releasing collections of easy-to-play party games for you to chill and build your team culture. You might need to draw weird doodles and compete to write the best inside joke. Jackbox Party Packs can take your get-together to the next level, and pull your remote team closer together.

6.White-boarding

Miro (previously Realtimeboard)

If you are managing a remote team, you probably don’t have a chance to enjoy how fast it is for the whole team to sit together and get the project brainstormed. Miro can save you by its most intuitive visual collaboration platform for teams, with a large user base of over 2.5 million worldwide. Use this robust digital whiteboard to brainstorm your ideas and manage a project on a single board with your team. Just create a centralized hub for strategy and planning to ship faster, gather all the information and perfect your work now!

Mural.co

The most struggling part for remote teams would definitely be the constraints on thinking and working collaboratively. Want a platform that allows you to gather all the ideas before implementation? Mural provides you with the essential features which include whiteboarding, annotations, graphings and templates, which help to ease your difficulties in remote collaboration. Taking a more structured approach using Mural during meeting sessions could foster better idea contribution, and try to experience a productivity surge with small changes in your daily practices.

InVision – Freehand

Collaboration can be redefined team-wide with InVision. Freehand in InVision gives you an entirely new way to creatively collaborate your work. From wireframing to planning, from designing presentations to giving feedback, do it all with Freehand. Remote collaboration can never be done so easily with Freehand.

7. Time Zones

Timee.io

If you are working in a culturally diverse team which consists of people from all over the world, it is always easy for you mix up the time zones where your colleagues belong to. This might be a little bit chaotic, especially when you are so bad at counting back and forth the time differences. Timee.io knows your concerns and that’s why this platform provides you with a time scale for easy time comparisons. Create your own time event at Timee.io as a scheduler, make sure the times fit for everyone so that some innocent people won’t have to wake up late at night or early in the morning again!

Happy.tools

When you are working remotely, your office is basically “everywhere”. Trust me, you will need a built-in calendar that covers the work day for your team. by Happy Tools can do this by converting a time-consuming puzzle into an easy-to-access an always updated table. This calendar allows your virtual office to run smoothly, because it can keep hundreds of employees in one view. Make sure you try out this one, and stay happy as you work.

8. Documents, sheets, slides

Airtable

The value of your data increases as you manage them better. Airtable gives you a hundred percent of freedom to arrange your work just the way you like. Changes can be instantly synced across everyone’s devices in real time. Feel free to add whatever contents to its fields, because Airtable can store information in a spreadsheet, so you can stay organized no matter where and when you are working.

GSuite (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawing etc.)

I guess most of you are already familiar with this tool? Google doc is the most user-friendly tool that even students would love to use for their projects. You can easily view, share and edit all the documents jointly with your team, anytime and anywhere whenever you have internet access. The ability to download and email your documents in different formats also gives great convenience, so that work can be collaboratively done regardless of time and distance.

9. Internal documentation

Notion

Have you ever had something to consult but your manager just don’t have the time to entertain you? Have you encountered difficulties digging your information base because you just forgot where you have put them? With the help of Notion, your concerns are no longer big problems.  Notion wants to help you put your company knowledge and properties to good use and keep them all organised. With the Notion’s Knowledge Base, you can create a custom database supporting several types of media that makes it easier to consolidate information into one place. By turning your tribal knowledge into answers that are super easy to find, it really helps your remote team to work more efficiently.

Slite

At the digital age, you really want to put everything online to save a record, especially for remote workers. If your team members miss a meeting because of timezone differences, he will definitely find Slite very useful because you can take meeting notes with this tool so that your team can still collaborate on project smoothly. However, this is still not the main course. Create your company wiki with Slite, so that everyone can obtain centralized information. Use Slite so that you can freely structure your team’s information in channels and discover information with highlights of the latest activity.

Nuclino

If you are working remotely, I bet you must have experienced similar inconvenient situations when you find difficulties keeping yourself updated with what’s going on in the company. Nuclino focuses on internal documentation where teams can collaborate on a project and let everyone share valuable knowledge. Unlike traditional documentation tools that are complex and difficult to learn, Nuclino is a great knowledge base that solves this problem by making it easy and fast for everyone to contribute, so make sure you give it a try.

10. Video/screen recording

Loom

Want to communicate faster, clearer and friendlier? Start using Loom today! This free screen recorder enables you to capture your screen in high quality and resolution, record your front-facing webcam together or separately as you like. Not only can you instantly share your completed video to your audience via Gmail with a simple link, you can also download it to your own computer to store your video as a record. You don’t need to bother switching apps or uploading the videos yourself, just create a pre-recorded video innovatively at home and start to communicate with your prospects and clients!

Quicktime Player (Mac)

In case you still don’t know, QuickTime is actually an extensible multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc. that has been set as one of the default Mac apps. Other than opening and playing a video file, you can also make a video recording of your screen and upload it to various social medias using Quicktime Player on Mac just with a few simple steps. Demonstrate your work with this tool today and save more time communicating remotely.

11. Screenshot/GIF capture

CloudApp

You always want to demonstrate what you are doing on your desktop and share it to your remote team. CloudApp can do this by bringing screen recording, screenshots, and GIF creation to the cloud. The app is super user-friendly yet at a professional enterprise level. Just capture and share with a few buttons, now you can accelerate your workflow.

Droplr

Sometimes it is pretty hard to explain and report your work without a visual facilitation, which makes you hesitate from recruiting a remote worker. With Droplr, you don’t need to write long emails anymore. Just simply show the complicated processes using screencasts and easily transfer your captures with customized short links. Explain your thoughts visually to enrich your messages and give clearer feedback to your team and your clients.

12. Process workflow

Process Street

We know that time is money, and that’s why we have been striving hard to make sure that we are catching up with the world trends. In terms of how to steal more time from recurring work, Process Street can help manage your team’s checklists and procedures. You would always want to manage your tasks at their best, so why not trying Process Street? Start by creating your own process template, followed by running multiple instances of the template as checklists. This helps to track the progress of your remote team and make sure that everyone is in the right direction.

13. Recruiting candidate testing

Hundred5

Screenshot from the Hundred5 application

Want to grow and expand your team? Use Hundred5 to help you screen the best candidates! Sometimes you might need the right people to start off their work right away, and don’t want to waste too much time on the selection process. You might not want to ask an international candidate to fly across continents just for an interview, especially when you are planning to recruit remote workers. Hundred5 can pre-qualify candidates by using filters in the job application process. Candidates need to take a short test to show that they have the skills to do the job, so the recruitment process can go as efficient as it can be by automating the most tedious parts. Not only can you speed up your recruitment process, candidates can also enjoy a better application experience.

14. Performance management

Lattice

To better manage a team of remote workers, performance trackers are extremely important to keep everyone on the same page even though they are not working physically together. Lattice provides companies and employees with a continuous performance management system. By a mature and systematic reviewing and feedbacking system, you can celebrate wins and overcome challenges together with your team.

15. Employee happiness tracking

Officevibe

If you want to keep track on your remote workers’ happiness level regularly even when they are not working around you, you need to get Officevibe. This employee engagement software is exclusively personalized for your team with great autonomy, then your workers now have the opportunity to speak their minds honestly in the way they prefer. Although you guys are working remotely, it is always possible to create a strong workplace culture to unlock all the potentials with Officevibe. Engage every employee and empower every team leader. Together Everyone Achieves More, that’s what makes a strong team.

Culture Amp

You want to make sure that your remote workers are happy, so that they are more motivated to work and contribute for better results. Culture Amp helps you to build diagnostic, deep dive and pulse surveys with powerful analytics by guiding you to ask your employees the right question. Only by taking small steps with this tool, you can already create a better working experience for your remote workers by knowing how to let them better engage in the team.  

16. Time tracking

Hubstaff

Many companies discover that as their business grows, keeping track of an employee’s progress on a regular basis becomes a more difficult task, especially for remote teams. This can lead to a decline in performance as remote reworkers eventually lose motivation at work without companions. To avoid this from happening, use Hubstaff as a time tracking solution. No longer hindered by the inability to monitor your remote teams on the spot, you can gain a better understanding of the moving parts inside your company.

Toggl

You may usually need to put in extra effort in managing your workers remotely to make sure that they finish their job duties efficiently, and that’s what makes communication and performance tracking more difficult than companies working together in a real office. Toggl can help you understand more about how much your time is worth by breaking down your time by projects, and tasks. In this case, you can focus more on the planning and better utilise your time. Manage your time better with Toggl and start to turn your team on productivity today!

Timedoctor

If you want to improve productivity of your remote team, you must first want to know how much time you have spent on working and how much time you have wasted. Time Doctor helps you to identify your inefficiencies. Each employee will install this application onto their computers, and the time tracked will be sent to your servers, so you will know exactly which task has occupied your team the most time. With Timedoctor, anyone can become a great doctor that cures the core of your team with its time tracking and employee monitoring functions.

17. Employee Monitoring

Desktime

In case you still don’t know the difference between time tracking and employee monitoring tools, make sure you are clear about this after today so that you can get the best solutions for your team. Time tracking tools will record down the time start and stop when your employee is working, but monitoring tools will track the computer continuously once you have installed them. Use Desktime if you want to do automatic time tracking. Monitor your remote workers’ daily activity, sick leaves, vacations and overtime with ease, and get a clear overview of your team’s workflow. Make sure your team is still highly driven even when you are not around.

Workpuls

An alternative to Desktime would be Workpuls. If you are managing a team of remote workers, you really want to visualize team productivity to make sure that time is well spent. Workpuls is an all-in-one application that streamlines everyday operations continuously, so that you can manage your team productivity better. What’s the point of tracking every instance of your employee? Real-time employee monitoring can tell you exactly how your remote workers with powerful data for a more efficient team. You can also take these data as a reference for having coaching and feedback sessions.

18. Employee expense card

Neat.hk

It is difficult to manage your employees’ expenses, especially when they are working remotely. Neat is a Hong Kong based company solving this problem. By providing debit Mastercards that can be used globally for both online and offline spending, your employees can send and receive money worldwide, making transfers locally or internationally. When you compare Neat to traditional banks, the former is definitely a faster, easier and cheaper solution.

19. Meeting transcription

Voicea

If your team members are coming from around the world, you will always find coming up with a time that everyone is available for a meeting super difficult. Use Voicea as a meeting transcript solution. It is a voice collaboration platform powered by an Enterprise Voice Assistant, which is an AI that captures highlights and create actionable recaps in meetings. With this assistant on conference lines or on calls, so that you can focus more on the conversation of the meeting.

Fireflies

With Fireflies, you can record, transcribe and search for content all in one place. Even if you are not available to make it to the meeting, you can still catch up as if you have never missed anything. Read the transcript and listen to the call in the Fireflies dashboard. I know your time is precious, especially for remote teams when time and communication are the real key. Fireflies also knows you well too, that’s why you can jump around time stamps and use smart search to review a long call in just a few minutes.

20. Remote meeting scheduler assistant

X.ai

If you are managing a remote team, you wouldn’t have the chance to sit together with your people and decide on the meeting schedules. It is always better if there is a tool that solves the hassle of scheduling meetings and appointments, so why not using X.ai today? The maturely developed AI Engine has the ability to do a lot of hyper intelligent reasoning that learns exactly when, where and how long you would like to meet the team.

Meetingbird

If you are looking for a remote meeting scheduler assistant, Meetingbird may be a good solution. It provides you with a simple interface and powerful integrations which make scheduling meetings a lot easier. Also with its robust preferences, you can customize meeting times, locations and time zones without paying a single effort. Save more time with this scheduling platform and let your team grow as you wish.

21. Airpod auto-connector (requested by our resident Airpod-expert)

Airbar

If you are as sophisticated as our resident Airpod-expert, connecting to your airpod with one click of a button might be something you care about. Just use Airbar! Available for Windows 10 notebooks and Macbook Air notebooks.

22. Reduce background noise during calls

Krisp

If you are working with a remote team, video meeting is probably the thing you always need to exchange ideas. Sometimes the background noise during calls will always annoy you, how about considering Krisp as your solution? Switch on Krisp to remove all background noise from your side, so that you can speak and listen without any distractions.

23. Motivation, focus and deep work

Forest

You probably have encountered the difficulty to stay focused when you are working remotely at home but not in an office, because the comfortable and stressless environment just make you hard to focus. Try Forest so you can put down your phone and focus in any scenario! Whenever you want to focus, plant a tree yourself or collaboratively with your team. The tree will grow as you focus and die as you want to play with your phone.

Tomighty

When you are with your phone, you just have too many temptations that can distract you from work. In this case, you need Tomighty to help you maintain the self-discipline, especially for remote workers who will really find this useful. Utilizing the pomodoro technique, which breaks your work into 25 minute increments, provides a very simple and effective time management on desktop that helps you stay focused on tasks that require high concentration.

24. Unplugging from work

Flipd

It might be a serious problem to work remotely, because you are having your working station and your personal space combined. Therefore, you need someone to tell you when to disconnect from work and strike and work-life balance. Use Flipd to help you stay focused, at the same time you can also turn yourself off with this app and go do something else other than work.

Headspace

If you are always busy, you might even forget to unplug yourself from work. Work can be exhausting, and you definitely need some meditation and rest to recover from a whole day of work. In Headspace, there are hundreds of themed sessions to deal with stress, sleep and anxiety. Try bite-sized guided meditations that totally fit your busy schedules, and enjoy some quality time alone.

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