The Best Tools For Remote Teams [2020 List]

By Emiliana Martinez

If your team telecommutes/has offices in different cities or has been thinking about making this leap, you're not alone! Finding the right remote work stack can be difficult; there are so many options out there now.

The right tools are more important than ever as 87% of remote workers feel more connected than in-office workers through technological tools (Remote.co, 2018).

To help you navigate the many tools for remote teams, we’ve created the ultimate list of softwares for remote/distributed teams. Dig in, and we hope you find a useful tool that fits your remote company's needs.

To make this read as easy as possible for you, we provided a brief list of tools sectioned out by their appropriate purpose, and went in to more depth-below.

The different categories for tools are: 

Video Conferencing:

  • Zoom
  • Join.me

Communication:

  • Slack
  • Front
  • Flock
  • Friday
  • Soapbox

Project Management:

  • Asana
  • Scoro
  • Basecamp
  • Smartsheet
  • ProofHub

Document Storage & Collaboration:

  • Box
  • Dropbox
  • GitHub Wiki
  • Tettra
  • Trello
  • Miro

Productivity:

  • Microsoft To Do
  • Figure it Out (Chrome extension) 
  • I Done This
  • Every Time Zone
  • Float

Development & Design: 

  • Invision
  • Jira Software
  • Skitch
  • CodePen

Employee Happiness/Engagement:

  • Compt
  • CultureHQ
  • Chimp or Champ
  • 15Five
  • Kudoboard
  • Donut

Password Storage: 

  • 1Password

Miscellaneous: 

  • Google Suite
  • Zapier
  • TeamViewer
  • Timely
  • Everhour
  • Office 365

Video Conferencing 

Zoom 

What is it? Why people like it.

Zoom is a video conferencing platform. Within a remote team, keeping communication alive is of utmost importance. Through video conferencing, you can actually see your coworkers’ reactions to what you’re saying and even have small talk. Features include screen sharing, meeting rooms where large numbers of people can join a meeting room, scheduling video calls ahead of time, accessing own private meeting room code, and the chat function.

Recommended by HR Pros like:

  • Leah KnoblerLiz VanZandtAllison SproulCathy Atkins
  • Remington Begg who said it's an "absolute must for distributed teams . . . It's a constant reminder that the person on the other side is a human too :-)"
  • Lexi Kantor who said "we add a Zoom video option for every company-wide meeting so that our remote friends can join (even for our weekly lunch programming!)."

Join.me

What is it? Why people like it.

Join.me is another video conferencing platform where you can host or join a meeting. It allows you to customize your meeting link and meeting background. It also has one-click screen sharing and better audio. 


Communication:

Slack

What is it? Why people like it.

Slack is a communication platform that blends personal and professional conversations into one area. Use it to continue building trust through communication within your team. You can have different channels. This can be helpful for different teams (random, engineering, marketing, leadership, etc.) and different types of communication (general, random, promotion, for a specific meeting, etc.) Different channels make it easy to know where to look for that important information someone sent.

Recommended by HR Pros like:

  • Allison Sproul who said "It allows for file sharing, messaging, calls, everything. We'd be pretty lost without it." 
  • Remington Begg who said "That over the shoulder banter and chat is a big part of office culture, slack allows for anyone in the organization to be accessible #UseWithCare"
  • Leah Knobler who said "Slack is definitely our bread and butter!"
  • Lexi Kantor who said "we have a #unsolicitedbabypics channel where everyone can post pictures of their kids, and also use a slack extension called Donut, which sets people up on random 'coffee' dates every 2 weeks!"
  • Amy Spurling who said "it enables communication across teams in a way that I haven't experienced with any other software."

Front

What is it? Why people like it.

Front is the first inbox for teams where you can organize all your conversations, route them to the right people, and be more productive within your team. This ensures that teams stay in the loop, everyone that needs visibility to a conversation has it, and nothing is replied to twice/missed. 

Recommended by HR Pro:

Liz VanZandt who said it allows them to "speak quickly and eliminate the need for internal emails (HUGE plus)."

Flock

What is it? Why people like it.

Flock is an all-in-one messaging and collaboration tool built especially for small businesses. It enables teams to send messages, share files, video-conference, manage tasks, and centralize access to a variety of tools and services used in the workplace. This makes it easy for teams to get work done and strengthen their culture, regardless of their location.

Friday

What is it? Why people like it.  

Friday is a communication resource that helps teams create structure around how they communicate by improving transparency, reducing workplace chaos, and creating effective work processes. You can pick from different templates to get the one that best supports your team's needs. 

Soapbox

What is it? Why people like it.  

Soapbox is a shared one-on-one and team meeting agenda app that's used by remote teams at companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Gitlab. When meetings are the only face-time that remote employees have, it's important that they're productive. With Soapbox, teams are able to create online agendas, take meeting notes, collect feedback, and assign next steps all in one place. Other great features include suggested questions that help promote meaningful discussions, conversational analytics that help managers balance the conversations they're having with their team, and an extensive agenda template library.



Project Management:

Asana

What is it? Why people like it.  

A cloud-based project management software used to break down projects into specific tasks and assign them to your team members.

Scoro

What is it? Why people like it.

Scoro has a little bit of everything. For project management, there are tools to help you manage everything about a project, allocate billable and non-billable work, create budgets, and manage your project portfolio. For work scheduling and tracking, you can schedule work and assign tasks, schedule meetings, and get a complete overview of your team’s time. For financial management, you can automate late invoice reminders, compare budget scenarios, and set multi-currency custom rates. And there are other features for CRM and quoting, and reporting and dashboard. 

Basecamp

What is it? Why people like it. 

Basecamp is where you can create projects and invite everyone that is involved in it. You can use it for task management, messaging & collaboration, file sharing, scheduling, and reporting. Need to find something quickly? Good thing Bascamp has a universal search function so that you can easily retrieve anything you have stored in its system. 

Recommended by HR Pro:

Cathy Atkins

Smartsheet

What is it? Why people like it. 

Smartsheet is a software as a service offering for collaboration and work management. It is used to assign tasks, track project progress, manage calendars, share documents, and manage other work, using a tabular user interface.

ProofHub

What is it? Why people like it. 

ProofHub is the one tool you need to fix all your project management and collaboration problems. Need to have a team meeting? You can have real-time discussions using it. Want to ask something from a team member? There's an in-built chat app. You can share files, review, proof and approve them to make collaboration seamlessly easy. And, there’s an in-built timer with timesheets for time tracking. 


Document Storage & Collaboration: 

Box

What is it? Why people like it. 

This is the one platform you need for secure content management, workflow, and collaboration. Box has Cloud Content Management which accelerates your business processes, increases employee productivity, and protect your most valuable information.

Dropbox

What is it? Why people like it. 

The most well-known platform for file storage and sharing with the whole team. Get your team’s ideas with Dropbox Paper, convert your file into a beautifully packaged page with Dropbox Showcase, simplify team management, and more.

Recommended by HR pro:

Leah Knobler uses Dropbox Paper for "a lot of collaborative work." 

GitHub Wiki

What is it? Why people like it.

GitHub allows you to host and review code, manage projects, and build software. It includes “Wiki” which is where you can host in-depth content and documentation. You can share this with your teammates and they can edit with you. It’s a key to organization!

Tettra

What is it? Why people like it.  

Tettra is there to help you document important processes, policies, and procedures which makes onboarding new teammates faster and answering questions less repetitive. 

Recommended by HR Pro:

Remington Begg who said "Documentation is Important, but 10x more important when people aren't an ear-shot away - Document anything that is more than 3 steps."

Trello

What is it? Why people like it. 

Trello helps teams with collaboration and productivity. It does this through its boards, lists, and cards which enable teams to organize and prioritize their projects. 

Miro

What is it? Why people like it.

Miro is an online whiteboarding tool. It's excellent for thinking and collaborating visually with your remote employees. We use it regularly when we're looking to brainstorm with sticky notes, but are remote.


Productivity: 

Microsoft To Do 

What is it? Why people like it.

Microsoft To Do is a smart daily planner with cross-platform syncing so you can access it where you are. What sets it aside is its ability to give suggestions of tasks based on what’s most important to you every day. This can also be built to continue building trust within your remote team by sharing personal and professional to-do lists and reminders

Figure it Out (Chrome extension)

What is it? Why people like it. 

Figure it Out, or FIO, makes your team more productive by adding up to ten time zones to your ‘new tab’ screen. This makes it easy to schedule meetings, connect with family, and beat jetlag. 


I Done This

What is it? Why people like it.

I Done This allows for daily status updates; staying up to date on what’s done, a goal, or blocked; robust reports, and assists with management.

Every Time Zone

What is it? Why people like it.

Every Time Zone was made to keep telecommuting easy. They say “Time zones are a nightmare. Remote work doesn’t have to be.” It allows you to customize your timeline, share your events, make time zones personal, effortlessly pick meeting times, connect your team, and track your contacts. 

Float

What is it? Why people like it. 

Float lets you plan your projects and schedule team’s time all in one platform. With the resource planner you can help save your team time and keep projects on track. It also comes with integrations to some of your other favorite apps like Slack, Google Calendar, Zapier, etc. 


Development and Design:

InVision 

What is it? Why people like it.

InVision is a digital product platform is made for user experiences. You can create interactive prototypes, gather feedback on them, and explore your team’s best ideas on a digital whiteboard. Invision empowers smarter design so you can go to market faster. And the whole team is remote, what better product for a remote/distributed team than one where the employees are remote themselves? They live and use their tool in the same way your team could.  

Jira Software

What is it? Why people like it.

Jira is a software development tool used by agile teams for its roadmaps, new boards, and easy configuration. Jira is made to help every member of your team plan, track, and release, and report great software.  

Skitch

What is it? Why people like it. 

Skitch is an app by EvernoteGives that allows teams to annotate, shape, and sketch ideas faster. It works between devices.


CodePen

What is it? Why people like it. 

CodePen is a social development environment for front-end designers and developers to build, test, and discover code. It allows the user to show off their work, build test cases, learn and debug, and find inspiration. 


Employee Happiness/Engagement: 

Compt

What is it? Why people like it. 

Compt is a must have to retain top talent and keep them happy. With Compt, you can give your employees (remote or not) the power to each pick the perks that fit them. This empowers your employees to grow in whatever way they want, and makes you look like a superpower for giving them so much independence. 

Compt made it possible for Webflow to support their remote team (~70% of the company) by offering a remote employee stipend. Learn how to equally support your remote team using Lifestyle Spending Accounts in Compt

Recommended by HR Pro:

Cathy Atkins

CultureHQ

What is it? Why people like it. 

CultureHQ is a platform built to strengthen your team's connection through the use of people's interests, skills, and expertise. This allows team members to know valuable information to know who to connect with in order to build an inclusive culture so everyone can reach their fullest potential. 

Chimp or Champ

What is it? Why people like it. 

Chimp or Champ helps you increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention, all while getting better results of how happy your team is. This is a weekly anonymous employee happiness meter so you can check how your team are is doing.

15Five

What is it? Why people like it.

The goal of 15Five is to help teams boost employee performance every week through continuous performance management. It does this by aligning a team’s OKRs, having weekly check-ins, coaching employees through 1-on-1s, recognizing employees, and reviewing employees to help them grow.

Recommended by HR Pro:

Remington Begg who said "Getting temp-checks with everyone is super important, especially when passive management is harder when you're not around someone. It's an integral part of our employee communication."

Kudoboard

What is it? Why people like it.

Kudoboard is an exciting and innovative way to celebrate your team members with meaningful messages. To get started you simply create a Kudoboard for someone, invite others to add content (gifs, messages, videos, and photos) to the board, and then share it with them. The fun part is that you can send it virtually, print it out as a poster, or create a slideshow out of it.

Donut

What is it? Why people like it.

With Donut, you can set up randomized connections between colleagues every few weeks. This is a great way to introduce people who might never have the chance to connect otherwise. 



Password Storage: 

1Password

What is it? Why people like it. 

Having a remote team is enough work on your brain, don’t try to force yourself to remember all your passwords! With 1Password you can easily save and log in to a site with just one click. By sharing the master password to your team’s 1Password account, all employees (remote, distributed, or neither) can have access to all appropriate accounts. 


Miscellaneous

Google Suite

What is it? Why people like it. 

Google Suite is a culmination of different Google products that are designed to make your work life easier. You can edit documents and spreadsheets with anyone in your team (or outside of it) in real-time, leave comments, tag people when action is needed, and even store important documents in shared folders. This allows for a consistent, accessible, organized, and streamlined communication with varying levels of access (view, comment, edit). Features include Gmail, Calendar, Currents, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites, App Maker, Keep, Jamboard, Drive, and Cloud Search.

Zapier

What is it? Why people like it. 

With 4.5 million people and companies using Zapier it’s easy to say it’s a crowd favorite. Zapier helps you integrate the web applications you love and use. It can connect more than 1,000 web apps, automates repetitive tasks in the background, and moves information between your apps automatically. Zapier also has a tips and advice section full of helpful guides. We recommend The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work if you want more helpful information.

TeamViewer

What is it? Why people like it. 

TeamViewer is the perfect solution for secure remote access and support. This tool allows you to remotely access, manage, and support computers phones and more from anywhere and anytime. This gives you a centralized IT service management and fast remote support. 

Timely 

What is it? Why people like it. 

Timely is the perfect tool for time tracking. You don’t ever need to worry about manually filling in a timesheet again. Timely’s artificial intelligence creates a timesheet for you automatically by tracking and categorizing all work activity from multiple sources. It also helps run profitable projects with its dashboards and reporting. Know everything your team is working on in just one place. 

Everhour 

What is it? Why people like it. 

Everhour is a time tracking software for teams for project management, invoicing, or payroll. It works inside Asana, Trello, Jira, Basecamp, and Github (all mentioned in this guide). You can set flexible rates, invite anyone to track time, and have easy to use online timesheets. 

Office 365

What is it? Why people like it.

Office 365 includes Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and more. All these tools are there to make your busy life organized. With the subscription, all your tools will stay up-to-date and can be used on multiple devices.


Whew, that was a lot! But you made it to the other side much better informed of the many options you have. These tools have the potential to take your remote/distributed team to the next level. Through constant communication, efficient project management, safe cloud storage, and team-wide collaboration you can help your team reach their fullest potential!


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