For the longest time, most employers around the world were not much into remote working, and it would appear that we all had to go to the office to get work done, but with technological changes and COVID-19 pandemic forcing the rest of the world into self-isolation and quarantine, most of us have now been forced to work from home, and the interesting bit is that we have to make it work, somehow.
While the pace with which we work has changed quite a bit, with employees and employer adapting to new schedules, home offices, and working from home (WFH) being the only alternative we are working with, it only makes sense to look for and invest in some of the best remote working tools.
The remote working tools reviewed above are not ideal for use during the pandemic, but they will also come in handy when all this is over, and the bosses finally realize that work can still be done effectively without being physically present in the office.
But COVID-19 isn’t the only reason why you might want to find tools for working from home; most employees prefer working from home, with or without the pandemic, as they report a higher level of productivity working remotely.
And the numbers support this as well, with reports showing that as much as 75% of remote workers noting they are significantly more productive working remotely because they have fewer distractions away from the office, while a whopping 74% note that they prefer working remotely because there are fewer interruptions from their colleagues when they work remotely.
And on top of this, there also are 73% of employees who prefer the remote working arrangement because working out of the standard working hours means that they are more productive.
On top of all that, there is the fact that 40% of employees would be willing to take on more a bigger workload if they had more working flexibility, and as much as 18% of these individuals would take a pay cut for the flexibility. So, which are the best software application for working remotely?
Best Tools for Working Remotely
Before we explore your options, you need to keep in mind that some of the best remote working software applications are designed to allow people to work easily remotely, regardless of the worker’s location.
The software comes with communication, as well as networking systems thanks to the incorporation of messaging, video chat, cloud storage, project management systems, as well as remote team management systems.
These applications also come with several integrations that facilitate remote cooperation, as well as easy onboarding for new employees, allowing for seamless running of the software and work operations.
Top 10 Tools for Working Remotely
Slack is, without a doubt, one of the best team communication apps in the remote working space, and it’s used widely by teams working remotely. It’s common with Buffer, Zapier, as well as Help Scout, with these companies regarding Slack as their go-to virtual office.
Top reason for its popularity is that Slack runs as a place where employees communicate from to get instant feedback on the progress of projects, while also connecting with each other, both in one-on-one and also in groups.
Some of the features of this communication app include the fact that you can install a number of apps in Slack automatically, allowing you to report on different business activities such as the addition of new email subscribers, product reviews, as well as bots to keep employees engaged.
And for most companies, Slack is often used to communicate important updates, and it’s particularly important for creative processes communication processes, as well as the facilitation of different design critiques.
So, if you are looking for a collaboration hub, a tool that works as a place for you and your teams to stay in touch, and on top of projects communiques, the Slack could be the best remote working software for you to explore.
Some of the functions that you will enjoy working from Slack include video calling, integrations, as well as file sharing, all thanks to integrations such as Jira and Google Calendar.
And if you run an online business or offer a course, your teams would be able to work better, and your communities grow stronger and communicate with ease thanks to Slack.
You might also like Slack because it’s a free plan that allows businesses of all sizes to run smoothly.
If you are looking for remote working tools for holding meetings and presentations, Zoom would be a great option for you. It comes with a free plan, and Zoom is easily one of the best remote tools for teleconferencing.
Zoom is quite powerful, and it’s easy to use and get started with. In addition to the standard video conferencing function, zoom allows for team presentations, and it also comes with other functions like video recording, real-time chats, calendar integrations, screen sharing, and you could also use its touch-ups and virtual background functions.
Like Slack, Zoom turns out to be one of the best virtual/ e-learning online solutions since students and teachers/ tutors can all be logged in at the same time and have full-on interactions.
Zoom allows students to interact with other students and also their instructors, and you could also host live group sessions, as well as one-on-one video sessions.
The best bit is that teams can work together, and you’d receive feedback on your discussions, and its interactive design is the reason why Zoom is on top of our list.
The other reason why Zoom comes highly recommended for remote working is that it offers HD-quality video and audio, you can share your screens, and you would also let people join in on meetings in real-time.
And you might also like how easy it is for teams to communicate without interrupting the main person speaking. So, if you have a question or a comment that you need the rest of the team to know about without causing any interruption, all you need to do is to type out whatever you need to on the chat feature, and the rest of the team will see.
The other features offered by Zoom include the option to join the meeting as a view-only attendee, the gallery and the full-screen view, the annotation and the co-annotation functionalities, secure built-in options like password protection, instant and scheduled meeting setups, as well as toll-free options in multiple countries.
Whereby is the other video conferencing tool, and it’s one of the best options, especially if you are looking for a flexible tool that works from your browser.
Whereby is easy to use, it needs no guest logins or downloads, and the best bit is that you can use it to hold board meetings right from the comfort of your sofa or bed.
Whereby also makes one of the best video conferencing tools as it allows screen sharing for team projects and for the resolution of issues, questions, coming up with work ideas, and you could also use it to pitch ideas to clients.
On top of that, Whereby allows you to record your meetings then share with colleagues that didn’t attend the meeting. You might also enjoy using Whereby because it allows you to join in and be part of meetings and important communique right from your phone, thanks to the IOS app. It comes with the free and the Pro versions.
Jira is one of the best tools for project management, and it allows you and your teams/ colleagues to stay on top of your to-do lists while also managing the tasks allocated to your team, even as it coordinates responsibilities of employees working remotely.
It is an elegant productivity tool as well, and as a project management platform that has been designed especially for agile development, it comes in handy when it comes to planning, tracking, as well as the review of work performance and progress on a daily/ weekly, and also on project basis.
Developed by Atlassian, an Australian company, Jira works well in techy and non-technical environments, though it’s best uses are found in the tech world where you will learn and use this tool for bug tracking, project management, and issue tracking.
Jira also makes to our list of the best project management tools for remote working because of its transparency which allows you to track project and team’s progress and even make adjustments to your estimate while staying on top of things meaning that you won’t have to worry about asking your colleagues and team leaders about the progress of the project.
Jira also enhances the communication processes as it allows project managers to assign job tickets to team members, and the assigned person will receive a notification via email.
And thanks to all the technical features that Jira possesses, you can comfortably use this tool in technical and development support teams, and that means a high level of work efficiency. You can also access multiple out-of-box reports, all in real-time, along with complete, actionable insights on team performance.
Like Trello, Jira makes use of flexible Kanban boards, which will give your teams full visibility over the project’s deliverables, hence maximum output with minimal cycle times. It, therefore, works great in development pipelines.
Also developed by Atlassian is Trello, which is a simple and intuitive project management tool that allows you to easily visualize and map out exactly what you and your team need/ or are working on.
Trello is a free app, and it comes with a range of important features designed to enhance its functionality.
Some of Trello’s features include the drag-and-drop functionality, collaboration of remote teams through the cloud, assigning of tasks and due dates, as well as the addition of comments on the project’s progress, and also color-coded boards for teams to know what they need to work on.
Trello integrates with third-party apps easily, meaning that you will be able to get more done, and you might also like this function because you can sync all your Trello boards across a number of devices, hence easy and instant access from wherever you will be.
Its functionality is further enhanced by the file upload options, as well as the option of adding more people to your boards at different steps of the project, hence better chances of success and meeting deadlines in time. Thanks to all its functions, you would be able to get through your projects without ever stepping into an office.
Yet another project management tool, Asana, comes with a wide range of important features that will make your remote working experience a lot easier.
Some of the features that you might enjoy while working with Asana include the multiple view options available for projects.
These view options include Boards view which allows for easy visualization of project progress, the same way as Trello, then you also have the List view that will list all the tasks that are to be completed per project, the Timeline view which allows you to easily illustrate the relationships between different tasks, and finally, you have the calendar view in which all the project’s tasks are overlaid simply into the traditional calendar.
So, in as much as Asana is not very easy to use, especially when compared with Trello, it comes with more advanced features that promise to enhance the performance of your teams.
Asana also offers a number of project templates for different departments. Some of the standard workflows mapped out by this app include workflow templates for IT, HR, marketing, Admin, and all other departments.
Thanks to these workflows, you will be able to easily input different details and bits of information relating to the projects you are assigned. The workflows ensure a systematic flow of work. And if you a new professional in the project management world, you will appreciate the function and the overall effectiveness of Asana.
7. WP Forms
For the longest time, we were made to believe that HR jobs cannot be fulfilled remotely, but it turns out that this is not entirely true, especially if you have the best HR tools for remote working.
One of these tools is WP Forms, and you might appreciate its effectiveness, especially if you are planning to hire remote workers for your teams. WP Forms will make it easier for your remote team’s performance analysis, as it looks and runs beyond the entire hiring process.
Some of the functions that you would be able to get through easily using WP Forms include the creation of simple contact forms, display of polls and surveys to your customers for the purpose of attaining testimonials and for details on new product ideas, and you could also use it to create forms for collecting donations for your organization.
Your HR functions would also be enhanced by this tool because it allows your teams to upload different files for the open projects.
The other roles and functions of WP Forms apply to other departments, including marketing and IT, and this WordPress Form Builder plugin will allow for the streamlined efforts in email marketing, for example, with the use of tools for email marketing like Campaign Monitor, MailChimp or Aweber.
The other functions of WP Forms include the collection of signatures for important employee documents, the management of order entries from your website’s backend, accepting payments from your customers from PayPal or Stripe, and finally, your PR team will benefit from this tool because WP Forms will also allow your teams to submit their blog posts which will then be used on your blogs and other platforms.
8. Time Doctor
Productivity is the epitome of remote working, but even then, you need to make sure that you have something to help you stay on top of things, especially if you feel demotivated.
Time Doctor is one of the best tools for productivity, especially in a remote working environment. It is a time-tracking software that works well for individuals and teams, and it promises to help you reduce and avoid time wastage.
Some of its features include the time tracking function, which allows remote teams to create tasks, work on them, and show the amount of time they have been working on said projects.
You could also use the Time Doctor to keep track of team attendance and to keep track of the time when the members of the team started and ended their workday.
It also features screenshots that allow users to be more accountable for their time, and in a way, it gives you the same disciplined business feel that you’d get working from an office setting.
The other reasons why you might like the Time Doctor include the fact that you can use it to monitor web usage, which means that you can track the use of distracting sites.
Time Doctor is also an invaluable payroll tool as it allows for easy management of employee timesheets and payments. It also offers reminders that will help you stay on track and on top of things, not to mention its reporting system, which will summarize tasks, as well as the time spent on the tasks.
Mondays might be dreadful, but Monday, the team management tool will help in running things more smoothly thanks to its intuitive interface, which is easy to use.
This management tool comes with functions that will allow the powering of teams, allowing for the easy running of processes, projects, and workflows in the digital workspace.
Monday looks like an attractive collection of highly customized spreadsheets with which team members can log into, check and update their tasks with the necessary status reports, and all other relevant types of data.
Thanks to this setup, all members of the team will see which tasks are active, while keeping track of their progress. The best bit is that Monday’s boards are easily customized, and they are easy to use.
The other features that make Monday an ideal tool for teams working remotely include the dashboards which allow you to gain insights into projects with ease, a weekly overview that allows team members to work on multiple projects without any confusions, as well as the option to upload/ share files, giving everyone on the team access to the resources they need.
You can also use Monday to assign tasks, and the best bit is that all team managers get to assign tasks to members based on their location, workload, experience, rating in previously completed tasks, as well as native language.
You also have the notifications tab, which means that no one will miss important updates and notifications, as long as they are logged in. You might also like the Q&A box incorporated into the app, which means that Monday is also one of the best tools for product collaboration.
In the search for the best tools for remote working, you cannot underestimate the importance of file sharing because this is the function, the engine that moves things along.
Whether you need to share presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and all kinds of files, you have to invest in the best file sharing solutions for your teams to work seamlessly.
G Suite is one of the best tools for file sharing. It is one of Google’s impressive suite of business tools that offer the best functions for file sharing.
The suite features important tools like Google Docs, which is a great alternative for cloud-based Microsoft Word, Google Sheets that works as an alternative for Microsoft Excel, as well as Google Slides, which works pretty much like Microsoft PowerPoint.
The last item in the G-Suite is Google Drive, which is a cloud storage app. Together, Google Drive and Google Docs work as great collaborative tools for working remotely.
You might also like this suite because Google Docs allows teams to edit each other’s works, and add comments or even ask questions for idea clarification. Google Drive, on the other hand, is intuitive, and it allows for the sharing of large high-resolution images and videos on the cloud.
These are only some of the best tools for working remotely, but there are numerous options that you could try, for example, Toggl which is a productivity app, CloudApp which is a nifty visual communication app with functions for GIF creation, webcam recording, and image annotation; as well as Zapier which irons out issues like disjointed workflows by ensuring that your tool integrates and work well together. Zapier integrates effortlessly with more than 1,500 tools seamlessly.