Whether you’re managing a remote workforce or lead a distributed team in a hybrid workplace, using the right tools and apps will help you keep your entire team on the same page and ensure that your work gets done – regardless of where your team members are located.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite remote working tools that are designed to improve training, communication, collaboration, employee development, and productivity for remote workforces.
What are the best tools for managing remote teams?
- Microsoft Teams
Best Tools for Training Remote Employees
Online remote work tools for training need to be equally engaging and effective. Just because you can’t be in the same room as your employee doesn’t mean the training has to be any less useful.
With robust remote work tools, you can provide learning opportunities that help employees master new tools and improve the skills they already have, taking you many steps closer to making your work from home initiative a success.
Although the Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) would also fit into the “productivity” category of tools for remote teams, its main purpose falls under employee training and productivity. Whatfix’s DAP provides users with in-app guidance and self-help FAQs, allowing them to learn in the flow of work.
Whether you’re onboarding users to new software or helping employees level up their skills on an application, Whatfix empowers employees to get the contextual guidance they need at just the right moment. While using the application, users will view pop-ups that walk them through how to complete specific tasks within a tool.
Key Features of Whatfix:
- Automatic task progress monitoring
- In-app knowledge bases
- Popup notifications and beacons
- Contextual guidance
- Interactive walkthroughs
Eduflow allows you to build workflows that guide users through learning a new tool or concept. You can design your own course from scratch or use one of their templates, like their course on onboarding new employees.
Eduflow also allows you to break down training into smaller modules, giving the user milestones along the way. For example, the “Onboarding: New Hire Training and Orientation” course is broken down into sections like “Becoming a part of the team” and “Getting to know our products” which are further broken down into tasks such as “Meet the team,” “Upload your photo,” and “Record a welcome video.”
Key Feature of Eduflow:
- Ask for user feedback – This feature encourages your teammates to provide feedback on the training they just completed so you can continue improving your courses.
Video is a powerful online training tool, but not everyone has the time or budget to film their own from scratch. With Vyond’s online video training software, you can easily create animated videos without any coding or illustration experience. Plus, Vyond for Enterprise is specifically designed to manage data privacy and information security and is ISO 27001 certified, GDPR and CCPA compliant, and Privacy Shield verified.
Key Feature of Vyond:
- Free template library – Vyond has a large collection of templates that give you a head start on your video. You can either browse the selection or filter by job role, category, and/or style.
Best Communication Tools for Remote Teams
Whether you need to schedule a team-wide meeting or chat with someone one-on-one, there are several remote work tools that keep team members connected, ensure you keep every colleague in the loop and foster team building in your organization.
While there are a multitude of video conferencing tools available, Zoom is the tool of choice for many enterprise organizations due to its scalability. Companies can begin with free accounts (which still allow 40-minute, recordable meetings) and work their way to a plan that allows up to 1,000 video participants and 10,000 viewers.
Key Feature of Zoom:
- Meeting recording with free cloud storage – Even free accounts can use Zoom’s cloud storage for recorded meetings, though file size is limited. Paid plans can use up to 3TB of cloud storage, and any plan can save unlimited recordings onto their local drive.
Keeping track of every email, one-on-one conversation, and meeting amongst remote teams can be difficult. Slack helps remote teams stay connected while also increasing productivity. This team messaging tool allows employees to check in on the channels that are most relevant to their work and review past conversations at any time.
Slack also centralizes conversations into a single tool that connects the entire team. Colleagues can organize conversations into channels organized by team, topic, or project—think #SalesTeam, #CustomerOps, #Accounting, or any other specific topic.
Key Feature of Slack:
- Integrations – Slack integrates with a variety of apps like Google Calendar, Zoom, and Salesforce, so you can connect your favorite tools and access them directly within Slack.
The x.ai tool eliminates the time-consuming and frustrating back-and-forth of finding a meeting time that works for everyone. Instead of proposing several meeting times, you can simply send a link to your x.ai calendar and let guests select from available slots.
If your whole team connects their calendars to x.ai, the tool will automatically review open slots on everyone’s calendars as well as each user’s meeting preferences to select a time.
Key Feature of x.ai:
- Email scheduling AI – When emailing meeting guests, you can CC either [email protected] or [email protected], and the bot will take over the schedule coordination for you. Amy or Andrew will automatically scan your calendar and preferences and provide your guests with several time slots to choose from.
Let’s face it: Home office is often full of noisy distractions. If you or your remote team have young kids, barking dogs, or live on a noisy street, Krisp is a lifesaver. This noise-canceling app automatically mutes background noise while still allowing the user to speak.
Key Feature of Krisp:
- Listen without noise – Even if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t have Krisp installed, you can use the tool on your end to block out the background noise coming from the other end of the call.
Remote workers often struggle with loneliness and lack of socialization. Donut addresses this issue by facilitating casual conversations by randomly pairing up employees for virtual hangouts. This remote work tool is a great way to connect employees across departments who may otherwise not get a chance to get to know each other.
Key Feature of Donut:
Slack integration – Add this tool directly to Slack so the Donut bot can connect employees and help organize virtual meet-ups, giving you a hands-off solution for remote team socialization.
Best Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams
Remote work tools for online collaboration help team members work together regardless of each employee’s physical location. These remote collaboration tools help you manage user access to specific apps or tools, collaborate with team members on projects, and monitor progress on pending tasks.
9. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a hybrid communication and collaboration tool. You can share files and create chatrooms for each department (team) or topic. Because Microsoft Teams is designed to integrate with Office 365, this tool can keep your files, meetings, conversations, and apps linked together in one program.
Key Feature of MS Teams:
Built-in audio and video calls – This feature lets colleagues make individual calls within the team and includes an option to share a screen—all without leaving the Microsoft Teams application.
Managing user access while still protecting company security is a delicate balance. With 1Password, you can store passwords for shared logins, manage user access, and even check reports on who has access to what accounts at any given time. Once you share login access with someone, that user can log in with a single click without ever seeing the password.
Key Benefits of 1Password:
- Strong password generator – No need to sacrifice password strength so you can use easy-to-remember passwords. 1Password can automatically generate strong passwords and store them for you, so you’ll never need to memorize a long stream of numbers and letters.
Key Feature of Taskade:
- Mix of real-time and asynchronous communication – This feature is particularly useful for managing remote team productivity. Users can view mind maps, projects, and task lists, then either start a real-time conversation or leave comments for co-workers to review later.
Best Employee Development Software For Remote Teams
For employees to continue growing in their roles, they need feedback and motivation from their superiors. These tools allow you to recognize employee accomplishments and provide professional development resources to move their careers forward.
One-on-one meetings should be more than just an informal check-in. Uptick takes 1:1s beyond basic status updates by providing questions for discussions, suggestions for how to build trust within your team, and prompts to help elicit honest answers from your remote workers.
Key Feature of Uptick:
- Researched-backed questions – Leverage Uptick’s research on which questions are most likely to encourage detailed, honest feedback from employees and add specific questions to your 1:1 agenda.
All employees deserve to be appreciated and recognized for their accomplishments. Lattice makes celebrating wins, setting goals, and providing feedback on employee performance simple. Use this tool to set and update specific employee development goals and keep a record of overall performance, allowing both employees and managers to review past achievements quickly.
Key Feature of Lattice:
- Public praise – Remote teams can still celebrate wins together, thanks to Lattice’s public praise feature. Managers and co-workers can foster a supportive culture by shouting out team members for a job well done.
Providing your remote team with the resources they need to master new skills or streamline processes doesn’t have to be complicated. With Teampay, every employee can easily submit expense requests for anything from reading materials to work equipment. Once a supervisor approves the expense, Teampay provides the employee with a unique credit card number that is authorized for a specific amount so that employees can make the purchases themselves.
Key Benefits of Teampay:
- Automated sync with accounting systems – Once synced with the accounting system, Teampay will automatically categorize transaction data and insert it into the accounting system.
Best Productivity Apps for Remote Employees
Remote work comes with its fair share of productivity challenges for both employees and managers. Remote work tools for time tracking and time management can help your remote team battle distractions.
TomatoTimer is a simple-yet-effective tool based on the Pomodoro technique—a time management method that uses 25-minute intervals (pomodoros) broken up by short breaks. The idea is to work on a specific task for 25 minutes straight—no multitasking—and take five-minute breaks in between each pomodoro. After completing four pomodoros, you can take a longer 15-30 minute break. This method eliminates external distractions and helps employees find a productive flow.
Key Benefits of TomatoTimer:
- Desktop notifications – Use notifications so you can minimize the timer window and avoid watching the numbers count down.
If you pay employees or bill customers by the hour, Toggl is your best friend. This tool tracks what employees are working on and ties that labor back to specific projects, clients, and tasks. Remote workers can track time through their browser, with a desktop app, or even through a mobile app.
Key Benefits of Toggl:
- Reporting – Toggl lets you create reports by filtering time-tracking data by employee, project, client, etc., and export them into Excel, CSV, or PDF files.
Keeping track of when employees are working and what they are working on is much easier with IDoneThis. Every employee can provide status updates by adding tasks, commenting on their progress, and even tagging teammates for collaboration requests. Managers can choose to quickly review the status of specific tasks or run robust reports on an overall team or company progress.
Key Benefits of IDoneThis:
- Daily progress reports – Compile your employee’s daily check-ins and completed work into an easy-to-read report so you can get an overview of what’s being done every day.
Not sure where all the time goes? RescueTime can tell you. While this tool is incredibly useful for any remote working employee, it’s especially helpful for teams who are transitioning to working from home. RescueTime spends one-week gathering data on time usage and then designs a program to help each individual optimize their days.
Key Benefits of RescueTime:
- Productivity training – These in-depth video lessons include hands-on exercises that train users on how to improve their time management over the course of four weeks.