15 essential tools for remote work
Advances in technology have paved the way for an increase in remote workers worldwide. Upwork’s Future Workforce Report noted that before the pandemic, hiring managers said they thought 38 percent of their full-time staff would be working remotely in five years, but now they think 58 percent will be. Gallup’s update of monthly employment trends for April 2020–Sept 2021 found that 45 percent of full-time employees were either partly or completely working from home.
Remote workers and virtual teams are on the rise, and so is the number of tools and software that cater to them. Whether you’re a digital nomad on a beautiful beach or a permanent employee working from the comfort of your home, working remotely requires planning and preparation. Now is the perfect time to set yourself up for remote work success.
Planning for success includes arming yourself with a suite of software tools that can help you reach your goals. Below is our list of 15 essential software tools for remote work in 2023.
Jotform is the online form builder for everyone. You don’t have to be a developer to use it because creating powerful forms is as easy as clicking and dragging. Select a template, add questions, publish, and watch the responses roll in.
However, it’s Jotform’s unmatched collaboration functionality that makes it the preferred online form tool. Simply share your links with coworkers and let team members work on the same form simultaneously.
Changes are saved in real time, so there’s no need to worry about whether you’re working on the most recent version. Additionally, Jotform’s revision history lets you view changes and revert to a previous version if needed.
Jotform empowers your team by
- Helping you build the forms you need in minutes
- Integrating your forms with over 150 different applications
- Collecting online payments with ease
Described as a place “where work happens,” Slack is an instant messaging platform for work. It offers critical features like real-time messaging, file sharing, voice calls, a searchable archive, and screen sharing. These capabilities make it a perfect software solution for remote workers because it’s easy to collaborate with team members wherever you are.
Slack serves as a communication hub by
- Organizing communication channels by project, topic, or team
- Offering powerful search features so you can find information when you need it
- Securing the privacy of your conversations and files
Managing a team is no easy feat. Managing a remote team can be even trickier, especially without the right tools.
Trello is a simple web-based tool that’s useful for individual task management or project management for an entire team. It lets you assign tasks to individual team members or groups, track the progress of the tasks, and remind people of important deadlines.
Trello’s mobile app is simple to use, making it perfect for the remote worker on the go.
Trello makes project management easier by
- Organizing tasks and projects into powerful task cards and boards
- Allowing you to add checklists, due dates, attachments, and more to every card
- Empowering you with built-in automation to offload tedious tasks
If you’re a designer or you work closely with a design team, InVision is a great remote work tool. It takes the hassle out of building interactive prototypes and sharing them with your team. The best part of InVision might be the commenting and feedback capability. When you share digital design mock-ups with your team, collecting feedback and iterating quickly is refreshingly simple.
InVision empowers design teams by
- Providing powerful templates to give you a headstart on brainstorming
- Letting your team work at their own pace while keeping everyone up to date
- Integrating tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams so people can collaborate in real time
5. Google Drive
Google Drive needs no introduction. You don’t want remote work to stifle your ability to store and share important documents. Google Drive gives you that and more. It lets you store and organize documents; collaborate with team members in real time regardless of geographic location; and share documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with whomever you choose.
Google Drive gives you file management superpowers by
- Allowing you to access your Google Drive account from anywhere
- Giving you powerful version control features
- Providing cloud-based file management to teams of all sizes
Clarity is key to good communication. When you’re working remotely, your environment may not always be ideal for taking a call. Krisp uses AI-powered software to remove background noise from your call — ensuring clarity regardless of where you are.
Krisp improves meeting communication by
- Working with over 800 different apps
- Fully supporting different headsets, microphones, and speakers
- Providing advanced audio features like acoustic echo removal and HD voice
Remote employees may not go to an office, but they still need good equipment to do their jobs. Firstbase helps companies distribute and manage their team’s equipment, including computers, printers, and furniture. Firstbase makes it easy to keep track of equipment and provides simple billing.
Firstbase streamlines employee equipment management by
- Automating the equipment selection process during onboarding
- Simplifying equipment billing under a single vendor
- Helping with the retrieval and redistribution process during offboarding
Project and task management are essential to completing projects and delivering them on time. Asana unifies your team’s work in a shared space. In Asana, your team can communicate, track progress, view project milestones, and share files. It ensures that all relevant project files stay in a single organized location.
Asana facilitates project and task management by
- Allowing you to customize project views based on your team’s working style
- Automating routine tasks with rules
- Offering over 200 integrations to connect all of your software
Sharing knowledge is critical to ensuring your team can work effectively. However, this process is often clunky and challenging when you have a remote team.
Tettra is a company wiki application that helps build your internal knowledge base. It allows your company’s experts to share knowledge and answer questions on their own time while making that knowledge available to everyone.;
Tettra makes sharing expert knowledge easier by
- Giving you one place to store FAQs, subject matter expertise, etc.
- Allowing experts to answer questions asynchronously
- Integrating with Slack to let your team respond to questions at the source
Videoconferencing is indispensable for a remote team. Team meetings, client meetings, and webinars are all possible with the right web client. Zoom is one of the most well-known videoconferencing clients. Its easy-to-use interface, large meeting capability, and screen sharing are tools most people have depended on during the pandemic.
Zoom fosters team collaboration by
- Empowering your team with an always-ready meeting place
- Enhancing meetings with whiteboard, annotation, and file sharing features
- Giving users a familiar and easy-to-use interface
The whiteboard is an essential ideation tool. Miro is a digital whiteboard application that takes the traditional whiteboard experience to the next level. It allows users to work asynchronously and build on an infinitely expandable canvas. Use Miro for planning, ideation sessions, and meetings.
Miro makes brainstorming more engaging by
- Enabling videoconferencing side by side with your whiteboard
- Providing ready-to-go templates for user story maps, fishbone diagrams, mind maps, and more
- Integrating with the tools you already use
Recognition is key to motivating employees to do their best work. However, celebrating your best people is harder on a remote team.
Assembly is a workflow automation tool with employee recognition and team connection at its core. It enables you to celebrate employee accomplishments, nominate top performers, and offer motivating rewards.
Assembly promotes remote team productivity by
- Enabling you to add structure to your day with daily and weekly agendas
- Helping you celebrate employee achievements with public shout-outs
- Letting you offer rewards easily from more than 600 different possibilities
A remote workforce still needs connection and engagement from leadership. Kazoo enables employees to stay connected with the organization and helps management keep people motivated. It offers tools that help teams set goals and OKRs, celebrate wins, have meaningful conversations, share feedback, and reward culture-building behavior.
Kazoo brings teams together by
- Creating goals at the individual, team, department, and company level
- Setting up one-on-one and performance review conversations
- Making it easy for employees to provide feedback to one another
Payroll and onboarding are a critical part of your business operations. Gusto is a payroll, benefits, and HR platform built for modern businesses. It allows companies to quickly onboard employees, speeding up important tasks like sending offer letters, filling out onboarding paperwork, and managing IT devices.
Gusto simplifies payroll and HR by
- Calculating and filing payroll taxes automatically
- Providing access to certified HR professionals
- Housing all of your payroll, onboarding, and HR documents in one place
Time tracking can help you measure team productivity and forecast employee needs. Toggl Track is tracking and reporting software designed to help teams manage billable hours, improve productivity, and share valuable insights. Toggl’s platform is super easy to use, and employees can start tracking time even before giving tasks a name.
Toggl improves time tracking and management by
- Providing a simple interface that’s accessible on any device
- Offering reports that provide a micro or macro view of performance
- Improving invoicing accuracy and ensuring you’re being paid what you deserve
Remote team superpowers from powerful applications
Remote work is the new normal, and companies need to adapt. The software applications we’ve considered can help you improve collaboration and communication across your organization. Use technology to lead the way among remote organizations.
If you work remotely or with a distributed team, what are your essential tools to ensure productivity? Let us know in the comments!
I agree that using digital tools helps increase productivity, and I use TMetric every day to help me manage my time and be more effective at work. The program enables for easy job planning and displays productivity bars directly on the timeline. Additionally supported and ideal for personal use is the free plan.
In my case, I switched to Kanban Tool () after using some other tools but I feel this works the best for me. It lets me completely focus on my work. I can easily personalise each proyect and funcionalities just makes all goes faster :)
For me, the main tools for working remotely are Google Drive, Google Calendar and Checkiant time tracker. Simple and at the same time very useful tools. I think everyone who works remotely has their own list of tools that they can't work without.
Decent remote work is impossible without proper privacy for corporate data. Services with public servers (Slack, Zoom) has cases with data breach and that is unaccaptable for any company. You should add some software that has own, non-public server (e.g. MyChat corporate messenger, etc.), and allows you to work without internet, but via internal local network (LAN, Wi-Fi).
Great post you’ve posted here on remote working developers.
Noticed that you didn't include kickidler in your article. I think you should consider using employee monitoring software. This program allows you to monitor the computers of remote employees. In addition to the option of creating a recording, you can also keep track of your employees' productivity. It will improve over time since the employees will sense your supervision and approach work in a more responsible way.
The above tools are good but you forgot to add on premise R-HUB web video conferencing servers in the above list. It works on all platforms plus provides 6 realtime collaboration applications in one box.
Do you know what successful companies use for managing their distributed teams? Check out this list of remote team tools