The past year has changed the future of work forever, especially when it comes to working from home. In our recent Remote Work Survey conducted at the end of 2020, we found that 72% of people are working fully remote, with an additional 21% of people working remote at least part of the time. And even when the pandemic health risks subside, it’s predicted that more teams will continue working in this hybrid team model, where time is split between working from home and working at the office.
This means remote work tools are more important now than ever. And luckily, we’re in the best place in technological history to enable successful work from home experiences. Need more proof that remote work tools are at the forefront of work technology? Look at venture capital spending over the last decade, where over $1 billion of VC funding has gone into this category of software and tech.
The challenge here is that there are a bevy of remote work tools to choose from, and it’s hard to distinguish which tools are absolutely essential. We used our survey to identify the most widely used tools, which showed that 91% of remote workers use currently video conferencing software, 62% use project management tools, and 61% use instant messaging tools.
These statistics reflect some of the most important needs when working from home: a place to collaborate with your team, technology that brings everything to one place, and a way to stay connected. Ahead, we’ve outlined our must-have remote work tools to help you meet those needs.
Hive is the flexible project management and remote work tool that powers fast moving teams at places like Google, Starbucks and Toyota. We’re an all-in-one solution that has everything you need to work together remotely: projects, action cards, an email integration, file sharing, and meeting notes. With Hive, you can open up the app in the morning and get everything done in one window. You can even start a Zoom meeting from Hive.
Imagine this: someone can start a video meeting in California, someone can simultaneously take meeting notes in NYC, and next steps can be assigned to someone in Austin. Does it get any easier than that?
For more information: Try Hive free for 14 days
Zoom has become one of the most popular video, audio-conferencing, and remote work tools, for good reason. With Zoom, you can create a recurring digital meeting room, host up to 100 participants for free, and enjoy collaborative features like screen-sharing, a whiteboard, and the opportunity to call in via phone (or just utilize Zoom’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices).
Zoom provides HD voice and video for free, as well as private messages and breakout rooms for periods of individual collaboration among team members. Zoom also easily integrates with Hive — just type “/zoom” in a Hive chat and automatically launch a video meeting in-app.
TeamViewer is an application that introduces users to the world of remote desktop access. Employees can use TeamViewer as a remote work tool to access their own office computer while they work remote, while attending a meeting from afar, utilize it during meetings to demonstrate technical details to other attendees, and even navigate a presentation while dictating via video and audio. This could be one of the most critical remote work tools of them all.
Plus, TeamViewer caters specifically to those using the program for meetings by providing both a whiteboard and text chat feature.
Slack is the chat application we all know and love and one of the top remote work tools by user volume. Slack is real-time messaging, file sharing and collaboration that can be used across an organization for simplified communication. Slack can be broken out into channels for team work, or utilized to send individual messages where you can chat with specific co-workers. Voice and video calls are also easily enabled from Slack itself, which makes face-to-face collaboration a breeze.
Using Slack but want more integrated collaboration abilities? Check out Hive’s Slack integration and add it to your remote work toolkit.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is a centralized location where teams can share, edit and collaborate on Word Documents, slideshows, Excel spreadsheets, and more. The beauty of Google Drive is that it can be accessed from anywhere, including a mobile phone, which makes collaboration seamless — this is what makes it one of the most essential remote work tools on the market.
There’s also a specialized Business version of Google Drive specifically made for organizations storing large volumes of materials and files. Plus, privacy settings ensure that only the people you’ve invited to edit the document can actually see them. Google Drive can also be easily integrated with Hive for seamless file-sharing.
6. Every Time Zone
Are you working with teams across the globe and want a better handle on everyone’s working hours? Look no further than Every Time Zone. This tool gives you perfect visibility into current times around the world, and you can set specific time zones you’d like to view based on team members.
You can also set your team up in the app to view by time zone, so you know exactly who is working in which areas. Every Time Zone also allows you to select individuals by time zone and add them to meetings with ease via email or iCal file.
7. DropBox & DropBox Paper
Dropbox is a great option if you want a mixture of Google Drive’s capabilities with the benefits of a project management tool. DropBox can be used to store files, images, etc in the same way that Google Drive does. However, DropBox Paper is a real-time collaborative document that lets you plan projects, collaborate on ideas, and take meeting notes in real-time with assigned next steps. DropBox can also seamlessly be connected to Hive.
Xtensio is a collaborative workspace and remote work tool where teams can easily create and share beautiful living documents — everything from PDFs, presentations, and web pages. Collaboration tools like Xtensio are ideal for remote work because it’s often hard to collaborate on creative documents when you’re not in the same room. With Xtensio, you don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting a colleagues changes or any other potential collaboration issues.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, Xtensio also has a great library of templates you can use to create these interactive documents.
Trello is a great option for small teams or individuals looking to utilize a simple project management tool. One of the simplest remote work tools on the market, the tool is Kanban board-based, which is a project management methodology started by an industrial engineer in the 40s. Cards are the basics of Trello, which you can organize into different phases on the board.
You can also color-code and attach images or files to the cards, and invite team members to collaborate on a board with you for a more interactive experience.
Asana is a visually appealing project management software created by one of Facebook’s founders, and easily ranks among the best remote work tools. Used by creatives and teams all over the world, Asana’s dynamic format and design keeps users engaged and active in the platform. Asana helps people and teams increase overall accountability and improve communication.
Okta is a great tool for remote work as it stores passwords and authentication for different apps. With Okta’s powerful capabilities, you can protect and enable employees, contractors and partners. One of their most popular features is their single sign-on feature, that integrates with mobile and web apps and allows you to sign on with one password to all of your tools — this is ideal if you’re working from a remote location with a laptop, as you’ll be able to access all content and apps.
Nextiva is an all-in-one Unified Communications platform, also known as UCaaS, which is great for distributed remote teams. With Nextiva, you can combine your voice, video, team chat, and collaboration apps under a single platform and single user-interface.
UCaaS operates completely in the cloud, which enables your remote team to stay on the same page effortlessly. Let’s say you have sales reps that need to take their work from home and on the road. They can switch between their desktop app to the mobile app without missing a beat.
The advantage of using a UCaaS platform like Nextiva is that it integrates with your everyday tools, like your CRM or Help Desk software. This is a huge benefit for companies with remote contact centers and remote support agents. Your customer data can live securely on a unified platform.
Fyle is a cloud-based expense management software that takes care of the mundane, repetitive tasks so that employees can focus on tasks that matter more. With Fyle, expense reporting tasks that traditionally take hours are drastically reduced. Employees and the accounting and finance team can access and view their business expenses under one dashboard. This is a great remote work asset, as it gives management a great bird’s eye view of financial operations.
Loom is a great tool for remote teams because it lets you record and share video messages from your computer. This is great if you need to give someone a step-by-step tutorial of how to complete a task, use a software, or finish a project. If you’re a fan of asynchronous communication, Loom is the way to go — you don’t have to schedule a meeting or write a long wordy message. You can just send the video!
Loom also has a great Chrome extension that you can easily integrate into your everyday workflow, and their starter plan is totally free.
15. Troop Messenger
If you’re interested in a tool that enables communication of all types, Troop Messenger could be the tool for you. With Troop, you can send individual or group messages, conduct video chats, and integrate with other tools like Google and Dropbox. Additionally, Troop allows you to remotely access and control your desktop, which is great for teams that have sensitive information on their computers that are stuck in the office.
As working remote becomes more and more popular in the midst of the pandemic, a variety of remote work tools are making it easier than ever to communicate and get work done. And one other thing is for sure — we’re beginning to see which meetings could’ve been emails all along.
Range is an asynchronous communication tool that remote teams use to be more effective. At the core are Check-ins — asynchronous, insightful status updates that show what teams are doing, what they need, and how they’re feeling. Range relieves the burdens modern remote work places on teams so they can operate at their best. And managers get the ambient layer of context they need without spending hours in meetings, checking tons of tools, or urgent Slack messages.
With integrations into all your tools — so it works with your workflow — it’s super easy to plan your day and know what’s happening (and another useful Chrome extension). Range is especially great for remote teams because it has research-back features that actually foster strong team culture. As part of a Check-in, you can answer an icebreaker question (more than 350 are built in) and share how you’re feeling with an emoji and a green/yellow/red mood indicator. By combining culture with work updates, Check-ins make team-building feel natural and easy. By building a habit of connection, Range helps remote teams build a foundation of trust and psychological safety, making work more fun and productive.
17. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is, perhaps, the biggest pandemic hero second to Zoom. With Microsoft Teams, users can meet, chat, call and collaborate in one space. Teams is ideal for groups looking for an extremely secure platform to collaborate on, and it’s especially helpful for teams that are already inside the Microsoft ecosystem (that’s a lot of us).
A few of our favorite things about Teams? You can coauthor files in real time with teammates, which makes remote collaboration a whole lot easier. You can also share files with a few clicks, and instantly go from chat message to a meeting in seconds. You can also integrate other tools into your Teams experience, like Hive, Adobe CC, Sharepoint, InVision, and so many more.
Happeo is an intranet and social collaboration platform that helps employees maintain a sense of community and positivity, even when working remotely. During the shift to remote work, it’s obvious for companies to consider the project management tools, video-conferencing apps, and messaging apps they need to logistically operate on a day to day basis. But what about tools that help employees stay connected and continue to thrive as a community?
That’s where Happeo comes in. This remote work software brings teams virtually together in group spaces, where they can send messages, discuss topics and share files. With static intranet pages and internal news feeds, all employees can stay informed and aligned on overall company goals and updates. Happeo also extends this intranet software to its mobile app, which lets employees receive notifications, access documents, and communicate with coworkers on the go.
What do you think about the recent shift to remote work? Are there any remote work tools you’ve been loving? Let us know in the comments below.