22 Must-Have Tools for Remote Workers
Working remotely or from home has become the new normal in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s here to stay. The newly adopted setting by organizations worldwide is not only helping the employees keep themselves safe but also positively impacting their productivity and satisfaction levels. However, both these factors mainly depend on choosing and implementing the right tools for remote workers that are now easily available over the internet.
The need of choosing the right tools for remote employees becomes even more important as teams are now more agile and they desire flexibility in their work.
So without further ado, let’s see some of the best tools for remote workers across different categories from communication to project management, as we discuss why you should get them.
We shall look at each category and the few best apps in that category to help you and your team members work efficiently.
22 Best Tools for Remote Workers and their USP’s
Video Conferencing Tools
Probably the most important remote work tool that you need to have in your device. Video conferencing softwares have made it easy for everyone to hold virtual meetings with a touch of in-person experience even if all are away.
Here are our recommendations:
Chances are, you might have used zoom at some point of your professional career. It not only provides a great video and audio quality but also is user friendly. And that’s not all, there is even a recording option for you to record that all-important conference that you need to revisit. Also, zoom has a higher threshold of the number of people you can include in a meeting and enables screen sharing for all the participants one at a time.
But the most important selling point about zoom is that it operates on very low bandwidth. This means that compared to other players in the market, zoom consumes lesser data during a video call.
When it comes to video conferencing we cannot forget about Skype can we? Well, Skype has been in the market since 2003 and gained its popularity in recent times. Skype provides you with some good quality video conferencing without churning much of your data plus you can use it as your go to messaging tool as well. You can share screens and enable live subtitles to cover more on the meetings you attend. It is cross-device compatible and the best part is that it is free of cost.
Another great option worth looking into. The unique selling point of this product is that the video freezes up(the most common complaint in video chat software) much less than any other software available in the market. This makes Join.me a really good choice for meetings on the go and also for screen sharing.
A new yet promising player in the market. Whereby started in 2013 when it was called appear.in. In 2017 it spun out and totally revamped their outlook. What makes Whereby unique is that it is easy to use, supports one-click join in, up to 50 people in one meeting, custom branding and floating realtime emojis on the go.
We are seeing a real potential here with whereby. Don’t be surprised if Whereby becomes one of the biggest players in the market in a few years.
5. Cisco Webex
Another go to online video conferencing tool that you can rely upon is the Cisco Webex platform. It’s free, easy to use and comes with some major integrations like Outlook, Google, Office 365 and more. One of the biggest advantages of using this tool is that it has cross-device compatibility. Which means that it allows you to host and join meetings in through your laptop, tablet or your mobile phones on the go without any hassle.
Online chat apps have revolutionized the working standards of today’s companies. They are often regarded as the replacement for in-house emails, chat apps have created a huge shift in internal communication.
Here are our recommendations:
Okay, this one is a no brainer here. Chances are you are already onboard with Slack. Slack is the undisputed king in the Chat app industry and is one of the most effective collaboration tools. Not only does it have a huge number of integrations but it also has a very simple setup which allows easy installation and onboarding. It also channels numerous channels, direct messaging, various integration and attachment of files and documents.
All these features combine and make this a reliable and really great option for almost anyone in the corporate world.
7. Google Hangouts
Yup Google Hangouts is here too. A great option considering seamless integration with other G Suite software. Also, Google Hangouts is extremely light and you don’t have to worry about low network connectivity whether you’re at a cafe or your home.
Chanty is a really powerful yet easy to use collaboration tool for all remote workers. Chanty has a host of features such as invite-only access, integration of various apps, text, voice, and video chatting and filtering of team activity. What makes Chanty stand out is unlimited message history and a 10GB file storage limit for each team.
8. Workplace by Facebook
The closest competitor to Slack, Workplace by Facebook has really cemented its position in the chat industry. Workplace allows you to use Facebook tools to interact with co-workers. It has oodles of features.
You can get updates all around the organization, create teams and collaborative spaces, broadcast your business/message, instant translation into 46 languages and of course easy integration with popular tools like Google Drive, Trello, Zoom, Okta, etc. But one thing that holds Workplace by Facebook back is that it is quite expensive compared to Slack and it takes longer to break-even the initial cost of investment.
File Storage Tools
This is one of the most important areas you need to consider when you are looking to invest heavily in remote working solutions. Most of the file storage options present in the market do pass the first test- security but often fails in the subsequent sections of speed, storage size, and file sharing.
Here are our recommendations:
9. Google Drive
Does anyone NOT use Google Drive these days?
It is definitely the gold standard when it comes to cloud storage. On top security and also transparency, Google Drive comes with the option of real-time editing which makes it so much desirable compared to other products in the market. And of course, in the end, you have the dependability of the brand of Google.
If anyone comes close to dethroning Google Drive, it has to be Dropbox right? It’s USP?
It is incredibly easy to use. Just save a file to the Dropbox folder and you are good to go. With the experience of being one of the first cloud file storage software, Dropbox is reliable and syncs files faster than most of its competitors. Definitely worth checking out if you are considering alternatives to Google Drive.
11. Microsoft OneDrive
Another big name in file storage. Although Microsoft OneDrive might not be the household name while considering file storage options but it can definitely pack a punch or two. The best part, with just Microsoft OneDrive subscription, you also get the full Office 365 suite and also 60 mins of international Skype call.
12. Media Fire
It is one of the lesser known but a good enough file storage and sharing platform that can be used by remote workers. Media fire comes with a free plan that allows you to store upto 10 GB of data and upload files upto 4 GB in size at a go. It also scans for malicious elements while uploading or downloading any file.
Rewards and Recognition Software
Recognizing and rewarding your remote employees can be a tricky affair. Since everyone is away and probably also in different time-zones the lack of in-person experience can lower their joy of getting acknowledged and this hampers their engagement at work. However, the solution to this came up in the form of cloud-based employee engagement platforms.
Here are our recommendations:
13. Vantage Circle
It’s a tight competition out there in the rewards and recognition segment, but what sets Vantage Circle apart is that it's fun, easy, and engaging that improves your company culture and employee engagement. The platform also includes peer recognition where employees can nominate their colleagues for awards and appreciate them. All of these also appear in your employees news feed ensuring no one misses any update.
Further, you can reward your employees with points which they can redeem as gift cards from top brands on the platform. And as a cherry on the cake, the entire platform is available on a mobile app with real-time tracking.
Employee engagement on the go. It doesn’t get any better than this. Vantage circle makes sure that the efforts of remote workers are being noticed and recognized. On top of that Vantage Circle integrates with the major HRMS players and also integrates SSO.
Blueboard is a unique employee rewards and recognition platform that allows you to reward your employees with awesome experiences. This could be a getaway, scuba diving, trekking or even building their own experiences whatever they like. The best part is once your employees decide what they want to experience, Blueboard handles the rest.
Cooleaf is another great option that allows you to acknowledge your employees based on their positive behaviour. The platform allows easy integration with multiple other systems like Hubspot, Jira, Zapier etc. that you could be using already. The motive of this platform is to create better workplace relationships and gives the employees better understanding about your company values.
Productivity or Project Management Tools
Probably one of the segments while considering tools for remote workers. Just because stats prove that employees are more productive when working remotely, you shouldn’t take it for granted. You do have to agree that working from home or working remotely comes with a lot of challenges. Oodles and oodles of distraction.
Maybe I can cook a small snack, let’s see what is going on in the news, maybe a small nap will do the trick. Do you get the hint? Productivity apps or project management tools are important. More so in the case of distributed teams.
Todoist is one of the most popular and fun task management apps out there. It’s a no brainer that Todoist is a fan favorite. It has a strong and minimal interface. It’s not exactly a project management tool per se, but for people seeking simplicity and minimalism, Todoist can work wonders.
You can add tasks, reminders and to-do lists and sync every device with the help of their app. On top of that, you can assign tasks to others too. You can even assign the priority of each task, add comments and assign due dates of each project.
What makes Todoist click is that it transcends beyond a project management tool for remote workers and also doubles as a task management tool.
Trello is one of the best great project management tools out there. It is visual software that is powerful, fun and easy to use. All of Trello works happen on boards which are further divided into lists. All works are listed on cards that are on the list and categorized as they are completed. Trello is a great software that helps remote teams in managing projects.
Scoro is an all-in-one business management tool that allows you to track progress and share results with your teams in real time. All the necessary aspects of project management like CRM, budgeting, resource allocation and finance can be easily handled from within the platform. Furthermore, it claims to integrate with 1000+ tools through Zapier so that you can use it seamlessly with your existing systems.
This category consists of all the ever-important collaboration tools that cannot be particularly placed in any of the groups mentioned above. Some of the apps and tools in this category are so essential that they might be used even in everyday life and not just for remote work.
Let’s have a quick look:
Yammer is a great tool not only for your remote employees but also for the regular office goers. Many corporations and remote workers already use yammer for it’s unique outlook.
Unlike other chat apps, Yammer presents you with a social media type interface that’s exclusively for your employees. It is best suited for companies looking for a medium where employees can communicate both work-related and casual topics.
Employees also have the option to like, share or comment on conversational posts that appear in their news feed.
This makes Yammer a truly engaging tool for all your employees and gets a special mention in our list of best tools for remote workers.
20. Google Docs
Google Docs is one of the most important and flexible tools out there. With the ease of sharing and easy editing, Google Docs reigns supreme as the go-to tool in text editing. It has various unique features like autosaving, offline mode, and a huge number of fonts. These features make Google Doc extremely easy to use.
But what really takes the cake is its sharing features. It has a suggestion mode that allows people to access and suggest edits, a revision history that allows users to see the changes made by every user and you can easily tag other users. These features make it a really great tool for remote workers.
Jibble.io is one of the most interesting features in this list. One of the most difficult aspects to deal with remote workers is their attendance. Jibble.io is a time and attendance tracking tool. It operates a digital timesheet or attendance sheet.
Employees can clock in their attendance anytime, anywhere, and with any smart device. On top of that, it automatically calculates overtime time calculations.
Jibble.io also doubles as a project tracker where employees can clock in their projects to track productivity. All these features make jibble.io a good tool to consider for a company employing many remote workers.
Milanote is a tool for organizing your creative projects into beautiful visual boards. Created to replicate the feeling of working on a wall in a creative studio - visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy - Milanote is a great fit for remote workers in both the marketing and design spaces.
Milanote has heaps of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to set out the visual direction for a project, to writing that perfect creative brief. Its sharing features make it a great option for those who regularly provide work to clients for feedback.
To top it off, Milanote's basic plan is available for free with no time-limit.
It can be a little daunting at first if you try to implement a framework for your remote workers. But now that you have tasted the tip of the iceberg, it is up to you to try out these tools and explore some more and decide which set of tools is ideal for your work. And the best part? Almost all of these tools have some sort of free trial version which you can try out before committing. Hey, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! So what’s holding you back?