The 9 Best Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams
10 min read
1. Slack: Best Team Communication Tool
Slack has become one of the most popular remote collaboration tools around. Even well-known remote-first companies such as Zapier, Buffer, and Help Scout use Slack as their “virtual office.”
Slack makes it easy for remote employees to communicate and collaborate, whether one-on-one or in larger groups. With Slack, managers and workers can use “channels” to organize their conversations, streamlining the communication process.
Slack is also optimized for cross-platform integration with a wide variety of other tools, such as:
…and countless more. Slack is great on its own, but by integrating other apps, bots, and analytic tools, you can make it even more useful.
What about the price tag? Slack’s free plan lets you use the app indefinitely, but only allows:
Access to the most recent 10,000 messages within your company 10 app integrations One-on-one voice and video calls between teammates
They recommended this tier for “small teams trying out Slack for an unlimited period of time.” If you need more functionality than that, Slack’s priced plans start at $6.67/month.
2. Trello: Best Project Management Tool
Many rightly consider Trello to be the king of project management tools. Trello lets companies organize projects into boards, lists, and cards, showing you what all needs to be done and who’s responsible for doing it. This clarity helps managers assign tasks and follow the progress of each project from start to finish. Trello also makes collaboration between team members a breeze, boosting productivity for everyone.
Trello’s minimalistic approach to project management makes it a popular choice for many companies—especially fast-paced startups. In fact, one of Trello’s greatest strengths is its flexibility, which makes it easy to customize for the unique needs of your company. Sometimes, less is more.
Trello’s free-to-use option won’t burden you with tight restrictions, either. With the free plan, you get unlimited boards, lists, and cards without any time limit. You also get file attachments of up to 10 MB. Then, if you need more team-friendly features, their priced tiers start at $9.99/month.
3. Zoom: Best Video Conferencing Software
No list of remote collaboration tools would be complete without Zoom. Over the past few years, Zoom has beat out competitors like Google Hangouts and Skype for Business to claim the title of best video conferencing software.
At this point, chances are you’ve used Zoom at least once before. With Zoom, you can create and join voice or video calls with other users around the world. Zoom also lets you schedule calls and send requests by email for others to confirm whether they’ll be joining, complete with a handy link for quick access. Then, you can record your calls to review later or forward to others.
And the convenient screen-sharing feature helps team members demonstrate their work and make presentations, as well.
As with Trello, the simplicity of Zoom has made it an easy tool for almost everyone to learn. Zoom is equally convenient for use on a computer or smartphone. You can even dial in from a landline for voice calls.
Zoom’s free plan is very forgiving, with the only real restriction being a 40-minute time limit on group meetings. (You can start a new call right after the 40 minutes is up, though, and repeat this indefinitely.) There’s no time limit for one-one calls, no matter what plan you have.
If the time limit is enough of an issue, Zoom’s priced plans start at $14.99/month—or $12.49/month if you opt for an annual billing cycle instead of monthly.
4. The Org: Best Public Organizational Chart Software
Remote employees can often feel disconnected from a company and isolated from coworkers. After all, they don’t share an office with their colleagues, and there’s no water cooler or cafeteria to foster casual conversations and friendly relationships.
That’s where The Org comes in.
The Org provides public organizational charts for companies of all shapes and sizes. Org charts are interactive diagrams showing the layout of departments, teams, and employees. You can think of it like a family tree for a business.
Your org chart will clarify the roles of team members, establish reporting hierarchies, and illustrate the relationships of employees and teams. This helps remote employees get a better sense of their place within your company and shows them exactly how they’re contributing to the overall success of the business.
Our org charts also let staff include personal information about themselves, such as their backgrounds, hobbies, and interests. This will help your employees get to know one another better and form meaningful workplace relationships—even if they’re hundreds of miles apart.
Best of all, The Org is completely free to use.
5. Loom: Best Video Recording Tool
Maybe you want to send out a memo that’s more dynamic than just an email. Maybe someone has a question that’s easier for you to answer verbally than through a message. Maybe you need to create a quick, easy-to-understand tutorial to educate team members.
No matter what your reason is, Loom can be the perfect solution for you and your whole company. Loom lets you record yourself, your screen, or both. Then, you can share the link with team members for them to watch whenever as often as they need to.
This helps facilitate communications and training without needing to arrange a live video call. This can be especially important when managing remote employees with different schedules or even in separate time zones.
Loom helps streamline the onboarding process for remote teams, too. By maintaining a library of tutorials, you can help new hires learn the ropes more efficiently than ever.
Loom’s free plan lets you record up to 100 videos and screenshots, with videos no longer than five minutes. Need more time? No problem. Their priced tiers start at $10/month per “Creator.” Alternatively, you can sign up for annual billing, which works out to $8/month per creator.
(There’s even a 14-day free trial, so you can take it for a test drive and see how you and your company like it.)
6. Dashlane: Best Password Manager
Remote work generally requires sharing quite a few passwords. Of course, that comes with plenty of security risks. Now more than ever, it’s essential for companies to have a password manager they can trust.
That’s why one of the best remote collaboration tools for any company to invest in is a reliable, intuitive password manager. Enter Dashlane.
Dashlane gives managers a simple method for storing passwords so employees can access them anywhere, anytime. And a host of security features means you won’t have to worry about compromising your online security through undue risks. If Dashlane does detect a potential breach in your system, it will alert you and your team instantly so you can solve any problems right away.
Unfortunately, Dashlane doesn’t offer a free option in their business category. Pricing starts at $5/month per user, billed annually.
7. Toggl: Best Time Tracking App
When managing workers, it’s always important to keep tabs on how everyone is using their time. This can be challenging with remote teams, but apps like Toggl provide the perfect solution. With Toggl, employees can track the time they spend on specific tasks and projects, helping managers and businesses leaders:
- Make sure everyone is staying on task
- Calculate how long various projects take
- Pinpoint ways to maximize efficiency
- Determine billable hours
As with many of the best remote collaboration tools, Toggl takes a minimalistic approach. All employees have to do is enter a brief description of what they’re doing and turn the clock on. Then, once they’re done, they can stop the clock or switch to a different task. They can also enter time manually if that’s more convenient.
You can even create projects and subordinated tasks to organize your workflow and get valuable insights into how your remote teams are managing their time. Plus, because Toggl is set up for easy integration with other apps, it fits smoothly into any remote collaboration toolkit.
The free version gives you:
- Use for up to five employees
- Manual and automatic time tracking
- Idle detection
- A built-in Pomodoro timer
- Import and export options
- 100+ integrations
Toggl describes this tier as “…designed with freelancers in mind.” Their paid plans start at $9/month, but they list their $18/month premium plan as “best for teams.”
8. Zapier: Best Cross-Platform Integration & Process Automation
For businesses, time is always money. The more efficient your employees are, the more productive they can be, and the faster you can grow your company’s value.
Most of the tools we’ve included in this list are designed for cross-platform integration, but Zapier gets the job done faster and easier than trying to input every integration yourself. With just a few clicks, Zapier will connect all your favorite apps and start passing data between them at lighting speed.
Then, Zapier can automate countless processes within your workflow. For example, if an employee receives an email with an attachment, Zapier can copy the attachment to Dropbox automatically and send you an alert through Slack.
You name it, and Zapier can probably automate it. This eliminates hours of tedious work that would otherwise be necessary.
The free Zapier tier gives you five “Zaps” (automated processes) and will perform 100 tasks per month. For even more integration and automation, their priced plans start at $29.99/month on a monthly billing cycle or $19.99/month annually.
9. Google Workspace: Best Multipurpose Project Collaboration Platform
Google Workspace (formerly Google Suite or G Suite) combines all of Google’s best remote collaboration tools in one package, including:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Meet
- Google Calendar
- Google Chat
- Google Drive
- Google Vault
- Work Insights
And because these apps are all Google products, they’re designed to play well with each other.
Workspace is one of the most comprehensive virtual offices around and can easily become your one-stop shop for remote team collaboration.
There’s no free option for Google Workspace, though there is a 14-day free trial. Still, at just $6/month per user, the basic Business Starter tier is a steal when you consider how many features you get. And the most popular tier, Business Standard, is only $12/month per user.