Over the past year, businesses all over the world have been forced to adopt remote working practices. Business owners had to put aside their concerns regarding remote working to contain the risk of infection.
At first, the lack of preparation threw companies off balance. However, they have bounced back pretty quickly with the help of digital remote working tools. Now, 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely part-time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow them to work from home full-time.
This article aims to help you find the best remote working tools for your business. And there’s plenty of them, so you'll be spoilt for choice!
How can you choose the best remote working tools for your team?
The first step to finding effective remote working tools starts by asking the right questions:
How can you simplify communication and collaboration between employees?
How can you keep employees informed, engaged, and motivated?
How can you protect systems and business data from a potential cyber attack?
These questions point towards the following solutions:
Cloud storage & file-sharing: Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Dropbox, One Drive
Communication: Slack, Flock, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat
Virtual meetings: Cisco Webex, Zoho Meeting, Zoom, Google Meet
Project management: Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Monday
Employee engagement: Peakon, 15Five, Officevibe, Bonusly
Time management & productivity: Toggl, Hubstaff, Timely, Everhour
Digital signatures & digital transaction management: Penneo
Cloud storage and file-sharing
Sharing files from your personal computer is a slow and tedious task when you lack the basic storage and file-sharing tools. Cloud storage and file-sharing services house documents and data on a single platform that all your collaborators can access from their respective locations. These services allow you to organize, search and retrieve, and share your documents. Other features include secure cloud storage, syncing across multiple devices, real-time editing, and so on.
1. Google Drive
Google Drive is the leading file storage service. Thanks to its intuitive interface, Google Drive makes collaboration easier. The tool allows you to manage user permissions, organize team files, use less disk space, and work directly on the cloud.
Google Drive pricing:
15GB storage: Free
100GB storage: €1.99/month
200GB storage: €2.99/month
2TB storage: €9.99/month
2. iCloud Drive
iCloud provides storage and file-sharing services for iOS devices. Keep in mind that iCloud requires the recipients to have an Apple ID in order to access and edit the files.
iCloud Drive pricing:
5GB storage (Apple devices) / 1GB storage (non-Apple devices): Free
50GB storage: €0.99/month
200GB storage: €2.99/month
2TB storage: €9.99/month
Dropbox is one of the first cloud-based storage platforms for content centralization and team collaboration. With flexible price plans and thousands of third-party app integrations, it’s one of the most used file-sharing software worldwide.
2GB storage: Free
3TB storage: €19.99/month
5TB storage: €12/user/month
Unlimited storage: €18/user/month
Microsoft’s OneDrive is a storage and file-sharing option that helps perform daily tasks and collaborate with colleagues when Office apps are being used.
5GB storage: Free
1TB storage (OneDrive Standalone): €2/month
1TB storage (Skype & Office apps included): €7/month
6TB storage (Skype & Office apps included): €10/month
Best communcation and collaboration platforms
Effective business communication and collaboration are crucial. However, both can be challenging when working remotely.
Instant messaging platforms are a great solution to keep employees connected and ensure seamless collaboration.
Slack is a leading communication platform where you can have real-time conversations with team members. Instead of clogging up your inbox, this encrypted app allows you to communicate with both groups and individuals. Plus, you can also find mentions, threads, and apps on top of your sidebar for quick access.
5GB storage/workspace & 10 third-party integrations: Free
10GB storage/user & unlimited third-party integrations: €6.25/month/user
20GB storage/user & unlimited third-party integrations: €11.75/month/user
Flock is an online collaboration platform. Flock also provides videoconferencing, to-do lists, pools, reminders, voice notes, and screen sharing.
10GB/team member: $4.50/month/user
7. Microsoft Teams
With a tight grip on privacy and security, Microsoft Teams reduces email clutter through its instant messaging functionality. You can have one-to-one or group conversations, hop on a video call, or share your screen for fast-paced decision making. Messages can be customized with rich text editing, tags to call people’s attention, voice messages to reply on the go from your mobile device, and personalized notifications.
Microsoft Teams pricing:
300 users, 2GB storage/user, 10GB/teams: Free
300 users, 1TB storage/user: €4.20/month/user
8. Google Chat
Google Chat (former Hangouts) aims to enhance efficiency and enable live communication. On top of that, it integrates seamlessly with other common apps across its collaborative suite. In addition to chatting, you can make calls, share files, and even connect with other apps.
Google Chat pricing:
30GB storage/user & 100 participants: €4.68/month/user
2TB storage/user & 150 participants: €9.36/month/user
5TB storage/user & 250 participants: €15.60/month/user
Virtual meeting platforms
Meetings are the business function most affected by COVID19. Luckily, there are many remote working tools that can help with this.
The best virtual meeting platforms enable multi-device access and allow everyone to conveniently participate in online meetings.
9. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex includes meetings, calls, messages, and screen sharing - all from one secure platform. HD video conferencing, crystal-clear audio, and powerful meeting controls are just a click away. On top of that, you can record meetings and save them along with transcriptions of your recordings.
Cisco Webex pricing:
Up to 50 min/meeting & 100 participants: Free
Up to 24 hours/meeting, 150 participants & 5GB storage: €12.85/month/meeting host
Up to 24 hours/meeting, 200 participants & 10GB storage: €25.65/month/meeting host
10. Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting is a secure online meeting platform and webinar solution. Virtual meetings can be recorded, replayed, shared, and downloaded. Along with audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities, Zoho allows for chat, emails, RSVPs, and embed meeting links. It all is encrypted and compliant with security and privacy standards.
Zoho Meeting pricing:
10 participants: €2.5/month/meeting host
25 participants: €5/month/meeting host
50 participants: €7.5/month/meeting host
100 participants: €10/month/meeting host
Zoom is a cloud-based solution for video and audio conferencing. The platform allows users to record meetings, share their screens, and schedule meetings via their calendar integration.
Up to 40 min/meeting & 100 participants: Free
Up to 30 hours/meeting, 100 participants & 1GB storage: €13.99 /month/meeting host
Up to 40 min/meeting & 300 participants & 1GB storage: €18.99 /month/meeting host
12. Google Meet
Google Meet lets you share your video, desktop, and presentations with up to 250 teammates and customers. No software installation is required as everything runs in the browser. Each meeting includes its dial-in details, so guests can easily access it from any device.
Google Meet pricing:
Up to 60 min/meeting & 100 participants: Free
Up to 24 hours/meeting & 150 participants: $8/month/meeting host
Lately, project management solutions have turned from recommended to mandatory. A business is built and run based on the exchange of ideas and feedback, as well as on constant learning and improvement. Lining-up subtasks and accomplishments greatly contributes to fostering accountability and driving success.
Trello is a list-making application. With boards, lists, and cards, the app enables teams to organize and prioritize projects. You can dive into the task details by adding comments, attachments, due dates and use built-in automations to set up rule-based triggers and calendar commands.
10 boards/team & 10MB/file attachment: Free
Unlimited boards/team & 250MB/file attachment: $12.50/month/user
Unlimited boards/team, 250MB/file attachment & extra security features: $17.50/month/user
Asana is an application designed to help teams organize, monitor, and manage their work. It’s as simple as it gets and offers better visibility across teams and departments' plans to stay on track with progress and deadlines.
Unlimited tasks & projects: Free
Unlimited tasks & projects, support & control: €13.49/month/user
Unlimited tasks & projects, support & control, additional reporting features: €30.49/month/user
Basecamp is a full-blown project management software that offers useful functionalities like message boards, to-dos, schedules, file storage, real-time group chat, and automatic check-in questions. On top of that, the price is fixed, regardless of usage - so you don't need to worry about increased spending as your organization grows.
3 projects, 1GB storage & 20 users Free
Unlimited projects, 500GB storage & unlimited users: $99/month flat
Monday is easy to use and integrate with existing third-party tools. With an aesthetically pleasing UI, it can be tailored to meet the user’s industry needs and empowers teams to run processes, projects, and workflows in one digital workspace.
2 members, unlimited boards & 500 MB storage: Free
Unlimited members, unlimited boards & 5GB storage: €10.00/month/user
Unlimited members, unlimited boards & 20GB storage: €12.00/month/user
Unlimited members, unlimited boards & 100GB storage: €20.00/month/user
Performance management & employee engagement
How are your employees really doing? How are they coping with lockdown and WFH challenges? Luckily, there are many remote working tools out there to check your team’s mood and morale. These platforms help you make sure your employees are always motivated and engaged.
Peakon is an employee engagement software that provides real-time insights on employees’ needs and thoughts. Peakon lets you automate regular surveys to maintain a continuous dialogue across the employee lifecycle. You’ll always be on top of your team’s needs.
15Five helps employees and managers perform at their peak. Key features standing out are check-ins, OKRs, and high fives (to praise top performers).
15 weekly check-ins & 1-on-1s: $7/month/user
15 weekly check-ins, 1-on-1s, OKRs & priority support: $14/month/user
Officevibe is a simple engagement platform for managers to better understand the team and build trust. It includes surveys, custom pools, and anonymous feedback to uncover people’s needs, choose what to prioritize, and make informed decisions.
Automated recurring surveys, 1-on-1s & Slack integration: Free
Automated recurring surveys, 1-on-1s, Slack integration & premium support: $4/month/user
Bonusly is a tool to recognize and reward employees, increasing engagement and retention rates. Every month, employees get to give small bonuses to their colleagues to recognize their contributions. Bonuses appear in a public feed so that everyone can see the important work happening across the team. Bonusly helps discover strengths and weaknesses, build purpose, and promote the company mission.
Recognition and achievements, analytics & reporting: Free
Recognition and achievements, analytics, reporting & centralized company incentives: $4.50/month/user
Time management and productivity
The flexibility of remote working allows employees to freely manage and adjust their time. On the other hand, corporate needs for monitoring working time can’t be neglected. Remote working tools statistically improve focus and keep teams on task.
Toggl’s time-tracking app will email you weekly reports with billable hours. The reports can be easily analyzed to spot potential issues and plan better. Toggl is especially useful to track project completion and keep an eye on employees’ work-life balance.
5 users, time-tracking & idle detection: Free
Time-tracking, dle detection & billable rates: $10/month/user
Time-tracking, dle detection, billable rates & insights: $20/month/user
Hubstaff is an all-in-one work time tracker for managing remote teams. After a one-minute setup, it’s easy to use and integrate with over 40 different apps. On the reports, you can see how each project impacts revenue, control expenses, and set weekly budgets or time limits for teams.
Time tracking & activity levels: Free
Time tracking, activity levels & 1 integration: $7/month/user
Time tracking, activity levels & unlimited integrations: $10/month/user
Time tracking, activity levels, unlimited integrations & VIP support: $20/month/user
Timely combines time-tracking capabilities with project management functionalities to let you monitor the time spent on each of your tasks.
2-7 staff: $25/month/staff
8-20 staff: $200/month
Everhour, a project time management system, accurately tracks work time for budgeting, client invoicing, and painless payroll – and provides many integrations with the most popular productivity tools.
Starting at 5 users: €8.24/month/user
Digital signatures & digital transaction management
Changing the workplace also means changing networks and IT infrastructure. This disruption resulted in an outstanding increase in security breaches.
Inadequate technological infrastructure creates a high risk for data leaks. One in four employees has noticed an increase in fraudulent emails, spam, and phishing attempts in their corporate inbox since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. It follows that cybersecurity conquered a leading position among C-suites’ priorities to protect employees, business data, and customer information. Implementing the the right digital transaction management tools goes a long way in increasing data security throughout the entire organization.
Penneo is a cloud-based platform for digital signatures and digital transaction management. The solution allows businesses to perform operations like signing contracts or KYC checks while working remotely.
On top of that, Penneo's digital tool helps companies to safely manage documents - from collection to sharing, signing, and safe storage. All of the data is securely stored in the cloud across multiple locations within the EU (in compliance with GDPR).
Document signing, archive, general casefiles & 200 send-outs/year: €129/month
Document signing, archive, custom casefiles & KYC: Contact Penneo for pricing
We hope this post will help you choose the best remote working tools that match your needs, and your team’s. After all, caring for your employees is the best way to care for your business.