Remote work software: 10 tools your team needs in 2021

The software you can use to motivate your team, improve collaboration, and increase productivity.

July 5, 2021
6 minutes read

Remote work started as a short-term necessity because of the pandemic, but working from home continues to be on the rise.

Many employees embrace remote work because of the flexible hours, cost savings, lack of commute, and increase in productivity and personal time. There are also significant benefits on the employer side, including reduced overhead costs and the ability to recruit talent from anywhere in the world.

A recent Upwork study found that an estimated 22% of the American workforce will likely be working remotely by 2025.

At the same time, collaboration, communication, and building trust can be difficult when people are physically apart. That’s where remote work tools can help. Managers need to assemble the right toolkits so employees can do their best work, wherever they may be. Let’s dive into the top remote work software that can motivate your team, improve collaboration, and increase productivity.

1. Range for async communication

Remote teams can use an asynchronous communication tool like Range to better check in on what and how team members are doing. With the Range Check-ins tool, team members share daily status updates that capture how they're feeling, what they've completed, where they're stuck, and what they plan to work on next.

Range integrates with the tools many teams already use, like Slack and Trello, making it easy for teams to weave meaningful check-ins into their flow of work. Range Check-ins also include daily team-building questions that help teams build stronger bonds and connections, even if they’re spread across multiple time zones.

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2. Zoom for live video calls

With Zoom, you can stay in touch with your remote team members through seamless video and voice calls and instant messaging. Companies typically use Zoom for scheduling video conferences so participants can collaborate together on projects. Zoom can be especially helpful for online training, webinars, events, and providing technical support. In fact, several of the world's largest companies use Zoom so remote employees can collaborate with each other.

Apart from video calling, Zoom allows file sharing and messaging, which aids with remote collaboration. It also has straightforward pricing, making it a solid choice for many types of employers. Zoom can be an effective solution if you need a video conferencing app that works consistently for your remote workers.

smiling coworkers on a video call
Members of the Range team on a Zoom call

3. Slack for real-time chat

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that at its core is a messaging service, but offers much more than that. Through Slack, users can share files, create project-based channels, and stay in touch with their colleagues across the globe in real time. Slack also makes it possible for new teammates to access conversations that occurred before they joined, eliminating the data silos created by more traditional communication methods like email.

Slack is free with limited functionality for small teams, but you can move to paid options with advanced features as you grow.

Slack makes managing remote employees easier since all team communication is in one place, and it offers native apps for iOS and Android for added functionality.

4. Trello for remote project management

Trello is a project management tool designed for both small and big businesses. With Trello, you can plan, organize, and track your projects by creating boards that contain task, progress, and workflow lists. Trello also has cards where you add comments, attachments, and due dates to organize your conversations.

You can also boost productivity across your entire team with Trello's built-in workflow automation, which helps connect different processes (and teams) together.

5. Mural for online whiteboarding

Mural is an online whiteboard that enables remote and distributed teams to collaborate and solve problems visually. Specifically, Mural allows users to turn sticky notes into lists, flowcharts, drawings, and diagrams to help organize and align teams. It encourages design thinking and helps users understand their customers better by planning, brainstorming, evaluating ideas, and all together, make better business decisions.

With Mural, users benefit from faster decision making, enhanced productivity, strict security, and the ability to create a culture of innovation across their organizations.

6. Loom for quick video demos

Loom is a communication tool used by millions of users around the world, letting you record your camera, microphone, and desktop. You can then add comments and call-to-action buttons to your videos and instantly share them with a public link, which is accessible even without a Loom account. Loom also allows you to share links to public folders that contain multiple videos.

Whether you're onboarding new employees, troubleshooting customer issues, or reviewing code, Loom is a remote work tool that makes it simple to communicate clearly and quickly with your team. Loom uses SSL encryption to protect data, offers unlimited video storage, and integrates with Gmail and Slack.

7. Krisp for removing background noise

Background noise is a problem every remote worker has faced. With Krisp, you can take calls from anywhere without having everyday noises distract you. Krisp is a noise-canceling tool that removes background noise for all participants on a call. It’s fast, easy to install and run, and it works with popular communication apps like Zoom and Slack.

8. Donut for building team culture

Donut is a type of remote work software that works with Slack, and its purpose is to help you build team culture and engagement while working from home. It achieves this by encouraging team members to grab a digital coffee or a donut to get to know each other better. Donut aims to help you create the type of impromptu bonding you might miss if you’re used to working inside a physical office.

9. HeyTaco for recognizing your team

HeyTaco is a platform that makes recognizing teammates fun through gamification features like leaderboards and achievement levels. The idea is that you use tacos as a currency and offer them to other team members to show your appreciation in a creative way.

Heytaco helps remote teams connect by encouraging people to show their gratitude, which studies show lead to higher engagement and team morale.

10. Games for remote team-building

Games can help build trust and inclusion within remote working teams, enabling employees to feel like they can be themselves at work.

Games help build trust and inclusion within remote work teams.

There are several games to try that are designed specifically for remote teams:

Don't worry about selecting the perfect game. The important part is to try an activity that isn’t work-related so your team can spend time socializing and building stronger bonds with one another.

Remote work is on the rise, and many tools are available to help distributed teams face the challenges that occur in this new reality. Remember that a tool is only as good as the hands that wield it, and the best remote work software for your business depends on your team’s unique needs.

Experimenting with new tools is always a good idea, as you never know when or where you'll discover a gem that makes remote work easier for both you and your team.

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Remote work software: 10 tools your team needs in 2021
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