Top 11 Collaboration Tools For Remote Teams
Remote work becoming the new normal shouldn’t surprise us. It was bound to happen. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the inevitable.
Notice that the interest in remote work had been growing steadily over the past decade.
Many organizations have been able to adapt surprisingly well when forced to go remote. Why? Because the tools to ease remote collaboration have existed for years. And they are getting better with every update.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the top 11 collaboration tools for remote teams.
Let’s start with the usual suspects:
Slack is undoubtedly the most popular messaging app for work. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of remote tools without Slack in it.
It initially began as an internal tool for a game company called Tiny Speck during the development of their game Glitch. The game floundered but after public release, Slack more than made up for it. It’s now used by teams of all sizes and kinds to communicate internally on both web and mobile.
- Good – Slack is fine-tuned for communication. If your team is looking for a great messaging app for work that feels amazing to use on both web and mobile, Slack is hard to beat. It also offers special plans for enterprises that seek additional control. Its search feature is powerful, allowing you to quickly retrieve information from messages in your workspace.
- Bad – Slack focuses on communication and relies on integrations for every other aspect of collaboration. The quality of these integrations occasionally can be frustrating. Slack’s free plan can be quite restrictive if your team is very active. After you hit the 10K message limit, only the recent 10K of your team’s messages are visible.
Zoom has become synonymous with video conferencing, as Slack has done with team messaging. It’’s the 19th most visited website on the planet as I write this post! It has quickly replaced Google Hangouts and Skype to become the most popular video conferencing tool. Like Slack, it’s used by teams of all sizes and kinds – schools, startups, and Fortune 500 companies. I recently even got invited to a Zoom wedding.
- Good – Zoom became so popular because of its reliable quality and powerful free offering. It’s one of the few video tools where you can talk to 100 people for free. It’s also intuitive. You don’t even need to create an account to use it.
- Bad – Zoom advantages also give rise to its limitations. Because unverified accounts can use it, it has led to several instances of privacy concerns and zoombombing, where people drop into random zoom calls to broadcast objectionable content. Zoom is also not end-to-end encrypted.
Taskworld is an all-in-one collaboration tool that’s used by thousands of teams in different industries to organize work and communicate. Unlike Slack, which specializes in team messaging and Trello that offers Kanban, Taskworld packs all the essential features of collaboration in one tool.
- Good – Taskworld offers project management, kanban, team messaging, file sharing and performance management in one tool. It is one of the few SaaS tools that’s available on both public cloud and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). This makes it easy to adopt for both small teams and enterprises in regulated industries. Offering built-in collaboration features instead of relying on integrations, makes remote collaboration seamless and less expensive.
- Bad – Although it offers a free one month trial, Taskworld doesn’t offer a free version. This can be a problem for teams that need a free solution.
G Suite is a collection of productivity, collaboration, and other utility tools developed by Google Cloud. Some of its popular tools are Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites. Launched in 2006 as Google Apps for your domain, it was only in 2016 these apps were rebranded as G Suite.
- Good – G Suite is a more pocket-friendly alternative to MS 365 (formerly Office 365). Unlike MS 365, teams and enterprises can opt for a monthly subscription on G-Suite. Although Google Sheet, Docs, and Slides lag behind Microsoft products in features, they are catching up.
- Bad – G-Suite lacks a robust standalone collaboration tool. Google is currently testing Currents which is its attempt to turn Google + into a social network for businesses. However, it’s still in the beta stage.
Workplace is an enterprise communication platform by Facebook that keeps teams connected using features such as messaging, news feed, and groups. It’s basically Facebook for work.
- Good – It’s easy to use as the UI is similar to Facebook (which most people are accustomed to). Workplace packages some great features such as news feed, messaging, video calls, and surveys. It uses Facebook’s machine learning to auto-translate in 46 languages.
- Bad – Workplace doesn’t offer task or project management features. You need to integrate with other tools for it. This can be a problem for teams that want comprehensive collaboration experience in one tool.
Hmm, what’s Whatsapp doing in a list of remote collaboration tools for business? Well, in my experience Whatsapp works as an excellent communication tool for high priority cases that require escalation. People often tend to mute notifications form work-related apps after work or when they are doing deep work. Whatsapp is a good channel to reach remote team members for urgent issues that can’t wait.
- Good – Whatsapp has end-to-end data encryption, simple team messaging, great mobile experience, and video calls.
- Bad – It’s important to use Whatsapp for work only in cases of emergency. Otherwise, it can be susceptible to “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.
Let’s continue the list with a few unique, yet useful remote collaboration tools:
Krisp is a noise-canceling tool that works with all major video call services. It uses machine learning to identify your voice and blocks everything else. It also does the same for sound coming from the other direction. Krips really is a simple, yet innovative tool for remote employees that work in cafes or other places with background noise.
- Good – Krisp is one of very few SaaS tools that offer this service, and probably the one that’s easiest to use. Its pricing is also very affordable and the free plan gives you 120 minutes of noise cancellation every week.
- Bad – Krisp is a noise cancellation tool but it doesn’t offer video call by itself. You have to use it with another video conferencing solution.
World time buddy is a simple and convenient world clock where you can compare multiple time zones at a glance and schedule meetings. It’s really helpful for remote teams that are spread across multiple timezones.
- Good – World time buddy is simple, integrates easily with your calendars, and completely free to use.
- Bad – Display ads can be a bit annoying but it’s a free tool that has to sustain itself.
Pragli takes a refreshing approach to team communication. Instead of a simple chatroom, it creates a virtual environment for remote teams. You can create your own avatar and talk with anyone in the team with one click. It’s like a walkie talkie for remote teams.
- Good – The virtual office UI and avatars give a more intimate environment to remote teams. Locking/unlocking features that each user still has privacy if they don’t wish to be contacted.
- Bad – Like most chat/online communication tools, Pragli lacks task/project management features. This can be a dealbreaker for teams that want robust collaboration in one tool without integrations.
Sli.do is a Q&A and polling platform that teams can use to drive participation in web conferences and town halls. Users can ask and upvote questions in real-time.
- Good – Sli.do is easy to use. You don’t need an account to ask questions on it. Its free offering is quite powerful. It doesn’t have a paid plan that offers some useful features such as preventing anonymous questions.
- Bad – Anyone can join Q&A for any session by entering its 4 digit event code without a verified account. This makes it possible for people to gatecrash Q&A of random events. \
In remote teams, there is a need to consolidate important passwords in one place. Different people might need access to different apps. 1 Password is a solid password manager. It’s a lot more secure than consolidating your team’s passwords on Google Drive.
- Good – It’s really easy to use. Even though there is no free option, the pricing plans are quite affordable.
- Bad – Importing passwords can be a bit of a challenge. While you can directly import from other 1 Password accounts and certain password managers. For other tools, you need to upload a CSV and follow a manual process.