If you’re managing a remote team, having the right technology is a top priority.
With so many things to oversee — from tracking their progress to making sure that they’re happy at work — doing everything manually is simply ineffective.Click To Tweet
Having a proper set of remote working software affords several benefits for your team, from saving precious time to constantly performing at a high level.
With the best technology for working remotely in your arsenal, you can help unlock your team’s potential. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up the 11 best technology solutions for remote workers that will effectively support your vital business functions.
1. Time and productivity monitoring: Hubstaff
Hubstaff is built by a remote team for remote teams, which makes it one of the best apps for working remotely. Hubstaff is a productivity solution built to help teams make the most out of their time. With just one click on the lightweight desktop app, your team can start working. Hubstaff will automatically record the hours they work.
It ensures you that every hour worked is recorded and accounted for. Hubstaff eliminates the need to manually compute for the total time worked by your team, a time-consuming and highly unproductive task.
Tracking the progress made by your team is simple thanks to Hubstaff’s activity monitoring, app and URL tracking, and optional screenshot capturing features. From the dashboard, you can see:
- How active your team is at work with keyboard and mouse activity rates
- Where work hours are spent with app and URL monitoring
- Your team’s progress over time with random screenshot capturing once, twice, or three times per ten minutes (or turned off)
These productivity features are customizable and can be turned off for each employee. Read our guide on how to implement remote worker monitoring in your company.
Bonus: location tracking and geofencing for mobile teams
If you have people in your team who work in the field — if you’re in construction, for example — Hubstaff has a mobile app with GPS location tracking and geofenced job sites. This allows you to continue tracking your team’s time and progress without effort. Time tracking can start and stop as your team arrives or leaves job sites, ensuring more accurate timesheets.
- Solo Lite (for 1 user): Free
- Basic: $5/user per month
- Premium: $10/user per month
- Enterprise: $20/user per month
Track time, work, and productivity with Hubstaff
Free for 14 days
2. Project management and workflow optimization: Hubstaff Tasks
Whether your project is small or large, it will always be composed of several tasks that make up a complex system. A delay in one of these tasks can affect the entire project entirely and compromise the entire flow of work, especially in a remote work system.
With Hubstaff Tasks, handling work efficiently and creating a smoother workflow is easy.
Hubstaff Tasks is a streamlined project management software built with Agile principles in mind. Its main features are Kanban-style boards that are visually easy to understand and navigate, along with sprints that can help your team focus their efforts.
With Hubstaff Tasks, you can assign tasks to team members and mention them in comments, where they will be automatically notified so they don’t miss anything. Hubstaff Tasks allows you to create checklists within tasks for easy progress tracking, label tasks with tags, and automate workflows to simplify moving projects forward.
Simply set your process, and a task will move forward and get assigned to the right team member in a matter of clicks.
Hubstaff Tasks also integrates with Hubstaff so you can seamlessly track the time you spend on Tasks with Hubstaff.
- Up to 5 users: Free
- 5+ users: $4/user per month (Free – Early bird)
3. Monitoring and maintaining employee engagement: Officevibe
Having a remote team means that you can’t physically visit your team in their offices to check up on them. Whether it’s to ask about updates at work or how they feel about their job, making sure that everyone in your team is satisfied is essential to high team performance.
Officevibe is an employee engagement tool that gathers information about your team by sending out surveys that take less than five minutes to complete. Officevibe helps you understand your team more, and provides a way for their feelings and insights to reach you. This helps in making sure that your team feels they are important, and stays motivated.
Your team also has the option to answer the surveys anonymously, so they can be 100% honest with what they have to say. That way, you’ll know if there are adjustments you need to make more easily, versus guessing what your team has in mind (or if they mean it when they say everything is great).
- 3 to 20 employees: Free
- 21 to 999 employees: $4/user per month
- 1000+ employees: Contact their team for information
4. Collaboration and file sharing: Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to keep your project files in one centralized location. Anyone in your team can upload files, create directories, and share these with other team members who might need them for their own set of tasks.
Google Drive comes with a powerful set of office tools that let you create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and slides. You can track the edits made by team members in real-time, accept and reject suggestions, and tag people in comments and notes.
- First 15 GB is free
- 100 GB: $1.99 per month
- 1 TB: $9.99 per month
5. Real-time communication: Slack
When in offices, communicating with your colleagues is as simple as turning your chair around and speaking. But in a remote setup, things are much different.
Slack provides a solution to communication difficulties that come with working remotely. It lets you have real-time conversations with anyone in your team, create channels for different purposes, and create threads within messages to keep your chats organized.
File sharing is also supported by Slack. You can directly send files to your team, which is much easier and cleaner than emails. Slack integrates flawlessly with Google Drive; it sends you notifications in the form of chats whenever someone mentions you in a comment.
- Slack has a free plan with basic features and limited storage
- Standard: $6.67/user per month
- Plus: $12.50/user per month
6. Organizing tasks: Todoist
Working at an office means that the only real free time you have is the after hours. But in a remote setup, you have total freedom in how you want to schedule your day.
Todoist keeps all your to-dos in one place, so you can plan your day better and make sure that you don’t forget anything. When something comes up, add a reminder and get back to what you were originally working on. This will keep your mind from wandering when you’re working, and will ensure nothing gets missed.
Whether its a personal errand or a deadline at work, Todoist is an extremely helpful tool for crossing them out of your list.
Todoist lets you create sub-tasks within bigger tasks for goals that need many steps to complete, and shows you your productivity trends for the day or week. It also integrates with virtual assistants like Google Home and Alexa, so you can add tasks to your list as they come up.
- Free plan with limited projects and people
- Premium: $3 per month
- Business: $5/user per month
7. Promoting teamwork: PukkaTeam
When you log into PukkaTeam, you’ll see headshots of your team members. These pictures are actually random snapshots taken throughout the day. Not only is this a fun touch, but it motivates everyone to stick to the same general workday.
To video-chat with someone, all you have to do is click a photo. PukkaTeam makes Skype calls and Hangouts easy. PukkaTeam helps promote camaraderie and keeps everyone connected even if the team is spread out across the world.
- Group Package: $7/user per month
- Party Package: $9/user per month
- Crowd Package: $12/user per month
8. Securely managing signatures: HelloSign
As the leader of a remote team and business owner, you’ll be dealing with a lot of signatures. From the contracts of the team you’ll be working with, to partners and clients, you can expect a lot of signatures going around.
HelloSign protects documents that are important to your business.
You can customize your documents, keep them organized in one place, and share them through a secure channel. HelloSign provides an easy and reliable digital way to handle documents and signatures since you won’t be able to do that with your remote team personally.
- Free: 3 documents per month
- $15/month: unlimited documents, 1 sender and template
- $50/month: unlimited documents, 5 senders and templates
9. Password safekeeping: 1Password
Unlike in offices, you can’t share post-its and notebooks containing shared passwords with your teammates. Sending them over via email or chat isn’t effective either, as they could easily get buried under hundreds of messages.
1Password keeps a secure record of all the passwords you use in your team so you don’t have to worry about login failure. It remembers the passwords you use in your social media channels as well as online apps and services.
- Teams: $3.99/user per month
- Business: $7.99/user per month
10. Financial management: Xero
Xero is an online accounting solution that is designed to provide support in managing your remote company’s finances. Some of its features include bills payment, inventory, and reporting.
With Xero, you can accurately track the expenses of projects and make sure they don’t go over budget. It alleviates problems you would otherwise encounter if you managed your finances manually, such as taking too long and the likelihood of being inaccurate.
Xero has a bills payment feature, which is extremely useful if you’re using other tools with monthly payments. You can make batch payments or schedule them, saving you a lot of time for more important things.
- Early: $9/user per month
- Growing: $30/user per month
- Established: $60/user per month
11. Productive work sessions: Coffitivity
Coffitivity is a simple iPhone app that helps you get into your most productive headspace. How?
The app recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.
It’s no secret that leading remote teams or working as a remote contractor can feel lonely at times. Using Coffitivity can help you recreate that coffee shop environment from your home office or wherever you are.
Maybe the airport’s too bustling to focus, or you want the coffee shop sounds without the lagging WiFi. Coffitivity can solve both problems.
The app prides itself on being supported by science and backed by a community of creative people.
What’s the technology for remote work that you use?
You’ll have to make significant adjustments when working remotely, especially if you’ve been working in an office space for a long time. This is why we went ahead and gathered the most useful tools, so you can save time and perform better.
Want to research more? See our extensive list of online collaboration tools.
Do you use any of the tools above? Is there an app that helps you be a more effective remote worker that we didn’t include in this roundup? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This post was published July 2, 2014, and updated June 2019.