7 powerful remote collaboration tools
Remote collaboration tools are changing the way people work remotely. Here are seven of the best remote collaboration tools available.
By Darcy Hogendorn in
Once upon a time, employees commuted, worked in the office, and then went home for the evening.
During the pandemic, that scenario went the way of the landline.
Now, more people than ever are working remotely. In a recent survey of people whose jobs can be done from home, 59% work from home most or all the time.
Working from home can be a great perk (and one that most job seekers prefer these days), and many team members are just as productive — if not more — in a remote work environment as they are in the office.
That said, a team's efficiency hinges on how well their remote collaboration tools serve them.
Which remote collaboration tools are worth their weight in gold? We’ve picked seven of our favorites. Check them out and see if your remote team members could benefit from adding one or more of them to your toolbox.
Research by Gartner reveals that nearly 80% of workers were using collaboration tools in 2021 — a 44% rise from 2019. Collaboration tools designed for remote team members are integral in keeping everyone focused on their tasks and in the loop on projects.
But how can you discern the good tools from the duds? Before considering a new tool to implement into your workflows, make sure it meets these four criteria:
Each tool you add to your tech stack should decrease the number of tedious tasks and streamline processes — not add clunkiness.
Ask yourself if the tool you’re considering offers the functionality to increase your team’s efficiency. Does it give you multiple ways to communicate that you don’t already have with your other tools? Is there a way it facilitates team collaboration that your existing tools don't? If the answer to these questions is “no,” there’s no reason to force your team to adopt it.
Integrations are essential for ensuring that all of your software works together to decrease your team's workload instead of adding to it. Team members waste time every time they're forced to switch between apps.
Mitigate this by opting for apps that connect and share information seamlessly. During your research, look at the new app’s integration offerings. If the other tools you use aren’t on the list, that should be a red flag that the new tool will do little to streamline your workflows.
User adoption is an obstacle for every new remote collaboration tool, or any new process in general. If an app is difficult to use or too complex to learn, team members will avoid using it.
If you’re adding a new tool to help with remote collaboration, walk through it first to see how easy it is to understand, what the features look like, and determine if everything is direct and clear. Powerful but simple collaboration apps will end up packing the most punch, and these are the ones your team members will embrace quickly.
No amount of convenience is worth being hacked. As easy as it would be to assume every collaboration and project management tool follows strict data security guidelines, you need to be sure before using it: A single hack could cost your company thousands of dollars and damage your reputation immeasurably.
Make sure the team collaboration tool you're considering has SSL encryption, and get your IT department to review how it accesses, transmits, and stores your company’s (and client's) data. If the app offers heavy-duty login protocols like two-factor authentication, that's even better!
In a recent study by PWC, over 60% of U.S. executives report that they plan to invest in tools to support virtual collaboration. This is great news for the millions of remote workers who want to stay connected to their team members and play an active role in projects.
Since the list of potential tools a manager could implement is a mile long, we’ve narrowed the list to our top seven must-have apps for remote teams.
The power of video at work is more important today than it's ever been. Rewatch marries searchability and ease of use in this next-level powerhouse of an app. Remote team members and hybrid teams can meet, brainstorm, and collaborate on projects.
Rewatch makes it easy for team members to catch up asynchronously, automatically transcribing and storing every word, drastically reducing time spent creating meeting notes manually. Create an internal video knowledge base, enjoy easy editing, and optimize efficiency with Rewatch's large integration network.
- Makes meeting notes easily accessible (and more accurate than manual notes)
- Increases transparency in planning and decision-making
- Clearly showcases the most pressing priorities
- Video player is optimized for mobile devices, Android or iOS
- Slow upload time for large videos
- Private collections not available on lower-level plans
- Transcribed and searchable content from every video call
- Screen recorder
- Add comments, ideas, and highlight important moments
- Robust analytics for every video meeting
- Sync upcoming meetings and import existing videos
Miro is a collaborative whiteboard platform. Remote teams that rely on project visuals love this tool for its ease of use, intuitive interface, and flexibility — teams can even invite users to join their whiteboard, making it a great way to collaborate with clients.
- Accessible on any device without downloading additional software
- Intuitive UX with minimal learning curve
- Syncs quickly for optimal synchronous or asynchronous collaboration
- Uploading material can take a while
- Limited file types accepted
- Potentially cost-prohibitive for small teams
- Integrates with Unito, Gtmhub, ClickUp, and other popular project management tools
- Wide range of pre-built templates for common projects
- Enterprise-grade data protection
Another collaboration software list chart-topper is Asana. It’s a user-friendly kanban tool with a plethora of features that keep remote users organized and in the loop on projects. It possesses an intuitive design and offers several customizable features to help remote employees build the experience they want. Its transparent program displays each team member’s tasks so everyone can see what their teammates are working on.
- Keeps team members organized and keep tasks from falling through the cracks
- Minimizes redundancy and increases cross-team visibility
- Improves remote team communication
- Offers robust integration list
- Needs a way to control which notification the user receives
- Number of features can be overwhelming, especially to newer users
- Status updates with @ team member tags and the ability to easily click for different views
- Control center Inbox provides a way to set and comment on tasks, respond to comments, and view projects and attachments
- Add tasks and stakeholders to multiple projects
- Priority custom fields can be shared between tasks, projects, and teams
Practically a household name in the business world, the app is a behemoth array of organization and efficiency. It’s a vehicle for messaging and offers multiple channels to its users. Team members can segment communication by topic, project, or group. Direct message in a one-on-one format or chat as a group, depending on how you set up the channel. Have sidebar conversations within the channel by starting a thread to keep the channel organized. This remote collaboration tool also offers screen sharing and file sharing, making it a can’t-live-without project management software powerhouse.
- Keeps remote, hybrid, and on-site team members in sync and focused on the same priorities
- Fosters transparency and trust among team members
- Break down silos caused by physical space and time zone differences
- Easy to share off-topic conversations to build relationships with team members
- Conversations need to be stored longer than 14 days
- Interface is generic and could use more customization options
- Multiple messaging options, from instant messaging to scheduling communication for later
- Team chat, both one-on-one and group
- Slack channels provide a space for open, transparent conversations
- Huddles and clips provide valuable real-time asynchronous communication channels across time zones
The remote collaboration tool formerly known as G Suite is still making waves as one of the best on the market. Its powerful network of apps includes Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Meet, and more.
Google does collaboration like nobody else, with their document editing software sharing real-time comments and edits. Automated features like calendar invites make forgetting tasks a thing of the past. The solution suite gives users an all-encompassing experience for staying organized, sharing information, and never missing a beat.
- Ability to leave comments and tag teammates for responses and input
- Lets team members easily invite others to collaborate on any document, spreadsheet, or slide
- Allows you to see when team members are available with the shared Calendar, then sends meeting invites automatically
- Provides a simple way for managers to eyeball workflows and team member workloads, schedule meetings, assign tasks, and make comments
- Sometimes has issues syncing between devices
- Email lacks services, especially compared to Outlook
- Pricing is a bit high compared to the main competitors
- Allows for different levels of user access to protect sensitive information
- Comment, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and slides in real time
- Video conferencing available from any camera-enabled computer or smart device
- Cloud storage and exceptional data security options
Notion gives businesses a streamlined, visually appealing way to organize documents and company information in one easy spot. This feature-rich platform lets remote team members easily collaborate to create company wikis and knowledge bases, and edit these documents in real time.
- Integrates with dozens of popular business productivity tools
- Pages feature allows users to create complete, small internal websites in minutes
- Typing and dictation tools for real-time note-taking
- Extreme flexibility and multiple use cases; users can build databases to blog posts to company policies and everything in between
- Can be slow, especially when accessing the mobile app
- Some reports of disappearing content glitches
- Moderate learning curve; number of features can be overwhelming for some users
- Custom layouts and workflows
- Note-taking with @ mention functionality to tag teammates for their input
- Thousands of free, pre-built templates
The last collaboration platform app on our list is Zoom. After coming into the workplace like a superhero during the pandemic, this cloud-based video conferencing app facilitated remote teamwork collaboration across the globe. This app is a tried-and-true asset to remote teams. Being able to jump on a crystal-clear video call, have access to screen sharing, and chat during the conference became less like a futuristic pipe dream and more like a regular Tuesday morning at work because of Zoom.
- Clear audio and video chat, unlike their frustrating competitors
- Handles large groups seamlessly
- High scalability for any size business
- Easy to use, intuitive functionality
- Users required to download an app to use Zoom
- Each plan has different limits on cloud storage and videos can vary greatly in size
- Immersive view gives the feel of having everyone on the call in the same conference room
- High-definition video available
- Breakout rooms that lets your team branch off into smaller rooms and workspaces
- Custom backgrounds and camera filters
Remote work is more than a passing trend — it’s a movement that will be with us for years. As the workplace changes, managers must find ways to keep their teams functioning as a cohesive unit. By understanding what collaboration tools do, how they function, and what they accomplish, companies can use them to maintain a high degree of productive team collaboration. These seven tools provide a great foundation for successful remote team collaboration.
If you want to get more out of your video calls, Rewatch is the tool for you. By recording, transcribing, and storing your video content, your team can use it as a powerful tool to drive collaboration, reduce manual note-taking, and keep everyone focused on the goal. Try Rewatch today to experience a new level of meeting effectiveness.
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