10 Best Remote Collaboration Tools for 2023 (and 5 Free Virtual Collaboration Tools)
One of the aspects of the office that remote working can’t replicate is the organic conversations that spring up from being in a communal space. But just because those interactions are less frequent, doesn’t mean collaboration needs to suffer.
Improving collaboration and productivity among remote employees is possible via multiple strategies, including remote collaboration tools and remote team building activities.
We’ve put together a list of 10+ online collaborative tools and apps to spur ideation within your team no matter where they work.
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Best team communication tools
Communication is often reported as a challenge by remote employees, but there are easy ways to keep employees connected.
Access to communication applications is one of the key ways to improve collaboration in remote work. Slack specializes in collaborative business communication.
Trusted by global businesses such as Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and yes, even us at Workhuman, Slack packs all your tools and communications in one place.
Slock operates via a channel system. You can set up channels for every team, topic, or project to keep all the related conversations in order. That way, all current members of a channel work in sync. Any new members get full context upon joining.
Slack allows you to hold voice and video calls, as well as share screens via Huddle. All messages, files, or images sent while using Huddle are stored in Slack for later access.
Slack offers scheduled and instant messaging, plus voice and video clip recording/sharing. Additionally, you can integrate Slack with over 2,200 apps to streamline the workflow and automate routine tasks to avoid delays for maximum productivity.
Slack also makes it easy for employees to connect over common interests and hobbies that strengthen their bonds and friendships at work.
Research reveals that remote employees experience at least a 25 percent reduction in collaboration time with colleagues in different groups. As one of the communication-oriented collaboration tools for remote workers, Flock can make remote and hybrid teams connect and work effectively.
This collaboration software keeps everyone on the same page with channel messaging, where you can instantly share ideas, insights, and files. You can also provide real-time feedback.
Flock also lets you email all the contacts you want in one go, conduct one-on-one conversations via direct messaging, and have a private workspace via Me Channel.
Additionally, Flock supports voice and video conferencing for convenient meetings, integrated search for quick finding of materials, and instant voice messages for full context.
Flock also includes productivity-boosting features like shared to-dos, opinion polls, individual/team reminders, and live updates.
Check-ins are one of the most effective ways to connect and collaborate. It’s a place for problem-solving, working through deadlines, and just seeing how the other person is doing.
Beyond the human element, Conversations makes an immediate business impact. According to Brandon Hall Group, 65 percent of HR executives need manager check-in with employees to be of higher quality to provide better coaching and feedback.
Conversations® does exactly that.
It excels in delivering frequent, effective check-ins and meetings with managers to raise employee engagement and productivity. Besides initiating a check-in, you can also share progress updates, create/record agenda items, monitor tasks, and more.
You can integrate your existing process into Conversations® to capture the workflow and values of your business. No matter the device you’re operating, you’ll find this tool to be flexible and easy to navigate.
After a year of implementing this tool, 98 percent of Qlik employees reported viewing feedback as a valuable learning instrument. Seventy-five percent of employees better understand where their priorities stand with respect to those of the team.
This online collaboration tool is another way executives and managers across the organization can help their employees overcome remote communication challenges, including misunderstandings and confusion with assignments and deadlines
Using Basecamp, you can keep your tasks, schedule, and projects all organized on one simple dashboard.
Any conversation regarding a certain topic stays on a single page so everyone can view them and keep up. You can set notifications to reach only people involved with the topic to avoid distracting others.
Basecamp also lets you form to-do lists, assign tasks, specify due dates, and monitor progress. Additionally, all the files, images, and docs of a project are grouped for secure storage and sharing.
Basecamp also offers real-time team chat, intuitive scheduling, automated check-in polls, a refined Kanban system, detailed reports, tailored contact channels, and more.
You can try Basecamp for free for a month; after that, you can choose one of 2 subscription plans. Both come with unlimited projects, free guest/client invites, loads of storage space, all features/tools, 24/7 support, extra classes, and reliable uptime.
Best project management collaboration tools for remote teams
When it comes to project management in remote work, feeling disconnected, losing motivation, inadequate feedback, and miscommunication are just some of the challenges.
As such, a project management tool is a must.
Podio is a web-based collaboration solution to effectively manage workflow and projects. It’s designed to provide teams with a structured outline that supports clarity and focus while minimizing distractions and confusion.
Podio combines conversations and content in one intuitive dashboard where you can attach files, add comments, and receive status updates on the same page. You can choose how to view your work, from dynamic cards to simple tables, and even craft progress reports.
You can integrate Podio with various marketing products, customer support tools, and file storage services, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Freshbooks, and Sharefile.
Additionally, Podio lets you break down tasks for smoother management and add extensions for specific use cases. It supports Android and iOS platforms for enhanced mobility.
6. ProProfs Project
Trusted globally by over 15 million users, companies such as Sony, Dell, Ford, and Toyota use ProProfs for project collaboration.
This project management tool allows you to create tasks, calendars, and milestones to plan your work. You can easily give assignments, track progress, set deadlines, share files, and develop performance reports.
ProProfs features Gantt charts to view timelines and Kanban boards to organize work. You can receive real-time updates, arrange project priorities, instantly generate client invoices, track time, and even calculate billable hours.
This tool helps teams to work together across web, tablet, and mobile platforms, supporting Windows, Mac, and any OS or browser.
Among the many online tools for collaborative working, Trello stands out thanks to its simplicity and style. It’s used by thousands of companies daily, such as UNICEF, Scan2CAD, Instinct, and McCorvey, which all experienced positive results.
Based on Kanban boards, Trello features boards to organize every step of your projects and let you instantly see the status of every task. You can also track progress via Timeline, stay on top of scheduling with Calendar, and monitor key metrics with Dashboard.
Trello allows you to automate pretty much any action via Butler. This tool also offers templates for hundreds of project types (such as remote onboarding), includes many plugins to make work easier, and can be linked to thousands of other apps/services that your team is already using.
Best online collaboration tool for video conferencing
Remote work caused communication and collaboration to significantly change due to the lack of face-to-face interactions. As such, remote team collaboration solutions that focus on simulating high-bandwidth communication are indispensable for businesses.
The demand for high-quality video conferencing software is more significant than ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.
This platform allows you to hold online audio and video meetings wherever you are and from any device with easy navigation, reliable stability, and maximum security.
The built-in collaborative tools make sessions as interactive as you wish, whereas the added polls, reactions, and filters make them more engaging.
Zoom also streamlines team communication with instant messaging and supports global-scale calls with its VOIP phone system.
Ideal for remote meetings, Zoom also features online whiteboards and provides actionable insights to enhance productivity.
Best collaborative tool for employee recognition
Recognition is one of the most important tools for maximizing employees’ productivity and boosting employee retention.
When employees don’t receive fulfilling recognition, they’re 4 times more likely to actively look for another job. On the other hand, when employees receive adequate recognition, they’re 56% less likely to actively seek or be on the watch for other positions.
9. Social Recognition®
It allows managers to show appreciation based on performance, work output, professional achievements, and milestones such as promotions, bonuses, and work anniversaries.
This remote collaboration tool helps you recognize the human behind the work and create more inclusion by commemorating personal occasions to convey the message that your company values its employees as people.
Such a level of care leads to positive retention rates.
Various organizations joined forces with Workhuman, particularly using Social Recognition, and were able to successfully implement recognition and achieve impressive ROI (return on investment).
LinkedIn, for example, showed a 96% retention rate in current employees receiving recognition, whereas new workers receiving recognition demonstrated a 9% increase in retention rate.
At P&G, peer-to-peer recognition witnessed a 300% increase, and employees became 2 times less likely to quit. Similarly, employees at EATON were 2 times less likely to leave after receiving recognition.
Best online collaboration tool for screen sharing
When a teammate looks to collaborate with another, sharing a screen is sometimes necessary. The following collaborative software allows you to work in pairs.
Originally designed for pair programming, Tuple is the ultimate platform for screen sharing.
While Zoom does a great job with this aspect, Tuple takes it several steps further to deliver highly-interactive remote pairing.
Far from generic, this innovative app allows both parties to control the mouse and keyboard at the same time. Pairing begins at a click, so the collaboration can start instantaneously.
Tupple comes with a handy screen annotation feature that lets you draw or highlight directly on the screen of your team during navigation. The 5K visual resolution and crisp audio mean that you’ll get every single bit of detail.
You may think that all of this pairing power demands a lot of CPU capacity; however, Tupple manages to do it at a very low CPU cost to keep your machine running smoothly for other processes. As such, you can focus on the work without hiccups.
Currently, Tuple supports macOS and Linux only, but the company is working toward expanding to Windows as well.
5 Free virtual collaboration tools
1. ProProfs LMS
This remote employee training tool offers a 15-day free trial period. It features virtual classroom software and allows for course creation, self-paced learning, conducting surveys, giving quizzes, holding discussions, and generating learning reports.
This team collaboration software allows you to effortlessly build, manage, and share project documents. It features quick email notifications, accurate invoice generation, dashboard customization, and more.
The best part is that it’s available in a free forever plan for unlimited users with a 3-project capacity.
This app is one of the best remote collaboration tools for managing passwords. It features password generation, full compatibility with all devices and platforms, extensive security, and more — which you can enjoy for free during a 14-day trial period.
4. Time Doctor
A remote work productivity study by Microsoft Teams revealed that while productivity has increased in employees working from home, 85 percent of leaders don’t trust their employees are being productive.
If needed, a time-tracking tool can monitor the output of any team member.
Time Doctor is one of the best online tools for time tracking, and you can try it for free for 14 days.
This all-in-one online whiteboard serves as a solution for managers wondering how to engage remote employees via collaboration tools.
InVision is one of the best team collaboration tools for brainstorming, planning, and creating as remote workers. It offers a free forever plan for up to 30 users, so you can try it right away.
Our latest e-book, “There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Recognition,” provides valuable insights into the five essential pillars of meaningful recognition, with a focus on authenticity and personalization.
💡 Learn why these pillars are crucial for successful recognition programs and get practical tips for implementing them at your organization. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your recognition strategy!
These include communication tools, time management tools, organized tools, and roadmap tools.
These tools enable people to share ideas and information online without being physically close to one another.
Even with workforces spanning the globe, organizations don’t have to miss a beat with remote collaboration tools.
There’s a variety of online solutions, whether you’re looking for services focused on communications, project management, video conferencing, employee recognition, screen sharing, time tracking, or virtual whiteboards.