It’s a new, remote-office world out there, and now that we’re all remote here are some awesome tools and resources.
At Blissfully, we’ve been working fully remotely for the past 3 months, but about one third of our team was already remote, so luckily we didn’t have much of a change.
Given our experience, over the years we have found some of the best remote work tools to help make that happen.
In this guide, we’re going to give you a list of all the best remote work software on the market.
So, read on!
There are a TON of articles about “Best X Tools For Y” on the web, and if you’ve read some of them, you’d probably agree with us:
Most of them are horrible.
These articles usually just list out a ton of random tools the author found on the web, and that’s about it.
At Blissfully, we decided to do something better.
Instead of covering random tools, we’re going to specifically talk about the ones we’ve tried, tested, and found to be much better than whatever else is on the market.
To make for an easy read, we’ll also split the tools by their use-cases:
- Chat Software – Tools to communicate with your remote team in real-time.
- Team Whiteboarding – Online whiteboards. Super useful for brainstorming sessions.
- Workflow Management – Tools to automate your tasks and processes.
- Project Management – Tools to help keep track of all your work in one place.
- Internal Documentation – Tools to document your processes.
- Reporting – Software for reporting on work, KPIs, and so on.
- Cloud Storage – Pretty self-explanatory. For keeping your files stored online.
- Team Management & HR Tools – Software to help you manage your remote teams better.
- Time Management & Tracking – Tools to keep track of the work that gets done.
- Personal Productivity – Software that helps you get more work done.
- Misc Tools – Tools that didn’t fit in any other category, but that are still extremely useful.
Slack is the chat software that doesn’t need an introduction. You can use it to communicate with teammates in real-time, share ideas, and discuss tasks or projects.
For any remote organization, it’s essential to have a tool like Slack to make communication easy and simple. After all, email is only going to take you so far.
Slack comes with hundreds of integrations for all your other favorite tools and is available as a desktop app, on a browser, as well as on iOS and Android.
And the cherry on top? You can use hundreds of Slack Apps (i.e. addons) that add tons of bonus features to the software.
For most teams nowadays, Slack’s free plan is more than enough. The only big limitation is the fact that you can’t search your past messages history past the 10K most recent messages.
Also, in order to do group video calls with screen sharing, you need to upgrade to their Standard Plan, which starts from $6.67 per user per month.
Just like Slack, Microsoft Office Teams is an online chat tool.
It comes with all the same features – direct messaging, threads, etc…
There are, however, some key differences between the two tools, which might influence your decision on which one to get:
- Slack is easier to set up and integrates better with most 3rd party applications
- Teams, on the other hand, offers excellent integration with all the Office 365 tools. If all your employees are already using Office 365 products, this will make collaboration 10x easier.
- Teams also comes with a better freemium deal. You get unlimited message history with no limits (unlike Slack that has a 10k messages search limit). Also, MS Teams includes screen-sharing features in their free plan.
For most businesses, we recommend going with Slack. If you’re an enterprise company that relies on Office 365 products, though, you might want to opt for Microsoft Office Teams, as it integrates better with the rest of Microsoft products.
The one issue with Microsoft Teams is that if you are looking for a chat collaboration software with advanced features like security & compliance, administration tools, and dedicated support, you’ll have to opt-in for their Office 365 E3 plan, which is $20 per user per month, paid annually.
The upside of their Office 365 E3 plan is that it provides your team with unlimited personal cloud storage for each user.
Zoom is a video chat tool that is great for both one-on-one and group meetings.
The tool is extremely easy to use and straightforward, all you need to do is sign up and download the app.
As a given, you can use Zoom both on a computer, smartphone, or even via a dial-in phone.
In addition to the typical meetings & video calls, you can also use Zoom for conference room calls, as well as hosting webinars.
And the cherry on top?
For most businesses, the Free plan is more than sufficient. With Zoom’s free plan you can host calls with up to 100 participants, with a 40-minute time limit on group calls.
As for one on one meetings, you can have unlimited ones even with their free plan.
Of course, if you need to host meetings that span several hours and accept over 300+ participants, you can sign up for their Small & Medium Business host account which is only $19.99 per host per month.
There’s this misconception that when working remotely, your team is going to be less creative.
After all, brainstorming is just not the same without a team and a whiteboard, right?
Well, that’s where Miro comes in.
Miro is the go-to tool for online whiteboarding.
Want to hold a brainstorming session?
Or maybe collaborate with the team on the strategy for the next quarter?
Miro can help you do both and more.
Miro comes with video call capabilities, so you don’t need a separate communication tool to hold brainstorming sessions.
You can use Miro during literally any stage of your startup. From the ideation and brainstorming phase to managing your product development.
It offers a ton of use cases such as creating mind maps, managing agile workflows, creating strategy and planning diagrams, and more.
And the best part of it? You can have unlimited team members starting from the free plan. This does, however, come with a limit of 3 projects only. If you need unlimited boards, their Team plan starts at $8 per user per month when billed annually.
Mural.co is a superb remote work tool based entirely on visual collaboration. With all the templates it has to offer, it goes beyond being a simple digital whiteboard tool.
In their template library you can find a template for visualizing almost any process.
From visually collaborating on brainstorming sessions, to creating a roadmap and planning sprints, you can do that by simply clicking on the right template.
Their Starter package is $12 per user per month and includes pretty much most of the features a company usually needs. However, it’s capped at 50 collaborators max (+ unlimited visitors).
If you want different teams (departments) to collaborate together, you can opt in for their Plus package for $20 per user per month.
Is your company an enterprise that requires more than 50 people to work and collaborate on the same projects? You’ll need to opt in for their Enterprise plan, which is quote-based.
As a remote organization, you’re going to be using a TON of SaaS tools, and at times, this can seem a bit overwhelming.
Different departments end up getting different tools, and at some point, you’re not even sure which tools you’re really using, and which ones are just laying around.
Blissfully is a SaaS management software that makes sure that this doesn’t happen to you.
You can use the tool to:
- Keep track of all your SaaS spending and usage through a single dashboard
- Optimize your SaaS costs by cutting out tools you don’t use
- Ability to manage all your SaaS subscriptions in one place
And at the same time, you can also use Blissfully to manage your online workflows, such as:
- Employee onboarding
- Vendor approvals
- HR approvals
Zapier is another must-have remote work tool. While it doesn’t help much specifically with facilitating remote work, it helps you get the most out of all the other tools we’ve mentioned so far.
What it does is, it connects all the SaaS tools you’re using – Slack, Notion, G Drive, and pretty much any SaaS we mention in this article – and automates actions between them.
To give you a simple example of task automation done with Zapier:
- A customer submits a contact form on your website
- Zapier automatically takes the information inputted and copies it to a Google Sheet with all your leads
- Then, Zapier also takes this information and sends your team a notification on Slack, letting you know of the new lead
- Finally, Zapier also moves the data to your CRM, creates a new task about getting in touch with the lead, and assigns it to the relevant sales team member
Without Zapier, you’d have a bunch of manual work for each new lead, which takes up your team’s time.
And since Zapier provides integrations for over 2000+ apps, you are likely to find in their partners repository ALL of the apps your team uses.
The cool thing about Zapier is that you don’t have to pay per user per month like most other tools out there. Instead, you pay based on the number of tasks you want to automate in a month. E.g: Need to automate 50K tasks a month? You pay $299. Want to extend the limit to 200K tasks a month? You pay $799, unlimited users.
At Blissfully, Notion is our #1 favorite project management tool, hands-down.
At a glance, this SaaS might look like a simple note-taking app, but it’s actually a lot more than that:
- You can use it to manage your personal tasks and to-dos
- You can create a calendar view for keeping track of meetings, content publishing, and whatever else
- You can create a kanban board view to track your work
And that’s just a small piece of the pie. You can check out the complete list of Notion templates here so that you get a good idea of what the software is capable of.
If you’ve tried other project management tools on the market, you’ll be glad to hear that Notion can do everything most mainstream tools can, and a lot more on top.
Notion not your cup of tea? Some of these other tools might be:
- Try Trello if you’re really into kanban (and run a small organization)
- Basecamp is also a PM tool, fewer features than Notion, but comes at an interesting price tag ($100/month for organizations of any size)
- TeamGantt if you prefer managing your company via Gantt charts
Working remotely, you can’t just go tap on the shoulder of your coworker, teach them how to do something, and go about your day.
Instead, you need an online alternative for that.
And that’s where Loom comes in. You can use it to document your processes online through video recordings, and easily share them company-wide.
Sure, you could type up a process using a doc file, or a note-taking app, and then add screenshots to make it easier to follow.
But that can easily get very time-consuming. See, people talk on average, 6 times faster than they can type.
With Loom, you can visually document processes from any department in your company, including your sales, engineering, recruiting, design, marketing, and customer support process.
For example, you could document in a few minutes the following processes:
- How to upload content on WordPress
- How to do monthly marketing reports
- How to find relevant files and info
And pretty much whatever you can come up with.
With regard to its pricing, you can use most of Loom’s functionality with their Free plan.
However, if you want to create a Video Library for your team to access when needed, you’ll have to opt-in for their Business plan which starts at $15 per month per creator.
Working on marketing data and analytics is quite difficult even when you have your entire marketing team working in one place.
You need to aggregate data from different platforms, like Facebooks Ads, Google Ads, G Analytics, into a spreadsheet. Most of your time is spent copy and pasting, rather than actually analyzing the data.
With a fully remote team, the process of preparing reports with your marketing data becomes even more arduous.
That’s where Supermetrics come in. With Supermetrics, you can pull data from any source, and automatically push it/update it into a Google Sheet.
Their Pro plan starts at $99 per month and allows 1 user to analyze/move up to 1 million rows per query, from up to 32 different data sources. The daily limit of queries is 1500.
For most companies, this plan is more than sufficient. If you are looking for something more advanced, their Super Pro plan gives you 9 additional data sources and a total daily limit of 3000 queries.
Google Drive is a cloud storage platform to keep all your files in one place.
Your remote team can use it to store and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, and whatever else.
In addition to allowing seamless collaboration on files created using their native apps, namely Docs, Sheets, and Slides, G Drive also lets you store over 100+ different file types in storage, including Microsoft Office files.
And if you want to also access, create, and edit your files offline, you can! All files get immediately synced once you connect to the internet.
Google Drive comes with free 15-gigabyte storage space, and additional space available with the paid version.
If your company is on G Suite, then your employees get 30GB of Google Drive storage with the basic plan (starting at $6 per month per user)
There are a ton of alternatives to Google Drive (DropBox, OneDrive, pCloud, and so on), but we personally recommend Google Drive because it has the best bang for your buck (more storage at a better price).
Working remotely, it’s hard to keep track of your employee’s happiness.
Unless you’re constantly doing meetings, you can’t really gauge how they’re feeling about work, tasks, and so on.
Chimp or Champ helps solve this problem. The tool allows you to do anonymous weekly surveys with your employees, checking in on how satisfied they feel with their work.
And it does it in such a simple and straightforward manner, that it would be impossible for employees to ignore it.
They don’t need a new password, a new account, or even to log in to a new platform at all. The entire process takes place directly in their email.
Every Thursday, they receive a weekly check-in which they need to complete within 24 hours. And then, every Friday, the CEO, or HR manager, will receive a report with anonymous actionable feedback.
Also, adding employees to Chimp Or Champ is super easy. You just need to upload a list of all your employees’ emails, and you are ready to go.
For most businesses, the Free plan should be enough. However, if your company has 100+ employees, different departments, etc, you can opt-in for their Paid plan which starts at $2 per user per month.
Attendance Bot, as you can guess from the name, helps keep track of your employee’s attendance.
It helps with things like:
- Absence management – keeping track of who’s taking time off and when.
- Employee scheduling – calendar for keeping track of everyone’s work schedules.
- Time tracking – daily work check-ins and check-outs.
Here’s how it works:
Attendance Bot integrates directly with your chat/communication software. So if your team uses Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Chat to communicate, you can use Attendance Bot to track all of your employees’ timesheets.
Attendance Bot does not offer a free plan, (although they do have a 14-day free trial), however, their most basic plan starts at $2 per month per user, which will allow you to deal with most leave management processes.
If however, you want to use Attendance Bot for time tracking, shift management, tracking client work, managing recurring leaves, tracking over time, and doing custom reporting, then you’ll have to opt-in for their most advanced plan which is $6 per month per user.
Recruitee is an all-in-one recruitment platform.
You can use it to keep track of all your applicants through every stage of the hiring process.
Some of the best use-cases for the software include:
- Career site editor. You can use it to create a responsive career page for your website
- Post your jobs ads automatically to all the popular job boards
- Use-friendly job applications
- Pipeline for tracking all the candidates
… and more!
With regard to its pricing model, Recruitee does not offer a free plan. Even their most basic plan starts at $91 per month and it includes 5 job slots.
They do have more expensive plans which offer added functionality. However, if the basic plan offers all the functionality you need, then you can simply pay extra for additional job slots.
Also, if you want to take advantage of their templates and their API, you’ll need to upgrade to their Launch plan which starts at $333 per month and includes 10 job slots.
Toggl is a time-management app that helps you keep track of what you and your team spend time on.
Working remotely, you can’t really know what your employees have been up to throughout the day.
- Which tasks were they working on?
- How long did these tasks take?
- Are they getting work done faster, or slower, than average?
Having these answers is very important for you to make the right managerial decisions, and Toggl helps you get them.
The app is extremely simple – you just pick a task you’re working on, hit “Run,” and it’s going to record how long it took you to get it done.
You can then analyze your work weeks and see what you managed to accomplish, and what you spent more time on.
You can then set it up so that you get a notification monthly on what each of your team members has been up to.
Toggl is free for teams of up to 5 members. Their Starter paid plan starts at $9 per month per user when billed annually. However, to take advantage of Toggl’s advanced scheduling and reporting features, you’ll have to opt-in for their Premium plan, which is twice as expensive per user.
Some alternatives for time tracking software include:
- Time Doctor
Since the use-case for these tools is pretty straightforward, the one you pick will depend on which software you prefer UX/UI-wise.
The Pomodoro technique is a tactic for overcoming distractions and getting more work done.
It’s based on the idea that you can be more productive if you work in 25-minute bursts, and take a small break after each one.
The FocusBooster is an app that’s based on the Pomodoro technique, and it helps you use it to get more work done.
Their individual plan offers 200 Pomodoro sessions at $2.99 a month. That’s 5000 minutes of intense, dedicated work.
If however, your team is made of Pomodoro geeks who can easily go overboard, FocusBooster’s Professional plan offers unlimited Pomodoro sessions for only $4.99 a month. It also gives you client and revenue tracking functionalities.
Most remote workers stick to working from home (at least most of the time).
Which, as you’ve probably experienced first-hand, can be really distracting.
At an office, you have your entire team being productive and making cool things happen. You feel a part of the whole and tend to get more things done.
At home, though, your employees are a lot more likely to fall prey to distractions. Checking Facebook for 5 minutes wouldn’t hurt, right?
Well, in a lot of cases, it does. And it can completely mess their workflow. It can take on average 25 minutes for an employee to get back to their task, once they’ve been distracted by something.
So, to stay away from distractions, you can use the Self Control app to block all those websites that fight for your attention.
All you need to do is add a website to the list of URLs/domains to block, set a timer, and done. You won’t be able to access those websites until the timer runs out (yes, even if you shut down your PC!).
The only downside is that Self Control is only available for Mac. But the good news is that the person who created the app made the code open-source, so other people have created Windows and Linux alternatives to the app.
SelfRestraint – General Public License (GPL) and based on SelfControl
Chomper – GPL and allows you to create blacklists/whitelists of domains and/or specific URLs.
This tool is 100% free and guaranteed to boost your employees’ productivity while working remotely.
Just like Self Control, Freedom is an app that helps you eliminate distractions.
Differently from Self Control, however, you can use the tool across all platforms – iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome Browser, you name it.
Also, Freedom isn’t limited to just blocking websites. It can also block:
- Internet access
- Desktop applications
- Mobile apps
Freedom comes with a 7-day free trial and costs 7+ USD per month after that.
As a remote company, you definitely have a ton of employees working from all over the world.
And more often than not, scheduling calls with them is going to be a huge pain.
You always need to do some crazy timezone math to see who’s free when and at what time.
With Calendly, though, this can become super simple. Everyone inputs their availability, and the software shows you everyone’s schedules in your own timezone.
Which, as you can guess, makes call and meeting scheduling a lot easier.
Calendly seamlessly integrates with all well-known calendar software such as Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud.
And it can also integrate with Google Hangouts and Zoom, allowing you to entirely automate the calls and meeting scheduling process for your remote team.
To take advantage of these features however, you’ll need to opt-in for their Premium plan, which starts at $8 per month per user. This plan also gives you two calendars per user, instead of one.
And lastly, to integrate Calendly with your other software, like Salesforce, Mailchimp, Stripe, etc, you’ll need to go for their $12 per month per user plan.
With all the SaaS tools you’ll be using to manage your remote team, you’ll have over a dozen account credentials.
So, you’ll need an easy way to share them with the right employees.
You could have a Google Sheet to keep track of all the users and passwords, but that’s very far from secure.
Instead, you can use LastPass.
The way it works is, all you need to do is log into your LastPass account, and it automatically logs you in all the SaaS tools you need.
From then on, for each new employee, you just give them access to the tools they need, and you’re good to go.
And on the other hand, if an employee leaves, you just have to deactivate their LastPass account (instead of manually going through all the tools and revoking access one by one).
In terms of pricing, their Team plan is great for teams of max. 50 people. This costs $4 per user per month. If your team is larger than that, you’ll have to go for the Enterprise plan, which starts a $6 per month per user.
Thanks for giving our guide to remote work tools a read!
We hope you found it useful and even picked up a new tool or two.
Now, to summarize everything, here’s the remote work tool stack we recommend you to try:
- Slack for chat and communication
- Zoom for video calls and meetings
- Miro for online whiteboarding
- Blissfully to manage all your SaaS subscriptions, as well as automate workflows
- Zapier to automate simple tasks
- Notion to manage your tasks, projects, and processes
- Loom to create online process documentation
- Google Drive to keep all your files and folders stored on the cloud
- Chimp or Champ to keep track of your employee motivation
- Attendance Bot to keep track of absences
- Recruitee for all your hiring needs
- Toggl to keep track of productivity and time spent
- Freedom and FocusBooster for personal productivity
- Calendly for online scheduling, and
- LastPass for keeping all your account information in one place