Managing a remote team can be hard. However there are plenty of tools that can help you with it, and we’ve researched and listed the best out there, to save you time and effort.
For many organisations, being a remote team gives them great value, and is certainly becoming a more accepted way to run a team by the day. Technology has meant a team can be distributed in all corners of our globe, however that presents its own set of challenges.
There are a plethora of tools and systems out there to help, however the search and deployment of the best software for managing a remote team can be time consuming.
With this in mind, we have scoured the web, and collected over 90 software tools useful in managing a remote team, and sorted them into 17 logical categories.
We have broken down this long list of software that can help managing a remote team into the following 17 categories.
- Text communication
- Video & Audio communication
- Screen sharing
- Calendar management
- Time tracking
- Task management
- Team reporting
- Project management
- File management
- Collaborative writing and sketching
- Web based design tools
- Product management
- Freelancers & short term
Simply click any of these categories above, to jump straight to that section in our list, or continue to scroll down to view them all.
To visit the website for a particular tool, just click on the name.
Text communication is the backbone for many people managing a remote team. It’s quick, easy and typically can be done on any device. Here are five text communication tools worth looking into.
Chat & inbox for teams. One place to talk and stay up-to-date. CA Flowdock is a team collaboration app for desktop, mobile & web.
Work on things that matter, be transparent and solve problems across tools, teams & time zones.
Operating since before Slack arrived on the scene, Hipchat has a solid user base and feature list which makes managing a remote team easier. They have apps available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.
You can use Quip to create, document, discuss, and organise the stuff that your team works on. In Quip, the content of your document becomes the communication.
Slack is the mammoth brand of team communication. Using an always-on chat interface, teams can converse with each other publicly via channels or privately through instant message. We are big fans of Slack, and they were mentioned before in our article 16 SaaS Tools We Use to Grow Our Startup.
Now owned by Microsoft, Yammer is much more than simply a text chat tool, with threaded discussions, files and more.
Video & Audio Communication
They say that facial and body language make up 2/3 of a communication. So when text communication isn’t suitable, here are a number of tools that offer video and audio for help with managing a remote team.
Google Hangouts gives you free access to voice, video, and messaging one-on-one or with a team. Sync across multiple devices. Record calls and save as YouTube videos.
Join.me offers instant screen sharing, plus free audio and video conferencing, which makes them very useful for managing a remote team.
Skype is the oldest tool in the kit, having been around for many years. It’s free to use locally and globally. Instant message, video call, voice call, and group call all from desktop or mobile.
This tool avoids the old PIN number, and can even trigger a call to recipients to join in. It is also easy to do things like mute a noisy caller, dial-in another person mid-call and more.
There’s plenty of times that sharing your screen makes perfect sense. It’s a powerful way of illustrating something you are trying to explain very quickly. Here are some of the best screen sharing tools currently available.
Clapboard is a lightweight chrome extension that lets you record your screen & camera together, and share those recordings across multiple platforms with a simple copy paste link.
Mikogo boasts that with them, screen sharing has never been so easy. 100% browser-based for participants, with no pesky downloads needed to get communicating.
Screen leap boasts quick and easy sharing, installation free which makes starting a screen sharing session friction free.
Just send a link and you can share your web browser with your recipient in seconds. Show, explain and demonstrate new products and services from anywhere with your remote team.
Yuuguu is great for web conferencing and screen sharing. Yuuguu gives you so much. Screen sharing, so you can present your ideas. Audio conferencing, so you can talk it through together.
Need advice on building the right company culture with a remote team? Read our post, Building Culture in a Remote Team.
Managing your calendar can be a quite a challenge, let alone when managing a remote team. Here are some great tools to help encourage people to book time straight into yours.
The marketing line for meetin.gs is ” simplify meeting scheduling” by letting others schedule meetings with you. They allow for integration with your calendar and fine-tune your availability.
Schedule once says with their tool, you can make more connections with an integrated scheduling platform. They are a field-proven solution for powering online scheduling with your customers and prospects.
YouCanBook.me is booking software that integrates directly with your Google or iCloud Calendar, and allows you to get a personal scheduling page so your customers can book you online.
Scheduling people in the same room can be difficult at times; even more so when they are remote. These tools will help you schedule a team and get insights into where people are at, making managing a remote team a breeze.
Resource Guru says they allow “fast, simple way to schedule people, equipment and other resources online”. We say take them for a spin.
Team book is beautiful and simple, this planner allows you to lay out your team schedule. Track and tweet member availability in real time.
When I Work
Schedule your hourly team members, and see a weekly overview of your entire team’s schedule. Drag and drop to tweak the schedule to your liking with When I Work.
As someone who regularly has to translate timezones into my own time, these tools are invaluable for anyone dealing with people in other time zones. The trick with managing a remote team is often down to what time is their local time.
Every Time Zone
A rather simple, browser based single page view of timezones across the world. Every Time Zone makes it very easy to compare local time with those of your team.
This is a nice, browser based timezone comparison page, which we use extensively at 6Q. We love it so much, we mentioned this before in our article 16 SaaS Tools We Use to Grow Our Startup.
This is the most elegant tool in the timezone category, with avatars and a beautiful design. They say they help you “Keep track where and when your team is.”
Keeping a track of the time you have spent on various tasks is the key to unlocking priorities and where you are actually spending time at the moment. When managing a remote team, it’s great to get everyone in this habit.
Everhour works inside software such as Works inside Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira and GitHub to provide accurate time tracking for project management, invoicing or payroll.
FunctionFox is powerful and easy-to-use. Get accurate tracking on your projects from concept to completion, reduce admin time, increase profits and best of all, free up more of your time.
Harvest offers a simple, intuitive interface, getting you and your team on board fast. You can run reports for individual team members, tasks, or clients. Get timesheet approval, log expenses, and more.
HiveFlux offers real-time task management. You can know the second a task is started, paused or completed – all while everything is automatically time tracked.
Want to make sure your remote team is focused on actual work? Designed specifically for remote team management, Hubstaff takes periodic screenshots and manages activity levels to provide accurate time reports.
Paymo is touted as a modern project management app for small & medium businesses, offering team collaboration, timesheet management and project accounting.
Time Doctor is a time tracking and productivity app trusted by more than 20K people worldwide.
Easily track time online and out of the office. Timeneye mobile app for iOS and Android devices makes time tracking possible wherever you are. You’ll keep saving time and money even during meetings and while working out of office.
If you’re not keen on a full project management suite, there are plenty of smaller, to do list style applications out there, that all offer a slightly differing perspective. Here are some our favourites when managing a remote team.
I Done This
I Done This’s easy daily check-ins and powerful progress reports to run more effective and productive teams, without massive management overheads.
We mentioned Trello before in our article 16 SaaS Tools We Use to Grow Our Startup. With Trello, you can create boards to manage your entire project. At a glance, see who’s working on what and when tasks are due.
Wanderlust say they offer the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects.
Want to get a quick check in from the whole remote team, without resorting to a video conference meeting? You may find these tools a great addition to your suite of tools for managing a remote team.
Jell offers one central place where team members can share daily plans, accomplishments, challenges and long-term goals. They have your team answer three core questions, to give you insights.
Scrumie gives you an overview of the work done in your team based on virtual daily stand-ups. Availability status, time zones, custom apps and integrations further enhance the Scrumie’s functionalities.
A daily email reminder requests a quick update from you and your team – everyone replies with a list of their accomplishments, upcoming tasks and problems. The next day, everyone gets a digest email about the whole team’s progress.
Staff.com gives you insights into the activities of your workforce, and helps you to understand indicators that are associated with high or low performance.
If you need a tool that offers a suite of time, task and projects, along with a simple CRM, these products are likely your best bet. Keeping everything central can really improve managing a remote team and the work they are involved with.
Acteamo is web-based project management and collaboration software. Spend less time emailing, calling and struggling to stay on top of your team’s progress.
Apollo allows you to organise and schedule your team’s tasks, track time, and collaborate with ease. They boast thousands of users across the globe.
Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work—and get results. Asana can be used to plot and track projects, tasks, communication, and team progress inside the tool.
A Basecamp is a private, secure space online where people working together can organize and discuss everything they need to get a project done. Tasks, discussions, deadlines, and files – everything considered.
Blossom offers agile project management, specifically designed for remote teams and distributed companies.
An integrated and collaborative web-based platform to address the real-world complexities of managing projects across organizations and functions; planning, delegation, collaboration, tracking and reporting with great agility and user-friendliness.
Duet is a project management app for freelancers and small businesses. This integrated project management and invoicing tool is simple to setup and easy to use.
Whilst not specifically a project management tool, with G Suite, you can give each member of your team a professional email address, grant access to cloud storage and more.
Meistertask allows you to create a project, add as many team members as you want, assign tasks and follow each other’s progress. All for free.
Elegantly designed and feature-rich, ProofHub is project management software that helps teams to plan, collaborate, organize and deliver projects.
Task world touts themselves as “empowers your team to finish work on time, measure performance and accomplish great results”.
Teamwork Projects is intuitive, feature-rich project management software that lets you own the big picture and work your way.
Twoodo use conversations to manage projects, offering an all-in-1 solution (discuss, organize, execute), clearer communication (no more emails!) and self-organized messaging (organize as you type).
Work section offers intuitive and easy to use project management & time planning, and advertises over 12,000 teams currently using the tool.
Write says they are project management software your business needs, with the insights you love & the security you require.
They pitch themselves as project management software specifically for the creative industry. Get updates, an overview of outstanding project tasks, and organize team member availability.
Get great remote team management insights in our post How to Grow a Positive Company Culture with a Remote Team.
Where do you store all of your files, and make sure the entire remote team have access to them? This is where a great file management system comes into play. With so many cloud based options, here are a handful of the better ones.
Box is a paid file sharing service, with a focus on security. Documents are encrypted and you can grant and revoke user permissions at your discretion.
Dropbox is simple to use, with the ability to download onto your desktop for easy drag and drop file sharing. Enable auto-sync to migrate files while you sleep.
Specifically designed for source code management, GitHub is a favourite amongst technical people the globe over.
We have mentioned Google Drive before in our article 16 SaaS Tools We Use to Grow Our Startup. They make it easy to share work documents, presentations, and spreadsheets across multiple team members. Turn on and off features, enable sharing, and change access rights.
Huddle provides enhanced security, with a focus on secure cloud collaboration specifically for government and enterprise sized companies.
One Hub proudly declare they are a “better way to securely store, sync, and share your business files”. Sounds like a perfect tool for managing a remote team!
Collaborative writing and sketching
Sometimes it’s just easier to have a tool to scribble, illustrate or work on written notes together. A collaborative writing or sketching tool is just what you may be looking for.
Perfect for visual communication for remote teams, Dee Kit say they are an online whiteboard for visual communication, planning and sketching.
Draft was built by a writer to allow everyone to “write better”. Draft documents can easily be published to WordPress, Tumblr, Ghost, Svbtle, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Basecamp and even Mailchimp from inside Draft.
Create a project to-do list, jot down a reminder, take a picture of a sketch. A note can be anything you want it to be. And once you make a note, it’s accessible wherever you go, forever.
Now bought by Dropbox, Hack Pad puts everything in one fully searchable place. Explore public Pads, discover innovative projects, and connect with like-minded people to do great things.
Milanote is a tool for organising creative projects into beautiful visual boards, and is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.
OnlyOffice is built using HTML5′s Canvas element, and claims to combine the best of Google’s online collaboration features with Microsoft Word’s high quality formatting.
zipBoard helps you share asynchronous feedback during digital production for every content type: websites, e-learning courses, HTML prototypes, images, PDF’s, videos.
Web based design tools
Sometimes it makes better sense to use a browser based design tool, rather than have to open up some software on a specific computer. These tools do just that, all in the cloud.
They pitch themselves as “the original online banner maker”. This design tool has been built from the ground up for advertising banners, and looks very slick.
Canva for Work
Australian built Canva for Work, allows for easy creation of beautiful, cohesive, and easy-to-create designs. Collaborate across multiple devices and timezones, making it great for distributed teams.
I use this tool regularly to do just about anything I would normally do in Adobe Photoshop. The best part is they offer it absolutely free, with a premium plan for those who need more.
This is a fantastic design tool, that allows a huge range of design assets to be created. They even do infographics and video, with a large library of ready items to use.
For those building a product as a remote team, then these picks may be just what you need, to get everyone working on the same direction, and managing various files and documents.
With a strapline “Roadmap What Matters”, Aha! is roadmapping software for PMs who want to save time and get results.
They say they help you to build better software, as they are a platform that powers productivity by integrating code, projects, and teams all in the one place.
Jira by Atlassian
Jira is a software development tool for teams. As usual, you can plan projects and tasks, track how is it going, and deploy your software when it is ready.
ProdPad calls themselves product management software for highly effective product teams. Show everyone what’s next for your product with an easy visual product roadmap that you can export, share or embed.
Validately allows you to choose from different test types depending on your goal, and offers screen and sound recording, mobile or desktop testing and more.
Wizeline captures and analyzes all products ideas, feature requests and voice of the customer data, enabling organizations to focus their product strategy on addressing the biggest opportunities and the right market outcomes.
Managing a remote team doesn’t mean having lax security. These tools offer the ability to manage your security, no matter if your team is in the same room, or a different continent.
1Password for Teams
Using 1Password, you can create strong passwords that your team won’t need to remember, easily onboard new team members and see an overview of permissions.
Cloud9 holds your dev space in the cloud, combining a powerful online code editor with a full Ubuntu workspace in the cloud.
Meldium automatically logs you in to your favorite apps and web sites without typing usernames and passwords. You get instant access with extensions for your browser, or with apps on iOS and Android.
It’s time to grow your remote team? Here are a few places to either advertise your next position, or find that ultimate remote worker to suit your needs.
Distant Job is based on an interesting new recruitment model, which focusses on finding you the best individual for the job, not limited to any geographic area.
FlexJobs is an innovative, professional job service to help you find the best flexible jobs available, safely and easily. Every job is hand-screened and legitimate. Guaranteed.
Using Stack Overflow, you can reach the right technical talent, right now. They say they bring your entire developer hiring process together, to make it easier for the recruiter.
We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely is the best place to find and list jobs that aren’t restricted by commutes or a particular geographic area. Find the most qualified people in the most unexpected places
A curated list of remote jobs, for the “modern working nomad”, updated daily and featuring jobs across the entire planet. Great resource for those looking to work remotely, too.
Freelancers & short term
If it is a few hours, or a few weeks, a temporary remote worker isn’t that far away any more. These sites give you the freedom to find someone willing to make with you from afar.
Fiver is a great resource to find people for very simple tasks, a marketplace where everything starts at around $5, as per the name.
Post your project and receive competitive bids from freelancers within minutes. They say their reputation system will make it easy to find the perfect freelancer for your job.
Guru is touted as “the best place for employers and freelancers to connect, collaborate, and get work done”. Thousands of freelancers are easy to find on the platform.
A relatively new player, Truelancer is similar to freelancer, and calls themselves an on-demand curated freelance marketplace
Probably the biggest such site in the world, Upwork (formerly known as Elance and Odesk), has a huge community of freelancers and new jobs being posted every hour.
This ultimate list of tools for managing a remote team should be a valuable reading list for your research into various software solutions.