The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has transformed how humans work. As everyone around the world is eagerly waiting for normalcy to return, there are a few trends the pandemic is likely to leave behind.
Speaking of trends, “remote working” and “work from home” have become the buzzwords in today’s corporate world. Many businesses from around the world are increasingly focusing on laying the groundwork for a remote working environment for their employees even when the pandemic ends.
But why are businesses inclined towards implementing a permanent remote working policy? Well, companies have gradually recognized the benefits of working remotely, a lot of them have also started to believe that remote work has little impact on productivity.
Many organizations are trying to combine in-office and remote work. Today, nearly, 58.25% of companies are exploring the possibility of creating a hybrid working environment .
As the remote working trend continues to shift gears, companies are trying to find the best remote work software to improve productivity, collaboration, and management.
Before we take a look at some of the best collaboration tools for remote teams, let’s understand how remote working has slowly taken over.
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COVID-19 Impact on Remote Work
There is no doubt that the ongoing pandemic has compelled millions to work remotely. Remote work has emerged as one of the biggest legacies of COVID-19.
Prior to the pandemic, approximately five percent of full-time employees worked from home on a permanent basis. However, due to the pandemic, the figure is expected to hover between 20-30% across different industries .
Employees working in the corporate sector are anticipating that remote working is here to stay. In addition, since remote work has not shown any evidence of denting productivity, there is a growing belief that reversing work from home policies is going to be a major challenge.
It is safe to say that remote working has become the new normal in many parts of the globe. Some of the top technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies such as Baremetrics, Github, Invision, and Basecamp to name a few have scaled at an impressive pace with remote teams.
According to a report published by Grand View Research, the global team collaboration software market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 12.7% between 2020 and 2027 . This indicates that the adoption will remain high which is why several vendors have upped their product development efforts.
Now that we have established that remote working is not going anywhere anytime soon, let’s address some of the challenges involved with remote working for both, the management as well as employees.
Remote Working Challenges
While remote working presents a fair share of benefits, it also brings along some negatives with it. This is where remote workforce management software steps in.
Remote working challenges:
- Lack of communication
- Employee motivation
- Team collaboration
- Tracking the progress of different tasks
- Dealing with deadlines
- Financial management
Remote work software offers solutions and tools to address each of these challenges. This is one of the main reasons why companies are increasingly relying on remote team management software.
When you go to Google and search for “best collaboration tools for remote teams”, you will see multiple results. Choosing software that fits your budget and requirements can easily become stressful, which is why we have handpicked the best tools for you.
Software tools for remote working:
- Google Drive
Since remote working has become a major part of our lives, there has never been a better time to use software that allows you to keep a track of your progress and working hours.
Hubstaff is created by a team of remote workers for remote workers. It is a time tracking and works management solution that allows teams to optimize time and improve productivity.
The application is lightweight and keeps track of time with just a single click to start or stop the clock.
The interactive dashboard allows you to view active team members by providing insights such as mouse and keyboard activity rates. Besides you can also keep track of the time invested in each task or project.
Hubstaff can be integrated with more than 30 different applications ranging from accounting to project management.
- Time tracking
- Productivity monitoring
- Automated timesheets
- Payroll management
- Employee scheduling
Hubstaff has a free plan that can be used by a single employee. The paid plans come with more features and also allows the addition of more users.
- Basic: $7 per user/month
- Premium: $10 per user/month
- Enterprise: $20 per user/month
When we talk about project management especially while working remotely, it is difficult to exclude Asana from the list. The platform offers solutions that are primarily segmented into workflow and team.
More recently, Asana has released a workflow for remote teams. The platform allows users to create visual project plans to identify mistakes, prevent setbacks, and also ensures that their tasks are not lost.
- Kanban boards
- Project management
- Task management
- Work management
- Goal management
- Team collaboration
- Project planning
Asana offers four main pricing plans. Every plan is designed to suit the needs of different types of users and is fairly priced.
The basic plan is ideal for teams, solopreneurs, and organizations that are kick-starting their project management journey.
Price: $10.99 per user/month (billed annually)
Price: $ 24.99 per user/month (billed annually)
Price: Custom pricing
Trello is a web-based solution that is integrated with tons of features for project management. The tool has been appreciated by users for its function of visualizing tasks.
The platform comes with boards, cards, and lists that allow you to streamline and prioritize tasks and also track the key metrics visually. The best part about Trello is that it also has a mobile application that can be accessed by remote workers on the move.
Users with limited or no technical knowledge can also use this application without facing any issues. Trello can be integrated with multiple popular business tools.
- Team collaboration
- Dark mode
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Chrome extension
- Activity logging
- Data filtering
Trello offers three pricing options.
- Business Class
Price: $10 per user/month (billed annually)
Price: Custom pricing
It is fairly simple to communicate with your peers and colleagues when you are working in an office. However, the real challenge arises when you are working remotely and have doubts regarding which channel you should use for communication.
Slack has been embraced as the main communication channel by many companies that are working remotely. The platform addresses some common communication bottlenecks that come along with remote working.
Slack enables users to have real-time conversations with team members, create different channels for different tasks, and also create threads within messages to ensure that all your chats are organized.
- Direct messaging
- Message search
- File sharing
- Audio and video calls
Just like many tools, Slack offers a free plan that comes with limited features but well-suited for small teams.
Besides the free plan, it offers three paid plans.
Price: $8 per user/month
Price: $15 per user/month
Price: Custom pricing
When we are talking about the best collaboration tools for remote teams, we cannot miss out on Google Drive.
Google Drive is one of the best applications for document collaboration and cloud storage. There is a high risk involved in storing and working with work-related documents on your local desktop. With Google Drive, you can secure your files by moving them to Google Drive.
Users can create files, share access, and modify them at the same time. It comes with a gamut of business tools that allow you to create presentations, spreadsheets, and documents.
The changes made by different users can be easily tracked in real-time. You can also tag people, add comments, and accept or reject suggestions.
- Document processing
- Real-time team collaboration
- Cloud document storage
- Google Slides
If you like to make lists of all your tasks and activities, you should consider using Todoist. The application consolidates all your to-do lists in a single place to ensure you are on top of your important tasks.
When ad hoc tasks arrive, you can set a reminder and complete your current tasks from where you left them. You can also create sub-tasks and track your productivity trends for improved task management.
- Task management
- Kanban boards
- Recurring tasks
- Task dependencies
- Quick Add
- Priority levels
- Delegate tasks
Todoist offers three very affordable pricing plans.
- Free: $0
- Pro: $3 per user/month
- Business: $5 per user/month
1Password is primarily used for password management. It stores all the important passwords in a secure online password vault. With this tool, you do not have to worry about remembering passwords or risking it from being leaked to unauthorized individuals.
Users have to only remember the master password and leave the rest to 1Password. Its Watchtower feature is a game-changer when it comes to web security. The feature scans the web for security breaches and sends an instant alert if and when your login data is compromised.
- Cutting-edge encryption
- Data breach alters
- Automated form filling
A 14-day free trial is available. The vendor offers five main pricing plans which are listed below.
- Personal: $2.99 per month
- Families: $4.99 per month
- Teams: $3.99 per user/month
- Business: $7.99 per user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Remote Working Trends in 2021
Although a lot of companies have been focusing on creating remote work policies since 2005, 2020 fueled that trend. As mentioned, remote working is here to stay, which is why here are a few remote working trends we are likely to see in 2021.
- Increasing adoption of cloud-based technologies
- High focus on improving cybersecurity
- Changes in performance assessments
- Growth in demand for reskilling and retraining
- Flexible work hours
- High adoption of hybrid models (work-in office plus remote working)
Over to You
After going through our list of some of the best remote work software, we hope you were able to pick at least one tool for your business.
Before investing in a tool, here are some things you should consider. Get in touch with your remote employees and try to understand the difficulties they are facing while working remotely.
Secondly, many tools offer free trials and have a free version that you can play around with before getting started.
By now, you may have selected a bunch of tools that you think fit into your budget and requirement. It is time to implement them into your processes and build a seamless remote working experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes to how companies work. By now, most companies have realized the need to purchase remote team management software.
SEE ALSO: 7 Exciting CRM Industry Trends to Watch Out in 2021
Image Source: Image by rawpixel.com
Image 1 Source: Hubstaff
Image 2 Source: Asana
Image 3 Source: Slack
Image 4 Source: 1Password
 (2021) “15 of the Best Remote Work Software Options You Need in 2021” Hubstaff [online] Available from:
https://blog.hubstaff.com/remote-worker-software/ [accessed May 2021]
 (2020) “Remote Work: The Biggest Legacy Of Covid-19” Forbes [online] Available from:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/gadlevanon/2020/11/23/remote-work-the-biggest-legacy-of-covid-19/?sh=105206c77f59 [accessed May 2021]
 (2020) “Team Collaboration Software Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Application, By Software Type (Conferencing, Communication & Coordination), By Deployment (Cloud, On-premise), And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027” Grand View Research [online] Available from:
https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/team-collaboration-software-market [accessed May 2021]