12 FREE Remote Work tools to overcome this pandemic remote work trial
The outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) has forced many people into Remote Work. To help you overcome this challenge, we came up with this list of the top 12 FREE Remote Work Tools. Enjoy!
This COVID-19 pandemic may be the turning point for many organizations. Millions of companies and workers are experiencing a new way of working, completely online, and many may not want to go back.
To make this transition to Remote Work as successfully as possible, you will need a few tools. We asked our remote workers community in NomadX and we created this list with the best 12 remote work tools in terms of:
- Project management and Strategy
- Communication (Written & Video)
- Invoicing & Accounting
These tools are great for individual remote workers and to collaborative teams. All these tools are free or have a free version, which, in most cases, is enough for small companies. Most of these tools can also be helpful in non-remote work companies.
Best project management & strategy remote work tools
1 – Asana (Web & App)
Asana is a popular project management platform built to help teams organize, track and manage their work. It allows teams to create projects, add collaborators, upload files and write comments on various projects and tasks.
The desktop version can be synchronized with the app (available in both iOS and Android) and it can be used as a task-list connected to a schedule or a Kanban board, depending on the user. Tasks and subtasks can be assigned to different team members with timelines and a communication channel in each task.
Asana is a free tool for everyone and works for teams up to 15 members big. However, if needed, the premium versions have a lot more capabilities.
2 – Trello (Web & App)
Trello is also a popular project management tool but with a different approach than Asana’s. It is more focused on working on tasks with a simpler, visual and user-friendly interface. Trello is based on cards and boards – a Kanban approach – and organizes projects vertically, displaying the current state of tasks which is a great way to look at progress.
You can move cards from one board to another when progress is made on the task or project. Team members can collaborate on every card, tag each other, comment, attach images or files, set timelines, descriptions and much more.
Trello is great for smaller projects or teams, also has an app version to where you can synchronize and the free version is very complete.
As alternatives, if you are looking for a simple to-do list tool try looking into Microsoft to-do and Todoist.
Best tools remote work communication
Communication is vital for a distributed team. It is probably the heaviest factor in determining if a team can become fully remote or not. It is super important to keep the team’s culture and, of course, to develop relationships. We’ll divide this section in written communication and video communication. Both are important.
Tools for written communication
3 – Slack (Web, Desktop & App)
Slack is a widely-used communication tool for work teams, whether they are remote or not. It is a top choice for synchronous communication and greatly improves human connections within the team.
It allows us to create different channels and threads, to keep the whole communication organized: discuss specific topics in the right place or having a channel for chitchat like the “coffee room” in a regular office. Every user can customize when to be notified for each channel. Slack also allows private messaging within the team with voice and video calls.
A big feature of Slack is the number of integrations it allows with other apps. Plus their bot which apart from giving you support when you need it, also allows you to create personal notes, reminders and automatic responses.
The free version of Slack is very generous, saves a lot of data from previous conversations and allows many integrations.
4 – Twist (Web & App)
Twist is a direct competitor of Slack, being both top communication tools for remote teams. However, Twist uses a completely different approach. Twist is an asynchronous communication platform that prioritizes transparency in the team and less chaotic communication.
Many people consider it to be the perfect mix between email and Slack, and Gonçalo Hall, a big advocate of remote work in Portugal and founder of Remote Work Movement is one of them:
“Twist is the best team communication tool ever. It’s like Slack and Email had a perfect baby and named it Twist”
Twist claims to provide a “calmer” and “more organized” communications to teams. It also allows the creation of threads and group messaging but reduces the pressure and chaos of the whole communication by limiting the notifications, not having the presence icon (green when someone is online) and making it easier to stay up to date in the different channels and not lose important information.
Twist also has a good free version even though less generous than Slack.
Tools for Video communication
5 – Zoom (Web & App)
Zoom is one of the most popular tools for video communication and conferences. Zoom allows remote workers to have one-on-one and group meetings, with high-quality video and audio, within the team or with clients.
The free version of Zoom allows meetings of up to 100 people and calls up to 40 minutes long and have many other features such as recording calls, sharing screen and many others.
6 – Google Hangouts (Web, App & Chrome extension)
Google Hangouts is a simple solution from Google for video calls and conferences. It is like an extension of Gmail and all we need is a google account to use it. It is very effective for 1-on-1 calls and for group video calls as well. You can create video calls using personal contacts (phone number or email) or creating rooms and sharing the generated link.
Communication on Hangouts can be made via text, voice or high-quality video. The interface is very simple to use and allows integration with many other services, especially the ones from Google.
As alternatives and in case you are looking for simpler solutions you can always use Whatsapp or Skype for written and video communication, respectively.
Read also: 10 Remote Work Hacks and Tricks
Best tools for Documentation in Remote Work
7 – Confluence (Web & App)
Confluence is a great tool to help teams working remotely. It can be also used as a project management tool but is better as a knowledge base. It is a great tool to have documents well organized so the collaborators can easily find what they are looking for.
Confluence is great to store technical documentation, protocols or important policies for the company or project. There are many templates to start from. Some examples are product launches, marketing campaigns, human resources policies, etc. These pages can be customized with images, videos, and GIFs to make them more engaging.
Confluence is more impactful in bigger companies but it can also be a big help to smaller projects.
The free version of Confluence is very complete and can be used by teams up to 10 members big.
8 – DocuSign (Web & App)
DocuSign is the pioneer of electronic signature. Instead of having to print, sign, scan and send a document, DocuSign simplifies the process a lot. It allows us to electronically sign a document and send it back within seconds. Or you can send a document ready to be signed and receive it signed moments after. The highest global security standards are always met and you can trust in the digital safety of the documents and your signatures. What’s more, you are always able to access the signed documents in the DocuSign’s secure cloud storage.
DocuSign free version only allows to sign or to send documents to be signed.
The best tool for notes in Remote Work
9 – Evernote (Web, Desktop, App & Chrome extension)
Every remote worker needs to take notes from time to time. Evernote is a widely popular note-taking solution that allows creating notes in seconds no matter where we are. It keeps our notes organized and synchronized across multiple devices. It has a search function so we can quickly find our notes and it has integrations with many other popular apps.
Evernote’s basic plan is free and even though it is limited it’s definitely a huge help.
Best remote work tools for Productivity
10 – Toggl (Web, App & Chrome Extension)
Toggl is a very simple yet effective time tracker tool. It allows us to track how much time every task takes us, so at the end of the day, we can not only see how much time we worked in total but how we managed it.
In the beginning, it is scary when you realize that time flies, but time is a valuable asset and Toggl allows us to control how we are using it. In Toggl you can also set alerts to control specific tasks and you can group tasks by tag, client or project to have better insights.
Toggl’s free plan is limited but is a game-changer, especially for entrepreneurs, freelancers and project managers.
11 – Stayfocusd (Chrome extension)
Stayfocusd is also a very simple but effective tool to fight procrastination. It is a tool that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites.
Nowadays, it is so easy to get distracted by everything that is happening on our personal computer. We have to remember it is also our workspace, and Stayfocusd doesn’t allow us to mix things. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.
It is highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).
Best tools for Accounting and Invoicing:
12 – And.co (Web & App)
And.co is a powerful tool by Fiverr with many different features. One of the main ones is setting up professional and customized proposals and contracts in just a few seconds and having the guarantee that they are “bulletproof”. Other good ones are the ability to quickly and easily create invoices on any device and the option to directly manage payments and activate an alert for when you get paid.
And.co can be a very useful tool and it has a free forever version that allows you to have only 1 active client.
As alternatives for invoicing there are the popular Paypal and Transferwise but with other limitations and fewer features.
We really hope your transition to remote work is as successful as it can possibly be and hopefully, you and whoever you work with, find it so beneficial that you take the leap!
NOMADX is a real estate technology platform developed to meet the needs of the rapidly growing global community of location-independent remote workers, or “Digital Nomads”.
As Digital Nomads ourselves, we know what the market is looking for: trusted, affordable accommodations in highly-attractive locations worldwide at 45% less than AirBNB. We also offer educational masterclasses to help master the lifestyle as well as community events to help foster new friendships.
Please join our community of Digital Nomads and remote workers from around the world:
Facebook Group: Support Community for Remote Workers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matilde & Miguel are a Portuguese couple who combined the passion for traveling with entrepreneurship and became Digital Nomads. They created the TravelB4Settle brand in late 2017 and since then they focused on Content Creation and Digital Marketing. Their main goal is to inspire and educate others to become Digital Nomads and help businesses all around the world to grow their presence online.