As we embrace the remote work revolution, it’s the digital tools we use that form the backbone of a productive, connected workforce. These tools help us stay organized, communicate effectively, and keep our projects on track.

There are many different tools on the market, each promising to streamline your workflow. But what are the essential types of remote work software that can make a difference in your success?

Let’s dive into the top 10 tools that can transform your remote work from good to exceptional.

What is remote work software?

Remote work software refers to digital platforms enabling seamless communication, collaboration, project management, and productivity among distributed teams.

These tools ensure that day-to-day business operations can run as efficiently and effectively as possible, regardless of physical distance. 

With remote work becoming the new normal, having the right tools in place is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity for success.

1. Time tracking tool

Time tracking tools ensure tasks are completed and offer valuable insights to help you allocate your time better. These tools can range from manual entry to AI automation and screen activity monitoring.

But what sets the best time tracking software apart is integration with other essential tools, such as project management and invoicing software.

Following the well-known saying that time is money, these tools help ensure every second is carefully accounted for and wisely invested. 

Here are some popular time tracking tools to consider:

  • Apploye for its powerful employee time tracker features, which offer real-time tracking.
  • Toggl for its simplicity and integration with over 100 productivity tools.
  • Clockify for its free plan catering to small teams and unlimited tracking capabilities.
  • Time Doctor for its detailed reporting and time spent on specific apps or websites.
  • Hubstaff for its GPS tracking, geofencing, and payroll integrations.

Two people remote working.

2. Real-time communication software

Real-time communication platforms offer instant messaging, swift file sharing, and group channels for team collaboration. They mesh with your other work tools, bringing all your notifications together in one place. It’s like the digital version of being able to tap someone on the shoulder.

But the real magic of real-time communication is its power to spur on-the-spot collaboration and problem-solving. They instill a feeling of ‘being there’ with your team and eliminate the need for those drawn-out email chains, which can often lead to miscommunication and delays. 

Top real-time communication software includes:

  • Slack for integrated, hub-like team communication.
  • Microsoft Teams for collaboration within the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • Google Chat for quick chats within Google Workspace.
  • Twist for time-independent communication across time zones.
  • Flock for affordable, efficient, real-time messaging.

3. Virtual meeting software

Virtual meetings and video conferencing tools enable seamless collaboration across multiple locations, with audio and video capabilities, screen sharing, whiteboarding, and recording features.

They have become the board rooms of the digital era, serving as indispensable platforms for team discussions and decision-making in remote work environments. Given the shift towards online interactions, virtual meeting software is a must-have remote work tool for every business.

Some of the most popular virtual meeting software are:

  • Zoom for easy-to-use, quality video calls.
  • Google Meet for seamless collaboration with Google tools.
  • Cisco Webex for enterprise-level features.
  • GoToMeeting for versatility and quick setup.
  • BlueJeans for security and compatibility.

4. Meeting notes tool

Virtual meetings and note-taking tools go hand in hand, ensuring that discussions and action items are captured and preserved. Just as virtual meetings eliminate distance, note-taking tools prevent the essence of the meeting from getting lost in translation.

People often overlook these tools, but they play an important role in ensuring important details and tasks aren’t forgotten or missed. Although they aren’t used as much as they should be in meetings, their ability to keep things clear and focused is undeniable.

Tools like these can help you keep your meetings on track:

  • Evernote for organizing notes and ideas.
  • Notion for managing projects and tasks.
  • OneNote for integrating with Microsoft tools.
  • Coda for creating interactive documents.
  • Bear for clean, distraction-free note-taking.

5. Project management tool

In today’s remote work environment, project management tools help make sure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

These tools are important in managing various aspects of projects, including planning, scheduling, resource allocation, and communication. However, despite their obvious benefits, many teams aren’t using them to their full potential.

Project management tools can provide a visual overview of project status, enable task delegation and tracking, and combine project-related communication and files in one convenient location. To help reduce costs, especially for small teams, consider using free project management software

Here are some project management tools that can help you stay on top of your tasks:

  • Asana for its flexibility in project views.
  • Trello for its simple, card-based system.
  • Jira for robust issue tracking.
  • Nifty for its comprehensive, free project management tools.
  • Basecamp for its extensive feature set.

6. Knowledge base software

Knowledge base software is like a library for a company’s information, processes, and protocols.  It’s equally accessible to all workforce members and promotes consistency in understanding and application.

It catalogs everything from FAQs to manuals and support queries. Think of it as a single source of company knowledge that speeds up onboarding and empowers workers with information.

Here are five powerful knowledge base software tools:

  • Confluence for project management and team collaboration.
  • Notion for creating and sharing notes, documents, and wikis.
  • Zendesk Guide for customer self-service portals.
  • Guru for knowledge management and onboarding support.
  • Helpjuice for creating internal or external knowledge bases.

7. Feedback management tool

Feedback management tools offer a platform for both giving and receiving feedback. They facilitate communication and help maintain a healthy work environment. 

Feedback is also essential for promoting professional growth and aligning individual efforts with organizational goals. 

However, providing this essential feedback becomes challenging in a remote work setting where face-to-face interaction is limited. That’s where feedback tools come into play. 

Consider investing in these feedback management tools:

  • 15Five for continuous feedback and performance management.
  • Officevibe for enhancing employee satisfaction and engagement.
  • TinyPulse for anonymous employee feedback collection.
  • Trakstar for performance appraisal and goal tracking.
  • Qualtrics for comprehensive experience management and employee insights.

8. VPN tool

Virtual Private Network (VPN) software is a tool that helps establish a secure connection to a private network over the Internet. 

The key function of VPNs is to encrypt your internet connection, creating a secure tunnel for your data to pass through. This encryption is not just about preventing data breaches. It also provides another significant advantage – access to region-restricted services.

Thus, a VPN can be handy if you’re a digital nomad or your work requires access to resources unavailable in your region. 

You can choose from a wide range of free and paid VPNs. Free VPNs may offer basic features and security, while paid versions typically provide faster speeds, more server options, and better protection.

Whichever you choose, you can secure your connection with these top-rated VPNs:

  • Aura for its versatile features powered by AI.
  • Express VPN for the fastest connection.
  • Nord VPN for maximum security.
  • CyberGhost for user-friendliness.
  • Private Internet Access for server variety.

A person using a coworking space.

9. Customer Relationship Management tool

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is for more than just sales teams. It tracks and manages interactions with current and potential customers, ensuring everyone in the company can provide a consistent customer experience.

Think of it as your very own customer data storage vault. It stores all customer data, manages leads, keeps tabs on customer interactions, and can even automate sales processes by integrating CRM with WhatsApp, Facebook Business, calendar, email systems, etc.

You can also integrate your CRM with your customer feedback tools to help you understand your customer’s pain points so you can improve your products and services. 

Choose from these popular CRM tools:

  • Salesforce for powerful, all-inclusive customer management and analytics.
  • HubSpot for seamless marketing automation and lead nurturing.
  • Zoho CRM for small businesses seeking affordable yet powerful CRM capabilities.
  • NetHunt for its extensive integrations that enable omnichannel communication.
  • Pipedrive for streamlined sales pipeline management and visual tracking.

10. Payroll tool 

Payroll management can be challenging, especially for businesses and freelancers with remote teams. That’s where the right payroll software can simplify the process – it helps you ensure timely payments and maintain compliance.

Good payroll software should make payroll management less of a chore, regardless of your team’s location.

Some key features include automation, tax filing and payment options, and direct deposit capabilities.

Noteworthy tools include:

  • Gusto for its user-friendliness and comprehensive features.
  • Quickbooks for its seamless integration with accounting systems.
  • ADP for its scalability and powerful functionality.
  • PayChex for its broad services, including HR and retirement.
  • Zenefits for integrating payroll with HR, benefits, and time-tracking.

What is the Best Remote Work Software?

The best remote work software will always be the one that seamlessly integrates with your existing workflow, meets your specific business needs, and helps you achieve your goals.

Keeping up with the constant influx of new apps can feel overwhelming. Instead, focus on assembling a set of tools that perfectly suit your unique needs. 

Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, dedicating time to research and experiment with different tools will lead you to the right choice for your operations.