One of the best things about being a marketer is that many of us can work anywhere. As long as we have an internet connection, it's relatively easy for us to get most our day-to-day work done. To publish that blog post, send that email, or set up that email nurturing workflow, we simply need to connect to Wi-Fi and get to work.
But an internet connection doesn't solve everything we need to accomplish during the day. Often, we need to communicate with team members, project managers, and freelancers -- and when you're remote, that communication can get a little ... messy.
As the technological landscape has grown, many companies have discovered and begun implementing new tools and resources that enable employees work productively.
To help you figure out which tools might be handy for your dispersed team, we compiled a list of some of the best tools we've used when working remotely.
35 Helpful Remote Work Tools and Software
Tools for General Remote Collaboration
GSuite is a budget-friendly Google platform that allows your teams to collaborate on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slide, among other easy-to-use Google Drive tools. You can also share a team calendar and create work emails through the GSuite.
Microsoft is GSuite's older competitor. While GSuite can be used entirely online within one platform, Microsoft Office allows you to download apps like Excel, Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint to your computer or mobile device. Like GSuite, you also can use this general suite of tools to manage, share, store, and edit documents in team folders.
Aside from the more specific apps, Microsoft Teams also allows you to communicate with your teammates via video calls, email, and through an internal discussion platform where your colleagues can create posts or ask questions.
Task and Project Management Software
Trello allows you to create a dashboard that highlights large projects or categories and tasks related to them. Each small task, called a "card" can be labeled with a colored tag and text. For example, if you want to say something is "Urgent" you could create a red card tag that says "Urgent" on it and stick it to the appropriate Trello cards. You can also assign cards and deadlines to members of your team and track each card's progress through its Activity area.
Asana similarly lets you create and delegate tasks, organize, and check off tasks into shared projects, chat within each task so conversations stay organized, and add attachments from your computer, Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. It also has calendar features, dashboards for projects, and your very own to-do list.
Project management for web developers seems to be Assembla’s niche, though it could handle project management for just about any type of freelancing. It tracks tickets, time, and produces reports, simplifies product releases and bug fixing, and says it's “easier to set up than Jira.”
Use this simple and easy-to-use project management software helps you arrange your calendars, set meeting schedules, track assignments, and store documents. All of your project management occurs on one organized dashboard to give you a digestible bird's-eye-view of everything that's happening.
While RingCentral enables company calls to your business line to be forwarded to a mobile phone when you're working remotely, Glip helps you manage basic project management and text-based team communication.
For task management, shared calendars, file sharing, annotating images, and real-time group chat, Glip is a strong tool. It also helps that all those chats are fully searchable.
Along with group chats and standard project management features, you can also activate video chats on the Glip app which allow you to talk to your teammates about ongoing tasks.
Web developers will love GitHub because it is designed to build software with remote teams. The platform allows teams to virtual participate in code review and the management of both open source and private projects.
The GitHub Marketplace also offers coders a variety of tools that can help them do their job more efficiently, regardless of where they log in.
Below is a detailed demo of what this platform can offer coders:
Jira is another project management tool primarily for developers, customer supportt, and IT reps, that allows you to assign and track work or problems that must be solved. It also has a handy mobile and desktop interface for project management on the go.
Part project manager, part Facebook for companies, you can use Podio to keep track of what you need to do, and chat while doing it.
With the mobile app and website, you can create "workspaces" for different aspects of your work or projects. These workspaces look similar to a Facebook page as colleagues can comment or share information on them similarly to how they would share a Facebook post. You can also use the platform to communicate with teammates or manage client contacts privately since it has a wide range of privacy settings.
Taskworld’s sweet spot is managing projects and keeping track of tasks and subtasks. Its evaluation feature lets you measure and give feedback on job performance, setting it apart from other similar project management programs.
Marketed more as a personal to-do list for your phone, Wunderlist is also used by some of us to keep track of client work. There's not much to the app except for a handy to-do list that you can check off as you go. Here's a quick GIF demo:
Monday.com is a web task management platform specifically for businesses and agencies. It offers similar features to Asana and Trello in that you can watch the progress of tasks on a dashboard and assign projects to team members. But, additionally, it also allows marketing teams to plan tasks with their budget in mind. Here's a quick demo that shows off Monday's task and budget management tools:
Tools for Scheduling and Hosting Virtual Meetings
Zoom is an easy-to-use desktop platform and app that allows you to schedule, launch, and record virtual meetings with your team. These meetings can be entered remotely from a computer, smartphone, or by voice via a dial in phone. During Zoom meetings, you can also share your screen with teammates so they can see your work or presentations.
When I need a reliable online meeting and webinar program, this is my “go-to.” (See what I did there?) It hasn’t embarrassed me in front of a client once. Screen sharing is easy and call quality is usually really good. Similarly to Zoom. GoToMeeting allows you to schedule and launch virtual meetings or webinars where users can log in or call to hear only hosts speak. These meetings can be recorded and sent to participants after they're completed.
16. Google Hangouts
A lot of us use it because Google is ubiquitous, and usually the most convenient option -- especially if you're using Google Calendar to manage your schedule.
This video call tool is great for fast and easy screen share meetings. Additionally to being able to schedule and launch quick virtual meetings with screen-share, you can also create a shareable URL to your own personal meeting room that people can log on to when they'd like to meet with you.
At this point, many of us have already used Skype.Along with allowing you to host free small virtual meetings, Skype also enables you to create group chats. If you want to use the paid version of Skype, you can also have meetings with groups or make international voice calls.
19. Uber Conference
With Uber Conference, there's no more wondering who joined the call, who said what, or what the heck your meeting PIN number is. It also allows screen sharing and has a mobile app. You can create video calls in your own name and when someone signs in, you can easily see them on the video calls dashboard. Then, when someone is talking, their video feed will be highlighted so you can easily see what's happening.
20. Google Calendar
Rather than having a full conversation over an instant messaging platform about when to have a meeting, you can use GSuite's Google Calandar feature. With the feature, you can share your Google Calendar with your colleagues. Then, when you want to schedule a meeting with them, simply search their names and book a suggested time that works. When you do this, you can also put notes in the description area such as, "I'd like to book this meeting to discuss the marketing newsletter. Let me know if this time doesn't work for you."
Tools for Quick Chats with Colleagues
This quickly-growing startup's product is great for real-time communication for one-on-one conversations or with everyone on your team. You can also organize chats by subject, and integrate activity from platforms like Github, Trello, and Pingdom. I like the thought expressed here that Slack is as close to a virtual office as you can get. You can even create one channel for every client, and invite only the people on that project to be on that channel.
Want to learn more about Slack? Here's a guide to all the hacks you didn't yet know you could do with the platform.
If you have a remote or globally dispersed team, or communicate regularly with international clients or prospects, WhatsApp is a great communication platform that allows you to create group chats with them, send text messages, host multiple-person video calls, or make voice calls for free on a Wi-Fi network.
This simple and easy-to-use instant messaging app and website is similar to Slack, and also integrates with Jira, GitHub, Basecamp, Asana, Assembla, Trello and a lot of other apps.
Asset Management Tools
24. Google Drive
I love Google Drive, but it does tend to update rather frequently, which means that just when you’ve figured it out and have all your things organized, it changes. That said, it’s free, stores and organizes all of your stuff, and you can work on the same document with multiple people at the same time.
Sharing large files doesn’t work so well over email, which is where Dropbox comes in. It’s also a great tool for organizing freelancer work. Just have the freelancer upload their documents into monthly folders and message you when their work is in.
Adobe Creative Cloud programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator allow you to create design files or visual assets that can then be edited or updated by your team.
Like Adobe, but easier to use for design novices, Canva allows you to create team accounts where you can share design templates and assets with your colleagues remotely. This ensures that you're able to access and edit any design files or brand imagery you might need while working from home.
Team Announcement or Internal Documentation Tools
This platform allows you to create an internal blog or wiki for your team. It’s more of a team manager, keeping documents, notes, best practices, product requirements, and plans all in one easily searchable place. Pro Tip: You can also use the Gliffy integration to do quick wireframes.
29. GitHub Wiki
Savvy inbound marketing companies use GitHub Wiki for employee onboarding by organizing helpful resources for new employees. Pro Tip from @zzawaideh: “We have the last person to join update the guides as they go through them.”
Realize that speaking out loud is a better way to communicate a team announcement, but don't have time to book a meeting? With Loom, you can record a presentation or just your voice giving an announcement or play-by-play to your team. Then, you can get a share link to the recording that can be circulated on various channels like instant messagers or email.
Tools for Tracking Team Progress
31. Time Doctor
Need to keep a close eye on how your team is spending their time, for client billing or productivity purposes? Time Doctor can help you do just that.
With Time Doctor, you and your team members or remote freelancers can create projects and start a clock when starting a new task. Then Time Doctor's dashboard shows a report of how many hours your colleague has worked throughout the day and which projects they've spent the most time on.
For keeping track of time and expenses, this is a simple few-frills tool. With Harvest, you simply create projects or to-do list items and start the clock when you start working on each tasks. Then you can see how much time you've spend on different list items, such as writing blog posts, strategizing, or producing marketing emails.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t remember what I did yesterday. iDoneThis solves that problem for individuals and teams by sending a “digest” of what everyone did.
Tools for Team Decision-Making
When your team needs to make a decision that doesn't require a full meeting, Polly.ai enables you to make a survey that you can then send through platforms like Slack. From there, your colleagues can simply vote on an option.
Need to plan a group meeting? Doodle is a polling platform that allows you to ask quick questions to your team and see how they vote. One helpful feature of this tool is that you can also create a meeting time poll which enables your team mates to vote for a full-meeting time that works best for them.
Navigating Remote Work
With all of the current technology out there, there's almost nothing we can't do remotely.
We all work a little differently and each of us has our own list of challenges. But what we have in common as successful players in the industry is this: We’re all problem solvers. And when the problems have to do with getting organized, we’ve got our favorite tools to help solve them.
To learn more about how to master remote work, check out these success tips from HubSpot's own remote work force. You can also find stats about the work style here.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2015, but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in March 2020.
Originally published Apr 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated March 26 2020