One of the keys to building a successful remote team is communication. With the pandemic, companies were forced to adopt a remote work model and redefine collaboration in the limits of a virtual environment. Some of them succeeded and are now opting for a hybrid work model post-covid-19; others can’t wait to get back to the office. But one thing is for sure, remote work is here to stay, and companies who are continuing to manage their teams remotely need the right virtual collaboration tools to succeed.
According to Gartner, the biggest barriers to connectivity and workforce productivity are technology and infrastructure. 54% of HR leaders highlighted that poor technology and infrastructure are the biggest issue their organization has for effective remote working.
In this article, we will explore the best online collaboration tools for both remote and hybrid teams.
What Are Virtual Collaboration Tools?
Virtual collaboration tools aim to support a group of two or more individuals to accomplish a common goal or objective. In a physical workplace, collaboration tools consist of paper, whiteboards, post-it notes, etc. In a virtual environment, collaboration tools consist of software tools and applications.
Before the pandemic, it was common, especially for creative teams, to gather in a meeting room and brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard. Some companies had already started including software applications, but the whole idea was for the team to collaborate and share new ideas.
When teams were forced to adapt to a virtual environment, collaboration changed. As groups interacted virtually, companies needed to have the best tools to encourage teamwork and collaboration.
How will teams develop great ideas or trace their current roadblocks without being together in the same room? Collaboration tools have always been the perfect strategy, but now with teams working from home, it’s crucial for business leaders to find a virtual solution. The good news is that there are many team collaboration tools adequate for the new virtual environment.
The question at hand now is which of those many online collaboration tools are effective for remote teams?
Top Virtual Online Collaboration Tools in 2021
Collaboration tools will help you take your remote team to the next level. Each day, a new tool appears in the market, so it’s crucial to keep up to date. But don’t worry, we did the research, so you don’t have to, and here are the best 8 tools for remote team collaboration.
Best Project Management Tools
Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools in the market. It’s simple to use, and it has all the functions that remote teams need for efficient collaboration.
It’s recommended especially for small teams. For larger teams, it can be a limitation because the platform still lacks some functionalities such as time tracking.
- It keeps track of projects.
- Document storage.
- You can set due dates in each task/project.
- Contains message boards.
- Clientside and email forward.
Pricing: Basecamp business $99/month.
When looking for virtual collaboration tools, Trello is always on top of the list. This project management tool was built to help remote teams organize and have everything they need in just one place.
Trello is the digital version of a Kanban board; it helps teams to organize with a visual representation of the project. It stands out because of its simple system and its different features.
- Lists and cards to help teams structure their project.
- Timeline, map, calendar and table view.
- Drag-and-drop editing.
- Easy organization with labeling, comments, and tags.
- Progress meter checklist.
- Business Class: $12.50/month
Best Online Communication Tools
One of the keys to effective remote collaboration is to talk and see the people you work with, and this is only possible with video calls. One of the biggest disadvantages of video calls is to waste time with frozen videos of terrible sounds. And while sometimes it is due to connectivity, other times it’s because of the platform itself.
Zoom has been the tool of choice for most remote teams. In 2017 the platform reached 700,000 users, and during the pandemic, it became one of the most trending apps globally, with over 300 million participants daily.
- HD video, audio, and instant messaging.
- Email invitations.
- It has rooms and workspaces.
- Allows up to 10,000 viewers via Zoom webinars.
- Screen sharing and whiteboard options.
- Pro: $149/ year
- Business: $199.90/year
- Zoom united business: $350/year
Slack is the instant messaging tool of the moment. It consists of a digital space that helps remote teams communicate, share ideas and comments in real-time. Instead of sending an email, team members get to connect instantly with their coworkers making the communication process faster.
Remote teams can create channels with different purposes, allowing them also to create virtual water coolers.
- Integrates with other applications such as Google Drive, Twitter, GitHub, Dropbox, Salesforce, MailChimp, among others.
- Easy note taking.
- Custom shortcuts and slash commands.
- Automated reminders.
- Create different channels.
- Standard: $6.67/month
- Plus: $12.50/month
Best Cloud Storage Service Tools
When working in a remote team, communication is everything. But so is documentation. You need to find a safe place to save documents, projects and overall manage all the information your team needs to know.
Whenever someone sends you an email with documents/files, instead of always going back to the email, you can open Dropbox and have it all there. Remote workers can sync, share and collaborate on documents!
Why Drop Box?
- Cloud storage.
- Smart sync.
- Edit documents online.
- Share screenshots easily.
- Plus: $9.99/month
- Family: $16.99/month
As remote companies by definition have employees in different locations, they need to have space where they can add documents, share information, and collaborate in real-time.
With Google Drive, team members can share documents, create files, edit in real-time, add comments, etc. It’s a key tool that allows remote employees to access files when they can’t reach their colleagues.
- Easy to use interface
- It’s compatible with Microsoft Office.
- Store files of all shapes and sizes (docs, pds, presentations, etc)
- Access documents anywhere in the world
- Compatible with other apps
- 100GB: $1.99
- 1T: $9.99
- 10TB+: $99.99
Best Virtual Whiteboards
What’s the first word that comes into your mind when you think of collaboration? Whiteboards!
Whiteboards have always been a great method for brainstorming new ideas and come up with solutions. When working in a remote team, collaboration gets trickier but not impossible with the right tools, and Miro is one of the best online whiteboards to get the best out of your remote team.
- Post-it notes
- Online drawing options
- Simple navigation
- Real-time commenting options
- Team plan: $8/month per user
- Business solution: $16/month per user
8. Whiteboard Fox
If you’re looking for free virtual collaboration tools to encourage teamwork, Whiteboard Fox might be your perfect gem. While other online whiteboards have many exciting features, whiteboard Fox is simple, and it goes straight to the point: whiteboarding.
It has a blank canvas where you and your team can start working and drawing right away.
Why Whiteboard Fox?
- Easy to use
- Allows real-time collaboration with your team
- Zoom in/out
- Freehand drawing
- Ruler tool
Pricing: 100% Free!
Boost Your Virtual Team’s Collaboration
Remote work is the norm! You can’t escape it, although honestly, who would’ve wanted to escape it?
Despite its benefits, we can’t ignore that managing remote teams is challenging, and we need the right tools to succeed. These virtual collaboration tools have proven to help remote teams thrive and increase their productivity and engagement. If you haven’t tried them up yet, what are you waiting for?