There are so many benefits to working in a remote team — employers save money without an expensive office lease, employees save money on commuting, and there’s more time for family and friends when you don’t need to spend full days going to and from an office location. The challenge comes when you’re used to working in the same location as your coworkers — how do you stay connected and productive in a remote working environment?
Fortunately, the increase in remote companies has meant an increase in tools built to help remote teams. Our team has been working remotely for many years, and these are some of our favorite tools to stay connected and productive as a distributed, remote company.
It’s no secret that video conferencing platforms are crucial to your existence as a remote team. There’s a reason “Zoom” became a household name throughout the pandemic. Everyone has their favorite (or their most hated). The dominant players like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are useful for most companies, but they are catering to the masses. Sometimes you need something purpose built for your team’s use case - in this case, the Sales team. Enter Salesroom. We are huge fans of what they’ve built for the remote sales team.
Salesroom offers real time call transcriptions, airtime analysis (are you talking too much? too little?), question detection, and next step detection. They’ve also taken the typical video call UI and stepped it up a notch with fun in-call reactions and chat features. You can also access call recordings and other insights/content in their meeting hub, and then share across your team and with your prospects.
Salesroom offers a free version for individuals with up to 40 meetings per month, or you can onboard your whole team for $49/user/month. This video call platform has created a delightful experience for everyone on our team from signing in to following up, and we’re looking forward to doing more with it.
Notion is your team’s hub for asynchronous communication. It’s like your company’s Wikipedia, where you can find information at a high level (such as company policies and team directories), or at a granular level (daily meeting notes, to-do lists, brainstorming). Notion’s collaborative platform makes it easier to work with distributed teams by allowing you to edit docs seamlessly without stepping on anyone’s toes.
Set up a Hub for your department where you keep reports, meeting notes, project breakdowns — or create your own private To-Do list kan-ban style, view it as a calendar, and then check it off one by one. Notion is one of the most powerful tools we have used to make working as a global team feel effortless.
Notion has a free version for individuals with unlimited pages and up to 5 guests, and their business plans start at $8/user/month.
We love Zapier because, like us, they are a 100% distributed company. They have employees in 17 time zones and are no strangers to remote work. Zapier allows you to automate your work (or life) across 5,000+ apps. Simplify small every day tasks, such as sending reminders in Slack, or create multi-step workflows with customized if/then logic to work exactly how you would (without having to lift a finger).
Since Zapier is a no-code tool, anyone can get started immediately on the platform and save several hours per week by automating repeat tasks. All those manual tasks that come with the world of remote work can be set and left, so you can focus your energies on bigger projects.
Zapier has a free version but it only allows you to create single step “zaps” (workflows in Zapier) with a max of 5 zaps total. Their paid plans start at $20/month for 20 zaps, and they also offer plans for big teams with unlimited users and unlimited zaps.
HubSpot is another one of those companies who have really embraced remote work internally. They even have their own internal hub called “RemoteSpot” as a resource for their remote employees to have easy access to information, programming, and support.
The HubSpot platform contains several “hubs” so you can mix and match based on your company’s needs. You can start small and integrate their Marketing Hub with your existing CRM so it works as a MarTech software, or you can go all out and buy their Marketing, Sales, Operations, Customer Service, and CSM hubs to fully support your business’ CRM, Marketing, Customer Service, and website building needs. Their software is all pretty easy to use, and becomes very powerful when you use more than one hub. For example, Sales, Marketing, and CS can work together seamlessly on an account from the moment a lead is generated, throughout the Sales funnel, and up through their time as a customer.
HubSpot has free versions of all of their products so small businesses can start by using a “lite” version of their hubs, and upgrade at any time to the “Starter” or “Pro” versions which begin at $45/mo for most hubs. Bonus: HubSpot offers free courses to help grow careers in Marketing, Sales, and Revenue Operations.
5. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)
Google Workspace (also known as G Suite) is an affordable platform by Google that gives teams a way to collaborate on Google Drive, Google Mail (Gmail), Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets, and via Google Meet (along with some more easy-to-use Google Drive tools). You can keep a personal work calendar or share a team calendar, all from the same suite of products.
Your team can use the Google Workspace products to get started quickly when working remotely, since most of your resources will be centralized and easily accessible. Google Drive can become particularly useful for remote hires when it comes to organizing and sharing onboarding documents in nested folders.
The best part is that the entire concept is focused on collaboration, and gives distributed teams the ability to work together online in real time across a suite of products, whether they’re in the same room or 5,000 miles away.
So you just onboarded three new remote employees on three different teams, and they all need access to the platforms you’re using. Sometimes there’s one login for a shared app, sometimes there’s passwords generated by HR that need to be shared with the right employees.
1Password keeps your remote workforce safe online by making it simple to create and use strong passwords. Sharing logins securely is simple, so you can give your employees access to remote working tools, company passwords, or anything else they might need while working remotely. Managers can grant employees immediate access to the logins and resources they need to work, while remotely managing access with fine-grained permissions.
1Password offers a 14-day free trial then starts at $20/month for up to 10 members, with larger plans starting at $8/user/month for bigger teams.
AirTable is a platform that allows you to build a shared workspace that helps distributed teams stay aligned, make faster decisions, and accomplish more. Cross-functional teams can work together to scale processes with transparency, either with pre-built templates or your own custom work hub.
You can build workflows and dashboards on AirTable — integrate your favorite apps and add visualizations and scripts. Connect your data, add images, forms, comments, attachments, dates — all the realtime updates and flexibility you need to keep your work flowing.
AirTable also has great templates for remote teams, such as a remote team hub, remote asset tracker, virtual events tracker, and more. They have a free plan for individuals with up to 1,200 records per base, and their paid plans start at $12/user/month for Pro features.
Slack is a channel-based team messaging platform where all your conversations, files, and third-party apps such as Google Drive and HubSpot are organized in one place and accessible from anywhere. This makes it easier to collaborate effectively with your coworkers, access information, and get work done faster.
Slack organizes conversations in channels that are based on what you’re working on in there. Team messaging apps can get very overwhelming, very fast, so the channel-based system allows teams to work more productively by keeping different conversations for different topics in their own place. They also offer resources on remote working tips within Slack.
Slack has a great free version for small teams needing less than 5 GB of data and no external connections, and their Pro plan starts at $8/user/month.
Have you ever wanted to record a quick clip of your screen to share something with a team member? Loom allows you to ask questions and exchange knowledge without time zones or busy calendars getting in the way. It’s a great tool for aligning distributed teams with clear and constructive feedback, with asynchronous video that lets you convey tone, mark up your screen, and record your message with context.
Instead of spending significant time and effort to document your asks or feedback in writing, simply click record and update your team effortlessly with short videos. Once you’ve recorded something you want to share, just paste a link to your video and send to your recipients who can watch it without logging in or creating an account.
Loom offers a free plan with up to 25 videos per person up to 5 minutes, and their paid plans start at $10/user/month.
Canva is a design platform that makes it easy to create professional-quality designs. Their platform contains thousands of templates for all kinds of designs — presentations, ad banners, sales assets, and more. If you need a quick design turned around you can pull from their template library, or start from scratch and design it using their suite of pre-set elements and graphics.
A great way that Canva helps remote teams stay connected is their collaborative features. You can invite people to directly edit your designs with you, or even set up the whole team in Canva Pro to get approvals, manage brand assets, and scale your visual content.
Canva has a free version with 250k+ templates and 5 GB of cloud storage, and their paid plans start at $12.99/month.
You didn’t think you were going to get out of here without at least one mention of Remofirst, did you? To put it simply, the future of work is distributed and global, but the process for hiring talent in every corner of the globe is still as complex as it has ever been. That is what we’re here to help you solve. From paying contractors across the globe to employing your talent in more than 150 countries through our employer of record platform, we give you the access you need to global talent markets at a fraction of the cost of other providers. Whether you want to simulate the cost of hiring a key engineer in Poland or you want to send a laptop to a new hire in Portugal, we have you covered — and our platform is pretty cool too (see below).
As a remote first team ourselves we understand the benefits and the challenges of building and managing remote teams, and we’re excited to build the future of work together with you! Our pricing is the best in the market and starts at $199/month for full-time employees, and free for international contractors.
Being remote doesn’t always mean working from the guest bedroom and wearing slippers to work everyday. For our team (and many remote teams), there is still value in the occasional in-person meeting, and we need a venue for team gatherings when the opportunity arises.
Assuming you dumped your expensive office lease, serviced offices are the way of the future for most of us. Despite “WeCrashed,” WeWork is still an excellent option in many cities around the world and there are a range of established providers offering similar amenities. All of that convenience and flexibility has its downsides. Selecting the right space, managing booking times, and controlling the costs for your remote team to use these serviced spaces can be a real headache.
The team at Gable is tackling that problem. They help “make remote workspaces a part of your company’s DNA,” and they’ve built technology designed with leaders of remote teams in mind. Their platform integrates with your HRIS and offers a simple portal for employees to search and book flexible workspaces. Administrators configure a policy for their team that controls budget, access, and usage, and employees simply log in and find the space that fits their policy without having to add a credit card or submit an expense report.
Gable offers a free version of their platform with a few basic features, and their paid version starts at $8/employee/month.
The proliferation of remote work comes with challenges when you’re designing the how, what, and why of compensating your people. Benchmarking data and planning tools can be essential to help you get it right. Especially in the competitive VC backed tech world, it’s even more important that you have access to the latest data to make the right decisions when structuring an offer for that key hire in London or Los Angeles.
Many of our connections recommend Pave, a compensation benchmarking tool. Pave is a give and get type of system, and they integrate with many payroll and cap table software platforms to pull comp data. By entering your own teams current data, you get access to a comp benchmarking platform made up entirely of data from venture backed startups.
Pave recently made a few product updates that are especially relevant to remote teams.
1. They rolled out European benchmarking data and are continuing to grow their global catalog of data.
2. They acquired Option Impact, a competing benchmarking platform which will significantly increase their data pool.
Pave offers a free version with benchmarking data, and their paid plans offer equity scenario modeling, customizable benefits packages, and allow you to run merit & promotion cycles without ever touching a spreadsheet.