According to a recent Gartner survey, 82% of the participating organizations plan to let their staff work remotely for a portion of the time after COVID-19. However, there are certain drawbacks to working remotely that are frequently easily overcome when working in a more conventional face-to-face setting. These five free tools (as well as a few substitutes) can help your remote team work more efficiently.
5 Essential Free Tools for Remote Teams:
1. Cloud Storage
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud storage has been becoming popular. The cloud storage market was valued at US$ 46.12 billion in 2019 and was expected to increase at a rate of up to 21.9% annually.
However, due to their more conventional data storage configuration and constrained hard drive disk space, several businesses encountered difficulties enabling remote access during lockdown.
Cloud storage facilitates collaboration by guaranteeing that all employees in your company are using the same set of files and data.
Our Choice: Google Drive
At Appic Softwares, we utilize Google Drive a lot and heartily endorse it. The Google name is almost always a reliable indicator of quality, and we think Google Drive is an excellent choice for companies that want to operate remotely.
- Everyone who has a Gmail account is eligible for a free 15 GB storage space. With its amazing capabilities, this free cloud storage space allows small teams and individuals to collaborate online easily.
- Robust search capabilities are a given for a Google-powered platform.
- You can write, edit, and create presentations online more easily and effectively with Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Spreadsheets.
- Google Forms makes it easier to administer online surveys and generates spreadsheet-style results.
- You can simply create flowcharts and diagrams using Google Drawings and then insert them into Google Docs and Presentations.
- You may edit your images with excellent skill by using images by Google. Animation is also available to you.
- automatic backup of whatever you’ve stored on the integrated Chromebook.
- There’s always the option to look for more apps in Google’s web store and pay for access to them.
You can subscribe to the Google One premium plans, which provide you with up to 100 or 200 GB of cloud storage space, if you require more storage than 15 GB.
Based on my research and usage, the only possible problems with Google Drive are that you need a Gmail account to utilize it, and that you need an internet connection to open Google Drive before you can work offline.
Paid Alternative: Dropbox
For individuals, Dropbox Plus is available for US$ 9.99 per month when invoiced annually, while for businesses, the monthly cost is US$ 16.58.
Having access to 2000 GB and 3000 GB of cloud storage space, respectively, is one of the obvious advantages of this remote working solution. Both plans provide an ample amount of storage. Automatic backup and the ability to access from an infinite number of devices are included in both options.
Dropbox’s easy integration with other programs and platforms, such as Microsoft, Slack, and Zoom, as well as its greater range of collaborative alternatives as compared to Google Drive, are among its main advantages.
Customers of Dropbox frequently voice concerns about two things: its price and its very restricted search capabilities. Some users also express dissatisfaction about the inoperable mobile version.
2. Task Management
When you have a system in place to track tasks, assign them to individuals, and remind you of the ones that need attention, work becomes easier.
You can accomplish this with remote team task management solutions.
Our Choice – Toggl
Toggl is more than just a task management application; with its free plan, up to five users can manage as many projects as they like. One of its best features is time tracking, which shows you how much time is spent on each task. Toggle also makes teamwork easier by allowing users to exchange calendars and task notes.
Its productivity is increased by its simple interaction with other platforms, such as Github, Slack, Evernote, etc. Users find its other features, including email reminders, auto-tracking, tracking reminders, etc., to be extremely useful.
Users claim that Toggl’s free plan has limited features beyond time tracking.
Paid Alternative – Proofhub
The biggest benefits of Proofhub are its simplicity of use, as well as its choices for precise and quick communication and teamwork. The work management efficiency is further enhanced by its seamless interaction with Dropbox and Google Drive.
Dropbox offers up to 40 projects and an unlimited number of users with its basic subscription, which costs US$45 per month when billed annually. It also includes a 15 GB storage space of its own.
There is a discount available for Proofhub’s Unlimited Control subscription as of September 2020, when this post was written. The monthly package costing US$ 150 is offered for US$ 89, with annual billing. It has 100 GB of storage capacity, which may be used for an infinite number of projects and users.
Customers have mentioned several drawbacks with this remote working solution, including an unsatisfactory interface and an excessive number of notifications.
We all depend on technology to fill in the communication gaps when working remotely.
Now in 2020, using any web-powered gadget with the Internet, we are able to bring individuals together from all over the world for efficient, productive, and structured face-to-face interactions. When used properly, video conferencing has the power to really quiet even the most ardent opponents of the WFH concept.
Our Choice – Google Meet
Google Meet, formerly known as Google Hangouts, is the company’s free video conferencing service. You can schedule an online meeting for up to 100 people as long as you have a Gmail account.
User reviews amply illustrate how many people and companies have switched from alternative platforms to Google Meet because of its seamless Gmail integration, with Google Calendar being one of the most popular features.
One drawback of using this tool for remote teams is that it does not have a recording feature.
Paid Alternative – Zoom
Before a significant security breach undermined its widespread use, this video conferencing technology dominated the online market. One-on-one meetings are unrestricted in the free edition, however team meetings with up to 100 participants have a 40-minute time restriction.
Zoom offers three paid options that range in price from $149.90 to $199.90 annually. Zoom meetings are the next big thing in online interfaces, and users are crazy about them.
Following the security breach, there have been reports stating that Zoom has improved its security features, making it more difficult to set up and access meetings.
4. Messaging Tools for remote teams
The majority of communication can occur through brief inquiries, soft proddings, and sly little one-liners meant to make fun of the boss (just kidding, don’t do that).
Throughout the day, messaging tools are necessary for efficient information gathering and communication.
Our Choice – Skype
You may phone, chat, and do video conferences with up to 50 people with this Microsoft free communication solution for remote teams. On the other hand, users claim that it functions best as a tool for in-person communicating.
There are various problems with all the other functions, such as delayed loading, mistimed messages, lack of recording option, etc.
Paid Alternative – Slack
One of Slack’s greatest advantages as a messaging app is the ability to divide apart your conversations. Organizing your communications into one-to-one conversations, groups, threads, etc. is simple. One of its best-liked characteristics is its simple interaction with a wide range of apps.
Slack offers three paid plan choices in addition to a free plan for small teams.
Slack Standard package for small to medium-sized organizations will cost US$ 2.67 per month as of September 2020. The additional administrative features of Slack Plus are $5 per month. Additionally, there is an Enterprise plan with adjustable prices.
Two of the main grievances from consumers are the inadequate search features and the incapacity to exchange huge files.
5. Design Collaboration Tools
An efficient online design collaboration tools for remote teams streamline operations so that teams can work together in a remote environment with efficiency.
Unless you have a design collaboration tool that helps get everyone on the same page, working on difficult jobs can be unpleasant.
Trello is primarily a project management tool, but it also provides free copying and customization of the boards its own design teams use. Trello’s imaginative design boards provide a surprisingly large selection of choices to accommodate different design requirements.
Some of the best aspects of Trello are Design Sprints, cross-functional designing choices, Design Huddles, etc. The primary grievances are the software’s initial learning curve and difficulties integrating with other apps.
There is a free version of InVision for up to ten users. However, as it only permits a maximum of three papers, it is not very helpful. There are two paid plans available, and the enterprise plan’s cost is customizable.
Up to 15 team members can use the other premium plan, which offers unlimited document storage and archiving capabilities. When paid annually, each user pays US$ 7.95 each month. The monthly fees increase to US$ 9.95 for each user if paid on a monthly basis.
Designers vouch for InVision’s assistance in promoting design prototypes to clients and in collaborative designing. Simple interaction with numerous apps is an additional well-liked feature.
The two most common grievances are limited transition alternatives and slow integration. It’s pricey, according to some consumers.
Now, in the end, we hope that through this post you were able to gain knowledge of all the free tools you can use to manage your remote team efficiently. However, if you are looking for a company through which you can hire developers, then you should check out Appic Softwares.
We have an experienced team of developers that you can hire, and let them manage your project. So, what are you waiting for?