24 Useful Free Apps to Manage Remote Teams During the Peak Loads

manage remote teams

If you’ve clicked on this headline and landed here, there’s a good chance you’re managing a remote team. Some of your team members may reside in different parts of the country or maybe even on different continents. First of all, congratulations. You are a representative of the first generation of people who are used to work this way. Really, nobody has done it before!

Second, you might find this mode of collaboration very challenging. When people work remotely, it’s incredibly difficult to make sure that all of them are on the same page and deliver a really good brainstorming session. Moreover, managing people who live in different time zones is also an issue.

Well, you probably know all this if you’re here. In this article, our team at awriter.org has gathered a list of great free apps to manage remote teams that you can depend on even during the peak periods. We are a large team of writers, editors and content marketers located in four different countries around the world, so remote work is something we mastered a long ago.

Let’s see which apps from our toolbox you can make yours!

 

Video and Audio Communication

For conferences, meetings, brainstorm sessions and other needs, having a video and audio is critical. The tools below provide just that.

#1. Join.me

One of the most popular online meetings apps, Join.me was designed for individuals, teams, and businesses. It can be used by creating a free account or inserting a meeting code in a special box at the home page. That’s it. After the first time, you will definitely want to continue taking advantage of awesome features of this tool. For example, online meetings delivered by Join.me are very easy to start and manage, thus making the process simple and enjoyable (video bubbles with meeting participants can even be moved around and bounced off each other just for fun).

join.me

Some of the features include (see the list below the image):

  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Full compatibility with mobile devices (iOs and Android)
  • One-link scheduling
  • Personal link
  • White boarding
  • Screen sharing
  • Webinars

Recommendations from Our Team

In our experience, join.me has been a great tool for urgent meetings. Each member of our team has an account there so we can be notified about a meeting as soon as possible. That’s why we recommend it for urgent video sessions.

#2. UberConference

One of the most impressive features of this tool is video calls without a PIN number. It works perfectly regardless of a user’s location and deliver a great opportunity to engage in a legitimate video conversation. In other words, it is the next best thing to having a real conversation.

UberConference

Features:

  • Dialing while mid-call
  • Muting of noisy caller
  • Screen sharing
  • Social profiles of callers
  • HD audio
  • Web conferences
  • Mobile apps
  • Custom hold music
  • Document sharing
  • Analytics

Recommendations from Our Team

When we said that UberConference is the next best thing to having a real conversation, we truly meant it. That’s why we prefer this tool for planned staff meetings that require attention and discussion.

#3. Skype

How can one forget the good old Skype? It remains the most popular video calling app with 74 million users as of 2016, according to Statistic Brain. Also, it has been a default free solution for many companies for years, and for a good reason. The quality of video and audio delivered by Skype is quite satisfying plus group calls and instant messaging are also great. Today, Skype became even better and boasts many impressive features. See the list of them below.

skype

Features:

  • Video or voice calls
  • Group video calls
  • Instant messaging system
  • Ability to call mobile and landline numbers
  • Screen sharing
  • Voice messages
  • Document sharing

Recommendations from Our Team

The writers on our team use Skype to connect with editors because they need a reliable mobile app for calls. We even use Skype to call landlines to reach clients, so this tool is pretty much indispensable for us.

#4. Google Hangouts

The fact that Google has designed this app says a lot. It is a reliable, fast, and functional app that has an intuitive interface and impressive features such as saving videos from YouTube. It is fully compatible with Google services and even greets the user by name when he or she arrives at the home page for the first time (assuming the user is logged in their Google account).

Google Hangouts

Features:

  • Video calling
  • Phone calling
  • Messaging
  • Compatibility with Android, iOS, and desktop

Recommendations from Our Team

The experience of our content marketers showed that Google Hangouts are a great option for communication with clients. Even though we don’t use it for internal communication, we still rely on it when we need to get some info from clients because, well, almost everyone has a Google account now.

 

Project Management

Our list continues with the tools perfectly suited for project managers who need to organize an effective work of remote teams.

#5. Meistertask

The developers of this tool call it “the most intuitive project and task management tool on the web,” and for a good reason. Working on projects with Meistertask is incredibly easy because of a simple, user-friendly interface and effective functions. The project boards are adaptive to the workflow of the user and ensure that all collaborators are on the same page. Moreover, they are completely customizable and provide overview and reports of the progress.

Meistertask

Features:

  • Flexible project boards
  • Intuitive environment
  • Overview of tasks and goals
  • Compatibility with Android and iOS
  • Integration with an online mapping app MindMeister
  • Document sharing
  • Workflow automation

Recommendations from Our Team

We absolutely love customizable project boards of this app. If you want a real good visualization of your projects as well effective collaboration in real time, be sure to give MindMeister a try.

#6. Apollo

Another project management platform for remote teams that allows to perform all tasks with ease. It’s incredible for team leaders because it has a rich functionality and a user-friendly interface. The developers of Apollo did a great job at simplifying each task as much as possible to ensure that the platform allows efficiency.

apollo

Features:

  • Creation of tabs on contacts and leads
  • Scheduling duties
  • Task organization
  • Email integration
  • Whiteboards
  • External users
  • Project milestones
  • Time tracking
  • Discussions with team

Recommendations from Our Team

This tool is preferred by out content marketers because of great customization features like favorite projects, tags, categories, and templates. If you need these functions for your work as well, feel free to try this app for your remote team.

#7. Assignment Helper

Project management requires a lot of paperwork that needs to be clear and concise in order to be properly understood by all team members. This next tool can be used for creating appropriate descriptions of projects as well as other textual materials. As the result, your descriptions and analysis will be always clear and straight to the point.

Features:

  • Professional business writers
  • Fast turnaround
  • 24/7 support

Recommendations from Our Team

Whenever we need some additional help with writing, we turn to Assignment Helper. These guys have been very responsive in our experience and we appreciate their help. That’s why we think they are a good option for your writing needs.

#8. Google Apps for Work

Everyone uses and loves Google Docs, Gmail, Drive, and other tools designed by the search giant. With Google Apps for Work, you can give your team the opportunity to work with these popular tools. Here, they are combined in one package that allows to connect with colleagues, create presentations, text files, and other documents, share them, and manage files and users.

google apps for work

Features:

  • All Google apps, in one place
  • 30 GB of online storage per user
  • Professional email addresses
  • Group mailing lists
  • Advanced admin controls
  • Easy data migration
  • Central storage hub
  • Synchronization from anywhere with a web-enabled device

Recommendations from Our Team

If your remote team works with a lot of documents, Google Apps is a must. It protects the data from being lost as well as provides great functionality for business-related needs.

#9. Asana

Another popular project management tool with an impressive list of users (Samsung, Dropbox, Uber, Intel, Tesla, and CBS are among them!). Asana is very versatile and can be used by designers, engineers, sales professional, HR managers, product planners, and even students to manage projects from start to finish. For every type of user, it delivers a unique set of functions to meet all needs.

Another great feature of Asana is integration with popular web services. For example, it can be used as an add-on to Google Chrome, thus allowing to add tasks easily and quickly. Also, it has a built-in Google Drive file chooser for attaching files.

asana

Features:

  • Task management
  • Project management
  • Reporting
  • Team collaboration
  • Workflow management
  • Calendar
  • Work tracking
  • Event planning
  • Request management
  • Document sharing
  • Asana time tracking

Recommendations from Our Team

Asana is perfect for assigning particular team members with tasks, that’s why out editors use it to assign writers with daily and weekly responsibilities and share files with them.

Here’s what Jerry Low, founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed has to say about Asana:

It’s hard to keep track on projects when team members are located at different geo-locations. Asana is the perfect tool for project management and timeline tracking. I have a team of 6 members and I assign tasks to them (including myself) through Asana. I like “My Tasks” which is the first navigation tab you see when login to the platform. This is the tab that helps everyone to focus on what to do next. Everyone in the team shares the same “Team Calendar” and “Team Conversations” view. So, we have a clearer view on who is working on what and the due dates.

 

#10. Canva for Work

If you are a web designer or otherwise work with design, this tool is perfect for you. A well-known tool Canva just got better in terms of managing design project with the new Canva for Work solution. It retains all essential from the original tool and adds project management functionality, such as customizable templates for team’s marketing materials and documents. Team collaboration options also impressive, with sharing, access controls, and team stream to help users to achieve their goals.

canva for work

Features:

  • Folder sharing
  • Team templates
  • Access controls for teams
  • Team stream for sharing
  • Database of images, fonts, and layouts

Recommendations from Our Team

If your remote team includes designers, you should give this one a try because it provides an easy and intuitive way to manage design projects. It can be used for something as simple as social media infographics and as complex as website design.

 

Screen Sharing

#11. Screen Leap

An easy tool for screen sharing that does not require installation of plugins, apps, or sign-ups. This allows Screen Leap to be viewed from any possible device with a browser. Moreover, it is a great tool for those team managers who require a quick collaboration without any barriers like account creation.

screenleap

Features:

  • Installation-free viewing
  • Quick and easy screen sharing
  • Document sharing

Recommendations from Our Team

Use Screen Leap for easy screen sharing, even on the go. A lack of registration requirement makes this option very popular plus the quality of the technology is really good.

#12. Mikogo

This tool is also a 100 percent browser based and does not require downloads and installations. However, a user still can create an account to personalize the experience a little bit.

Mikogo

Features:

  • No downloads, completely browser-based
  • Video and voice conferencing
  • Ability to connect with up to 25 participants in real time
  • Remote control
  • Presenter switch
  • Mobile apps
  • Session scheduler
  • File transfer

Recommendations from Our Team

Mikogo is a great screen sharing platform because it provides a high-quality video as well as session recording function. For example, if you need to record a video session, you can easily do it using a computer or a smartphone. Also, our team loved the Scheduler. It is a function that ensures that you’ll never miss a meeting.

Security

Every team needs appropriate security solutions to prevent data and information leak. The following section contains effective security apps designed specifically for online collaboration.

#13. 1Password for Teams

This tool provides the user with a complete control over the access to the most important information of the team. The access rights of every member can be easily controlled in the admin console, which also allows to recover locked-out user accounts. By using this solution, team managers make it really simple and safe to share all passwords with everyone in the office.

1Password for Teams

Features:

  • Remembers passwords for all services (online accounts, social security numbers, etc.)
  • All data is protected by Master Password created by the admin
  • Use of PIN code or fingerprint to unlock the app
  • Full integration with popular browsers
  • Digital wallet
  • Autosave and fill
  • Advanced encryption

Recommendations from Our Team

An all-in-one solution for managing passwords that will eliminate problems with passwords once and for all. Just assign a person to be the admin who will share the passwords and manage security.

#14. Cloud9

This is a powerful online code editor that keeps all data safe. Cloud9 assumes all responsibility for maintenance and security of projects while the users worry only about the work. As the result, one gets a safe workplace for coding and designing.

Features:

  • No need for system setup and maintenance
  • Collaboration in real time
  • Language tools
  • Built-in terminal
  • Debugger
  • Run panel
  • Split view
  • Themes
  • Key bindings editor
  • Built-in image editor

Recommendations from Our Team

Real-time public or private collaboration is the main advantage of this tool. You coders will appreciate the intuitive environment provided by Cloud9.

Task Lists

If you need an app specifically designed for tasks rather than a compete project management package, there are some really good options available. Check them out below.

#15. Wunderlist

This app has actually started as everyday task manager but quickly expanded to businesses. Today, people use it for any kind of tasks, from reminding to buy some groceries to professional errands. Wunderlist is available for all popular operating systems, which allows a seamless synchronization and management of multiple projects regardless of location.

wunderlist

Features:

  • Makes it easy to perform personal and professional tasks
  • Task assignment to particular persons
  • Comments and folders
  • Task sharing and collaboration
  • Compatibility with Android, iOS, Windows, and Kindle Fire

Recommendations from Our Team

Our team uses Wunderlist because it’s the easiest and one of the most sophisticated task tools out there. It’s perfectly suited for team use because the tasks can be assigned to people by an admin. And it works with every device, so every team member will receive their tasks as planned.

#16. I Done This

This tool allows a remote team to be more effective though daily check-ins and progress reports. Every team member can be assigned to provide daily status updates in their browser or email and prepare progress report to inform the leader about what has been done and what is getting done. The testimonies of the customers are great because I Done This provides an unprecedented visibility into their productivity and areas that need improvement.

I Done This

Features:

  • Daily status updates
  • Progress reports
  • Easy collaboration

Recommendations from Our Team

With this tool, you team will be happier because it makes it easy to monitor tasks and keep everything in-sync. What we especially love about I Done This is progress reports that show how your team is doing. They are perfect for use in case you need to provide a manager with a daily or weekly performance report.

Time Tracking

Obviously, remote teams need time tracking tools to identify how much time they spend on certain tasks. As the result, the leader can see the most and the least time-consuming tasks and plan the milestones accordingly.

#17. Harvest

If you’re looking for a simple and intuitive solution for time tracking for remote teams, look no further. Harvest meets all these requirements plus it supports connecting with 70+ popular business apps, tracking expenses with receipts, and creating and sending invoicing payments online. From the insights provided by this tool, one can confidently estimate future tasks and projects, thus ensuring the profitability of business.

Harvest

Features:

  • Track time with incredible precision thanks to timers
  • Compatibility with iOS and Android
  • Seamless integration with many popular apps and browsers
  • Invoices and payments
  • Intuitive admin panel
  • Tracking team members’ performance to prevent burnout
  • Statistics and analytics
  • Easy editing
  • Automatic reminders
  • Timesheet approval
  • Progress visualization
  • Data export into Excel, CSV and Google Drive

Recommendations from Our Team

Flexible time tracking is what we love about this tool. For example, one can track time during working on the project or manually add hours after the project is completed. Stats, notes, and daily reports make Harvest perfect for teams.

#18. Hubstaff

The next tool on our list was designed specifically for tracking time in remote teams. Hubstaff is a downloadable solution that makes it really easy to track time for team managers, thus allowing to produce accurate invoices, provide in-depth reporting, and pay team members accordingly. According to the official site of the app, more than 8,000 teams use it on a daily basis. Such popularity is no surprise because Hubstaff is a really effective time tracker and monitor of activity levels monitoring tool.

hubstaff

Features:

  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebook, iOS, and Android
  • Desktop times take screenshots to measure time
  • Measurement of activity levels of team members
  • Monitoring of performance in real time
  • Team management
  • Task assignment

Recommendations from Our Team

Hubstaff is used by more than 8,000 remote teams daily, and for a good reason. A rich functionality and user-friendly interface make it a simple but effective solution. Your managers will love it as well because it automates many of their tasks, this making their work efficient and more enjoyable.

#19. Time Doctor

If you really want to know if your team members wasting time on Facebook while they should be working, try Time Doctor. It will eliminate this issue through individual time logs, screenshots, and other solutions. Moreover, Time Doctor is great for determining the most and the least time-consuming tasks and increasing the efficiency and improving deadlines. The official site of the tool claims that terms that use Time Doctor actually increase their productivity by 22 percent on average, which is pretty good. No more Facebook during working hours!

time doctor

Features:

  • Time logs, screenshots for time tracking
  • Payroll calculation
  • Chat monitoring
  • Compatibility with mobile (iOS and Android)
  • Impressive customization

Recommendations from Our Team

If your company has some issues with employee productivity, you should definitely use TimeDoctor. Desktop monitoring for remote teams is a good solution that helps to oversee employee activities and manage the team more effectively. It’s very sophisticated, too, with automatic screenshots and activity levels based on mouse and keyboard usage.

File Management

File transfer and storing is another critical element for remote teams because they need to exchange a lot of files on a daily basis. The tools below are designed to make that exchange easy.

#20. Huddle

Before we begin the description of Huddle, it should be noted that it is trusted by many government agencies like Department of Homeland Security and NASA. Although we’ve put this this tool in the File Management, it is kind of all-in-one solution because it allows collaborate on projects, transfer and edit files, and manage the activity of the team. All these processes are protected by the latest security solutions. Huddle makes project management and document transfer and collaboration really easy and secure, thus enabling remote teams to be effective and efficient.

huddle

Features:

  • Collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Project management
  • Mobile apps
  • Advanced security
  • Compatibility with popular apps and browsers
  • Recommendation engine to find necessary files
  • Personal dashboard
  • Compatibility with enterprise content management tools like Dropbox and OneDrive

Recommendations from Our Team

Huddle is perfect for creating a secure workspace that provides everything your team needs to manage content and tasks, collaborate, and communicate. All files are automatically updated by the tool to ensure that everyone has the latest version without the need to request it, which makes collaboration more efficient.

#21. Box

The title of the tool explains the purpose of the tool pretty concisely: it is a virtual “box” where all files uploaded by the team are stored. The cloud technology allows to share and edit them from anywhere with the limitations that can only be set by the admin. All operations with the files can be done in real time from computers and mobile devices, which makes it really useful for those who need to work on the go. Box also has pretty impressive security solutions to protect the files and ensure secure end-user experience. Among the users of Box are Microsoft, IBM, SalesForce and Symantec.

box

Features:

  • Meets international data residency requirements
  • Provide advanced encryption to protect the files
  • Easy access, edit, and sharing
  • Cloud storage allows access from anywhere
  • Versions for clients from various industries, including media & entertainment, professional services, financial services, healthcare, retail, and construction.

Recommendations from Our Team

If you’re planning to move to a cloud technology to allow your remote team to have a secure access to content without any limitations in terms of location and device, Box can be a great option. By enabling users to do that, it helps to create a more connected and productive workplace even if your team members are thousands of miles away from each other.

#22. One Hub

Another great cloud solution for accessing, editing, and sharing files for remote teams used by some well-known customers, including Aflac, Philips, and Starbucks. One Hub provides a number roles for the users, including Administrator, Moderator, Creator, Downloader, Printer, and Viewer. Each of these roles has unique rights and privileges; for example, Viewers are only allowed to browse the document and often cannot make edits (if not approved by the Administrator).

A cool feature of One Hub that sets it apart from other tools is the customization. For example, brands can use their own logo and colors to personalize the working environment within the tool and make collaborations a more polished experience for users. Also, customers of One Hub also emphasize effective security solutions provided by the tool.

onehub

Features:

  • Storage: drag and drop uploading, folder organization, full-text search, and archive downloads
  • Sharing: user management, secure links, user invitation
  • Permissions: agreements, invitation to a particular folder or file
  • Previews: online viewer, many supported file types
  • Collaboration: dashboards, messages, integration with Google Drive, comments, and activity reports
  • Customization: logo and colors, branded emails, custom domains

Recommendations from Our Team

One Hub has a lot of amazing features but we included it in the File Management section because we really liked its solutions in terms of storage, sharing, permission management, preview, and document collaboration. For example, any team member can comment, collaborate and communicate on every file, which makes it easier to work with files. Moreover, the tool seamlessly integrates with Google Drive!

Timezone Management

Often, team managers have to deal with people in different time zones. To ensure a continuous collaboration and lack of communication issues, feel free to try the tools below.

#23. Home Slice

Need to compare the time in different cities without add-ons and other software? Home Slice is an online solution that essentially is a comparison page. Just enter two cities and the tool will display the necessary information so you could determine the difference between the time zones. As the result, you will know when team members’ working hours are.

home slice

Features:

  • Browser-based solution
  • Time zone comparison

Recommendations from Our Team

You will never find an easier tool than Home Slice to determine time differences. No need to install anything, set the cities you’re interested in and the app will generate the information you need.

#24. TimeZone.io

The last item on our list is an awesome time zone management solution that takes it to another level in terms of visualization. The user can create a dashboard with locations of the team members and upload their photos to create a beautiful visual representation of time zones (as shown on the screenshot below). The tool also provides a total number of team members and cities as well as the differences between the zones to keep the user fully informed.

With TimeZone.io, you will never have to Google “Time in …” again because the complete information about all team members is just one click away. In case if some urgent work is needed, you will have an idea who is online and who will be available later.

timezone.io

Features:

  • Beautiful customizable dashboard with time zones of all team members
  • Avatars for all team members
  • All-in-one-place solution

Recommendations from Our Team

We recommend this tool because it is a rather beautiful representation of location of team members. We stopped searching for other similar solutions when we came across this one because, well, it’s simple, effective, and individualized.

 

Wrapping Up

Remote working can be difficult, especially when team members are located in different corners of the world. Thus, keeping them on the same page requires some additional effort. In this case, only reliable and proven tools could be helpful to address issues and ensure flawless collaboration and effective teamwork.

All these tools are either free or available for free trial, so feel free to try them to see what works. We tried to cover most of the essential areas of managing remote teams so we hope this list will be useful for you to improve the performance of yours.

Happy managing!

 


Lucy Benton

About the Author:

Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist, business consultant who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a reply

  • Alex Davydov

    Thanks for the helpful article. I also suggest task management software Deskun that works in Gmail.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Jack Flynn https://tutu-app.com/

    I personally use Skype Google Hangouts and Canva the other apps look useful so I will use them. Its really a good resourceful article Lucy thanks a lot for sharing.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes