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12 Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Better Teamwork

Watercooler chats and sticky note brainstorming sessions are no longer the only recipe for effective collaboration. The remote work revolution is here, and it’s changing how we collaborate—for the better.

Scattered teams worldwide are becoming the norm, and while that flexibility is powerful, it can also present some challenges. Managing workloads and conversations across oceans, borders, and time zones can be tricky.

Fortunately, remote collaboration tools help bridge the physical distances between your teams and keep everyone working together.

At DigitalOcean, we provide the cloud infrastructure needed to make these collaborative tools work at scale, and we even use them to work together with our own teams.

Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about today’s best remote collaboration tools to find the right solutions for your growing business.

What are remote collaboration tools?

Remote collaboration tools are software applications that facilitate teamwork and communication between geographically dispersed individuals. These remote work tools provide a virtual workspace where team members can share files, conduct meetings, manage projects, and brainstorm ideas in real-time or asynchronously.

These tools have become a foundational part of every business’s tech stack. Whether you run an in-office, remote, or hybrid organization, they empower you to work better with employees, freelancers, agencies, and partners.

Does your business need remote collaboration tools?

Remote collaboration tools can improve teamwork, dissolve geographical barriers, and build communication workflows between team members. They boost productivity, improve employee morale, and open doors to a broader talent pool.

However, these tools aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. They have unique advantages and drawbacks that you’ll need to weigh before you adopt them for your business.

Pros:

  • Better communication and collaboration: Foster real-time and asynchronous communication across teams (regardless of location).

  • Improved productivity: Streamline workflows, automate tasks, and streamline project management for better efficiency.

  • Increased flexibility and employee satisfaction: Empower employees to work remotely, leading to a better work-life balance, increased employee retention, and a happier workforce.

  • Access to a wider talent pool: Hire remote employees without geographical limitations.

  • Reduced overhead costs: Eliminate expenses associated with physical office space for remote employees.

Cons:

  • Information overload: With constant communication channels, employees can be bombarded with messages and notifications.

  • Security concerns: Sharing sensitive information online requires stronger cloud security measures within the chosen tools.

  • Lack of in-person interaction: Remote work can hinder spontaneous brainstorming sessions and team bonding that can occur naturally in an office environment.

  • Learning curve for new tools: Adapting to new software can require an initial investment in training and remote onboarding.

  • Potential for isolation: Remote employees may feel disconnected from colleagues and company culture.

  • Investment costs: Remote collaboration tools might help your distributed team work better together, but they all come with recurring monthly subscription costs (and some require upfront setup fees).

Choosing the right tool for your needs

Remote collaboration is a fast-growing field, and you can find hundreds of tools for your business. However, not every solution is going to be the right fit.

You’ll need to carefully weigh your options and consider your specific needs and workflow to find the best tools. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing remote collaboration tools for your teams:

  • Team size and budget: Consider the number of users and your budget constraints when evaluating pricing plans.

  • Features and functionalities: Identify the functionalities most crucial for your workflow, whether it’s robust video conferencing, real-time document collaboration, or advanced project management features.

  • Ease of use and learning curve: Prioritize tools with user-friendly interfaces to minimize onboarding time and maximize user adoption.

  • Integrations: Double-check that the tools integrate with your existing software stack to avoid data silos and streamline workflows.

  • Security and data privacy: Choose tools that prioritize robust security measures to protect sensitive information.

  • Scalability: Consider future growth and choose tools that can scale as your team expands.

  • Company culture: Some tools foster a more casual, chat-based environment, while others offer a more structured approach. Choose tools that align with your established company culture.

12 best remote collaboration tools

The best remote collaboration tool for one company might not be the best fit for yours, and that’s okay. That’s why you’ll find dozens of solutions on the market—each is tailored to different company sizes and use cases.

While we can’t cover every tool on the market, we’ve done our best to narrow down the best remote collaboration tools for startups and developer-minded companies.

1. Slack

Slack is a communication platform designed to centralize and streamline team interactions. It fosters a dynamic workspace where team members can collaborate on projects, share updates, and exchange ideas. Slack started with simple messaging and has expanded to include channels, group conversations, video calls, and more.

Key features include:

  • Channel organization: Create dedicated channels for specific projects, departments, or topics to promote focused communication and information sharing.

  • Direct messaging: Create targeted discussions through one-on-one or small group chats.

  • File sharing: Share documents, images, and other files directly within conversations, keeping everything centralized and accessible.

  • Extensive integrations: Integrate Slack with a wide range of third-party tools for a unified workflow and collaboration across applications.

  • Searchable history: Maintain a comprehensive record of team communication with Slack’s searchable message history to easily retrieve past conversations and information.

2. Zoom

Zoom provides video communication software for everything from one-on-one meetings and group discussions to company-wide all-hands and webinar presentations. It’s become the go-to tool for helping remote workers connect face-to-face.

Key features include:

  • High-quality video conferencing: Experience clear and reliable video calls with dynamic resolution scaling that provides great performance regardless of location or internet connection.

  • Screen sharing: Share screens to present ideas, walk colleagues through workflows, and collaborate visually.

  • Meeting recording and transcription: Capture important meetings for future reference or share recordings with team members who couldn’t attend live.

  • Breakout rooms: Facilitate smaller group discussions and brainstorming sessions within the main video conference.

  • Security features: Zoom prioritizes security with features like waiting rooms, password protection, and encryption to secure online meetings.

3. Asana

Asana is a powerful task and project management tool that improves team collaboration. It helps teams organize their work, track progress, and manage projects, and it does it all with a user-friendly interface. Teams of all sizes can customize Asana to fit their workflows, whether they need simple project management features or complex automated workflows.

Key features include:

  • Task assignments: Asana allows users to create tasks and assign them to team members. Tasks can include due dates, descriptions, attachments, and sub-tasks to provide clear guidance.

  • Project timelines: With Asana’s timeline feature, teams can create visual project plans, set dependencies, and adjust schedules to keep projects on track. This Gantt-style view helps visualize the entire project and identify any potential bottlenecks.

  • Workload management: Asana offers a remote work tool to monitor team workloads to evenly distribute work. Managers can view how tasks are assigned across the team and reallocate resources to balance the workload and avoid burnout.

  • Reporting: Asana’s reporting features provide insights into project progress, task completion rates, and team performance. Customizable dashboards and real-time reporting let your team track key metrics and make data-backed decisions to keep projects on track.

4. ClickUp

ClickUp is an all-in-one project management tool that helps teams plan, organize, and collaborate on tasks and projects. It provides a highly customizable platform your team can personalize to fit practically any use case or business size. It’s not as user-friendly or intuitive as Asana, but it has greater flexibility and project management potential—especially if you’re willing to invest time into setting it up right.

Key features include:

  • Task management: ClickUp allows users to create, assign, and prioritize tasks with due dates, statuses, and tags. It supports multiple views (list, board, box, calendar) to cater to different working styles.

  • Customizable workflows: Teams can customize workflows using templates, custom fields, and statuses to match their unique processes. This makes the tool adapt to your team’s needs rather than forcing your team to adapt to the tool’s capabilities.

  • Time tracking: ClickUp integrates time tracking directly into the platform to let users log time spent on tasks, set estimates, and generate reports for better time management and productivity analysis.

  • Collaboration tools: ClickUp provides robust features, including comments, file sharing, and real-time editing. It also supports integrations with communication tools like Slack and Zoom.

  • Reporting and dashboards: Provides customizable dashboards and advanced reporting features that provide insights into project progress, team performance, and task completion.

5. Monday.com

Monday.com is a flexible remote collaboration tool that helps teams manage projects, workflows, and everyday activities. It provides a visual and intuitive interface that makes it easy for teams to collaborate, stay organized, and keep track of their progress. Monday.com offers advanced automation systems that let you put most of your to-do list on autopilot, improving collaboration while reducing tedious administrative workloads.

Key features include:

  • Customizable workflows: Monday.com makes it easy for teams to create and customize workflows. Users can set up boards, columns, and automations to match their specific processes and projects.

  • Collaboration tools: The platform offers features like real-time updates, file sharing, comments, and @mentions. These tools streamline communication and keep everyone on the same page.

  • Visual project tracking: Monday.com provides various view options, such as timeline (Gantt), calendar, Kanban, and workload views.

  • Integrations: Monday.com integrates with dozens of third-party applications, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, and more.

6. Figma

Figma is an online design tool that promotes collaborative interface design and prototyping. Its cloud-based nature lets multiple team members work on the same design simultaneously. Figma’s powerful features and real-time collaboration capabilities streamline the design process from ideation to execution.

Key features include:

  • Real-time collaboration: Figma allows multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously to allow real-time feedback and collaboration.

  • Prototyping and interaction design: Figma offers prototyping tools that allow designers to create interactive prototypes that demonstrate how the final product will function. This feature helps teams visualize user flows and interactions without writing code.

  • Design systems: Figma supports creating and maintaining design systems—helping teams standardize components, styles, and assets across projects. This consistency improves brand cohesion and streamlines the design process.

  • Version control: Figma’s version history feature allows designers to track changes, revert to previous versions, and collaborate on different design iterations.

  • Integrations: Figma integrates with third-party tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Asana to improve productivity and communications across applications.

7. Miro

Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that helps distributed teams with brainstorming, planning, and project management. It offers a flexible and intuitive interface that allows users to create, share, and collaborate on visual content in real time. Miro is especially useful for teams that need to brainstorm ideas, map out processes, and visualize complex projects together.

Key features include:

  • Infinite canvas: Miro provides an unlimited canvas that allows teams to create expansive mind maps, flowcharts, and diagrams without physical space constraints.

  • Real-time collaboration: Miro supports real-time collaboration, allowing team members to work together simultaneously on the same board.

  • Templates and frameworks: Miro offers various pre-built templates and frameworks for different use cases, such as user journey mapping, SWOT analysis, and agile workflows. These templates help teams get started quickly and maintain consistency in their processes.

  • Visual tools and widgets: Miro includes a variety of visual tools (such as sticky notes, drawing tools, and shapes) to help teams create engaging and informative boards.

8. Jira

Jira is a powerful project management tool (developed by Atlassian) widely used by agile teams for planning, tracking, and managing software development projects. Its features support various agile methodologies (including Scrum and Kanban), making it a foundational tool for teams looking to improve productivity and collaboration.

Key features include:

  • Agile project management: Jira supports agile methodologies with features like Scrum boards, Kanban boards, and agile reporting. These tools help teams plan sprints, track progress, and manage backlogs.

  • Issue tracking: Jira allows teams to create, assign, and track issues or tasks throughout the development lifecycle. This feature keeps all tasks documented, prioritized, and resolved promptly.

  • Customizable workflows: Jira provides customizable workflows to match the unique processes of different teams. Teams can define their own statuses, transitions, and rules to streamline the development process.

  • Reporting and analytics: Jira offers robust reporting and analytics features, including burndown charts, velocity charts, and sprint reports. These insights help teams monitor performance, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions.

9. Canva

Canva is a user-friendly graphic design tool that helps individuals and teams create stunning visual content—even if they don’t know how to use more complicated design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Express, Illustrator, or InDesign. Its drag-and-drop interface, extensive library of templates, and various design elements make it accessible to users of all skill levels. Premium users can build libraries of templates, elements, fonts, color schemes, and more to help their teams collaborate and create consistent designs.

Key features include:

  • Drag-and-drop editor: Canva’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor lets users easily create and customize designs. Users can add text, images, shapes, and other elements to their projects with clicks and drags—not code.

  • Extensive template library: Canva offers thousands of professionally designed templates in categories such as social media posts, presentations, posters, and more. These templates provide a great starting point and can be customized to fit your specific needs.

  • Design elements and stock library: Canva provides access to a massive library of design elements, including icons, illustrations, and photos. Users can choose from millions of free and premium images to improve their designs.

  • Collaboration tools for remote work: Canva supports real-time collaboration, allowing members to work on designs simultaneously. Users can share designs with others, leave comments, and make edits in real time.

  • Brand kit: Canva’s brand kit feature lets users upload their brand assets (such as logos, colors, and fonts) to maintain consistency across all designs. This is particularly useful for businesses looking to create cohesive branding materials.

10. Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage tool. It makes it easy for businesses to organize, tag, and share files for straightforward management and collaboration. Dropbox makes your files accessible from anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Key features include:

  • File storage and sharing: Dropbox provides secure and scalable cloud storage for files of any size. Users can easily share files with remote team members or external collaborators through copy-paste links.

  • Collaboration software: Dropbox includes features like shared folders, real-time file editing, and commenting to help teams collaborate on documents and projects. The platform supports various file types, including documents, spreadsheets, and multimedia files.

  • File synchronization: Dropbox automatically syncs files across all connected devices to provide all users with the latest version of their files. This feature is essential for teams working across different locations and time zones.

  • Security features: Dropbox prioritizes security with two-factor authentication, encryption, and advanced sharing permissions.

11. Loom

Loom is a video messaging tool that lets users easily create and share video messages. Sometimes, explaining something through a message, email, or Google Doc just doesn’t do the trick. Videos can help convey complex ideas, provide feedback, and keep everyone on the same page.

Key features include:

  • Screen recording: Loom allows users to record their screen, webcam, or both simultaneously. This feature is perfect for creating tutorials, presentations, and walkthroughs.

  • Instant sharing: Once a video is recorded, Loom generates a shareable link that can be sent to team members or embedded in other platforms.

  • Viewer insights: Loom provides video views, watch time, and engagement analytics. These insights help you understand how videos are being received.

  • Comments and reactions: Viewers can leave comments and reactions directly on the video timeline to provide asynchronous feedback and discussions.

12. LastPass

LastPass is a password management tool that helps your teams securely store, manage, and share passwords. It makes it easier for your employees to create strong, long, unique passwords for all their accounts and applications, and it includes sharing features and permissions to deliver usernames and passwords to the right users.

Key features include:

  • Auto-fill and password generator: LastPass can automatically fill in login credentials on websites and applications, saving time and effort. It also includes a password generator that creates strong, unique passwords for each login.

  • Secure sharing: LastPass allows users to securely share passwords and notes with trusted individuals or team members. This feature helps share access to shared accounts without compromising security.

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): LastPass supports multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. Users can choose from various authentication methods, including biometrics, mobile apps, and hardware tokens.

  • Security dashboard and dark web monitoring: The security dashboard provides insights into the strength of your passwords and alerts you to potential vulnerabilities. LastPass also monitors the dark web for compromised credentials and notifies users if their information is at risk.

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