The pandemic proved that most companies could operate remotely, thanks to technology. Often armed with just a laptop and internet connection, remote workers were able to plug in and work from home.
Now, a remote-first tech stack is the difference between good and great remote workplaces. The right tech stack can support communication and increase productivity, ultimately saving your business money. Discovering new apps and platforms can further optimize your operations, helping your remote team feel more connected and collaborative.
Think beyond Microsoft Word and Outlook. Here are seven tools for remote work to improve your tech stack, and testimonials from their customers.
Trello is a work management tool, enabling teams to collaborate, ideate, and track progress and results together – no matter where they’re located. It’s primarily used for project management, managing tasks, meetings, editorial calendars, and brainstorming.
“The board” is its signature solution. A Trello board breaks down each step of a project’s process. Additional features include views (where you can see projects from different angles, like a calendar, timeline, or map view), automation, templates, and app integrations.
- “We are able to mold and shape Trello to the way our organization thinks and behaves, rather than trying to fit our team and our needs, which are changing everyday, into a set structure.” – UNICEF
- “Trello is the foundation for every round of user research we conduct and makes insights accessible to everyone in the organization.” – DoSomething.org
Branded as a “digital HQ”, Slack allows remote teams to communicate quickly and efficiently. With channels dedicated to specific teams, departments, and topics, Slack keeps communication focused and collaboration seamless. It’s the ultimate messaging tool for remote work.
In addition to having app integrations, Slack also has an audio and video chatting feature, called a “huddle”, to support live communication. 86% of Slack users feel their ability to work remotely has improved from Slack, and 85% feel their communication has improved.
SlackGPT, OpenAI’s integration within Slack, will make remote work easier than ever. You’ll be able to effortlessly find information, summarize threads, and even use its generative AI capabilities to write for you.
- “Slack is business done right. When you have collaboration happening in one spot, leadership doesn’t need to be copied on an email. You can hop into a Slack channel, cruise along with the project, and jump in where needed.” – Lyft
- “Slack has allowed us to really provide the experience we want to deliver: The satisfaction of the customer always goes up, and the overall resolution time goes down.” – Zendesk
Zoom has become synonymous with video chatting. There’s a reason why it became the most popular conferencing tool for remote work – Wirecutter cites Zoom’s features, additional accounts, cloud storage, branding abilities, and tech support as why it’s the best service – with its free version having especially great value.
With built-in collaboration features, HD video and audio, filters, engagement tools, team chat, recording abilities, and streamlined calendaring, Zoom makes remote work easy. 93% of users reported a greater sense of engagement, and 95% an increase in performance.
- “When you have a larger population of employees that are remote, you need tools that are easy to adapt, and Zoom definitely fits into that category. It provided functionality in a very simple manner that people can understand across all parts of the organization and adopt.” – Ally Financial
- “But despite the arduous circumstances…judges and lawyers throughout Florida have continued the work of justice. This was possible because Florida’s judges and lawyers quickly adapted to the use of the technology for remote proceedings.” – Florida State Courts System
Dropbox is a secure site to upload and share large files – as large as 2TB! It’s also used as storage for computer backups, photos, and other documents. Dropbox has additional features to improve collaboration among remote teams, giving them the ability to store and access files from anywhere.
Dropbox’s other products, like Backup, HelloSign, and DocSend, are also helpful tools for remote work. While HelloSign prepares, sends, and tracks legally-binded signatures for agreements, DocSend can send documents and track analytics.
- “Dropbox’s speed and reliability have helped us work better together. I don’t have to worry about data security, because of the encryption and transport layer protocols Dropbox has in place.” – Brandt
- “Dropbox Business isn’t just a tool, it’s more like the whole process for the business. Without it, we would never have been able to coordinate such a huge project and it is fuelling the future of mytaxi as well by enabling us to work together and communicate effortlessly from anywhere.” – Mytaxi
Asana is a project management tool that tracks tasks, deadlines, and milestones across users, teams, and projects. Users can view their work in whatever way works best for them – whether that’s through looking at a calendar or a list, or using a board function similar to Trello.
What stands out the most about Asana is its customizability. In addition to typical project management features, Asana has reporting, forms, and workload functionalities. Asana also allows users to build automations to organize and manage tasks better.
- “Asana is our classroom to help people learn a new way to manage projects. We use it to teach fundamental project management skills and how to work in a repeatable, scalable way to achieve results.” – Zoom
- “Anyone can look at an Asana project and immediately understand what’s going on. I can hire someone new, give them a login to Asana, and say ‘These are the teams you should join,’ and I don’t need to train them on how to use it. That’s powerful.” – Overstock.com
Notion is a versatile tool for remote work, bringing key information across teams while providing a space for collaboration and information sharing. Many companies leverage Notion as an internal Wiki. With free pre-built templates, Notion provides ready-to-download setups from top companies like Headspace’s design system and Match Group’s roadmap.
Notion is easily customizable to your team’s needs. As a hub for documents, lists, and notes, Notion is a one-stop shop when working in a remote team. Some companies also utilize it for project management.
Notion has also integrated AI within their software to is help remote teams work more efficiently. With its embedded artificial intelligence, Notion AI can generate content, act as a writing assistant, summarize action items, and even automate tedious tasks. It’s easy to use, with prompts that can be activated with a simple space bar or slash command.
- “It was easy to update everyone every week when we were a 20-person company. Now, there’s just too many things going on—but people can update themselves via Notion.” – Buffer
- “Before Notion, a lot of the team’s knowledge was bottlenecked in the minds of a few. Now folks feel empowered to self serve and move at speed.” – Capgemini
Airspeed’s Slack apps are designed to connect colleagues and celebrate the people behind work, rather than keeping conversation focused solely on projects. It’s as if the watercooler was brought online and modernized.
Employees can use apps like Intros and Icebreakers to easily start conversations and build deeper relationships. With a variety of Slack apps that solve the most common culture problems, your team can choose how they’ll leverage Airspeed to build better moments of human connection – regardless of distance.
- “Airspeed gives us a central place to do the things around culture that we were doing manually across multiple platforms before.” – Instawork
- “Airspeed is a way for our people leaders to operationalize culture.” – Highspot
How to start building your remote tech stack
Now that you know about the best tools for remote work, you can begin building the optimal tech stack for your business.
- First, assess your current tools for remote work. What are you using for project management? Communication? Connection? How does your team feel about any tools you’re currently using?
- Identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. What is lacking in your current set-up? What would help save time or knock down silos?
- Start setting up demos with vendors and the right stakeholders. Use the above tools for remote work as a guide, and involve team members and leaders that will be leading the charge on instituting these new tools.
Consider updating your digital ecosystem to fit your remote work culture needs. Most of the tools for remote work in this article will make working easier. However, it’s important to remember that without a physical space for watercooler moments, you have to be intentional about creating human connection at work. Make sure your tech stack is tailored to build a good company culture for your team.