We looked at dozens of remote work solutions for businesses of all sizes. As a fully remote team, we also have first-hand experience using the top players in the space. Based on hundreds of hours of in-depth research and our own experiences, Hubstaff is our top pick. It’s easy to use, covers a wide range of functionality that spans numerous types of businesses, and includes employee, time, and productivity management features in one place.
The Best Remote Work Software for Most
Hubstaff comes with everything you need to keep daily workflows in one place, regardless of where your team works. Whether you’re a small business looking for a better way, growing beyond Frankensteining tools together, or a midsize business with hundreds of employees all over the country, it’s an all-in-one project management tool on steroids that goes way beyond the basics.
It’s also fully equipped with productivity, HR, and payroll functionality, too. To ease the transition, you’ll get hands-on training and help with integrating all of your day-to-day operations into the Hubstaff platform.
The 5 Best Remote Software Options to Consider
- Hubstaff — Best for most
- Todoist — Best for personal or small team task management
- Asana — Best for intuitive project management from anywhere
- Slack — Best for collaborative communication
- Google Drive — Best for document storage and file collaboration
When it Makes Sense to Invest in Remote Software
When you don’t meet in person, online collaboration tools and remote work software deliver the environment you and your need to work together. The idea is that remote work software replaces the need for face-to-face interactions.
Simply put, if you’re a remote team or have remote workers, remote work software simplifies things and makes it not only possible but easy and enjoyable to work together as well.
From project and resource management to chat, task management, and collaboration tools, remote work software packages everything managers, stakeholders, and employees alike need to facilitate a remote work environment that keeps everyone in the loop 24/7.
Remote software isn’t just for big corporations or businesses that staff huge teams of employees. Freelancers, independent contractors, and small to mid-sized companies can find solace in adopting the right software.
If you work with others in any remote capacity, remote work software is a smart investment.
With so many free or very affordable options, you have nothing but a bit of time to lose and a whole lot to gain by trying it out.
#1 – Hubstaff — The Best for Most
If you’re a company with a large team of employees, staff, and colleagues, Hubstaff is your best bet.
Classic Hubstaff covers everything from mobile time tracking, project budgeting and reporting, scheduling, invoicing and payroll, and productivity management. Paired with Hubstaff Tasks, you get a fully fleshed-out project management tool with kanban board workflows, timelines, communication and collaboration tools, and project comparisons.
It’s the everything-in-one fix to all your remote work needs. The platform has a database that provides complete control over things like time tracking, employee productivity monitoring, project management, and much more.
Upon signing up, Hubstaff lets users choose the size of their business and determine initial goals (i.e., monitor desktop activity, make payroll easier, track projects and clients, organize teams, etc.).
From there, you can explore sections like the proof of work feature that allows businesses to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during employee shifts. There’s also a task functionality feature that lets managers and teams monitor progress on specific projects while they’re in progress.
With the mobile app integration, there’s also an option for job site notifications when staff enters or exits specific locations using its geofencing feature. This can be beneficial for teams who might be planning to return to the office during or after COVID-19.
So, what does it cost?
- Basic: $5.83 per user per month billed annually
- Premium: $8.33 per user per month billed annually
- Enterprise plan: $16.67 per user per month billed annually
If you add Hubstaff Tasks to your plan, there is a free forever plan for up to five users, 10 projects, and 100MB storage per user. If you have a larger team, Hubstaff Tasks Premium is $5 per user per month for unlimited users and projects, 5 GB storage per user, recurring tasks and epics, timelines, and more.
Overall, for the Basic plan price, you get a lot of bang for your buck—all while covering the essential remote office needs.
#2 – Todoist — Best for Personal or Small Team Task Management
Todoist is an option that offers task management features on a smaller, more independent scale.
This software is ideal for those who need help with personal task management (i.e., independent contractors, freelancers running their own companies, or small teams).
The interface is straightforward, with great collaboration options. They’ve got apps for nearly every device so that you can sync up and stay on the go.
Todoist incorporates the traditional idea of the “sticky note” into their interface. You can literally take a pile of sticky notes, write detailed tasks, and stick the notes into their own “To Do” column. How’s that for handy? You can also color-code, add details, create “subtasks,” set reminders, or mark things as high priority.
The app is also a cloud-based service that allows users to sync all tasks and notes to any device where the app is used. They’ve got extensions for just about every browser, and it is compatible with most operating systems—Windows, Android, MacOS, Apple Watch, etc.
- Basic: Free
- Premium: $3 flat per month billed annually for up to 300 projects and 25 people per project
- Business: $5 per person per month billed annually for up to 500 projects per user and 50 people per project
The free account lets you collaborate with up to five people per project and manage up to 80 projects.
#3 – Asana — Best for Intuitive Project Management from Anywhere
Calling all product enthusiasts and busy bees. If you’re a remote worker whose work is heavily based on completing tasks and to-do lists, Asana just might be your saving grace.
The project and task management platform provide workers with more freedom as it is less focused on tracking things in increments of time and more on task completion. It’s a collaboration tool for managing specific, high-volume tasks and seeing how they fit into the big picture of projects.
The software is very feature-rich, and the structure of the interface may look intimidating to navigate at first, but once familiar with the general functions, it is very useful.
This software specializes in workflow and task management, making it easy to map out every individual step of a project and see the status of everything quickly.
Users can create tasks, assign people to them, add due dates, write comments and attach files. The features are best-suited for on-going, continuous work that is kept up with on a daily basis. It helps keep track of who is tackling which task, information related to that task, and task progress.
Asana also offers over 100 integrations for bringing everything together in one platform. Integrations include Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Gmail, Zapier, Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, HubSpot, and more.
There is also the option to sync the desktop version with the mobile app, available for most operating systems. You can keep up with notifications and changes on the go.
Let’s look at the costs:
- Basic: Free
- Premium: $10.99 per person per month billed annually
- Business: $24.99 per person per month billed annually
- Enterprise: Contact Asana for pricing options
If you want to test drive Asana, get started with the free forever version today.
#4 – Slack — Best for Collaborative Communication
If you’re a part of a large team that collaborates through constant communication during the workday, Slack is an excellent platform for team messaging with a vast collection of settings and options.
The desktop version makes it easy to share content, instantly message managers and colleagues, and have round-the-clock conference calls.
The complex interface can feel cluttered and overwhelming upon your first look, but once oriented with the nuances, the user experience will eventually feel pretty seamless.
Slack is most known for its “channels” feature that allows users to create several different communication streams for various groups, topics, and subjects. You can make these either public or private, use the “thread” feature to respond to specific topics, and even mention/tag someone to get their attention directly.
Having various channels makes it easy to keep teams and projects from across the company all in one place and easily accessible. Remote workers especially like how you can message an individual, a group, or an entire team by merely switching to a different “channel” or chat window.
The call feature allows users to make calls with one or multiple people, making it easy to communicate with teams anywhere in the world. Their mobile and desktop app can be synced as well, keeping you connected while you’re on the go.
While their basic plan is free, they do have Standard ($6.67 per user per month) and Plus ($12.50 per user per month) options, too. There is also an option to get a custom quote for an enterprise-level plan.
This team messaging app is a bit more pricey than others in its field, but the highly customizable options make it a popular choice for many.
#5 – Google Drive — Best for Document Storage and File Collaboration
Are you a writer, work in marketing, or share a lot of files and documents between team members? Google Drive might just become your best friend.
Its fully-featured database lets users create, edit, store and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and other work types (such as forms and presentations) while keeping everything in one place.
The collaboration abilities are unmatched. You can create a document that is only for you or share it easily with colleagues, investors, your friends, anyone. Users can collaborate on each document and make edits, suggestions, leave comments, and even see histories of all changes on any document.
Another thing: Space, space, space. Users can forget about stressing over things like having enough gigabytes for their 150-page document. Google Drive provides a (spectacular) free storage plan with plenty of free cloud space before they ask for a single penny—15 GB worth.
Google Drive has also been making major improvements to its design interface, and it’s now more intuitive than ever, especially for users coming from MS Word.
On the main Drive page, you’ll see your thumbnails of documents. Along the left side rail, you’ll find a menu of your folders, shared files, photos, recent, starred, and trash. There are buttons for sharing, deleting, previewing, retrieving a link, and viewing selected files on the right side.
This software provides simple solutions for storing documents in a safe place where multiple users can access and collaborate in real-time, no matter their location. In addition to standard documents, Google Drive allows you to easily create shared spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and more—all also very collaborative.
- 15 GB storage: Free
- 100 GB: $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year
- 200 GB: $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year
- 2 TB: $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
- 10 TB: $49.99 per month
Google Drive has storage options up to 30 TB, making it work for any size team. It’s easy to get it set up for you and your team today.
Methodology for Choosing the Best Remote Software
There are some key factors to consider when shopping around for the best remote work software. We used this methodology while doing our research. Here a few things to look at when you’re deciding which remote software to invest in.
Size of Company or Team
How big is your company? One employee? 500? 1,000 across four continents?
You’ll want to choose software that will be most compatible with the number of people on your team. The amount of people directly affects things like payroll, workload, productivity, and project management. It also impacts the price, as many options charge per user.
If you are working with people across different continents or time zones, you might consider integrating browser extensions or apps that make it easier to manage those differences.
More people also means more communication between the team. It’d be ideal to find software that makes it easy to reach the people you collaborate with daily.
Position of Power
Are you the CEO? A contract employee? A freelancer?
The software mentioned in this guide each has unique functions for people who occupy all standard working positions. For instance, Todoist would probably be best for someone who works for themselves as a sole proprietor or a small team of less than 10. The focus on personal task management gives remote workers more liberty over how they spend and organize their day.
On the other hand, Hubstaff would be perfect for the CEO or manager of a large insurance company that employs hundreds of claim adjusters across the country. This software would give them ample control over important things like time tracking, employee monitoring, and payroll.
Field of Work or Expertise
What field of work are you in? Tech industry? Marketing and advertising? Different niches have different needs. Each industry has its own unique functions.
If you’re in a field that requires heavy task management, Asana would be a good choice. If you only need to be able to communicate effectively throughout the day, Slack will win.
Is tracking hours a big priority or concern for the type of work that you do? Maybe you need something with time tracking integrated.
Maybe you work on an “as needed” basis but still need something to create a boundary between the amount of time spent “working” and the amount of time spent just being at home. There are specific features for tracking things like time and productivity in some of the software outlined in this guide. Spend some time finding the best one.
Consider the unique and individual features of remote software while researching. Also, don’t be afraid to watch demos and do multiple free trials to find the one that works best for your needs.
2020 had us all running on fumes, but it also showed us the value in productively working from home—something once considered novel and often overlooked.
With that said, Hubstaff is still our top choice. It has everything a business working remotely needs and uses at an affordable price.
There are countless other great platforms out there. Just make sure you are considering your team’s specific needs when searching for the best option.