Best Remote Work Software Tools in 2021: Virtual Team Solutions

With remote working becoming the new normal, you need the right tools to set up your home office. Join us as we list 22 of the best remote work software tools to help you get the job done.

Ritika TiwariAleksandar Kochovski
By Ritika Tiwari & Aleksandar Kochovski (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-07-25T21:26:26+00:00

The year 2020 brought many surprises, but the COVID-19 pandemic was, for most people, the biggest curveball. It thrust half the workforce out of the office and into a work at home environment, but setting up a home office isn’t the easiest. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 22 best remote work software to help you get ready for a productive day at work from the comfort of your home.

Key Takeaways:

  • The kind of remote work software you need will depend on the kind of work you do.
  • If you’re a freelancer, you won’t need advanced communication and project organization tools. However, you will need tools to keep yourself organized and on time, as well as cloud storage to keep your work files secure.
  • A large company working with distributed teams, on the other hand, will make good use of powerful communication tools and management software.

We’ll look at all the different kinds of home office software, including project management software, cloud storage and productivity apps. Whether you’re a freelancer, an employee of a company or leading a remote team, this list has you covered. We’ll also cover how remote work software works and how it can help you overcome the hurdles of working from home, so stay tuned.

  • monday.com is the absolute best project management tool when looking at features, versatility and price — it really does have it all. Asana and Trello are great choices as well, depending on what you need out of your remote working software.

  • In terms of physical equipment, all you need to work remotely is a computer. What software you use is much more important than any physical equipment unless you need powerful hardware for intensive tasks like 3D modeling and rendering.

  • As COVID-19 has proven, most office jobs can be done remotely. That said, if you’re looking to start remote work as a freelancer, you should always play to your strengths, whether that’s writing, editing, design or 3D work.

What Are the Benefits (or Not) of Remote Work Software?

Working from home doesn’t just mean being productive and doing work in a home environment. You need to communicate with team members, manage projects and collaborate with other people.

All of this might happen while your family or roommates are distracting you, and you keep checking the fridge every five minutes to see if anything’s changed (and to your dismay, it never changes). This means you also need tools to help keep you focused.

Studies have shown that remote workers tend to work much longer, adding two whole hours to their workday on average. Time management is crucial for avoiding burnout and working for too long off the clock.

What Is Remote Work Software?

Thankfully, there is a cornucopia of remote working software to help you achieve a well-designed home workspace. The term “remote work software” covers all of the tools you need to use to create a safe, productive remote working environment that’s free of distractions and facilitates both collaboration and solo work. You’ll be working remotely with ease in no time.

Types of Remote Work Software

Without further ado, let’s look at all the different types of remote work software and the best representatives of each category. 

Project Management

1. monday.com

Monday.com task management
monday.com is one of the most functional project management tools.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • No subtasks
  • No free version

If you need a project management tool that does it all and looks good while doing it, you might want to give monday.com a try. It offers multiple ways to organize your tasks other than the default kanban board view, including a super-useful timeline feature. Although it doesn’t let you divide your tasks into subtasks, considering everything monday.com can do, we’ll gladly let that slide.

monday.com’s pricing plans are inexpensive, and it offers a 14-day free trial if you want to check it out.

monday.com Pricing:

  • Basic — $8/month per user
  • Standard — $10/month per user
  • Pro — $16/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact monday.com for pricing

2. Asana

Asana quick setup
Asana lets you easily manage remote teams and reward them for getting tasks done.

Pros:

  • Keeps your team motivated
  • Task subdivision
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Complicated customer support system

Asana is yet another simple tool focused on organizing and managing tasks. It has many options to truly flesh out your task cards, which you can divide into subtasks. Asana’s most memorable feature is its “celebrations,” which come in the form of cute animated animals that cheer for you for completing a task.

Asana’s free plan serves up to 15 team members if you need to give the service a try before you buy.

Asana Pricing:

  • Basic — $0/month per user
  • Premium — $13.49/month per user
  • Business — $30.49/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Asana for pricing

3. Trello

Trello Kanban board
Trello’s free plan works as a simple kanban board, but its paid plans expand its functionality.

Pros:

  • Free kanban board view
  • Simple interface

Cons:

  • No subtasks
  • Other views only on paid plans

Trello used to be a simple kanban board and nothing more, and it still is if you’re on its free plan. However, a recent update expanded its feature set to include deeper customization of cards, as well as a ton of useful new views, including a timeline, calendar and even a dashboard with data on how your team members handle their tasks.

Freelancers should find Trello’s free-to-use kanban board sufficient, plus there’s a 14-day free trial if you wanna give its paid plan a spin.

Trello Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Business Class — $12.50/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Trello for pricing

4. Wrike

Wrike project management
Wrike is a complex team management tool that can leave its users a bit overwhelmed.

Where Trello kept things nice and simple, Wrike goes in the opposite direction. Whether you need a Gantt chart, a calendar, activity reports or event streams, Wrike does it all. Plus, unlike monday.com, it even has subtasks. However, this approach means that usability suffers a bit, but it’s worth it if you need all of that functionality, especially given its low price.

Wrike offers a free plan for curious entrepreneurs, though it’s more limited than the paid versions.

Wrike Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Professional — $9.80/month per user
  • Business — $24.80/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Wrike for pricing

5. TeamGantt

TeamGantt timeline
TeamGantt’s Gantt chart organizes your remote employees’ projects into a neat timeline.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Limited functionality

Cons:

  • Not many third-party app integrations

A Gantt chart can be a powerful organizational tool, allowing you to keep track of your entire remote team’s activity. While freelancers won’t find TeamGantt very helpful, team leaders will love its intuitive interface. There are templates to help you get started, but it lacks third-party integrations and isn’t as flexible as other tools.

TeamGantt’s free plan covers up to three users, but its pricing is a little high for a tool that’s so limited in scope.

TeamGantt Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Standard Team — $24.95/month for one user (plus $9.95 per extra user)
  • Advanced Team — $29.95/month for one user (plus $14.95 per extra user)

Cloud Storage

6. Sync.com

sync-carousel1
Sync.com is the best cloud storage for freelancers.

Pros:

  • Secure
  • Affordable
  • Excellent sharing features

Cons:

  • No third-party app integrations
  • Only yearly pricing plans available

Sync.com is our favorite cloud storage service because of its airtight zero-knowledge security and affordable pricing. If you need a secure place to store your files and share them with clients, Sync.com can’t be beat. Its many sharing functions places it firmly at the top of our best cloud storage for sharing list.

Sync.com offers a 5GB free plan, and its paid plans are some of the cheapest around.

Sync.com Pricing:

  • Free (5GB) — $0/month
  • Mini (200GB) — $5/month (billed annually)
  • Basic (2TB) — $8/month (billed annually)
  • Standard (3TB) — $10/month (billed annually)
  • Plus (4TB) — $15/month (billed annually)

7. pCloud

pcloud web interface
pCloud’s free plan is great if you’re on a budget.

Pros:

  • Great privacy
  • Affordable
  • Perfect for storing multimedia

Cons:

  • Private encryption only via paid add-on
  • No third-party app integrations

pCloud is one of the best choices for freelancers on a budget thanks to its generous free plan. Its advanced media player makes it perfect for music and video editors as well. If you choose to store your data on its European servers, your privacy will be guaranteed by the GDPR as well as Swiss privacy laws. However, zero-knowledge encryption is only available as a paid add-on.

If you don’t need more than 10GB of storage, you’ll do fine with pCloud’s free plan. If not, pCloud’s paid plans are on par with Sync.com as the best deals in cloud storage.

pCloud Pricing:

  • Free — $10/month
  • Premium (500GB) — $3.99/month (billed annually)
  • Premium Plus (2TB) — $7.99/month (billed annually)

8. Egnyte Connect

Egnyte Connect sharing features
Egnyte is one of the best enterprise cloud services for managing remote employees’ files.

Pros:

  • Integration with Google Workspace & Microsoft Office 365
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption only on the most expensive plan

Unlike the previous two services, Egnyte Connect is a business cloud storage service. It’s very secure, though you’ll only get zero-knowledge encryption on the most expensive plan. Plus, it has superb data lifecycle management features and excellent user permission handling. Egnyte offers plenty of third-party app integrations, including Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365.

For companies wanting to try the service out, Egnyte offers a 15-day money-back guarantee. All its plans come with unlimited storage but offer different features.

Egnyte Pricing:

  • Business — $20/month per user (billed annually)
  • Enterprise Lite — Contact Egnyte for pricing
  • Enterprise — Contact Egnyte for pricing

9. Google Drive

Google Drive cloud storage
Google Drive is a free cloud storage and collaboration tool.

Pros:

  • Integration with Google Workspace
  • 15GB free storage

Cons:

  • Poor privacy

Google Drive needs no introduction. It’s by far the most used cloud storage service, with over a billion users. Although you sacrifice some privacy by using a Google product, the service is affordable and integrates seamlessly with other Google Workspace apps. Even if you don’t use other Google apps, you’ll still find Google Drive’s sharing features useful.

Google Drive has a 15GB free plan, which should be more than enough for a freelancer working in Google Docs.

Google Drive Pricing:

  • 15GB — $0/month
  • 100GB — $1.99/month
  • 200GB — $2.99/month
  • 2TB — $9.99/month

10. Dropbox

Dropbox cloud storage
Dropbox integrates with Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 apps.

Pros:

  • Integration with Google Workspace & Microsoft Office 365
  • Good sharing features

Cons:

  • No zero-knowledge encryption

We can’t talk about cloud storage and not mention Dropbox — the one that started it all. Dropbox may have once reigned supreme, but it’s not the cheapest, and there’s no zero-knowledge encryption to protect your files from prying eyes. However, it has tons of third-party apps that it integrates with, including Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace.

Dropbox’s free plan is a little stingy compared to other services, offering only 2GB, and its paid plans are unfortunately not well-priced, either.

Dropbox Pricing:

  • Basic (2GB) — $0/month
  • Plus (2TB) — $11.99/month
  • Family (2TB) — $19.99/month, for up to six users

Time Tracking and Productivity

11. Time Doctor

Time Doctor work tracking
Time Doctor offers powerful time-tracking features, but it can easily become intrusive if used improperly.

Pros:

  • Granular time tracking
  • Third-party app integrations

Cons:

  • Intrusive features

Time Doctor is a tool that lets team leaders keep a close eye on remote team members. Some of its features — such as its scheduled screenshots — are a little too Orwellian for our taste, and we feel they’re detrimental to camaraderie in the company. Thankfully, you can simply choose not to use them and instead rely on workers self-reporting via Team Doctor’s check-in system.

Although Time Doctor offers a 14-day free trial, its paid plans are a little too expensive for what they offer.

Time Doctor Pricing:

  • Basic — $7/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Standard — $10/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Premium — $20/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Enterprise — Contact Time Doctor for pricing

12. Focus To-Do

focus to do mobile app
Focus To-Do uses the Pomodoro Technique to keep you focused while working from home.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Completely free

Cons:

  • Apps have grammatical errors & typos

Focus To-Do uses the well-known Pomodoro Technique to keep you focused while working. You stay focused for 25 minutes, then take a break for five. While you’re working, you can have the app play ambient noise, like ocean or forest sounds. It’s great for both freelancers and remote workers.

The best part about Focus To-Do is that it’s completely free and available on every major operating system, including Android and iOS.

Focus To-Do Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month

13. Clockify

clockify time tracking
Clockify organizes your activity into timelines, calendars and projects to give you a bird’s-eye view of your remote working time.

Pros:

  • Real-time timekeeping
  • Activity calendar

Cons:

  • Desktop app can be laggy

Clockify is a time-tracking app that lets you log your activity, either in real time or manually. Your past activity shows up in a calendar for posterity, plus you get useful features like activity reports. Clockify also lets you organize your time according to projects, and you can leave notes on your activities. It’s great for teams as well. The mobile app works well, but the desktop app can lag at times.

The Clockify time-tracking app is completely free to use.

Clockify Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month

Video Conferencing

13. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams features
Teams is a powerful video conferencing tool by Microsoft.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Well-integrated with other Microsoft apps
  • Useful conferencing tools

Cons:

  • Need an account to make a call

Microsoft Teams is much more than a video chat app. As part of the Microsoft 365 package, it integrates natively with Office, OneDrive and other Microsoft services. Even on its own, it’s surprisingly capable, with whiteboards, breakout rooms and other useful conferencing tools.

You can get Teams with a Microsoft 365 subscription, but it’s also available for free.

Microsoft Teams Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month

15. Zoom

Zoom video chat
Zoom is one of the most popular video call tools, offering superb call quality and stability.

Pros:

  • Excellent call quality
  • Very easy to use
  • Third-party add-ons

Cons:

  • Lacks some features out of the box

Zoom took the world by storm during the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly becoming the default verb for video calling (anyone remember Skyping?). Its video and audio quality are top-notch, and its call quality is rock solid. You can expand Zoom’s functionality beyond video chatting with third-party apps by installing them via the Zoom App Marketplace.

Although Zoom is free to use, calls are limited to 40 minutes unless you pay.

Zoom Pricing:

  • Basic — $0/month per user
  • Pro — $14.99/month per user
  • Business — $19.99/month per user
  • Enterprise — $35.99/month per user

16. Google Meet

Google Meet
Meet is well-integrated into the Google ecosystem, though it’s not quite as good as a standalone app.

Pros:

  • Very well-integrated with Google Workspace apps
  • Affordable
  • Third-party extensions

Cons:

  • Lacks some features out of the box

Google Meet is similar to Microsoft Teams in that it integrates with an entire ecosystem of apps — the Google Workspace suite. The difference here is that Meet has much tighter integration with Workspace. Unfortunately, some basic features have fallen by the wayside, such as the missing whiteboard, though you can add extensions to Meet to allay these issues.

Meet is free to use and doesn’t require a login. You can increase its capacity and call length by purchasing a Workspace license.

Google Meet Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month

Remote Team Collaboration

17. Google Workspace

Google Workspace landing page
Workspace is the new and improved version of G Suite

Pros:

  • Excellent for Google product users
  • Apps are very tightly integrated
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Privacy concerns

The evolution of Google’s G Suite, Google Workspace offers the tightest integrated suite of productivity apps. You can open pretty much any app from within another one, and they all store their data in Google Drive. It lets you do things you wouldn’t even imagine just a few years prior, like starting a chat in Gmail and editing a file in Docs in real time while communicating with your remote team.

Workspace offers a two-week free trial, and it’s relatively inexpensive otherwise.

Google Workspace Pricing:

  • Business Starter — $6/month per user
  • Business Standard — $12/month per user
  • Business Plus — $18/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Google for pricing

18. Microsoft 365

Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft 365 includes the wildly popular Office suite of productivity apps.

Pros:

  • Excellent for Microsoft product users
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Privacy concerns
  • Only up to 1TB of OneDrive storage available

Like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365 is an integrated suite of apps. As we mentioned, these apps include the popular Teams communication platform, as well as Office, OneDrive, Outlook and other Microsoft products. Integration between apps isn’t quite as seamless as in Workspace, but the individual apps included are powerful and, in some cases, more versatile than Google’s.

Microsoft 365’s cheapest plan features a one-month free trial that you can take advantage of before committing to a subscription.

Microsoft 365 Pricing:

  • Business Basic — $5/month per user
  • Business Standard — $12.50/month per user
  • Business Premium — $20/month per user
  • Apps — $8.25/month per user

19. Figma

figma homepage
Figma is a free tool that lets you create and collaborate on designs.

Pros:

  • Real-time collaboration
  • Comment on projects
  • Excellent free plan

Cons:

  • Free plan isn’t good for larger teams

Figma is one of the best tools for conceptualizing visuals, and it’s used by UI and UX designers the world over. It lets you comment on designs and even edit them with other people in real time — something competitors like Adobe XD don’t let you do.

If you’re a designer, Figma offers a better form of direct feedback from clients, as well as letting you collaborate with remote team members on group projects. Although Figma is free to use for up to three simultaneous projects, its paid plans unlock extra features.

Figma Pricing:

  • Starter — $0/month
  • Professional — $12/month per editor (billed annually)
  • Organization — $45/month per editor (billed annually)

Communication

20. Slack

Slack team chat
Slack is the king of cloud-based instant messaging, offering tons of third-party app integrations.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Third-party add-ons
  • Great free plan

Cons:

  • Lacks better overview of chats
  • Expensive paid plans

Slack is a versatile, cloud-based messaging tool that makes communication with your remote team organic and intuitive. Thanks to thousands of third-party app integrations, you can customize Slack’s functionality to no end. You can share files and images directly in the app, or you can connect a cloud storage service to Slack to share files that way.

The Slack free plan should be more than enough for both remote teams and freelancers communicating with long-term clients, though its paid plans aren’t competitively priced.

Slack Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Standard — $8/month per user
  • Plus — $15/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Slack for pricing

21. Twist

Twist topic comments
Twist relies on comments rather than instant messages to get the point across.

Pros:

  • Innovative messaging system
  • Good organization of topics

Cons:

  • Lacks video & voice messaging

Twist puts a twist (pardon the pun) on traditional text messaging by eschewing real-time instant messaging for a more relaxed form of communication. Instead of sending messages, remote workers leave comments on topics that they start. The topics are further divided into channels to make them easier to follow. There’s also a traditional instant messaging service for those clutch moments when you just need a quick response.

Like Slack, Twist offers a generous free plan, but its paid plans are a much cheaper alternative to Slack’s plans.

Twist Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Unlimited — $5/month per user

22. Chanty

Chanty kanban chat
Chanty organizes your virtual teams’ communication by grouping them by tasks.

Pros:

  • Productivity-oriented chat
  • Can be used for project management

Cons:

  • No group video calls

If you want to spice up your remote team’s communication, Chanty could be the quirky chat app for you. Chanty is a kanban board and messaging app all at once — think Trello with a messenger function. You start by creating a task on the kanban board and adding team members to it. The task then turns into a chat room for all the added members, keeping your communication focused on getting the job done.

Chanty offers a limited free version, but its paid plan is dirt cheap to make up for it.

Chanty Pricing:

  • Free — $0/month per user
  • Business — $4/month per user

Key Considerations When Purchasing Remote Work Software

The first thing to ask yourself when browsing remote work software is what your main use cases will be.

If you’re just a freelancer working alone in a home office, you won’t need advanced collaboration tools. A simple free app that allows for both content creation and client communication (like Figma or Google Docs) is the ideal choice in that situation.

You’ll still need to keep track of your time to stay productive, though. Apps like Clockify and Focus To-Do will help keep you on track. Communication tools won’t be as important since you can create a free account to use most of them when the need arises.

What About Larger Remote Teams?

Companies working with remote teams will have a harder time choosing, though. Unlike with freelancers, communication is imperative for remote workers.

If you just need to manage a team of workers that don’t need too much coordination, a messaging app like Slack should suffice. However, if you need to frequently hold conferences and presentations, a more complex tool like Teams would serve you better.

‘Larger teams need better organization than what a simple time-tracking tool can do, as well. The right project management tool will depend on what kind of work your remote team does. For example, our editorial team uses Trello to manage our writers’ work, but a kanban board won’t be enough for more complex work, like app development.

However, remote working teams and freelancers alike can make use of cloud storage services. Although a large company might want to opt for an enterprise solution, both smaller teams and solo home workers can utilize cloud storage as a means to store important work-related files and share them. That’s with clients or other team members.

Final Thoughts: Remote Working Software

There you have it folks, the 22 best remote working software tools by category. We hope you enjoyed this roundup and found it useful. We also have some work from home tips that can help you stay productive.

What’s your favorite remote working tool? How do your remote workers handle their time? If you’re a freelancer working remotely, what tools do you use most often? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.