The best communication tools for remote teams

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Introduction

Best communication apps for remote teams? For what? Hmmm...Have you been working with your team remotely for a long time and increasingly feel that communication problems are hindering your progress? Have you noticed that some tasks are not being completed as expected and that new team members are often overlooked? This could be a sign of underlying communication issues. But how do you enhance communication when your team is scattered across different parts of the country or even the globe?

Start with straightforward solutions. Before involving the HR department in drafting strategies, plans, and corrective actions, consider introducing a simple team communication app to your organization. Such an app can significantly enhance communication throughout your company. If you are still relying on emails to coordinate with your remote team, it's time for a change.

In today’s fast-paced and remote-working environment, relying solely on Outlook for communication is both inefficient and outdated. To work efficiently and foster team integration, it's essential to implement a simple, often free, communication app. These apps can make your team feel connected, almost as if they were all sitting in the same office. So, where should you begin?

By exploring and adopting the best technology and to be specific - communication apps tailored for remote and hybrid teams, you can ensure that your team stays connected, tasks are communicated, and everyone feels included, no matter where they are located. In this article, we will explore the top communication apps that can revolutionize how your remote team collaborates and interacts, leading to improved productivity and a more cohesive team environment.

Web video call

Zoom

Zoom (rated 4,5/5 on www.g2.com from 55k reviews) is a popular application that you might have already heard about or used in the past. This versatile tool is excellent for connecting with clients worldwide through online meetings, featuring screen sharing, breakout rooms, and virtual backgrounds. Zoom’s user-friendly interface and robust functionality make it a top choice for businesses. The app supports high-quality video and audio calls, ensuring clear communication regardless of distance, and offers recording features to save meetings for future reference.

Zoom is also perfect for organizing internal team meetings, from project discussions to casual team-building sessions. Scheduling recurring meetings and integrating with calendar apps help keep meetings well-organized. Ensuring that team members turn on their cameras during meetings enhances the sense of connection and remote collaboration, as visual cues add depth to communication. Additionally, Zoom’s collaborative features like in-meeting chat, polling, and screen annotation make meetings interactive and engaging. Zoom integrates with other productivity tools like Slack, Trello, and Google Drive, streamlining workflows and ensuring efficient management of follow-up actions.

Google Meet

Google Meet (rated 4,6/5 on www.g2.com from 2,2k reviews) is another powerful communication tool that can greatly benefit your business. Known for its seamless integration with other Google Workspace applications, Google Meet makes scheduling and joining meetings incredibly straightforward. You can quickly set up meetings directly from Google Calendar, ensuring that all participants have the necessary information and links. Whether you're conducting client presentations, team brainstorming sessions, or regular check-ins, Google Meet provides a reliable platform for video conferencing with features like screen sharing, live captions, and real-time translations.

Google Meet's real-time interaction capabilities foster a more engaging and productive meeting environment. The platform supports high-quality video and audio, ensuring clear communication for large groups. Features such as a tiled view and spotlight mode enhance the visual experience, making it easier to focus on the speaker or see all participants simultaneously. This visual interaction is crucial for maintaining team morale and cohesion, especially in a remote setting. Additionally, Google Meet offers robust security measures, including encryption and secure access controls, ensuring your meetings remain private and protected. Its integration with Google Drive allows you to save and share meeting recordings, keeping all relevant information accessible for future reference.

Skype

Skype (rated 4,3/5 on www.g2.com from 23k reviews), a well-established player in the realm of communication apps, offers robust features for both professional and personal use. Its video call functionality is ideal for hosting virtual meetings, allowing for screen sharing and real-time collaboration. With Skype, you can also record meetings, which is beneficial for keeping track of important discussions and decisions. The platform supports instant messaging and file sharing, enabling seamless communication and collaboration beyond video calls. For your remote team, Skype can be the go-to platform for regular check-ins and informal catch-ups, providing a reliable and familiar interface for team interactions.

Encouraging your team to turn on their cameras during these sessions promotes a sense of presence and engagement. Seeing colleagues face-to-face, even through a screen, helps bridge the gap created by physical distance, making your remote team feel more connected and united. Skype's ability to support large group calls ensures that everyone can participate, fostering a more inclusive team environment. Additionally, its integration with Microsoft Office tools enhances productivity by allowing easy access to shared documents and resources. Skype's comprehensive features make it an excellent choice for maintaining effective communication and a strong team connection in a remote work setting.

Each of these apps has unique features and benefits, and the choice of which to use ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. However, the underlying principle remains the same: facilitating face-to-face interactions through video calls is essential for the success of any remote team.

best communication apps for remote teams

Messaging

Slack App

Slack (rated 4,5/5 on www.g2.com from 32k reviews) became one of the most popular communication tools during the pandemic, and for good reason. Many companies transitioned to fully online operations and remote workers needed a reliable way to stay connected. Slack allows for organized written communication through separate channels or project rooms, making it easy to keep discussions focused and relevant. Its intuitive interface supports direct messages, notifications, and group conversations, enabling team members to communicate efficiently. Whether you're managing different departments or specific projects, Slack's channel-based structure is highly effective. Channels can be customized with various integrations, such as project management tools and file storage services, which further streamline workflows and enhance productivity.

Additionally, Slack supports quick calls and video meetings, enabling spontaneous and efficient communication without needing to switch platforms. Its huddle feature allows for impromptu voice chats, fostering real-time collaboration and quick problem-solving. Slack’s ability to share files, conduct polls, and integrate with other productivity apps like Google Drive, Trello, and Zoom, makes it a comprehensive solution for remote work. By promoting transparent and organized communication, Slack helps maintain team cohesion and ensures that everyone stays informed and engaged, even when working remotely.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams (rated 4,3/5 on www.g2.com from 15k reviews) also saw a surge in popularity as businesses moved online. This application offers a comprehensive solution for both written and video communication. MS Teams allows you to create dedicated channels for various projects or departments, ensuring that all communication stays organized and accessible. Its interface supports threaded conversations, direct messaging, and group chats, making it easy to keep track of discussions and collaborate efficiently. The integration with other Microsoft Office applications is a significant advantage, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity by allowing seamless access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote directly within the platform.

Moreover, Teams supports quick calls and video conferencing, making it a versatile tool for maintaining strong communication and collaboration within your remote team. Its video conferencing features include screen sharing, meeting recording, and breakout rooms, which facilitate productive meetings and training sessions. The ability to schedule and join meetings directly from the Outlook calendar integration further simplifies the process. Teams also support various third-party app integrations, such as Trello, GitHub, and Adobe Creative Cloud, providing a centralized hub for all your team’s communication and collaboration needs. By leveraging these features, Microsoft Teams helps ensure that your remote team remains connected, productive, and well-coordinated.

Discord

Originally popular among gamers, Discord (rated 3,2/5 on Google Play from 5,6M reviews) has become a favored communication tool for many remote teams. Its flexibility in creating various channels for different projects or topics makes it easy to keep conversations organized. Channels can be categorized and customized with permissions, allowing for efficient management of team discussions and ensuring that only relevant members have access to specific conversations. This organization helps keep communications focused and prevents information overload.

Discord also supports voice channels, allowing team members to hop into quick calls or video meetings without scheduling. This spontaneity can enhance team bonding and ensure that communication flows smoothly. The platform’s high-quality voice and video capabilities make it suitable for both formal meetings and casual hangouts. Additionally, Discord's screen-sharing feature is useful for collaborative work, presentations, and troubleshooting. The platform's robust notification system helps team members stay updated on important discussions and mentions, ensuring that no critical information is missed. Customizable notification settings allow users to manage their alerts effectively, balancing attention between important updates and avoiding distractions. Overall, Discord's blend of flexibility, real-time communication, and organizational features makes it a practical solution for maintaining effective communication in a remote work environment.

These applications became essential during the pandemic, proving their worth as reliable tools for remote work. Each offers unique features tailored to different communication needs, making them invaluable for businesses striving to maintain strong connections and productivity while working remotely.

Slack best communication app for remote team

Even more messaging in team communication apps

WhatsApp

WhatsApp (rated 4,7/5 on www.capterra.com from 15k reviews) is a widely used communication tool that has proven invaluable for quick contact with colleagues. Although often used for personal communication, WhatsApp offers many features that can benefit remote teams, such as group chats, voice calls, and video meetings. Its ease of use and widespread adoption make it a convenient option for many users. Group chats allow for seamless communication among team members, making it easy to share updates, collaborate on projects, and make quick decisions. Voice calls and video meetings enhance the ability to connect in real-time, which is crucial for maintaining effective communication in a remote work environment.

One reason it might not be as popular for work is the requirement to log in with a phone number rather than a business email. This can blur the lines between personal and professional communication, potentially leading to privacy concerns. Despite this, WhatsApp is excellent for fast and efficient communication. Its end-to-end encryption ensures that all messages and calls are secure, providing peace of mind for sensitive business communications. If your organization needs a quick and reliable way to stay in touch, consider implementing WhatsApp. Just remember to respect your employees' privacy and free time by keeping work communications within working hours. By setting clear boundaries and using WhatsApp responsibly, you can leverage its capabilities to enhance team communication without intruding on personal time.

Signal

Signal (rated 4,7/5 on Google Play from 2,5M reviews) is another powerful communication tool known for its strong emphasis on privacy and security. While it's commonly used for personal messaging, Signal offers robust features suitable for team collaboration, including encrypted group chats, voice calls, and video conferences. Its end-to-end encryption ensures that all communications are secure, making it an ideal choice for businesses that prioritize privacy. The app’s user-friendly interface and reliable performance make it easy for team members to communicate effectively, whether they are discussing projects, sharing files, or holding virtual meetings.

Like WhatsApp and Telegram, Signal requires a phone number for registration, which might be a barrier for some businesses. However, its commitment to privacy and security makes it an excellent choice for organizations concerned about data protection. Signal's features are designed to keep information confidential, which is crucial for sensitive business communications. To make the most of Signal while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, ensure you set clear guidelines for its use. Encourage team members to respect each other's personal space and downtime by limiting work-related communication to designated hours. By doing so, you can leverage Signal’s secure communication capabilities without compromising your team’s well-being. Signal is another powerful communication tool known for its strong emphasis on privacy and security. While it's commonly used for personal messaging, Signal offers robust features suitable for team collaboration, including encrypted group chats, voice calls, and video conferences. Like WhatsApp, Signal requires a phone number for registration, which might be a barrier for some businesses. However, its commitment to privacy makes it an excellent choice for remote workplaces that prioritize secure communication. Ensure you balance work-related communication and your team members' need for personal space and downtime.

Messenger

Facebook Messenger (rated only 2,7/5 on Google Play from 5mld reviews) is a versatile tool that can facilitate quick and easy communication with your colleagues. Although it is more commonly associated with personal use, Messenger provides group chats, voice and video call capabilities, and integration with other Facebook services that can be leveraged for work purposes. Group chats allow for efficient team discussions, making it easy to share updates and coordinate tasks. The voice and video call features enable real-time communication, which is essential for maintaining team connectivity and collaboration, especially in a remote work setting.

The need to use a Facebook account rather than a business email might deter some from using it professionally. However, Messenger's wide availability and ease of use make it effective for fast communication. Its integration with other Facebook services, such as file sharing and event scheduling, can further enhance productivity. If your organization opts to use Messenger, it is important to set clear boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Encourage remote employees to limit work communications to business hours to respect personal time and avoid burnout. By implementing these guidelines, you can effectively utilize Facebook Messenger as a communication tool while ensuring your team's well-being.

These applications are powerful tools for quick and efficient communication, even though they are often seen as personal rather than professional. Implementing them can enhance your team's connectivity, but always ensure respect for privacy and work-life boundaries to maintain a healthy work environment.

best communication app for remote team

Task management

Jira

Jira (rated 4,4/5 on Getapp.com from 14k reviews) is a powerful task management and project management software that excels in tracking the progress of tasks and managing projects. It allows you to monitor work progress, assign tasks, and verify how much time each task takes. With Jira's detailed boards and customizable workflows, you can collect all the information related to the implementation of a task in one place. This comprehensive approach not only helps in managing current tasks but also provides a valuable reference for future projects. Jira’s ability to create detailed reports and dashboards enhances visibility, allowing you to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement, ensuring that projects stay on track and deadlines are met.

By having everything you need in one place, Jira ensures that you can efficiently oversee your team's work and streamline your project management processes. The tool’s integration with other software, such as Confluence for documentation and Bitbucket for code repositories, further enhances its functionality, creating a cohesive ecosystem for project management. Jira’s flexibility makes it suitable for various project management methodologies, including Agile and Scrum, enabling big and small teams to adapt their workflows to fit their specific needs. By using Jira, you can enhance productivity, improve collaboration, and ensure that your team has the tools necessary to succeed.

Trello

Trello (rated 4,5/5 on www.capterra.comfrom 23k reviews) is another excellent productivity tool for managing tasks and projects. Its intuitive interface uses boards, lists, and cards to organize tasks, making it easy to track progress and collaborate with your team. Trello allows you to gather all information related to a task, including attachments, checklists, and due dates, in one accessible location. This visual approach to task management helps you see what has been done and what still needs to be completed, providing a clear overview of project status at a glance.

Trello's simplicity and flexibility make it a great choice for teams looking to improve their task management and overall productivity. The platform supports various integrations with tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Jira, enhancing its functionality and streamlining your workflow. Trello’s customizable boards and power-ups allow teams to adapt the tool to fit their specific needs, whether they follow Agile methodologies or prefer a more traditional approach. By providing a central hub for task information and progress tracking, Trello helps teams stay organized, prioritize their work effectively, and achieve their project goals efficiently.

Monday.com

Monday.com (rated 4,7/5 on www.g2.com from 11k reviews) is a versatile task management platform designed to help teams track their work and manage projects effectively. It provides a clear overview of task progress and allows for easy tracking of time spent on each task. Monday.com's customizable boards and automation features enable you to centralize all information related to task implementation. You can visualize workflows, set priorities, and assign tasks, ensuring that everyone on the team knows their responsibilities and deadlines.

Whether you are managing daily tasks or long-term projects, Monday.com ensures that you have all the necessary details in one place. Its integration with various tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams further enhances its functionality, creating a seamless workflow across different platforms. This centralized approach not only enhances productivity but also simplifies project management, allowing you to focus on achieving your goals. The platform’s reporting and analytics features provide insights into project performance, helping you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. By using Monday.com, teams can stay organized, collaborate more efficiently, and drive projects to successful completion.

These task management tools are essential for any organization looking to improve productivity and streamline project workflows. Keeping all task-related information in one place, helps you stay organized and ensures that you can efficiently track progress and manage your team's work.

best communication apps

File storage and document repository

Google Drive (Google Workspace)

When it comes to data collection and storage, few tools can match the capabilities of Google Drive (rated 4,1/5 on Google Play from 10,2M reviews), an integral part of Google Workspace. Google Drive stands out as one of the best cloud solutions available, offering a seamless and efficient way to share files and collaborate with your team. With Google Drive, you can easily share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files with all members of your team, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest versions without the risk of losing important information or dealing with irreversible changes to document versions. This centralized storage solution proves invaluable, especially when retrieving and reusing documents you’ve worked on before. The real-time collaboration features and Google chat allow multiple team members to work on the same document simultaneously, enhancing productivity and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Dropbox

Dropbox (rated 4,4/5 on www.g2.comfrom 26k reviews) is another powerful tool in cloud storage and file sharing. Known for its user-friendly interface and robust features, Dropbox allows teams to store and share files securely. With Dropbox, you can create shared folders where team members can upload and edit documents, ensuring that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information. One of the standout features of Dropbox is its file recovery and version history, which enables you to restore previous versions of documents and recover deleted files, providing peace of mind and ensuring data integrity.

OneDrive (Microsoft 365)

OneDrive (rated 4,3/5 on www.g2.com from 9,5k reviews), part of the Microsoft 365 suite, is a comprehensive cloud storage solution that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office applications. OneDrive allows you to store, share, and collaborate on files with your team, leveraging the power of tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Its integration with Microsoft Teams further enhances collaboration, allowing you to share files directly within your communication channels. OneDrive also offers robust security features, including file encryption and advanced threat protection, ensuring that your data remains safe and secure.

Box

Box (rated 4,2/5 on www.g2.com from 4,9k reviews) is a cloud content management and file-sharing service tailored for businesses. It offers extensive collaboration tools, including real-time editing, workflow automation, and advanced security features. The Box allows you to create a central repository for all your documents, which can be easily accessed and edited by your team members. Its integration with various third-party applications, such as Slack, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365, makes it a versatile choice for organizations looking to streamline their workflows and enhance productivity.

iCloud Drive

For teams working within the Apple ecosystem, iCloud Drive (rated 4,4/5 on www.g2.com from 1k reviews) provides a seamless cloud storage solution. It allows you to store and share documents, photos, and other files across all your Apple devices. iCloud Drive integrates well with macOS and iOS, providing a smooth user experience. Collaboration is made easy with the ability to share folders and files with other iCloud users, making it a convenient option for teams that rely heavily on Apple products.

Zoho Docs

Zoho Docs (rated 4,4/5 on www.g2.com from 1k reviews) is part of the Zoho suite of productivity tools and offers a robust platform for storing, sharing, and collaborating on files. Zoho Docs provides a centralized location for all your documents, which can be accessed and edited by your team members in real-time. It supports various file formats and integrates seamlessly with other Zoho applications, such as Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive suite of tools to manage their operations.

These cloud storage and collaboration tools are essential for any organization looking to improve data management and team collaboration. By leveraging key features of these platforms, you can ensure that your team stays organized, productive, and connected, no matter where they are working from.

best communication apps hybrid team

Tool and platform integration

Zapier

Zapier rated 4,4/5 on www.g2.comfrom 1,2k reviews) might not be as mainstream as some other tools, but it's a must-know application for anyone working in IT. This powerful app integrates all the tools you need for your daily work, including Jira, Slack, Calendar, Google Drive, HubSpot, and many more. By connecting these applications, Zapier creates automated workflows, or "Zaps," which streamline processes and ensure that updates are reflected across all platforms in real-time. For example, a Zap can automatically create a Jira task when a new message is posted in Slack, reducing manual data entry and keeping everyone on the same page.

While Zapier may not directly facilitate communication like chat or video conferencing apps, it significantly improves the quality of communication by ensuring all relevant information is accessible and up-to-date. By automating routine tasks, Zapier frees up time for team members to engage in more meaningful interactions and focus on high-value activities. This leads to better-informed discussions and decision-making processes, ultimately enhancing overall team efficiency and collaboration.

best communication apps hybrid team gmail

Conclusion

I believe the applications mentioned above are among the best internal communication tools available to enhance not only your work efficiency but also communication within your remote team. To start improving communication using these apps, follow these steps:

First, implement the chosen applications and ensure they are properly integrated into your workflow. Clearly define the rules and expectations for their use, ensuring that all team members understand how these tools will enhance their work and communication. Provide training sessions or resources to help your team get up to speed with the new tools.

Gradually enforce the use of these applications, offering continuous support and addressing any challenges that may arise. Encourage feedback from your team to refine the processes and ensure the tools are being used effectively.

Regularly evaluate the implementation to ensure that the tools are meeting your communication and productivity goals. Monitor the impact on team collaboration and make adjustments as needed. Celebrate successes and share examples of how the new tools have improved workflow and communication.

By following these steps, you can foster a more cohesive, efficient, and well-connected remote working environment. I promise it works!

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