In a world where the hybrid work model has become the norm, you’ll want to use the best remote collaboration software to stay in touch with your remote team. It’s much easier to have things lost in the shuffle or email purgatory, but with the right tools this shouldn’t be a worry.
There are many remote collaboration tools on the market to support distributed teams. These range from all-in-one project management tools, to virtual whiteboards, to simple task tracking systems.
In this article, I’ll highlight some of the best remote collaboration software on the market that you can use to make remote working easier.
Wondering what I look for when selecting the best remote collaboration software for this list? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- Usability: I look for collaboration tools that are powerful, with features that are easy to learn. The last thing I want you doing is spending precious time learning the ins and outs of yet another tool.
- Integrations: I look for collaboration tools that play nicely with other tools in regards to integrations. A collaboration tool without integrations to common tools (think Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Office) isn’t overly helpful.
- Value for $ and Ease of Free Trials: Just like taking a few cars out for a spin before deciding on what to buy, you may want to play around with a few of the tools out on the market before making a decision. A number of the tools listed below have a “free forever” version for a reduced amount of features and users, and some offer a free trial period of their paid plans to get a feel for them.
Remote Collaboration Software: Key Features
In regards to the main features of remote collaboration tools, here are the key features that I look for:
- Ease of Integrations: As your organization will have all sorts of data spread across a number of different apps, you’ll want a remote collaboration tool that pulls from these automatically instead of dealing with the pains of importing and exporting data manually.
- Project Management: All these tools in this list have some sort of project management aspect. Some are highly customizable with a steeper learning curve, while others take a simpler approach with less customization.
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Overviews of the 10 Best Remote Collaboration Software
Here’s a brief description of each remote collaboration tool to showcase each system’s best use case, highlight some noteworthy features, and explain their pros and cons. I’ve also included screenshots to give you a snapshot of the user interface.
Bluescape is an online whiteboard and virtual workspace that works best for creative teams. The tool offers built-in voice and video conferencing, and supports real-time feedback for design reviews.
Bluescape’s integrated tool called Popsync allows you to quickly pull images from common image sources like Unsplash or Google Images to add to your workspace. Bluescape offers over 200 pre-built templates for your workspace – from meetings, strategy and planning, presentations, and more.
Bluescape integrates with a number of collaborative tools, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, Slack, Zoom, and more.
Bluescape’s pricing starts at $10 USD a user/month. They also have a freemium version available with limited features for up to 15 meeting participants.
- Whiteboard and visualization tools are best in class
- Greater level of security compared to competitor tools
- Works well in classrooms
- Video and audio quality are not as good as video meeting tools like Zoom
- Steeper learning curve compared to other similar tools like Miro
- User onboarding needs some work
Focused specifically on board meetings, OnBoard is a useful collaborative tool to create actionable insights and help with coordinating board tasks. The tool provides a simple to use agenda and meeting minutes builder.
OnBoard includes a built-in Zoom integration and a secure messenger that allows you to focus on the meeting as opposed to things getting lost in email purgatory.
OnBoard integrates with ADP, Google Drive, Govenda, Zoom Meetings, and Microsoft 365, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
OnBoard offers customized pricing on request, as well as a free trial.
- Effective meeting minutes and agenda building tool
- Build and update board books within the platform
- Extremely user-friendly
- Does not offer live editing of documents
- Signature feature not intuitive – requires a separate document for each member, as opposed to just one document signed by all
- Updates made to meetings are not clearly communicated
If you find yourself spending plenty of time in spreadsheets, Smartsheet is the remote collaboration tool for you. Smartsheet features familiar formulas from Excel that will help you automate your workflow.
Smartsheet is a scalable tool that allows you to work on anything from a small project to end-to-end project management. Smartsheet has numerous capabilities, from automation to connectors, all on a no-code platform so anyone can put solutions together.
Smartsheet integrates with Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Slack, and more.
Pricing for Smartsheet starts at $7 USD a user/month. They also offer a 30-day free trial with no credit card required.
- Behaves like a more user-friendly version of Excel
- Includes many templates for use
- Makes collaborating on one file a breeze
- Chart and graph creation needs usability improvements
- User onboarding could be better
- Some features like dashboard only available to those under Enterprise license
From being used as a simple to-do list tracker, to full fledged project management software, Asana is a scalable collaborative tool that cuts back on email and keeps track of what’s being worked on, and by who, across an organization.
With a small learning curve, users can be up and running quickly with this collaborative tool. Asana’s user interface (UI) and user experience is also top in its class.
Asana connects with tools like email apps, Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Slack, and more.
Asana’s pricing starts at $10.99 USD per user/month. There is a free forever version with fewer features and team members that you can try too.
- Very easy to pick up and learn
- Highly customizable
- Extremely user friendly
- As it is very much a multi-purpose tool, it may have additional bells and whistles that you don’t need
- No ability to assign multiple users to a single task
- Tools to create reports and portfolios could use some work
This online collaboration tool is built for professional services firms so they can keep track of who is working on what. Built on top of Salesforce, Kantata allows you to connect seamlessly to your CRM (customer relationship manager) to allow for converting proposals into projects without worrying about data duplication.
Kantata offers role-based permissions that can be assigned to each user for every public or private communication.
Kantata integrates with tools like BambooHR, Jira, Sage, Salesforce, Slack, and more.
Kantata offers customized pricing upon request. It does not offer a free trial.
- View budgets and time entries in real-time
- Automatic Gantt chart based on set dates is a huge timesaver
- Built on top of the Salesforce platform
- Mobile version needs some work
- Jira integration is a bit spotty
- No free trial
A visual workspace, Milanote works for many creative endeavors, whether you’re an agency, a startup, a photographer, a marketer, or any other type of creative distributed team.
Milanote allows you to share boards with no required signup, making it easier to collaborate with clients in real-time. This collaboration platform has smart notifications to show exactly what has been edited since your last visit, and who has seen the edits you’ve made.
Milanote integrates with other tools such as Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and Trello.
Milanote starts at $9.99 USD per user/month. There is also a free version with fewer features and users available.
- One of the best tools to quickly get your ideas down in a visual manner
- Numerous templates to get you started
- Can add multiple layers to notes within notes
- More expensive than competitors
- Free version is very limited
- Better as a brainstorming tool compared to a project management tool
Unlike other similar remote collaboration tools, Miro does not limit their plans by users, so it’s easy to share a Miro board with someone while avoiding the hassle of signing up for an account just to be able to contribute to it.
Miro’s calendar block allows you to show when you’re online, offline, or busy to help ease the pressure of feeling like you need to respond right away. Miro has a Miroverse, which allows you to share and use project templates provided by the community.
Some of Miro’s integrations include Confluence, Jira, Slack, and Trello.
Miro starts at $8 USD per user/month. There is a free version for unlimited team members but with limited features (such as 3 editable boards).
- Community shared templates allow for many different workflows
- Unparalleled levels of flexibility in what you can do with your boards
- Free plan doesn’t limit the number of users
- Some keyboard shortcuts don’t feel intuitive
- No offline functionality
- Does take more time to get used to compared to other tools
Wrike includes a highly customizable personal dashboard, allowing you to pin important items and switch between views such as calendars, Gantt charts, and kanban boards.
With custom request forms, Wrike allows you to collect the details you need and auto-assign tasks to those who have that information. Wrike’s online collaboration tool has helped teams cut down on email by as much as 90%.
Wrike offers over 400 integrations. This includes all major tools that fall under the CRM, email integration, CMS, messaging, and business intelligence umbrellas.
Wrike starts at $9.80 USD per user/month. They also have a free plan for a limited number of users. Larger plans include a 14-day free trial.
- Highly customizable
- Enterprise quality with an easy-to-use workflow
- Excellent dashboard
- Basic reporting could be improved
- Not overly accommodating for written content creation and planning
- Search function within the tool could be improved
Using customizable kanban boards, Redbooth makes it easy to sort, track and organize tasks across your organization. Redbooth features thorough productivity reports to see task status, and how time is spent. It also allows you to zoom in on one specific task, or review the entire project all in one view.
When assigning tasks, Redbooth will recommend the best person for the assigned task and due dates through their “Smart Redbooth” tool.
Redbooth integrates with tools like Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zapier, and more.
Redbooth starts at $9 USD a user/month. Redbooth also offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card required.
- Very simple and user-friendly
- Effective integration for video calls
- Excellent project tracking
- Mobile app could be improved
- File storage capacity is low
- Updates on a separate tab can make it easy to miss updates when not logged in
Creately takes a more data-driven approach for its smart visual canvas. This canvas keeps everything in one place as opposed to spreading things across daily tasks, wikies, and other places.
The free-form canvas allows you to add data, notes, and tasks anywhere. Creately allows you to create workflows with rules and formulas, with no codes needed.
Creately integrates with Github, Office 365, Slack, and more.
Creately starts at $4.80 USD per user/month, and offers a free plan with limited features.
- Numerous templates to get started with
- Lower price than competitors
- Flow lines are auto-generated between respective items
- Some of the auto formatting may not work the way you want it to
- Not as strong of a UI or UX compared to competitors
- Free version has limited features
Need expert help selecting the right Project Collaboration Software?
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The 10 Best Remote Collaboration Software Summary
|From $10 USD a user/month||Visit Website|
|Pricing upon request||Visit Website|
30-day free trial
|From $7 USD a user/month||Visit Website|
Free forever version with limited features
|From $10.99 USD per user/month||Visit Website|
|Pricing upon request||Visit Website|
Free version with limited features
|From $9.99 USD per user/month||Visit Website|
Free version with limited features
|From $8 USD per user/month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $9.80 USD per user/month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $9 USD a user/month||Visit Website|
Free plan with limited features
|From $4.80 USD per user/month||Visit Website|
Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best remote collaboration software list:
All-in-one project management tool with excellent automation capabilities.
All-in-one productivity tool with over 50 automated actions.
Unified workspace for notes, documents, projects, and wikis.
Simple project management tool perfect for remote, mid-sized businesses.
Document and note collaboration for projects.
Remote team collaboration tool built right into Gmail.
Simple to-do list and task management software for remote teams.
- Troop Messenger
Powerful instant messaging app for team collaboration.
Virtual whiteboard for team collaboration.
Employee success platform to allow teams to celebrate success together.
What Do You Think About This List?
This list is just a few of the many remote collaboration software systems that exist on the market to help you collaborate with your distributed team. Whether you’re a small organization working on small projects with a few remote workers, or a large enterprise with a remote team spread out across the world, at least one of these remote team collaboration tools will work for you.
As mentioned, many do feature a free forever version with limited users or features, along with free trials of paid plans (no credit card required), so if you need to get a better feel, you may want to play around with some of the tools available.
For more on hybrid working and best practices, check out our following articles:
- 6 Hard-Learned Lessons For Adapting To A Hybrid Working Model
- 27 Best Practices For Managing Remote Teams In 2022
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