During the pandemic everyone realized that in virtual teams a round of email isn’t enough. With the spread of remote models, finding the best team communication software is the first priority for team leaders. We’ve already talked about the best video conferencing, cloud sharing, screen sharing, and online whiteboard software. But what about tools for simple collaboration? While apps for remote workers won’t entirely replace email, they add another dimension that makes virtual collaboration faster and effective.
What are Communication Software For Remote teams?
Communication tools for remote workers are a useful addition not only for those working worldwide, but also to those working in a hybrid setting. These team communication apps make it easy to message co-workers, organize meetings on a specific topic, comment on files, and more.
As a remote recruitment agency, apps and communication software make all our jobs possible. Each team is unique, and there are a thousand great apps out there you can choose for your team.
Types of Communication Tools For Remote Teams
In remote teams, there are two main types of communication: asynchronous and synchronous communication. The first one requires team members to be connected at the same time. On the other hand, with asynchronous communication, you don’t expect a real-time response.
Based on the type of communication, you can classify different tools based on their use.
Here the best communication software for remote teams:
Instant Messaging Apps
As the name suggests, Instant Messaging Apps are for quick, short communication messages. Whether you need to make a quick announcement or ask a question, chat applications are the best option. Especially for asynchronous communication, these types of apps help keep track of messages.
Slack is one of the most popular communication software. The app includes different feature options to improve team communication on tasks and team bonding. It’s a great option for both developed corporations and startups but can take some time to get used to.
In Slack, teams set up specific channels for different conversations. When you’re just starting out, it can feel overwhelming or like you might miss something important because the discussions can go on without everyone being present.
This is where the need for notifications is essential, and with Slack, they’re very customizable both on your computer and their mobile applications. The mobile apps work both with Android and iOS, so you don’t ever need to worry about being disconnected, even when you’re away from your computer.
In addition, Slack supports video chats and audio calls. Slack’s free option is open to an unlimited number of people for messaging. The audio and video meetings can only be one-on-one. The unpaid version also offers just 5GB of file storage for the entire team, along with the ability to search the last 10,000 messages.
Another limitation of Slack Free is that these accounts can integrate with a maximum of 10 other apps. Most small businesses will opt for the Standard account, which gives 10GB per person of storage; audio and video calls for up to 15 people; unlimited searches; screen sharing; two-factor authentication; and more.
Slack is one of the best communication software because you can organize virtual teams while keeping a friendly atmosphere. You can customize notifications, particular channels, direct messages, or just be silenced. This means that even if your team is located throughout different time zones, they can all stay active in the conversations that are relevant to them.
On the surface level, Glip looks very similar to Slack. It is a complete communication suite where you can mix and match group chats with private messages with video calls, as needed. At the same time, it has a robust set of added features with the purpose of making communication go smoothly and productively.
The pleasant surprise is that both in its web and app incarnations, Glip results in a cleaner, less clunky experience than Slack. This leanness is especially noticeable when it comes to video chat, which in our experience has a lot of hiccups in Slack, and has led us to adopt Zoom as our go-to video tool.
Glip’s added functions, such as calendar sync, file access and commenting, and task lists, are there to facilitate communication, not to replace the rest of your virtual office toolbox. So when you’re planning a meeting, you can have a good idea of the team’s availability, and easily access any documents across a variety of platforms – Glip integrates effortlessly with mostly anything.
If you feel that Slack is bloated and overly confusing, but still like the focus on messaging, Glip is a reliable alternative.
Project Management Communication Tools
Project management tools help you organize tasks and info when a team is working on a project. These tools are the most efficient to keep track of productivity and tasks communicating both with the team and the client.
Basecamp is a project management tool featuring group chat, to-do lists, message boards, file storage, and an automatic check-in function.
This management tool allows simple to-do-list, assigning and commenting specific tasks, message boards, team messaging, and file sharing features for team communication. In addition, Basecamp includes a calendar feature to track important deadlines in the project schedule.
Basecamp has a single price plan, but it has a 30-day trial you can test drive. After that, the price is $99 per month with an unlimited number of users.
Trello is another popular project management and productivity tool. The main strength of this tool is the visual interface to manage projects and keep track of tasks and projects. It uses different boards to organize tasks separating columns with specific focus and tasks.
It’s a great option for virtual teams because it visualizes each stage and different tasks allowing asynchronous comments.
Trello included a variety of additional features, and it’s free in the beginning. The paid plans start with $10 for a month.
For other management tools, check out Asana, Jira, or Workzone.
Video Communication Platforms
Even in remote teams, regular check-ins and face-to-face meetings are vital to organizing the work schedule. Video calls are the ones making face-to-face remote communication simple and effective.
Zoom is the most used platform for video conferencing. After a year of pandemic, probably is the tool you have been using the most. The quality of Zoom videos is extremely high. In addition, you can share your screen, record calls, hold webinars, and a variety of additional benefits. For example, you can generate automatic and searchable transcripts. It also offers funny filters, pools, and reactions like raising hands to make the experience more enjoyable. Zoom integrates with all the calendar apps, so you can schedule Zoom meetings right from your calendar.
With larger groups, Zoom allows slitting team members into Rooms to avoid useless conversations.
Zoom app is available for the web, Windows, iOS, and Android. The platform offers free plan limits for 100 participants and 40 minutes of meetings. The paid version ranges from $14.99-$35 per month.
Skype and Yammer
Skype is possibly the most famous communication software for businesses or individual people. Of course, everyone knows you can audio or video chat with Skype. Unlike Zoom, it’s also possible to share your screen and use the messenger app to send and receive files or text.
One of the convenient things about Skype, if you need to communicate with someone outside of your company, is that almost everyone has it. However, it doesn’t integrate with other apps, you can’t create teams in the same way as the other services, and it’s certainly not as secure (although Skype for Business is encrypted).
Skype itself is free for up to 25 people, while Skype for Business comes with Microsoft 365, starting at $5/user/month for up to 250 people and includes other tools, namely Yammer. Skype is an excellent tool if you often need to have extensive online meetings with people from both inside and outside of your company, but its chat features leave something to be desired.
This is where Yammer comes into play: a team communications solution that integrates many great features with your Microsoft 365 account. When you first log in to Yammer, you can see any important announcements. Then, just go to your projects to chat with anyone else that’s involved.
You can share numerous different files throughout the app or your projects and add documents, photos, or videos to conversations. They have a powerful search if you get lost, and if your team has Office 365, they’ve also got excellent document editing and sharing features integrated.
If you want to use both Yammer and Skype, you’ll have to download two different mobile platforms. Both of these applications are built for iOS, Android, and Windows, which gives them a significant advantage to Windows mobile users (even though there aren’t many). With document markup, access to your inbox, and more, these apps will help you stay in touch no matter where you are.
Best Communication Strategies in Remote Companies? A Great Team
As we mentioned, each team is unique and it’s up to you how useful this communication software can be. Based on our experience, we found that Slack is one of the best platforms for asynchronous communication. While Basecamp is the one that works best to organize our tasks.
Any of these tools can be the winner, or simply a further complication. Communication software is pointless if you don’t have talented team members to help develop your project or company. Let us take care of finding the best remote coders around the world for you.