Your company has a work-from-home policy, but how well does it actually support your employees? To get the most out of remote work, you need ways to address issues like loneliness, communication, and overwork.
Remote job site FlexJobs found that 28% of remote workers struggle with overwork, while the social media app Buffer reports that 23% of WFH employees are lonely. Communication and collaboration also suffer when employees need to work across multiple time zones. And let’s not forget the old “out of sight, out of mind” scenario that potentially impacts career growth.
The good news? Your tech stack can reduce remote work struggles. Ranging from video collaboration tools like Loom to time trackers like Toggl, these free remote working tools boost productivity—without costing a dime.
Common remote work challenges and how remote tools can help
Communication: Working across time zones requires asynchronous communication via messaging apps and video recording software. Recreate the experience of gathering around a conference table with flexible tools that easily fit into your team’s workflow.
Connection: Use communication tools to foster a sense of connection—encourage employees to get together for non-work talk with book clubs, employee groups, and even an unofficial happy hour.
Career growth: Face-time with higher-level leadership keeps remote workers on the radar, opens up mentorship opportunities, and nurtures career growth. Additionally, document career paths and the skills required to level up.
Clear boundaries: Overwork and the inability to turn off “work mode” are common in remote teams when the lines between home and office blur. Establish expectations, set positive examples, and build time management skills with time-tracking tools.
17 best free remote working tools for seamless home workflows
Every Time Zone
Free remote tools for communication
Share knowledge and ideas across time zones with Loom. Record video walkthroughs and present project updates, then save recordings to your Loom library to create a team documentation hub. Knowledge is shared not just once, but as many times as needed.
Loom makes it easy to record messages with a click of a button. No need to coordinate with video chat invitations or calendar invites.
Best of all, videos made with Loom add a human element to your communications, something that remote teams often lack. Rather than a wall of text, your teammates see your friendly face and your voice delivers a personalized message.
Compile a team library that acts as a single source of truth for team documentation.
Record your screen and audio to share critical context with viewers—including tone of voice and facial expressions for more effective communication.
Comments and reactions allow teammates to ask questions and show support.
Transcripts and closed captions ensure everyone can access recorded knowledge.
Video links let you share your recordings with anyone—you can also set permissions to restrict access.
Overlay for easy, one-click recording
Auto-generated captions and transcripts in 50+ languages
Flexible sharing features such as links and custom access settings
Free plan reduces the need for meetings with an essential kit of recording tools
Free plan limits you to 25 videos—curate your collection regularly
Free, paid plans start at $12.50 per user per month when paid annually.
2. Every Time Zone
Do you work alongside teammates in other countries? Every Time Zone makes it easy to keep tabs on what time it is in their locations—you can even see if they’re a day ahead. A free account lets you customize which time zones you see, but you’ll need to pay to integrate with calendar apps.
At-a-glance date and time info supports asynchronous collaboration.
Customizable view filters down to the locations of coworkers
No sign-in required for quick time zone checks
Free account allows you to customize a list of locations
Paid plan required for calendar app integrations
Free, paid plans start at $39 per year.
Make your remote tools work for you, not the other way around. Learn how to get the most out of your apps in our remote work guide.
If your team’s email inboxes resemble a firehose, Spark can help. It automatically prioritizes emails and sorts them into categories to reduce clutter. The scheduling feature also helps remote teams keep work during work hours—even across multiple time zones.
A unified inbox pulls and sorts emails from multiple accounts into one place.
The Command Center shows priority emails and puts less important emails to the side.
Email templates enable consistent messaging within teams.
Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS device support and syncing
Team comments, templates, and shared drafts invite collaboration
Smart Inbox sorting may be inefficient for some
Shared team inbox requires payment
Free, paid plans start at $4.99 a month.
Free remote tools for meetings
Sharing meeting agendas isn’t just considerate when it comes to remote work, it’s essential to keep everyone on the same page. With Hive, you can easily share notes, agenda items, and documents with your fellow attendees, then launch directly from the app with Zoom and Teams integrations.
Meeting templates allow you to quickly outline repeat meetings like one-on-ones and project updates.
Next steps and tasks are easy to create via email and auto-link to the relevant project.
Whiteboard notes allow for easy collaboration during meetings.
Automations for everyday tasks
Multiple integrations with Slack, Github, Google Drive, and more
Universal dashboard with real-time updates keeps everyone on track
Free plan limited to 200 MB of file storage
Projects not supported in free plan
Free, paid plans start at $5 per user per month.
Hypercontext is an AI-powered app that organizes one-on-one and group meetings with agendas and meeting notes. Automatic feedback requests also help managers improve meeting effectiveness.
Pre-made 1:1 agendas help managers and direct reports cover essential talking points.
Automatic syncing with Microsoft Outlook and Gmail calendars keeps agendas accessible.
Automatic meeting minutes to ensure future clarity
Integrates with Google Workspace, Slack, Teams, Outlook, and more
Customizable agendas require payment
Free, paid plans start at $5 a month for up to five people.
Tandem is for those of us who still wave hello and goodbye during video meetings. This meeting app lets you wave at your remote coworkers—just to say hi or to signal you’re up for a chat. The app also shows rooms where remote teams can hang out, similar to Discord or other more casual communication apps.
Auto-join and meeting reminder options ensure you never miss a meeting again.
Widgets allow you to share polls, music, agendas, and more during your video conference.
Rooms facilitate connection with more casual themes like music or watercooler chat.
Free plan includes unlimited audio and video calls
Integrations connect Tandem with Slack, Asana, Spotify, and more
Wave and rooms promotes friendly interactions
Free plan is limited to four users
Free, paid plans start at $49 a month.
Free remote tools for time management
Help remote employees learn to manage their time (and turn off their laptops after 5 p.m.) with Toggl. Track time spent on each project and task with manual and automated tracking features, while notifications remind employees to turn the tracker on or off.
Built-in Pomodoro timer helps remote workers learn when to take necessary breaks.
Automated tracking starts the timer if employees spend more than 10 seconds using an app.
Team activity dashboard gives managers insight into team time management.
Increased visibility through team dashboards
Browser extension allows tracking within hundreds of tools
Limited project management features with free plan
Free, paid plans start at $9.00 per user per month when paid annually.
Automation is the ultimate productivity hack: Tools like Zapier and Make reduce time spent on tedious admin tasks.
Ever heard of Getting Things Done (GTD)? Task management app Nirvana channels the GTD workflow by encouraging focus and reflection. Remote workers list all their tasks, then Nirvana helps them prioritize and focus where it matters most.
Time and energy tags support healthy work-life balance and productivity.
Project mode allows teams to prioritize sub-tasks and gain quick wins.
Filters toggle between areas like work and home, and tags like reports and calls.
GTD is a tried-and-true productivity method
Filters and actions help workers take control of to-do lists
Energy and time notations gauge the full requirements of each task
Recurring tasks require a paid plan
App is intended for individual, not team use, so visibility may be limited
Free, paid plan starts at $3 a month if you pay yearly.
Free remote tools for project management
A well-known project management tool, Trello uses kanban boards to track tasks and project statuses. Set assignees and due dates, then use Power-Ups to automatically send updated info to apps like Jira and Slack or customize task cards.
Remote team templates create quick starting points for collaboration and camaraderie.
Power-Ups customize Trello workflows by connecting apps like Gmail and Teams, or even create team games.
Automated processes let workers focus on strategic wins.
Easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface
Integrations streamline updates between apps and teammates
Larger project management can get clunky
No custom fields, dashboards, or reports with the free plan
Free, paid plans start at $5.00 per user per month when paid annually.
Airtable is like project management software with spreadsheet superpowers. Free users get a generous set of unlimited bases and 1,000 records, or line items, per base. You can also automate workflows with Airtable’s automation support.
Extensive options allow teams to customize Airtable views to agile processes, SCRUM, and more.
API support connects apps like ChatGPT for even more powerful automation and syncing.
Community templates lower the learning curve so you can shift into productivity right away.
Spreadsheet-style interface is fairly user-friendly
Support for grid, calendar, and kanban views as well as fillable forms
Comments, assignees, and “@” tags keep everyone in the loop
Views and filters can be changed by anyone, which may lead to miscommunication
Only 1 GB of file storage with the free plan
Free, paid plans start at $20.00 per user per month when you pay yearly.
Free remote tools for document management and sharing
Free file-sharing apps limit your space, so why not create team documentation within Confluence? The tool allows teams to create project hubs for easy knowledge sharing and updates, and document best practices.
Real-time editing allows teams to easily collaborate.
Versioning tracks what changes were made to pages, when, and by whom.
Free for teams of up to 10
Integrations, apps, and macros—including Loom video recordings—allow multiple customizations
Templates allow quick documentation
File sharing is limited to 2 GB
Free, paid plans start at $6.05 per user per month.
12. Google Drive
Google Drive offers perhaps the most generous amount of free file storage and sharing: 15 GB per user. Plus, Drive comes with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other popular remote collaboration tools at no extra cost.
Organize files into folders, then set permissions and share via links or email.
Encrypted and secure cloud-based storage also scans for malware.
Alternative file formats are supported, including Microsoft Word and Excel.
Auto-saves Docs, Sheets, and more to the cloud
Allows teams to work in all files without converting formats
Includes all G-Suite productivity tools
Shared team drives require a paid plan
Free, paid plans start at $6.00 per user per month with a one-year contract.
Not every remote working tool made our list, but these five still deserve a mention:
Slack: Slack supports a variety of communication styles with topic-focused channels, one-on-one conversations, and voice chats.
Zoom: Zoom’s video chats, screen sharing, and text chat allow multiple modes of communication, and you can record Zoom meetings for later viewing. The built-in calendar helps remote workers schedule video calls and join directly from their dashboard.
Clockify: A time tracking app that supports timesheets and clocking in or out. Remote teams may find the free plan too restrictive—and paid plans include GPS tracking and auto-screenshots that may feel invasive.
Asana: Keep everyone on task—literally—with Asana’s project and task tracking that includes communication tools and personalized views. You may need to pay, however, for more advanced reports, automation, and features.
Microsoft Teams: Offering hour-long virtual meetings for up to 100 users, the Teams free plan inches past Zoom’s free version. But some users report certain functions, like inviting external guests, can be clunky.
Set you and your team up for success from home
Whether or not you believe in a fully remote schedule or compromise with a hybrid routine, the right set of tools empowers employees to communicate, collaborate, and stay productive. And employees want these tools—83% of remote or hybrid workers said “good tech” is important.
Loom is one remote work tool that addresses multiple challenges of the home office. Its focus on shareable, asynchronous video messaging removes the need for yet another meeting. The team library promotes knowledge sharing when and where employees need it. Product teams can use it to share project updates or testing feedback, while sales reps can use it to record product demos for new leads.
Any way you shake it, Loom is an excellent addition to any remote work toolkit. Try it out for free to see how asynchronous recordings streamline workflows, remove bottlenecks, and increase productivity.