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The Best Productivity Tools For Remote Teams

Looking to boost productivity? Forget about ridiculous wake-up routines and never-ending shifts.

Start using the right tools, and you can optimize your existing workflow for better speed and efficiency — all without breaking a sweat.

While the best productivity tools can't perform your work for you (if only), they can help streamline and refine your processes. Perhaps even more important, they set the stage for your continued success. In an ever-changing digital environment, these programs provide the power and flexibility you need to meet every workplace challenge that comes your way.

In this guide, I'll showcase several of the tools we used to grow our business, Loom, into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. From communication platforms to project management apps, there's something here to optimize every part of your workflow. Ready to shift gears and crank productivity up a notch?

Best Productivity Tools in 2022

1. Loom – for async communication

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Record your screen and webcam; edit your screencasts; host and share recordings on Loom's platform

  • Pricing: Free to $12.50/mo (annually)

Communication is the key to business success. Unfortunately, getting everyone together for synchronous meetings isn't always practical, especially when dealing with distributed teams. Sure, you can write things out via email. But let's be real — typing out instructions, feedback, and other day-to-day dealings is slow and ineffective. 

The solution? Ditch text-based communications and send a Loom instead!

Loom is an async screen and webcam recording application that makes it easy to talk shop with clients and colleagues. Simply open up the browser, desktop, or mobile application, hit the bright-red record button, and say your piece. Loom captures everything in stunning 4K detail: the information on your screen, your body language, and even your tone of voice. It’s like an intimate one-on-one conversation, except way more convenient. Host your recordings with Loom, and your recipients can watch and respond whenever and however works best for them.

Here are a few of the ways Loom can improve your workplace productivity:

  • Communicate clearly with collaborators

  • Share your ideas visually

  • Show context when providing feedback

  • Offer personalized support to clients and colleagues

And, that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Loom videos. Check out Loom's free plan via a 14-day trial to see how it can boost productivity across your workflow.

2. Notion – for customizable workspaces

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Create customizable workspaces for every aspect of business operations

  • Pricing: Free to $15/month

Notion is the multi-tool of productivity software. It can do anything you want, with powerful functionality that's entirely customizable to your needs. Start with one of Notion's pre-built page templates, and begin streamlining everyday business operations in just a few clicks. Or, create your own pages from scratch, using Notion's intuitive UI to generate a custom workflow for your company.

The software supports hundreds, if not thousands, of potential use cases. Here's a look at some of the most common ways people and businesses use Notion to improve productivity:

  • Product roadmaps

  • Content calendars

  • Product wikis

  • Sales CRMs

  • Help & resource centers

Worried about a steep learning curve? Don’t be! Notion is as easy to use as it is powerful, with a WYSIWYG dashboard that makes working on your projects a piece of cake. Visualize your data in whichever way works best for you and your team, from Trello-inspired Kanban-style interfaces to checklists and tables. Combine your data with a simple drag-and-drop system, and interlink pages to create complex, hierarchical structures that navigate easier than your iPhone.

The Notion app revolves around productivity and collaboration, so shared workspaces come standard with every plan. You can invite other uses to view your pages or generate custom URLs for sharing with a wider audience. Whether your business is a startup or industry juggernaut, Notion is the only all-in-one workspace you'll ever need.

3. Slack – for centralized communication

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Build a centralized communication hub; create channels for different departments; store and search messages across the entire businesses

  • Pricing: Free to $15/month

Loom may be the best way to get your message across, but Slack is the best place to manage your internal communications.

What is Slack, exactly? At its core, Slack is simply a chat room for your business. Invite colleagues to your custom channel, and keep everyone up-to-date and engaged in companywide news and activities. If you’re working in teams, you can also create permission-based sub-channels, inviting members based on affiliation or involvement in certain projects.

What sets Slack apart from competitors isn’t just its extensibility; the program is also extraordinarily accessible. You can download Slack as a desktop application for work in the office, and take it on the go with the mobile version. You can even use Slack in the browser, making it easy to collaborate with co-workers from anywhere.

Although Slack offers a free plan, it's limited to 10,000 archived messages (be sure not to waste any by unnecessary Slack-splaining). Once you reach that cap and want to take productivity to the next level, pricing starts at just $6.67 per month.

4. Google Workspace – for working together & sharing resources

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome OS

  • Core Features: Email services; document creation; shared file storage and hosting

  • Pricing: $6/month to $18/month

Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite) is the cornerstone of many modern businesses. It combines Google's entire network of apps and bundles them into one productivity-oriented package for companies of all sizes.

Here are a few of the tools offered within Google Workspace.

  • Gmail

  • Drive

  • Docs, Sheets, and Slides

  • Calendar

  • Meet

Do any of these look familiar? More than likely, you already use one or two Google apps (perhaps even daily). However — the real magic happens when you use them all together.

Google Workspace syncs all the data across your entire organization. This takes all the work out of moving information across departments, making it easier than ever to collaborate and share resources. Create in Google Docs, store your documents in Google Drive, and send them over for review via Gmail. Schedule a face-to-face with Google Calendar, and then ship your product live over Google Meet. It's a seamless experience that you can’t get anywhere else.

Another part of what makes Google Workspace so effective is its accessibility. You can download Google’s menagerie of apps on desktop, mobile, and Chrome OS.

5. Zoom – for conducting meetings

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Host and join digital meetings of up to 1000 people; share your screen and webcam at the click of a button; extend functionality with Zoom's suite of add-ons

  • Pricing: Free to $25/month

Zoom fatigue is real. It’s the synchronous meeting platform that lets you connect with others, in real-time, from just about any device with an internet connection. Zoom captures everything you want to share, including your webcam, screen, and audio source. What's more, operating the program is as easy as can be, with a simple interface that automatically switches inputs based on who’s leading the conversation.

Since Zoom runs on scalable architecture (operated by Amazon Web Services), it works just as well as a one-on-one collaborative tool for freelancers and small studios as it does for Fortune 100 companies that run all-hands meetings.

In addition to traditional Zoom meetings, the platform offers various other solutions for boosting productivity. These include:

  • Zoom Phone – business telephone service

  • Events & Webinars – large-scale digital conferences

  • Zoom Rooms – drop-in meeting solution

  • Contact Centers – Customer support platform

The best way to use Zoom? Pair the platform with Loom to manage your synchronous and asynchronous communication, enjoying heightened collaborative productivity like you’ve never experienced before.

6. Calendly – for booking meetings

  • Platforms: Browser, iOS, Android

  • Core Features: Schedule meetings; easily re-book sessions; get paid for your meeting time

  • Pricing: Free to $20/month

Have you ever tried to book a meeting with clients or co-workers? Finding a time when everyone can get together and meet is a logistical nightmare, especially when working with others from around the world. Stop the endless games of meeting tag, and use Calendly instead. 

True to its namesake, Calendly is an app that displays all your available time slots in a scannable, calendar-like format. Share your Calendly with a potential collaborator, and they can book whichever time slot works best for their schedule. It's quick, easy, and works with everyone's workflow.

Calendly also integrates with all your favorite platforms. If you use another calendar in your day-to-day life (e.g., Google or Outlook), Calendly automatically adds meetings booked through its app. Other popular Calendly integrations include messaging programs like Slack, digital meeting platforms Zoom, and even PayPal or Stripe — so you can charge for your valuable time! Depending on your integrations and settings, the program will send automatic updates and post-meeting follow-ups for streamlined efficiency..

Calendly is a freemium program that you can get for all your favorite devices. To start booking meetings for free, simply create an account and add in your availability. Then, include your Calendly link in an email or integrate a custom form directly to your website.

7. Clockify – for tracking time

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Track time expenditures; manage timesheets for employees; integrate with Quickbooks for payroll

  • Pricing: Free to $14.99/month

Managing time lies at the heart of productivity. By keeping an eye on the clock, you can see where you're performing well, where there's room for improvement, and what's providing the best return on your investment. 

To start tracking time, you can go the old-fashioned route and manually jot down your expenditures. Or, you can skip the frustration and use Clockify.

Clockify is an all-in-one time tracker that makes it easy to keep tabs on your hours. Simply add projects to the Clockify dashboard and hit "Start" each time you switch between tasks. The app runs in the background as you work, logging exactly where you spend your time and for how long. The app also provides in-depth reports that you can use to optimize your routine. Gain insights into your daily, weekly, and monthly productivity and correct course as necessary.

The app isn't only ideal for single users (although its invoicing tool is a godsend for freelancers and remote workers). It also replaces conventional scheduling software, with detailed timesheets, time-off requests, and Quickbooks integration.

Clockify boasts one of the most generous free plans in its category, with unlimited project creation and time tracking available without a credit card. The only features missing are the ones necessary for larger enterprises, as well as quality-of-life upgrades like bulk editing your timesheets.

8. Canva – for creating and managing graphics

  • Platforms: Browser, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

  • Core Features: Drag-and-drop image creator with thousands of gorgeous templates and millions of stock photos

  • Pricing: Free to $14.99/month

You probably know Canva as a digital design app. But it’s also a convenient productivity tool that saves you hours (and lots of money) when creating pro-grade graphics for your business.

What makes Canva special? This cross-platform web, desktop, and mobile app combines the power of Adobe Photoshop with the ease of Microsoft Paint. It democratizesgraphic design, thanks to a drag-and-drop interface that’s so intuitive, you can learn and master the platform in minutes.

What’s more, you don't have to be a skilled artist or design major to create stunning imagery. The company offers over a quarter-million templates you can access on-demand, with many available in the program's free version. There are templates available or all different business-oriented purposes, including:

  • Logos

  • Flyers

  • Business cards

  • Facebook ads

  • Websites

  • & much, much more

In terms of managing your creations, Canva offers features like shared team folders, content planners, and brand kits. Store your company's logo, colors, and typography within Canva and implement them into your design from within Canva's editor. If you need physical copies of creations (like flyers or business cards), Canva will print and ship them straight to your door, easy as can be.

9. Zapier – for automations

  • Platforms: Browser

  • Core Features: Connect your workflow apps; trigger automatic actions based on preset criteria

  • Pricing: Free to $895/month

Earlier I mentioned that the best productivity tools for business can't actually do your work for you. Well, that's not entirely true — not when it comes to Zapier.

Zapier is an automations platform that connects with today's most popular work apps (over 5,000 of them) and lets them interact with one another like they’re part of the same ecosystem. 

Let me illustrate Zapier in action. Let's say you create a Zap to register every time a post goes live on your WordPress blog. You can use Zapier's drag-and-drop platform to program a trigger event that sends the featured image and a snippet of that post to Facebook or Twitter. Then, you can instruct those platforms to create posts using that image and article snippet. Aside from initial setup, you don't have to touch a single thing — yet you're cranking out content faster than Gary Vee!

Here are a few of the most popular apps Zapier integrates with:

  • Gmail

  • Mailchimp

  • Google Sheets

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Salesforce

That's only a taste of Zapier's expensive lineup. In fact, Zapier is so prevalent that it connects with most of the other tools on this list. Use it to tie your new workflow together and put productivity on autopilot.

How To Choose the Right Tools for You

Before choosing the right productivity tools for your workflow, you need to consider where your efficiency (or lack thereof) is lagging. This will look different for everybody, depending on your line of work and current routine.

Once you've narrowed down a focus, it's time to zoom in on the tools that meet your needs. Just keep in mind that it's better to sprinkle tools in one at a time. While the best office productivity tools offer short learning curves, you still have to take the time to implement them.

So, start with one tool that shores up your weak spots. Need to work on your communication skills? Try Loom. Wondering about the best sales productivity tools? Notion and Calendly can help streamline the process and (ultimately) increase conversions. Lastly, programs like Clockify and Zapier can help with organization and overall efficiency.

Loom makes every collaborative process so much more efficient. We use it all the time in our day-to-day, creating and sharing Loom videos when workshopping new features, giving feedback on new designs, and providing customer support. We may be biased (after all, we work here), but we believe the program has helped us grow at a tremendous rate

As for the countless hours we save using Loom? We pour them right back into our product, creating a platform that makes your process faster and easier than ever before. Try Loom for free today, and see for yourself the difference it makes in productivity.


Aug 12, 2022

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