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Top Virtual Tools for Remote Work
May 11 2020

Whether you’ve just started working from home or you’ve always embraced the remote lifestyle, it can still be daunting to find the right virtual tools for remote work. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular workplace tools sorted by functionality:

Task Management

Task management tools help teams break projects down into manageable sprints comprised of prioritized tasks.

Jira – Originally a software development tool, this platform now helps agile teams across all kinds of industries plan and track project development. This tool is ideal for organizations that have complex workflows that require extensive customization and integrations.

Trello – This Kanban tool has a free tier that is ideal for small teams in need of basic task management.

Notion – Notion is similar to Jira in its web development focus and provides the ability to manage project sprints, while also providing a free tier of service for smaller companies and organizations.

Monday – Users who are totally new to task management software will appreciate the Kanban board and drag-and-drop view options that make task management. 

Internal Communications

Slack –  The ubiquitous Slack is the most common office platform, and for good reason. Group conversations by channels, can create discussion threads, and lots of integrations. This is one of the more expensive options but arguably has the best user interface. Standard memberships start at $6.67 per month per user.

Google Hangouts –  Organize conversations by groups and rooms. This service easily syncs with other G Suite products, and third-party apps and integrations are also available. Is $5 per user per month. 

Flock –  This smaller platform offers a free tier that is well-suited for small teams with a lean budget. However, the user interface is not as elegant as those on other platforms and its features are not as powerful (e.g. less sophisticated search functionality).

Discord – Originally popular with gamers, this free online platform has since been adopted for industry use by teams that are looking to build an online community around their work. Users can send voice, text or video messages and organize into different channels. One drawback is that there are not many integrations available.

RocketChat – Ideal for teams with a focus on DevOps and security, RocketChat has solutions for remote teams and small online businesses. This service allows teams to organize conversations and share files, and the Jitsi integration supports encrypted video conferencing. There are multiple tiers of service, starting with a freemium version up to custom plans for small-to-enterprise businesses.

Online Conferencing

Sometimes communication by phone or email just doesn’t cut it. When face-to-face interactions are important for an occasion or meeting, you can use a video conferencing platform. 

Video conferencing platforms generally use two types of streaming technology: RTMP or webRTC. The standard is RTMP, which tends to cause more lag but has a higher image quality. The newest protocol, webRTC, has lower quality but less lag. There is also HLS, which is known for its scalability and compatibility, but at the cost of more latency.

Zoom –  This video service has become increasingly popular in response to recent and widespread social distancing measures. Known for its ease of use and array of features (we love the audio transcription), Zoom makes it easy to schedule massive conference calls or just hop in a room for quick chats with co-workers. Many users are concerned about accessibility and privacy (Zoombombing being one recent example). Starts at free 40-minute sessions for up to 100 participants.

GoTo Meeting –  This secure video conferencing service is ideal for teams that require lots of interactive discussions that don’t translate well to written communications. Users can create video meetings for one-on-one discussions, or plan full-scale webinars or events at the enterprise level. Plans start at $12 per month for up to 150 participants.

Google Hangouts Meet –  Another tool in the expansive G Suite, encrypted video conferencing starts at $6 per month for up to 100 people. It’s ideal for companies that want to take advantage of the Google Calendar integration to keep track of busy team schedules.

Slack –  In addition to written communications, Slack also offers phone and video conferencing as well. Rates start at 15 people at $6.67 per month. It also integrates with other conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. 

Virtual Platforms

virBELA –  A virtual conferencing platform that aims to recreate conference, event and workplace environments and interactions by offering a range of sophisticated features. Users can actually move through virtual spaces and customize their avatars to interact with other users in ways that are not possible in traditional video conferencing setups. Organizers give live presentations, divide an audience into small groups to facilitate discussions, Some universities are even using virBELA to enhance their online degree program offerings

Rec Room –  Similarly to virBELA, Rec Room users can create immersive environments for hosting events. Originally designed for gaming communities, the platform has expanded its capabilities to support remote workplaces and classrooms. Users can invite people to a specific room and even screen-share for presentations.

Live Streaming

If you want to broadcast an event in real-time to a large public audience, then a live streaming platform might be the right solution.

Twitch Originally popular with gamer for building online communities, this service is increasingly popular for broadcasting live events across industries. 

YouTube –   The most widely used streaming platform. Integrates with G Suite and is free, making it a great choice for users who want to build a following and reach a wide audience. Keep in mind that some options, such as mobile broadcasting, are limited to users with a minimum number of followers.

Vimeo – This platform provides high-quality livestreaming that can broadcast simultaneously across Youtube, Twitch, Periscope and Facebook Live. – If you manage social media, you know how challenging it can be to develop and schedule content. With Restream, users can stream video to multiple social media platforms at once. 

Culture Foundry is a digital experience agency that helps our clients elevate their impact with beautiful technology. We provide the expertise and insight at every layer that makes a great digital experience for websites and applications possible. If you're committed to elevating your digital experience, contact us and we'd be happy to schedule a chat to see if we're a fit.

(Psst! We also happen to be a great place to work.)

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