When you’re working remotely, your team can face a never-ending series of obstacles, such as cultural differences, time zones, accents, and unfamiliarity. These problems hamper proper communications and can easily cause project derailment, and in some cases, even collapse. To overcome the challenges, you should ensure that you have the best virtual team communication tools in place.
That being said, finding the best tools to streamline communication isn’t a cakewalk, especially in a market flooded with remote work software. To save you the hassle, we’ve compiled a list of instant messaging, web conferencing, project management, and business phone systems for virtual teams. We hope to help you find the perfect combination of tools to aid your course as you manage a team of telecommuters.
When remote working is brought into the picture, the opportunities to meet and enjoy in-person communication go out the window. This is a reality that virtual teams have to deal with and struggle to find the perfect remedy to curb the impact on productivity. Fortunately, technology has given telecommuters plenty of options to adjust their communication to compensate for the lack of visual contact.
For example, the advent of VoIP and webcam technologies has enabled teams to overcome geographical differences to boost personal, face-to-face contact. Today, 52% of businesses claim that face-to-face meetings are the best form of communication for their remote teams. Also, teams are leveraging other channels, including video conferencing (34%), conference calls (27%), and group emails (14%).
Source: Culture Wizard
The truth is, in practice, all these forms of communication cannot squarely replace in-person, face-to-face interaction. However, they enhance a team’s ability to build trust, identify with each other, and create better relationships. Beyond helping teams to build better connections, these channels come in handy during team setup and virtual team conflict resolution.
When teams are not physically in one location, it can be a challenge to schedule a meeting. And as you know, meetings are critically important and are part of the day-to-day routine of any team, whether it’s in-house or remote. So, when you have a team of remote workers, how do you get people together to discuss an upcoming or ongoing project?
This is where web conferencing software comes into play. The technology makes it easy to hold a meeting and enjoy quality facetime with team members without having them in the same office, state, or country. Here are some of the best video conferencing software you can choose from:
RingCentral’s new entry into the hot video conferencing market, RingCentral Video packs all the latest technologies in video-enabled meetings, messaging, and screen sharing to cover the needs of remote work communications. Offering both cloud-based and on-premise deployment options, this platform provides users with unlimited HD conferences, 1:1 video calls, and support for instant messaging. It also comes with advanced annotation tools and built-in collaboration options so that you can boost participant engagement as well as highlight discussion points better.
Another great thing about RingCentral Video is that it eliminates the problem of audio overlapping by using an intelligent voice recognition tool. With this, the platform will highlight the voice of the presenter and automatically reduce disruptive background noises. The software also comes with real-time reporting functions so you can see the number of minutes being spent on meetings and calls.
RingCentral Video is capable of handling up to 500 meeting participants, while those holding online training and live webinars can expect to allow up to 10,000 participants from virtually anywhere in the world.
With a free version for all, RingCentral Video can seamlessly integrate with other RingCentral products such as their inbound and outbound contact center, digital engagement platform, customer engagement solution, business phone system, as well as messaging software. The paid plans, meanwhile, start at just $14.99 per user per month. In addition, it can also connect with third-party solutions like MS Outlook and Google Calendar.
Detailed RingCentral Video Review
Skype is a renowned web-based communication application designed by Microsoft for individuals and businesses. Billed as one of the best VoIP solutions, Skype has cemented its place as the communication product of choice for remote teams around the globe—and for a good reason. It offers robust tools that simplify international calls, video chat, and messaging via the web.
Primarily, Skype leverages innovative technology to deliver high-quality audio and video calls. The solution is the trailblazer in the IP communication arena and has carved a name with its trademark HD video call features. The term “I’ll Skype you” has become a common phrase amongst Skype users, which shows just how ubiquitous the app has become.
Better still, the app enables teams of up to 50 members to hold audio or conference calls with ease. Another great feature is that the platform allows you to have a local phone number in 26 countries. With the number, you can call from landlines and mobile phones from any part of the world.
Detailed Skype Review
Zoom is a powerful, cloud-based communication platform that blends online meetings, video conferencing, and group messaging. Primarily, the app is designed to help SMEs and large enterprises to host and broadcast online meetings with up to 1000 interactive video participants. Besides, Zoom enables businesses to hold webinars with up to 10,000 view-only attendees.
With its feature set, Zoom is suitable for teams that hold regular virtual meetings. Its video conferencing capability lets users have meetings, exchange real-time messaging, and share content to make their agendas clear. Besides, with the HD audio and video quality, teams can share exceptional facetime and hear each other as if they were in the same room.
Moreover, Zoom is designed with features to enhance team collaboration and performance. For example, it allows team members to share their screens simultaneously during video meetings. It’s also easy for teams to co-annotate and share files and documents needed to get the job done.
Detailed Zoom Review
GoToMeeting is a reliable video conferencing software built for remote teams and businesses that deal with international clients. Boasting a comprehensive suite of international features and an intuitive interface, the platform is suited to facilitate successful team meetings. Beyond conferencing, the app offers features, such as screen sharing, meeting recording, and conference room equipment.
GoToMeeting’s standout feature is its exceptional call quality. No matter how far apart team members are, the software’s HD video conferencing ensures everyone sees and is seen clearly. Not just that, with the app, you can easily join a meeting from a mobile device, which is an excellent feature for a mobile workforce.
Detailed GoToMeeting Review
Google Hangouts is an innovative team communication platform that wraps messaging, video calls, and audio call capabilities in one interface. The solution is part of the G Suite and is designed to sync seamlessly across devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile. Interestingly, the classic Hangout has evolved into two exceptional services, namely Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
The Google Hangouts Meet is one of the best virtual team communication tools around. The module is perfectly adapted to help teams hold secure video meetings. Leveraging Google’s reputed global infrastructure, Hangouts Meet delivers high-quality video to facilitate team meetings. Besides, with its user-friendly interface and the neat array of participant management tools, it’s easy to hold frictionless multi-person video meetings.
Detailed Google Hangouts Review
Instant messaging provides real-time facilitation between the initiator and the recipient. Besides, it promotes more regular communication and is one of the best ways to make superiors and colleagues more approachable. This is especially important when employees are still learning how to work remotely.
Most importantly, instant messaging helps team managers to deliver more consistent support, advice, feedback, and praise to remote members. This way, it enables managers to reinforce team direction, objectives, and goals.
The following instant messaging applications can help you streamline communication with telecommuters.
Flock is touted as an all-in-one communication platform that unifies distributed teams of different sizes. It provides users with a slew of functionalities ranging from instant messaging to audio calls to video conferences. In addition, it comes with file-sharing options, search functionalities, note-taking options, polling features, and other productivity tools to help users carry out their responsibilities more seamlessly.
Moreover, Flock comes with granular admin controls so you can ensure that the right people have access to the right channels at all times. This SOC 2-compliant platform also comes with the option to set up private and public channels so you can better control who exactly can view the conversations on the channels you’ve created.
Lastly, Flock also has a highly extensible interface as it can support a wide variety of third-party integrations. It not only connects with business software such as Trello, JIRA, and Asana, it also connects with social media sites, meeting scheduling systems, CRM platforms, help desk tools, and more.
Detailed Flock Review
Viber is a simple, instant messaging app designed to help users send messages and call other Viber users for free. This communication platform is especially helpful to teams that are spread across different countries in the world. It uses mobile numbers to identify users, plus, it runs seamlessly on various mobile operating systems.
In addition, the app requires only an internet connection to channel all messages and calls (local and international). This way, it bypasses mobile carriers and enables efficient team communications at no cost. Better still, Viber allows users to create group chats with unlimited members and exchange multiple types of media. Because of this, the app is suitable for remote teams that want to keep the conversation going regardless of their location.
Better still, Viber adds other nice-to-haves into the mix. For example, it offers a wide range of GIFs and stickers to better share users’ expressions and tell their stories. Even better, with the app, you don’t have to tire your fingers typing long text messages. Instead, you can record a voice or video message and send it to your teammates.
Detailed Viber Review
Slack is a robust cloud-based team messaging and project collaboration software built to streamline communication for teams. Primarily, the platform provides a neat array of tools for remote teams that want to chat and collaborate in real-time. It brings all team communication in a central place, making it easy to chat, exchange ideas, collaborate on projects, and share files.
Slack offers two types of communication channels: private and public. Public channels are threads that can be used to facilitate easy communication between groups and are accessible to all team members. Private channels, on the other hand, are designated for specific team members chosen by the channel’s creator. The Slack channels can be created for specific clients, teams, projects, or anything relevant to your workforce.
Better still, Slack’s video conferencing allows you to enjoy quality facetime with other team members to share ideas or updates. The best part is that the platform guarantees high audio and video quality, so everyone can hear and be heard no matter where they are. What’s more, Slack allows you to share your screen to explain complex concepts during a video call.
Detailed Slack Review
Jabber is an instant messaging and team collaboration software built for businesses in a wide range of industries. It’s a reliable web conferencing solution that offers multiple tools, including voice messaging, audio and video calls, messaging, and desktop sharing. The app works just fine for in-house and remote teams in finance, consulting, healthcare, and other verticals.
It provides a plethora of ways to enhance remote team collaboration. For example, it allows you to escalate a one-to-one chat to a call with an option to share screens to make your ideas clear. Alternatively, you can turn the one-to-one chat into a group chat, and at a click of a button, turn the group chat into a video conference for the entire team.
Also, the chat is fully integrated with other functions to make it easy for users to send quick messages even when on a conference call. It’s also a breeze to connect to an in-room meeting with the Cisco server. What’s more, with the app, it’s easy to initiate a web-based meeting with your team, regardless of their location.
Detailed Jabber Review
Workplace by Facebook is a cloud-based communication service designed to help teams connect while working remotely. The basic structure and collection of exquisite features bring the substance and style of Facebook into the professional realm. It arguably one of the best messaging apps that adds a touch and feel of a social media platform.
Workplace offers everything you want to enhance remote team collaboration, from one-to-one and group chats to video calls. But perhaps, the most fascinating feature about this app is the dashboard analytics. With this tool, it’s easy to gauge everyone’s engagement levels in the communication hub.
In addition, Workplace offers Groups for businesses that want to build esprit de corps to boost team collaboration. The groups are collaborative spaces that allow teams to work seamlessly together and share files, feedback, and updates to keep the projects ticking along. Beyond that, the auto-translate offers instant translation in 46 languages.
Detailed Workplace by Facebook Review
Imagine a scenario where you have to make local or international calls to pass instructions to your team members or close a deal with a customer. Using the traditional telephone service provider can be an option, but then the expensive call rates can be a major put-off, not to mention the undependable network connections. Luckily, with Voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), you can make online phone calls and bring down the charges.
Some of the best business phone systems allow you to video call your customers and employees.
RingCentral is a powerful business phone system that combines cloud phone, messaging, online fax, and video conferencing. The platform’s selling point is its ease of use and wide range of features. Its cloud phone system, which is the primary feature, provides a plethora of call management tools, including call park, call screening, call forwarding, and call delegation.
Besides, RingCentral provides international phone numbers to help businesses deepen customer relationships. While the feature works perfectly for inbound customer communication, it can be used to simplify calls between teams situated in regional offices across the globe. Its cost-effectiveness and flexibility mean that teams can discuss ideas over the phone at no extra cost.
Additionally, RingCentral’s audio and video conferencing capabilities help teams to meet and connect from anywhere in the world. With the tool, teams of up to 500 can meet, share content, files, screens, or whiteboards to expedite decision making. Even better, it’s easy to record meetings and securely store them in digital formats for future reference.
Detailed RingCentral Review
Freshcaller is a reliable phone system and call center application built with inbound sales and customer support teams in mind. This feature-rich cloud PBX brings to life classic tools like IVR with a blend of modern call features like voice bots, automatic call distribution, and more. In essence, it’s designed to upgrade the underlying phone technology into an innovative system that keeps the pace with the present-day communication strategies.
Freshcaller’s standout feature for virtual teams is its flexibility. With the phone system, it is easy for teams to make and receive calls anywhere, anytime with their laptops or mobile devices. Not just that, the platform enables the team manager to monitor virtual agents in real-time, regardless of their location.
Also, it’s easy to access call data, call notes, and customer details at will. You can listen to previous customer conversations to gather details about where a case stands. This is helpful to remote customer support teams that want to deliver consistent and personalized customer experience.
Detailed Freshcaller Review
JustCall is another powerful business phone system that ensures your remote working policy doesn’t impact customer experience negatively. It is a powerful communication system designed to centralize and simplify the operations of in-house and virtual sales and customer support teams. Boasting a neat array of features, JustCall makes it easy to make and receive calls from a desktop, mobile device, and the web.
One thing that sets JustCall apart from the competition is its integration with more than 44 CRM and helpdesk systems. The integration offers an effective way to synchronize voice recording, call notes, call data, voice mails, and voice recording into your CRM.
Beyond this, the app has an SMS bot to automate text replies and an interactive IVR feature to maximize customer interaction. Also, with the centralized dashboard, it is easy for managers to monitor the performance of their employees as they work from home. Other features that come in handy for remote teams include call forwarding, SMS campaigns, and caller ID.
Detailed JustCall Review
Ooma Office is another powerful phone business system that works well for both in-house and virtual teams. The solution is designed to streamline communication between employees and customers, regardless of where they are located.
Being a cloud-based unified communication system, Ooma Office ensures that remote teams are productive. It allows employees to use phones that are extensions of the office-based system. This way, it empowers them to leverage all the phone system features like call transfer, four-digit dialing, and conferencing, just like their in-office colleagues.
In addition, remote employees are at liberty to carry the office phone home. Alternatively, they can use the Ooma Enterprise Softphone to make and receive phones directly on their desktop or laptop. Even better, the Ooma Enterprise app allows employees to turn their mobile devices into a robust enterprise phone to manage business calls. Plus, employees can chat and send IM to build cohesion and work collaboratively.
Detailed Ooma Office Review
Aircall is a flexible cloud-based phone solution for sales and customer support teams. The system is generally used by in-house teams that want to combine their inbound and outbound call centers into one robust system. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be used by remote teams.
The platform has the tools you need to empower your virtual teams to conduct operations over the phone from anywhere in the world. In addition to the common features, Aircall is designed to help your teams to remain on track. For example, the business hour feature is useful for teams and managers that care about the work-life balance of their remote agents. It helps set and modify schedules as needed to maximize the availability of each agent without overworking them.
To enhance team collaboration, Aircall helps keep the team connected. Particularly, comments and tags help equip team members with critical information before they pick-up any call. On the other hand, a shared inbox is what a remote team needs to stay updated. Plus, the Live feed enables managers to maintain a 360-degree view of the team’s activity.
Detailed Aircall Review
PhoneBurner is a power dialer solution designed to help users optimize not only contact management and email tracking but also lead distribution. As it is a cloud-hosted platform, it allows you to call from any VoIP hardware or mobile phone. With this at your disposal, you can get complete flexibility over your operations.
What’s more, PhoneBurner comes with a built-in CRM and a post-call workflow automation to eliminate repetitive processes such as changing lead statuses, adding contacts to email templates, as well as tagging leads. if that’s not enough, the platform also has extensive call campaign options and real-time analytics tools to help you make the most out of each campaign.
What makes PhoneBurner a great option is that it comes with native integrations with popular software solutions such as Salesforce, HubSpot and Zapier. It can also connect with over a hundred third-party applications so you no longer have to worry about syncing contacts and migrating data manually.
Detailed PhoneBurner Review
CloudTalk is a robust business phone system designed for sales and customer teams. Its feature set is a perfect match for in-house teams, but make no mistake, the application works just fine for remote teams. The solution enables teams to make and receive calls from any device (desktop, tablet, or smartphone), provided there is a proper internet connection.
One feature that streamlines how remote teams function is the smart dialer. Akin to a predictive or power dialer, this tool enables you to automatically dial phone numbers from your CRM system. Besides, with the CloudTalk click-to-call Chrome extension, it’s a breeze to dial a number directly from any website.
Another great CloudTalk tool is the warm transfer feature. This tool works wonders for virtual teams that want to deliver exceptional customer experience. Primarily, the warm transfer functions as its name suggest—it facilitates the transfer of customers from an agent to another. What’s fascinating is that the tool prevents a scenario where a customer has to repeat his/her case to different agents.
Detailed CloudTalk Review
Yeastar Cloud PBX is a cloud-based unified communication solution built to help businesses of different sizes connect with their customers anytime, anywhere. The platform provides all the features you need to create an agile, inclusive, and collaborative virtual workspace. It comes with all the usual phone system features, including call forwarding, callback, advanced IVR, and presence.
Also, Yeaster Cloud PBX’s hassle-free deployment means it’s a snap for employees to install the app on their mobile or computer. Besides, the solution works almost out-of-the-box and is perfect for all staff, including the non-tech savvy.
Also, with the Yeastar Linkus UC softphone, it’s easy for employees to make and receive calls anytime, anywhere, through the business phone line. They can access the company phonebook, chat, retrieve voicemails, share files, and even see their colleagues’ status. What’s more, Yeaster Cloud PBX streamlines ad-hoc conference calls, thanks to the Linkus Mobile Client tool.
Detailed Yeastar Cloud PBX Review
Project management software simplify task management and communication while eliminating drudge work to keep projects on track. The tools can make a huge difference in your bottom line and are utterly significant when managing remote project teams. In addition to enhancing collaboration between teams, they enable you to get more done in less time.
monday.com is a robust project management and collaboration software for teams in various niches, such as sales, HR, IT, and software development. Generally, the platform connects in-house and remote teams, allowing them to run projects, processes, and tasks more efficiently.
For virtual teams, monday.com can be particularly helpful in multiple ways. First, it helps streamline team communication, which is key to ensuring the success of projects. All questions, ideas, or updates shared by employees are consolidated within the context of a project and workflow. With its features, the platform can prove to be an essential part of a remote manager’s toolkit.
Second, monday.com provides a highly visual overview, which is a standout feature. In this way, it makes it easy to check the status of each project or task. As such, you can easily tell who is working on which task and when or to tweak workflow to achieve successful projects. Besides, the platform brings structure to remote working. For example, it offers insight into your team’s workload, empowering you to plan more effectively.
Detailed monday.com Review
Wrike is a flexible collaboration and project management software designed to enable teams to work more effectively. It provides advanced tools that enable virtual teams to communicate, collaborate, and maintain alignment with project goals. In other words, it breaks down communication silos to foster productivity and teamwork throughout the project cycle.
Wrike leverages color-coding and label tools to make clear all task priorities and goals to team members. Team managers can create and share weekly progress reports to keep everyone in the loop. Besides, everyone can see where the project stands and put in extra effort in case they are falling behind schedule. Even better, the reports provide the insight you need to make informed decisions.
In a bid to enhance team productivity, Wrike provides robust collaboration tools. Communication features help teams to discuss tasks and project details with confidence. Besides, the @mention makes it easy to loop specific members into topics that demand their attention. On the other hand, it is easy to tag videos, images, and other project files to deliver specific feedback.
Detailed Wrike Review
Trello is a lightweight project management app for small, medium, and large businesses. The platform is relatively easy to use and is aimed at streamlining communication, collaboration, and project tracking. It leverages Kanban boards, cards, and lists to organize projects, tasks, teams, departments, resource materials, and more.
It’s easy to create and customize Trello boards to suit your workflows. The best part is that you can create boards for virtually anything, including project management, weekly meetings, team communication, team bonding activities, brainstorming, and more.
Remote project teams like Trello because unlike other tools, it is pleasing to the eye and straightforward to use. Moving a task from one stage to the other is a matter of dragging and dropping the card to the right place. Plus, to enhance collaboration, Trello allows you to leverage features, such as @mention and comments, to draw the attention of members to specific topics.
Detailed Trello Review
Zoho Projects is a reliable project management software designed for teams of different sizes. The clean, intuitive interface epitomizes the platform’s ease of use, which makes it suitable for all employees, including the non-tech savvy. Additionally, it packs a punch in terms of project management tools for processes like budgeting, project feed, time logging, expense tracking, and task management.
One of Zoho Project’s stand out features is the Forums and chat. These tools are designed to streamline communication between team members. Forums enable teams to share detailed discussion and lengthy ideas on critical subjects. Chat, on the other hand, is like forums only that they are designed to facilitate team’s everyday discussions to enhance real-time collaboration and decision-making.
Besides, the blueprint feature allows you to stipulate project workflows, set approval criteria, and automate notifications. Even better, Zoho Projects lets you set dependencies to clearly state which task should be done before the other. The Gantt charts offer a 360-degree view of all tasks, alongside their dependencies.
Asana is an innovative project management software designed to help teams to not only get work organized but also keep teams focused and engaged. The platform allows you to map out project workflows and create visual plans, to track every project and task in real-time. Besides, it allows you to create and assign tasks, organize responsibilities, stipulate user permission, and set priorities to bring sanity to workflows.
In addition, Asana facilitates team communication in multiple ways. For example, task comments come in handy when you need to give clear instructions to get a task done. You can @mention teammates to draw their attention to a specific task. Also, there are project conversation hubs where teams can share ideas and discuss critical details to keep the project going.
Detailed Asana Review
There you have it, our compilation of the best virtual team communication tools. The tools we discussed foster interconnectivity within a team, which is a good thing, especially in a fast-paced virtual work environment. They boost collaboration and help businesses create cohesive units even though their employees are miles apart. Most importantly, these tools turn your team into successful remote workers.
Also, they help you to communicate constantly with your remote employees, which makes them feel valued and supported. This way, they feel obliged to give their all and contribute more to achieve the organizational goals and objectives.
However, to reap these benefits, you’ll have to find the perfect combination of virtual team communication platforms. There is no universal formula for picking your tools. It all depends on various factors like the team’s size, nature of your business, where the employees are located, and your budget. It’s only by analyzing all these factors rigorously that you can build an efficient stack that will help you keep your remote staff connected.
Lastly, if you are getting started with telecommuting, consider reading our guide on how to understand the best strategies of remote work management. This way, you’ll be in a better position to make sound decisions that will deliver protracted benefits to your organizations.
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