Remote working technology: A guide to the best remote work tools for HR professionals

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Employees demand the option to work remotely at least part of the time. Nearly three-quarters of workers say they’d prefer long-term location flexibility over a pay rise.[1]

Using the right remote working technology is essential to meet this demand and maintain a fulfilled and productive workforce.

The problem is that there are many tools out there to choose from, and they’re constantly changing, requiring significant digital agility from HR managers. 

Plus, following the wrong HR technology trends could alienate your workers, making their lives – and yours – much harder and driving up turnover in your workforce.

You need a clear understanding of what the best remote work tools are and how they can be applied in your workforce. We’ve got you covered.

What is remote working technology?

Remote working technology is any software that enables employees to work from a location that is not their employer’s main office. This could be their home, a coworking space, or a coffee shop in Bali – depending on their employer’s policy, of course.

Most remote work tools are cloud-based, meaning you access them via an Internet connection instead of a local server or computer download. They include tools like:

  • Instant messaging 

  • Video calling 

  • Online project management 

  • Customer relationship management systems

Although remote working tools might not be your first thought when you think of HR technology, they’re essential for human resources personnel when managing a hybrid or distributed workforce.

Why are remote work tools important to HR professionals?

HR professionals’ main role is to manage employees’: 

  1. Productivity and engagement 

  2. Compensation and benefits

  3. Learning and development 

  4. Data and legal compliance

Although remote work tools like instant messaging platforms don’t have as direct a role in these processes as other tools like HRIS systems, they do support these business operations and – as we discuss below – integrate with many HR-specific platforms.

For example, remote project management tools ensure hybrid and remote teams work from the same real-time, up-to-date information. They use automation to streamline processes and increase productivity. By doing so, they increase team cohesion and collaboration. All of these are HR wins.

Remote work tools are so helpful that even on-site organizations use remote work tools to streamline collaboration. 

They are essential to meeting the demand for flexibility in the workplace and, of course, for managing a fully remote workforce while still supporting employee productivity and a sense of community.

The benefits of remote work software

We now know why remote work collaboration tools are essential for HR leaders to understand in the work-from-anywhere age. 

But what improvements can they bring to your business? Here are four of the biggest ones.

1. Improves productivity and engagement

Giving employees the freedom to work from home with remote working tools can have a powerful effect, with research suggesting it increases working-from-home productivity by up to 22%.[2]

It also has an effect on employee engagement. Employees who use technology to boost productivity are 158% more engaged and 61% more likely to continue working for their company than those who don’t.[3]

2. Improves hiring 

Expanding the remote capabilities of your workforce with remote collaboration tools gives you access to a broader pool of talent, increasing diversity and widening the net when looking for candidates with niche or specialist skills.

For added impact, supercharge remote hiring with online skills testing, which shortlists candidates based on their aptitude in core skills required for your open roles. A massive 70% of employers agree that skills-based hiring is more effective than using resumes.

3. Creates a more cohesive culture and boosts collaboration

For distributed workforces, remote working tools deliver the benefits that make in-person working effective, namely:

  • Social connections with colleagues 

  • Face-to-face interactions with teammates and clients over video conference

  • Efficient collaboration 

  • Personable training 

4. Enhances your employer branding

Using the right remote work technologies can help you build a reputation for having a smooth-running, tech-forward work environment and instill trust among candidates that you’re great to work for.

5 best remote work tools

After that description, you’re probably eager to learn the best technology for working remotely. During the pandemic, many tech companies exploded onto the scene with solutions to replace the office environment. 

We’ve shortlisted five of the best remote work tools out there right now, but first, let’s discuss what factors influenced our decisions.

Factors we considered

At TestGorilla, we know a thing or two about remote work tools. With 154 team members in 43 countries, we’re well-versed in managing a distributed workforce.

Distributed workforce TestGorilla

In deciding the best remote working tools, we considered a few key factors:

  1. Ease of use. These remote working tools have a user-friendly interface and are easy to set up.

  2. Remote work collaboration tools. Each of these remote work tools offers specific features to improve working relationships and help distributed teams work together simultaneously and asynchronously.

  3. Integration capability. We’ve chosen remote working software that integrates with other parts of your HR tech stack.

  4. Security and privacy. An OpenVPN survey found that 36% of businesses had experienced a security breach due to unsecured remote workers – these remote working tools have security features to prevent that.[4]

  5. Cost. These remote work tools offer a range of pricing options suitable for any budget.

5 best remote work tools: Summary table

Is your workforce well overdue an upgrade in tech for working remotely? Here’s a summary of the best remote working tools you should consider.

Software

Best for

Benefits 

1. Zoom

Virtual meetings

- Conversation analytics for sales teams

- Remote work collaboration tools for virtual or hybrid teams

- Integration with HR analytics software

2. Slack

Communication 

- Highly customizable through integrations

- Can take advantage of AI tools

- Offers remote work apps for iOS, Android, and desktop

- Individuals can set their availability, which helps maintain work-life balance

3. Monday.com

Project management 

- Customizable to different processes

- Offers numerous integrations

- Can connect to applicant tracking systems

4. TestGorilla

Remote hiring 

- Saves you time

- Reduces mis-hires

- Helps spot skills gaps

- Integrates with applicant tracking systems

- Has strong data security measures

- Can cancel paid tiers at any time

5. Loom

Remote training 

- Empowers users to easily create and share videos (e.g., for training and onboarding)

- Offers video storage

- Integrates with learning management systems

1. Zoom: Best for virtual meetings

Zoom screengrab

Zoom is one of the most famous examples of remote and hybrid work technology, offering video conferencing software for individuals and businesses.

Pros

For HR leaders, standout features include conversation analytics for sales teams to increase efficiency and remote work collaboration tools for virtual teams to share screens and annotate work simultaneously. It also offers integration with HR analytics software.

It is a good choice for organizations of all sizes, thanks to its free version and reasonable pricing starting at $159.90 per user per year. It is especially useful for small businesses with simple meeting needs.

Cons

On the downside, Zoom uses a lot of data to run, especially when sharing screens. This can be risky when presenting, particularly to external clients.

Sales-focused organizations might therefore prefer an entirely web-based tool that’s less of a Wi-Fi burden.

User rating: 4.5 stars (G2)

Price at time of writing: From free

2. Slack: Best for communication

Slack screengrab

With Slack, you can chat with colleagues directly or in a group channel, as shown above. You can also video call and manage file sharing and storage.

Pros

Slack is a highly customizable communication tool through integrations. For example, you can integrate Slack with HR automation software to notify employees when a colleague has booked vacation or sick leave. 

You can also take advantage of AI in HR tools with Slack – for instance, enabling employees to ask a Slack-based chatbot when their next paycheck is due.

It’s highly portable, offering remote working apps for iOS, Android, and desktop so you can keep up-to-date on the go. 

Individuals can also set their availability, which is great for maintaining a work-life balance, even across different time zones.

Finally, Slack is cost-effective. It offers a free subscription, with paid tiers starting at $7.25 per user per month when billed yearly.

Cons

Slack requires strong management to prevent becoming disorganized and overwhelming. 

User rating: 4.5 stars (G2)

Price at time of writing: From free

3. Monday.com: Best for project management

Monday.com screengrab

Monday.com is another well-known remote working tool, this time focusing on project management software and team workflow automation.

Pros

Monday.com is customizable to different organizations, departments, and teams. Software development teams can use Monday.com to track app development; HR teams can use it to track tasks such as performance reviews and hiring.

It offers numerous integrations. For example, it integrates directly with recruiting platforms like Seek in Australia.

You can also connect it to applicant tracking systems and use it to automate recruiting tasks.

There is a free version, with paid tiers starting at $27 per month for three users when you pay annually. This suits many different organization sizes, from startups to established companies. 

Cons

Although Monday.com is highly customizable, it takes time to get up and running. It may also take a while for your team to learn how to use it.

User rating: 4.7 stars (G2)

Price at time of writing: From free

4. TestGorilla: Best for remote hiring and talent assessments

TestGorilla screengrab

At TestGorilla, we offer candidate assessment software to streamline and maximize the efficiency of your hiring process.

Pros

Instead of spending hours reading resumes or potentially missing out on great candidates with a resume screening tool, all candidates complete the same skills test targeting the required skills. You can then automatically shortlist the strongest ones for interviews.

Not only does this reduce mis-hires, but skills test data can also be used post-hire to spot skills gaps in your teams.

TestGorilla integrates with applicant tracking systems and has strong data security measures in place to prevent a data breach. 

You can set up a free forever account or a paid subscription that starts at $499 per month and gives you access to our entire test library.

Cons

The jump up to a paid subscription may be too steep for some users. However, you can cancel at any time, meaning you could use TestGorilla to fill one role without committing to a long-term contract.

User rating: 4.5 stars (G2)

Price at time of writing: From free with a free forever plan

5. Loom: Best for remote training

Loom screengrab

Loom is a video messaging tool that enables users to easily create and share videos of themselves and store them in a video library

Pros

Loom is the ideal tool for remote training and induction. For example, you could film a tutorial on how to navigate a customer relationship management system or to welcome a new teammate. This makes it a solid addition to your employee onboarding software.

It can also be used to create videos for your learning management systems through integration with platforms like 360Learning.

Loom is affordable, offering a free starter tier, after which users can upgrade to paid packages from $12.50 per creator per month. This is perfect for enabling DIY training for smaller organizations.

Cons

Loom only has simple video editing capabilities, so more ambitious HR and learning managers might look to a more sophisticated tool.

User rating: 4.7 stars (G2)

Price at time of writing: From free

6 best practices for leveraging remote working tools in your HR department

You now have your “shopping list” of remote working technology tools, but to access the benefits that the best remote work tools can offer, you need a strategic approach. 

Here are our best practices for using tech for working remotely.

6 best practices for using remote work collaboration tools in your HR department: Summary table

Already using remote working technology tools and want to know how to make the most of them? Here’s a summary of the best practices for using technology for working remotely.

Best practice for using remote working tools

Example actions

1. Develop a clear remote communication plan

- Circulate team-specific communication policies during onboarding 

- Set guidelines for screen time and communication outside work hours

2. Build a central hub for handbooks and documents

- Store documents in a secure cloud-based system

- Follow a uniform filing system

- Frequently audit documents and permissions

3. Adopt skills-based practices to objectively and fairly hire remote candidates

- Replace resumes with skills testing

- Test international teams for fluency in a common language 

- Overcome cultural differences by testing for overlap in personality types, values, and motivation 

4. Train your workforce on how to use remote tools

- Roll out the software gradually

- Collect feedback as you go

- Use Loom to create and circulate tutorials for new software

5. Train leaders and managers to manage a remote workforce

- Encourage leaders to role model good digital boundaries

- Train leaders to chair hybrid meetings 

6. Prioritize data security

- Be vigilant of employment and data privacy laws for international employees

1. Develop a clear remote communication plan

If you use remote work collaboration tools wrong, they could make your remote communication even worse than before. In fact, research shows this is the case for 21% of remote employees.[5]

Respondents said communication barriers led to delayed or incomplete projects (44%), low morale (31%), missed performance goals (25%), and lost sales (18%). 

To avoid this, build a remote communication plan into your remote work policy. Circulate team-specific communication policies during the onboarding process, covering things like:

  • What type of communication should take place on which channel – for example, reserving Slack for quick or informal queries, Zoom for strategic collaboration, and email for formal processes

  • Where to find and store different documents (in a safe and compliant way)

  • Guidelines for screen time and communication outside of work hours – for instance, emphasizing that employees should not send emails outside colleagues’ work hours 

2. Build a central hub for handbooks and documents

If your document storage system is a disaster, you’re not alone. A whopping 97% of organizations have either minimal digital document processes or none at all, and 72% still use a mix of paper and digital documentation.

By contrast, storing your documents in a secure cloud-based system like Box gives remote employees access to the documents they need at any time and ensures that the documents don’t get leaked or lost.

Some top tips: 

  • Remember to follow a uniform filing system.

  • Frequently audit your documents and accompanying permissions.

  • Don’t store sensitive or important data, like employee compensation, in insecure places. An example is storing files in the free version of an instant messaging platform that deletes files after 30 days.

3. Adopt skills-based practices to objectively and fairly hire remote candidates

Remote work collaboration tools are only as robust as your employees’ remote work collaboration skills. Skills-based hiring helps you select candidates who have these skills.

It also makes hiring fairer overall. One study found that the number of women hired into senior roles increased by almost 70% when skills-based hiring processes were used.

Skills testing is especially good for hiring remote workers since it’s based online. This is a particular advantage when recruiting internationally

TestGorilla, for example, offers tests in multiple languages in addition to dedicated language proficiency tests to ensure all team members can communicate effectively with one another. 

By hiring remote employees with the virtual collaboration skills needed to communicate and connect with one another, you lay the groundwork for innovative problem-solving. 

In fact, Deloitte research shows that skills-based organizations are almost twice as likely to innovate as traditional businesses.[6]

4. Train your workforce on how to use remote tools 

Make sure you don’t throw employees in the deep end with your new remote work technology setup.

When employees are instructed to change their remote working technologies, half feel that the new tech requires additional skills and knowledge, and 40% say their tasks become more complex.

Left unchecked, this lack of confidence can lead to reluctance to use the tools and prevent you from accessing their benefits. 

To avoid this, roll out the software gradually and collect feedback as you go with employee pulse surveys.

Offer training to all employees. That means training HR employees to use remote working tools and their integrated programs, such as recruitment automation software, but also other employees. 

This doesn’t need to be labor-intensive. For example, using the software we covered earlier, you could circulate a quick Loom tutorial about how employees can use employee self-service to find out the date of their next paycheck through Slack.

5. Train leaders and managers to manage a remote workforce

Training your workforce to use remote work software isn’t about them mastering shortcuts and processes. 

It’s also crucial for leaders to role model good etiquette around these systems, particularly when it comes to maintaining strong digital boundaries. This means not messaging employees outside of work hours and including everyone when chairing remote and hybrid meetings.

Without senior leaders role modeling positive digital habits, it may be challenging to maintain a good company culture.

Meetings are a great place to start. Here are some best practices for using remote working tools in hybrid meetings:

  1. Invest in the best audio equipment and train your teams to use it

  2. Install bigger screens in meeting rooms so remote joiners can be life-size

  3. Nominate a meeting facilitator who is trained to ensure everyone in the meeting speaks[7]

6. Prioritize compliance and data security

Finally, verify there are no gaps in your processes that leave data unprotected, as this could open you up to legal issues and even a hefty fine. 

One study found that the cost of noncompliance to multinational organizations can be as much as $1m in business disruption alone.[8]

This may be particularly relevant for remote teams with team members who are based in the UK and Europe.

Remember: GDPR doesn’t only count for businesses based in these areas but for all businesses that hold data on people who are based there.

Examples of actions that could leave you vulnerable to data breaches or compliance issues are: 

  • Not complying with employees’ “right to be forgotten” under GDPR

  • Employees or HR managers using the same or weak passwords across multiple platforms

  • Giving more employees than necessary access to sensitive data 

3 examples of companies succeeding with remote working technology

Like assembling flat-pack furniture or cooking a complicated recipe, reading the instructions for tools for remote work is quite different from actually doing it. It can help to see the way others have used these principles and benefited.

Here are three case studies of remote work technologies in action from:

  1. Genpact

  2. The BBC

  3. Revolut

Genpact

Genpact is a professional services firm that manages digital innovation projects for Fortune 500 clients around the world.

Its global marketing team was struggling to deliver projects for clients because they were managed in spreadsheets that were saved in all sorts of places, from personal desktops to emails and Microsoft SharePoint folders.

Genpact used Monday.com to overhaul its processes, track simultaneous campaigns against deadlines, and streamline its complex workflow, achieving a 40% uplift in cross-team collaboration.

Genpact screengrab

The BBC

The BBC is one of the world’s most well-established media brands, with more than 20,000 employees based principally in the UK.

In 2018, the BBC planned to stream FIFA World Cup matches online in ultra-high definition for the first time. Pulling this off required massive collaboration efforts within and beyond the BBC, from in-house engineers and developers to external partners. 

The BBC used Slack to enable this collaboration, using custom bots to automate processes and onboard new employees quickly.[9]

Revolut

Revolut has grown rapidly from its foundation in 2015, from a cash-management app to a European bank serving more than 20 million personal customers and 950,000 business customers in 200 countries.

To serve this global customer base, Revolut requires multilingual teams, but it struggled to efficiently recruit.

TestGorilla’s language tests enabled Revolut to automate its screening process, improving time-to-hire by 30%-40% on average and boosting the quality of candidates that made it to interviews.

Get the most out of remote working technology by hiring people with remote work skills

In this article, we’ve walked you through: 

  1. What remote work software can do for your organization 

  2. The best technology for working remotely

  3. Best practices for leveraging remote work tools

  4. Examples of remote work technologies in action 

To learn more about the skills required to effectively use remote working tools, read our blog post about remote work skills

To better understand remote hiring trends and best practices for the future of work, read our guide to leveraging remote employees’ skills.

Or if you’re ready to use talent assessments to maximize the impact of remote work software, book a live demo or jump straight into skills testing by signing up for a free forever plan!

Remote working technology FAQs

Looking for a quick answer to a burning remote work technology question? We’ve got you covered.

What technology is needed for remote working?

What you need from tech for working remotely depends on the specific requirements of your organization, but nearly every organization requires features like: 

  • Video conferencing

  • Instant messaging

  • Project management and collaboration 

  • Skills-based hiring 

  • Training software 

How has technology impacted remote work?

Remote working technology has made remote working more widely accessible and scalable for organizations. 

One of the top benefits of remote work software is that it has improved the efficiency of remote work while also delivering many of the perks of working in a physical office. 

For example, remote tech tools like Zoom enable both collaboration and socialization.

What is an example of remote working?

One example of remote working is to work from home. Using just a laptop and Wi-Fi, a data analyst can:

  1. Log in to Slack and see requests from their colleagues

  2. Meet with their line manager over Zoom to discuss their priorities for the day 

  3. Complete a project and update its status in Monday.com, assigning it to a colleague in another team to review

  4. Record a tutorial on how to use a data insights tool using Loom 

What is the best technology for remote teams?

Here are examples of the best technology for working remotely, organized for different remote work tasks. 

Task 

Remote work software

Holding team meetings, one-to-ones, and client meetings

Zoom 

Having casual conversations and discussing quick queries from colleagues

Slack 

Tracking the progress of a project and assigning tasks to different team members 

Monday.com

Hiring a new employee based on their core skills

TestGorilla

Recording onboarding videos and tech tutorials using a webcam and screen-sharing

Loom 

Sources

1. “Why Employees Prefer Hybrid Working To A 10% Pay Rise – And What It Means For Business”. (September 13, 2021). International Workplace Group. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://old.iwgplc.com/MediaCentre/Article/why-employees-prefer-hybrid-working-to-pay-rise

2. Bloom, Nicholas A., et al. (March 2013). “Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment”. Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/working-papers/does-working-home-work-evidence-chinese-experiment

3. “New Qualtrics Employee Experience ID Boosts Recruiting and Retention Through Personalization”. (April 27, 2022) Qualtrics. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://www.qualtrics.com/news/new-qualtrics-employee-experience-id-boosts-recruiting-and-retention-through-personalization/

4. “OpenVPN Quick Poll Remote Workforce Cybersecurity”. OpenVPN. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://openvpn.net/blog/remote-workforce-cybersecurity-quick-poll/

5. “Communication Barriers in the Modern Workplace”. (2018). The Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://impact.economist.com/perspectives/sites/default/files/EIU_Lucidchart-Communication%20barriers%20in%20the%20modern%20workplace.pdf

6. Cantrell, Sue, et al. (September 8, 2022). “The skills-based organization: A new operating model for work and the workforce”. Deloitte Insights. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/topics/talent/organizational-skill-based-hiring.html

7. Frisch, Bob; Greene, Cary. (June 3, 2021). “What It Takes to Run a Great Hybrid Meeting”. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://hbr.org/2021/06/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-hybrid-meeting

8. “The True Cost Of Compliance With Data Protection Regulations”. (December 2017). globalscape. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://static.fortra.com/globalscape/pdfs/guides/gs-true-cost-of-compliance-data-protection-regulations-gd.pdf

9. “Improving collaboration with Slack”. Slack. Retrieved January 22, 2024. https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/customer-stories/bbc-improving-collaboration

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