Remote work is all butterflies and rainbows until you're the one trying to manage a remote team. Then, it's more like juggling a million different balls while being pulled in a million different directions. Suddenly, all those things you loved about working remotely become your worst nightmare.
The lack of face-to-face interaction makes communication more complex, and the lack of a central location makes collaboration nearly impossible. One thing is on your mind: how can you keep your team organized, efficient, and productive when everyone is working on their own time?
The answer lies in finding the right tools. There are many different options out there, but not all of them are created equal. To help you out, we've put together a list of our favorite asynchronous communication and collaboration tools for remote teams.
Asynchronous collaboration tools allow your remote team to communicate, collaborate, and work together without being in the same place at the same time. They do this by enabling you to discuss, exchange information, share files, and create and manage projects—on your schedule.
Put another way, asynchronous collaboration tools help you collaborate and get work done without being available at the same time as your team.
Asynchronous tools come in different forms, with some better suited for specific tasks than others.
Project management tools are designed to help teams plan projects, assign tasks, manage deadlines, and track progress. Popular project management tools include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp.
Knowledge management tools help teams document, organize, and share information and know-how. They act as a wiki for everyone in your org—allowing you to document essential company information, create FAQs, and provide onboarding and training materials for new hires. Popular knowledge management tools include Notion, Google Drive, Coda, and Dropbox.
Digital whiteboard tools empower teams to brainstorm, ideate, and collaborate on a shared whiteboard. They can be used for mind mapping, sketching, retrospectives, presenting ideas, and a lot more. Popular digital whiteboard tools include Miro, MURAL, and Whimsical.
Video conferencing tools enable teams to communicate face-to-face, even when they're not in the same place. Popular video conferencing tools include Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Messaging tools help teams communicate asynchronously. They can be used for quick conversations, longer discussions, or exchanging files and other resources. Popular messaging tools include Slack, Twist (from Doist), and Microsoft Teams.
The purpose of meeting management tools is to help remote teams record, organize, and share video meetings and associated notes—so that it’s possible for your distributed team to catch up on their schedule and get up to speed. Popular meeting management tools include Grain, Fellow, and Hypercontext.
Undoubtedly, email is still one of the most popular tools for asynchronous communication. Email helps team members communicate and collaborate on projects asynchronously. Popular email solutions include Google and Microsoft Outlook.
As you see, there's an asynchronous collaboration tool for just about every need. As a remote-first company distributed across several time zones, we’ve curated our favorites to help you get started.
If video meetings are at the core of your remote team's day-to-day operations, you'll certainly need Grain to help you make the most of them.
Grain serves as your centralized video meeting workspace where your team can access recordings, highlights, transcriptions, notes, and meeting summaries—without any hand holding.
This means you or anyone in your team can go back, review meetings (or just the key moments), and catch up—without having to attend the meetings. In other words, you can attend meetings asynchronously.
Plus, with Grain, you'll find yourself cutting back on meetings, as the recordings will serve as a great reference for future discussions. You won't have to fill in everyone on what was discussed last time because they can just watch the recordings or the highlights themselves without needing a full-blown meeting. All they need to do is search by typing keywords or #tags and review—and just like that, they're up to speed.
Did we mention that each video is shareable yet?
Yes, you can clip and share specific parts of meetings with other team members via other asynchronous communication tools like Slack, Notion, or Asana so that everyone stays on the same page, every single time. This is helpful when you need to provide context around a decision or include someone in a discussion who couldn't make the meeting.
Grain can also help you stitch together the important parts of your conversations to create a highlight reel. It's perfect for getting new hires up to speed on past projects and company culture by just sharing select videos with them. And because each video is timestamped, finding what you're looking for is a breeze.
In short, Grain is the perfect tool for teams that rely heavily on video meetings and need a way to make them more efficient and effective. With Grain, you can make sure everyone is always on the same page without sacrificing productivity or efficiency.
Slack is for you if you're tired of juggling different communication tools and want to consolidate everything into one place. It's perfect for teams that already use various tools and need a way to tie them all together.
Slack integrates with just about every tool you could think of, from Asana and Trello to Google Drive and Notion. That means you can easily share files, collaborate on projects, and keep track of tasks without ever having to leave Slack.
Plus, with Slack's handy search feature, you can easily find any information you need—whether it's a specific message, file, or conversation. And if you're working on a project with team members in different time zones, you can take advantage of Slack's threaded messages to keep track of who said what and when. That way, no one ever feels left out of the loop.
Speaking of messaging, with Slack, you can easily create channels for different topics, projects, or teams so that everyone can stay on the same page.
All in all, Slack is an incredibly versatile tool that can be used for just about anything—from real-time chats to keeping your team informed. If you're looking for a way to tie all of your team's communication together, Slack is the way to go.
What if you're tired of "hopping on calls" and want a more efficient way to communicate? Meet Loom.
Loom is perfect for teams that need to communicate complex ideas or give feedback on projects. With Loom, you can easily record yourself giving a presentation or demo using the handy screen recording feature that lets you record your screen and narrate over it–without ever having to leave your desk.
And if you need to give feedback on a project? Loom is perfect for that too. Just record a quick video explaining what you like and don't like. Then, share the video with your team so they can see your feedback in real-time. No more back-and-forth over email or confusing screenshots—just clear, concise feedback that everyone can understand.
Miro is the perfect tool for teams that need a better way to brainstorm or collaborate on projects. With Miro, you can easily create digital whiteboards that everyone on your team can access and contribute to in real-time.
Plus, because Miro is cloud-based, you can easily share your whiteboards with team members who are working remotely. And if you need to give feedback on a project, Miro makes it easy to do so with its built-in commenting feature.
But that's not all. Miro also offers a variety of templates that you can use for different projects. For instance, if you're working on a website design project, you can use Miro's web design template. Or, if you're working on a marketing campaign, you can use Miro's marketing template.
That means, with Miro, you can easily get your team's creative juices flowing—whether you're in the same room or on different continents. You no longer have to worry about the brainstorming process getting bogged down. With Miro, it's easy to get your team's best ideas out in the open so you can move forward with your project.
Ending our list on a high note, there's Notion—your digital workspace for everything from docs and tasks to projects and wikis.
If you're looking for a tool that can help your team manage knowledge, Notion is the way to go. For instance, you could create a workspace for your marketing team where everyone can access documents, templates, and other resources. Or, you could create a workspace for your product team where everyone can collaborate on product specs and user flows.
What makes it such a valuable tool for remote teams is that it's easy to use and manage. You can easily invite team members to join your workspace and then give them different permissions so they can only access the resources they need. Plus, Notion's search function makes it easy to find the resources you need—even if you don't know where they are.
And apart from being an excellent knowledge management tool, Notion is also great for collaboration. With its built-in commenting and editing features, it's easy to give and receive feedback on documents and other resources. It just takes a few clicks to get started which is a huge time-saver for busy teams.
Notion will help your team stay organized and on top of things even when you're all working remotely or even as people exit and join the company.
The benefits of asynchronous collaboration tools are many, but the bottom line is that they can help your team be more productive and effective—even when you're not in the same room. Don't let geographical boundaries get in the way of your team's productivity—that's no longer a barrier to success.
Now, all it takes is the right tool for the job. With the right tools, you can collaborate with anyone, anywhere.
Make the most of your meetings with Grain, adopt Slack to communicate seamlessly, leverage Loom when you need to add a video, collaborate over Miro boards, and document and preserve your company knowledge in Notion.
To wrap up, with the knowledge of the best asynchronous communication and collaboration tools for remote teams, you're well on your way to setting your team up for success.