Virtual workplaces are awesome spaces for employees near and far but, like a traditional office, they need resources to reach their full potential. If virtual teams are unstructured, communication quickly breaks down, and projects subsequently fall apart, no matter how well organized they are.
One critical lesson I’ve learned from online collaboration is never to underestimate the value of software, especially in a virtual space. Armed with the right software and tools, virtual teams can work together effectively and yield powerful finished products.
Thanks to working in virtual teams, managing projects remotely, and freelancing with online clients, I’ve found certain software systems to be particularly useful compared to others. I’m sharing my findings with you so you can structure your virtual teams correctly — the first time.
The challenges inherent in virtual teams
I’m a firm believer that most obstacles virtual teams encounter can be overcome easily with the right software.
Take time to learn your virtual team’s working style and needs to determine which software will enable them to work effectively on remote projects.
Some of the challenges that can arise in virtual teams relate to:
- Time management
You can remove communication issues by providing platforms for synchronous and asynchronous communication, such as instant messaging or video meeting tools. For technology issues, select tools that are easy to use and compatible with the systems that team members already use.
Meanwhile, adopting project management and file-sharing tools that allow for seamless collaboration and real-time document sharing can alleviate productivity blockers and ensure transparency throughout the project.
These and other solutions support your team’s work capacity and capabilities, allowing them to speed up processes, make fewer mistakes, and collaborate harmoniously.
Finding the best software for your virtual team
Virtual teams are only as efficient as the software they use, as it’s essential for facilitating communication, collaboration, and organization. With thousands of tools available, there are a multitude of potential solutions to improve their work processes.
In most cases, these tools will fall under one of the following categories:
- Meeting software
- Video software
- Communication tools
- Project management software
- Time-tracking tools
- Scheduling tools
- Document storage and file-sharing tools
- Co-creation and collaboration tools
- Virtual workspaces
- Virtual team-building tools
The exact software you need will depend on your team and their assignments. It should work from anywhere since virtual teams can be spread around the world. Selecting a software that’s easy to use and set up will also increase employee uptake and minimize the risk of team members making mistakes.
Additionally, the chosen software should be flexible enough to grow alongside your team. If the members have surpassed your existing software, this list can help you find new tools to add to your virtual software stack.
Keep reading to explore my recommended solutions for virtual teams.
Virtual teams lack the luxury of being able to walk across the room and ask their colleagues a question. So, holding regular meetings can help everyone work well together. Keep your members on the same page using reliable meeting software.
For a long time, Skype was the leading virtual meeting software. However, the 2020 lockdown saw a rise in alternative meeting and communication tools, creating a wealth of options for companies to choose from.
Microsoft Teams is the primary meeting software for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users. Teams is also set to replace Skype for Business, making it the natural next progression for any virtual teams still using Skype.
It’s a simplistic meeting tool for virtual teams that offers a wide range of capabilities. Key features of Microsoft Teams include online meetings, video sharing, audio-only calls, and shared channels.
Compared to other meeting tools, I’ve found Microsoft Teams to be slow to load sometimes. On the positive side, the ability to split the tool into different channels and conversations helps separate various projects and clients. However, this can cause some confusion for team members who are unfamiliar with Microsoft Teams.
While it isn’t my favorite tool for meetings, it’s a useful option for virtual teams that predominantly use Microsoft-based software and apps across their business.
Google Meet has quickly become my top meeting tool. I already use other Google software such as Google Docs, Calendar, and Drive, so transitioning to Google Meet for my virtual meetings was the logical next step.
If you’re an avid Google devotee, you’ll love the ease of Google Meet for hosting virtual team meetings. Plus, Google Calendar and Gmail users can send Google Meet invites and add them to their calendars with a simple click.
Other benefits include being able to send an agenda to all meeting attendees, shareable meeting notes, and a chat feature that lets you foster discussion on the side or share resources. Additionally, you can record meetings on Google Meet and make a copy of the chat transcript. Although the transcript feature isn’t the most accurate, it can be a helpful starting point for skimming through meetings to pull out key takeaways.
If you’re looking for meeting software with an abundance of features, GoToMeeting has you covered. The service prides itself on having enterprise-grade security so you can rest assured any data shared during meetings is kept safe.
Virtual teams often operate across numerous time zones, which frequently translates to calls at unusual times of the day. When arranging meetings with remote teams, I love that you can ask GoToMeeting to call your phone when it’s time to join. This handy option is perfect for making sure you never miss a work session.
Commuter mode is another fun feature that lets you join calls from your phone while you’re on the go without using up your phone’s bandwidth. More recently, GoToMeeting has launched a Smart Meeting Assistant that uses AI technology to take meeting notes, transcribe sessions, highlight key actions, and automatically share presentation slides with meeting attendees.
Adobe Connect takes virtual meeting software to the next level by providing a suite of tools for remote training, web conferencing, presentations, and screen sharing. This solution’s biggest attraction is how engaging it makes online meetings.
Meeting fatigue becomes a thing of the past with Adobe Connect thanks to the ability to add interactive elements. You can use “pods” to include custom apps such as a mid-meeting game of Heads Up 7 Up.
In other meeting tools, the person who shares their screen controls the speed at which you run through the shared presentation. However, with Adobe Connect, each attendee can browse shared content at a pace that works for them, making this software a powerful meeting solution for asynchronous teams.
Note: Although Zoom is an option to host meetings, recent privacy vulnerabilities have raised alarm bells, so I recommend researching software security first.
Along with meeting software, remote teams can also benefit from employing video software during their meetings. Recording video content lets members of your team rewatch content at a time that works best for them, making it easier for asynchronous teams to collaborate.
Whether you’re looking for software that lets you record succinct videos to share with your team, or you need a large-scale video conferencing tool to host webinars and virtual events, there are plenty of options to choose from.
BlueJeans is a powerhouse video conference tool and is essential for any team that plans to host virtual webinars and events.
Use BlueJeans Studio to produce high-quality live streams that you can distribute on your website or social media platforms for an even wider reach. You can also add ticker banners, name cards, and screen overlays to highlight key messaging.
Meanwhile, BlueJeans Expo lets you organize show-stopping events: Virtual teams can manage all aspects at every stage, with pre-, during, and post-event workflows to handle everything from pre-event registration to post-event reporting.
Loom is great at cutting back on the number of unnecessary meetings or long-winded emails that can crop up in virtual teams.
Streamline collaboration by recording short videos to share with your broader team, and the handy analytics feature lets you see when people viewed your video. Virtual teams can make team-wide announcements as well so everyone stays up to date throughout each project.
Loom excels at explaining how to use certain tools or follow project processes. Personally, I like using it to share feedback and actionable next steps on work submitted by team members.
Lifesize is another great video conferencing tool similar to BlueJeans. While BlueJeans is best reserved for pre-planned events and conferences, Lifesize additionally adapts well to impromptu and informal meetings. If you’re looking for a video conferencing tool that doubles up as meeting software, this may be your best bet.
When working as part of a team, it’s common for a conversation between a few people to transform into a broader team discussion. Lifesize accommodates this expansion by automatically letting you add participants to a voice meeting between two individuals.
Vidyard is a valuable video software for virtual sales and marketing teams working toward collective goals.
Remote sales teams can create and share personalized videos with prospects and communicate better with customers and teams. Combine Vidyard videos with easy-to-share resources to help prospects move through the customer journey. Vidyard is a fun way to shake up the stale, traditional way of holding sales meetings by switching to asynchronous videos.
Connectivity is key when working as a team, whether in person or remote. Virtual teams can stay connected using communication tools. These solutions let virtual teams have real-time conversations, share ideas, and collaborate, no matter their location.
Many communication tools come with built-in organizational features or can integrate with project management tools, which helps virtual teams stay organized. Keep conversations flowing and projects moving forward by adding communication tools to your essential software stack.
Slack is the obvious choice for virtual team communication. The beauty of Slack is that you can tailor the channels to suit your team and represent the different tasks they’re involved in. For example, you may want to set up a “Product” channel for product marketing teams or a “Sales” channel to discuss sales targets and results.
Also, publish a few broader channels for general updates, to touch base with team members, or to hold casual conversations that build camaraderie. I love having a “Water Cooler” channel where people can share funny memes, photos of dogs, or the music they listen to while they work. It might sound counterintuitive, but creating a breakout space for general chit-chat can actually help team productivity.
With Slack, you can keep conversations all in one place too. Instead of trying to locate messages across various project management tools and email inboxes, you can maintain your team conversations on Slack and quickly search for the information you need.
You can even launch separate workspaces if you operate across multiple virtual teams or projects, making Slack a great choice for freelancers, contractors, and agencies.
Chanty is younger than Slack but offers several similar communication features: As well as channels, Chanty also offers “Teambooks” that enable your virtual team to stay organized across tasks, conversations, pinned messages, calls, and resources. The Teambooks feature is perfect for capturing a quick overview of your current project priorities or the latest discussions.
Dev teams will particularly enjoy the ability to send code snippets in Chanty to gather instant feedback from their team.
Much like how everyone suffered from “Zoom fatigue” during the 2020-2021 pandemic, I’ve observed many virtual teams beginning to experience Slack fatigue. They’ve used Slack for myriad projects and teams, and now they want the excitement of trying something new. Enter: Discord.
This platform offers an alternative experience for virtual team communication. Communication tools like Slack and Chanty primarily focus on text communication. Discord, however, prioritizes voice communication, which can better emulate in-person conversations and help bring virtual teams closer.
Pumble is a free communication tool perfect for virtual teams that want to keep operational costs low. If you’re familiar with Slack, you’ll have no issue using this tool. Much like Slack (and Chanty), Pumble offers conversation options for personalized channels and direct messages. You can also share files with people and search through past conversations.
I enjoy sending voice and video messages through Pumble. For moments when you need to explain something quickly but don’t want to jump on a video call, you can use the voice or video messaging feature to get your point across and keep your team informed.
Remember the carefree days of speaking to your friends on walkie-talkies and playing games of hide-and-seek? Think of Voxer as the professional version of that — except there’s less hunting, and your walkie-talkie connection doesn’t cut out.
Voxer is a Walkie Talkie messaging app for team communication. Users can enjoy two-way conversations with their teammates, send them one-way broadcasts, or turn audio recordings into text messages. So, you can speak with your team in real time or send a recorded message. I also love that Voxer integrates with Dropbox so you can easily share important files with your team while talking on Voxer.
Project management software
Project management software provides a centralized hub where virtual teams can effectively collaborate on tasks, track their progress, and share resources. These types of tools are essential for helping virtual teams pinpoint what tasks need to be done and when so they can collaborate in real time regardless of their physical location.
The best part of project management tools is that they offer greater transparency and visibility for everyone involved.
Basecamp is one of the first project management tools I ever used. For that reason alone, it’ll always have a special place in my heart — and my tool stack.
The development team behind Basecamp is always searching for ways to improve and innovate this project management software. Users can keep track of projects and create separate boards for each of their clients so team members are only added to relevant boards.
You can also use Basecamp to upload files for the entire team to use, save easily editable text documents, and host discussions (complete with attachments) either privately or in a public chat. Basecamp’s chat features are great for centralizing team communications so everyone stays on track. Plus, you can search Basecamp to find relevant conversations without trawling through your email inbox.
Asana is my go-to project management tool for managing freelance writing teams. I like how streamlined and focused it looks compared to other project management tools while managing to offer a wide range of features.
You’re given the choice as to how you want to display information, such as in a list, Kanban board, timeline, or calendar. Assign tasks to team members so they can clearly see what tasks and projects they need to work on. Coupled with the deadlines feature, this gives team members greater ownership over their workload so they know what to work on and when it’s due.
It’s also easy to provide feedback through Asana and add subtasks for various project stages within each task. You can even set up Rules that automate specific tasks in Asana to further improve efficiency within your virtual team.
Before switching to Asana, I used Trello to manage freelance writing teams. I still love it, but I found Asana provided greater flexibility and visibility when managing a large team.
That being said, Trello is a great project management tool for small virtual teams that need a simple, visual project overview. The platform’s extensive template library all but guarantees you’ll find a pre-existing template that meets your needs. You can use Trello to assign projects to team members, set up a remote team hub, or create a meeting board. Whatever you choose to use it for, Trello’s simple design makes it a distraction-free way to manage virtual projects.
Be warned though, if you plan to manage complex projects or assignments with larger teams, you may want a different project management tool.
Monday.com works similarly to Asana, and the one you choose typically comes down to personal preference. Some people find Monday.com easier to set up than other project management tools (the colorful interface helps too).
You can break down project groups into individual tasks, assign them to team members, and create dependencies so that, if one task is delayed, you can instantly spot what other tasks will be impacted. You can also compose daily to-do lists and weekly team tasks to gain an overview of everyone’s workload and help the team collaborate on tasks.
ClickUp describes itself as the “one app to replace them all.” It’s a bold statement, but if there’s one thing the tool gets right, it’s creating visually clean and functional project management boards.
To me, ClickUp is like a cross between Slack and Asana. You receive all the great project management styling of Asana coupled with the communication features of Slack. You can switch to a Chat board to speak with your team in real time, tag them in projects, or assign comments for action items.
ClickUp lets you set goals too, which is a gamechanger for keeping virtual teams aligned. You can connect tasks to goals and assign goal progression instantaneously.
ProofHub aims to bring all the project tools your team might need into one centralized hub.
Virtual teams can plan their projects using a variety of project views, including table view, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts. You can collaborate with members on projects using markup tools and threaded comments to share feedback, or try ProofHub’s communication features to speak with teammates.
To measure deliverables, ProofHub gives you the option to keep track of time spent on tasks and billable hours with timesheets. Meanwhile, the daily agenda provides a day-to-day view of what tasks are on your schedule.
Timing is everything when working on virtual projects. Time-tracking software monitors how much time is spent on different tasks and projects. These tools are useful for spotting blockers, pinpointing where tasks take too long, and better managing time and resources for future projects.
Time-tracking solutions offer transparency across everyone’s schedules and workload, which improves accountability and ensures all team members work efficiently and effectively. Dive into time-tracking insights to make data-driven decisions and learn how to manage your team’s workload.
The Kantata software helps virtual teams optimize their time with its suite of operational tools.
Your team can enjoy clarity over projects and better understand how resources are allocated. Manage team capacity by gaining an overview of what they’re working on and how much of their time is accounted for.
Use Kantata to forecast team availability for future projects and learn how this impacts revenue, margins, and timelines. With its capabilities tracker, you can see each team member’s skills and align them with tasks where they’ll have the most impact.
Besides resource management software, Kantata also offers project management, business intelligence, project management, and team collaboration tools.
Toggl is a great time management tool for freelancers, solopreneurs, and virtual teams.
Teams can easily track their work hours and set up recurring tasks, organize work by client, and create shareable timelines. Additionally, Toggl’s Team features let virtual groups see what everyone’s working on and collaborate on tasks seamlessly.
Clockify is a free-forever time-tracking tool offering an array of useful features.
It’s best suited for small teams wanting to track their hours. Clockify’s simplistic nature makes it easy to record time spent on tasks. In turn, tasks can be categorized into projects and clients, and you can note whether they’re billable or non-billable. You can also invite your team to track time and set a billable rate, role, and group for each member.
TimeCamp is another feature-rich time-tracker for virtual teams.
Automatic time-tracking lets you log tasks as you work on them. TimeCamp works on the web, desktop, mobile, and even in some popular app integrations so you can track your time no matter where you are. Website and app usage monitoring makes it even easier to see how long you spend using certain sites, apps, or documents.
With the productivity tracker, you can see which tasks take up most of your time and set goals to improve efficiency. Meanwhile, the attendance tracker gives an overview of your team’s availability and whether they’re working or on leave.
Although primarily a time-tracking tool, Harvest also provides a project management suite, invoicing and payroll management, and productivity reports.
Its time tracker is intuitive and easy to use, and you can download invoices for clients based on your team’s billable hours. The tool’s strength lies in its ability to build workflows and processes around the core time tracking provision, which lets you log time for specific projects, integrate with other tools, record expenses and payments, and more.
Managing availability across virtual teams can be a complex endeavor. Scheduling tools help you plan meetings at a time that works for everyone, even if they work in different locations or time zones.
Keeping an eye on people’s schedules helps avoid meeting conflicts or delays by ensuring everyone is available for important meetings. With a robust scheduling tool, you can easily organize meetings and improve team coordination.
Calendly is a popular call-scheduling tool that makes it easy to book meetings.
I’m impressed how Calendly overcomes the back-and-forth hassle of trying to find a suitable meeting time for all parties: You simply send people your Calendly link so they see when you’re free for a meeting and can book a slot in your calendar directly through the tool.
Teams can pool their scheduling availability to give prospects even more options for connecting with someone. Further, automated follow-up emails reduce the administrative burden of completing meeting requests and sending out calendar invites; Calendly does it all for you.
Another scheduling tool your team may enjoy is Doodle. This option simplifies group meetings through its ability to add multiple hosts to booking pages, ensuring everyone is notified when a meeting is scheduled and no one is double-booked.
Doodle’s reporting features give a clear overview of team meetings to see which members are booked. Administrators can even book meetings on behalf of members. My favorite feature in Doodle is the group poll — instead of asking your team when they’re all free, you can send a quick poll to gauge their availability for a group meeting.
Use Acuity Scheduling to automate everything from appointments to payments. Like other scheduling tools, this one lets you book meetings by sharing your booking calendar.
Acuity Scheduling is a simplistic scheduling tool for small, service-based teams. You can set up gift certificates, packages, memberships, or group classes — perfect for virtual teams who want to consolidate their tools and simplify checkout for service-based customers.
World Time Buddy
The hardest part about scheduling meetings for virtual teams is finding a time that works best for everyone across time zones. To combat this issue, look to World Time Buddy, which is a simple time converter tool and world clock.
Set up multiple time zones to keep track of the time wherever your members are based. Teams can also use World Time Buddy to schedule time to meet, overlaying their Google Calendar to check for any meeting clashes before booking.
OnceHub aims to improve engagement across the entire user journey. As with other scheduling tools, it’s an easy option to schedule meetings with your team. Share your OnceHub calendar to allow members to book a meeting.
People also have the choice to join a meeting right away. For some, sooner is better than later, and OnceHub recognizes this by allowing individuals to connect instantly with your team via live chat, video call, or by scheduling a meeting for the future.
Where it shines brightest, however, is its ability to create automated meeting journey workflows. You can send automated meeting invites or start a live chat based on how people interact with your business.
Document storage and file-sharing tools
Few things are as frustrating as having multiple versions of the same document in circulation. Thankfully, document storage and file-sharing tools can erase this issue for virtual teams.
This category of software lets virtual teams collaborate on shared files and maintain version control. Many cloud-based document storage and file-sharing tools provide high-security options as well for the storage of sensitive information, making them essential for virtual teams.
Back in the Dark Ages, I was introduced to Google Sheets to keep track of the hours I worked. Since then, I’ve discovered the joys of time-tracking tools, but Google Drive has proven itself to be a useful addition to my virtual team software arsenal.
Open to anyone with a Gmail account, Google Drive lets users store and access their files virtually anywhere, anytime. You can create shared folders for easy file access between virtual team members. These files are updated in real time so, if one person makes a change or adds a comment to an uploaded file, other members can see those changes as soon as they happen.
If you want a back-to-basics file-sharing tool, look no further than Dropbox. Simple, straightforward, and intuitive, this is a great choice for virtual teams that want to share information but don’t need (or want) the fancy features that come with other cloud storage tools.
Dropbox works much like a shared drive, providing the ability to create folders and organize content. One feature I adore is its file recovery: If a team member accidentally deletes something, those files can be recovered and restored (if you notice within the 180-day window). This is a lifesaver for those accidental erasures that can happen when multiple people have access to the same files.
Dropbox or WeTransfer? Everyone has a favorite. While they look similar on the surface, there are some notable differences between them. Ultimately, WeTransfer works best for teams that want to transfer files quickly and effortlessly for free.
Custom branding lets your team tailor WeTransfer to their preferences while the Portals feature enables them to consolidate files, loop in relevant teammates, and share feedback.
If you’re looking for file-sharing software with all the bells and whistles, Zoho WorkDrive might be your top pick, as it’s overflowing with features.
Zoho WorkDrive has all the usual document storage and file-sharing capabilities that other tools offer but adds an extra layer of organization to the mix. The Data Templates feature, for instance, lets you create rules for storing or classifying new files. This improves consistency while prioritizing data security. In WorkDrive, the handy Collect Files feature lets you easily (and securely) request files from team members.
Microsoft users tend to prefer to host their files on OneDrive. This document storage software works seamlessly with other Microsoft tools.
Use OneDrive to store your files and share them with others. Companies that adopt it are able to access public folders from their computer’s local file system, which prevents people from saving files to their personal computers.
Sharing passwords and sensitive information between virtual teammates is risky. After all, you don’t want to send private information via email or over the phone. To protect you and your employees, LastPass lets you securely share passwords with relevant team members, with or without revealing the actual code.
If someone leaves the team or no longer needs the password, you can quickly update the share settings to remove them. LastPass’ insights will also inform you of potential security vulnerabilities and pending invites so you can manage passwords and keep them safe.
Sometimes, you need a space to ideate and maintain team knowledge. That place is Notion. This platform makes for a great knowledge hub where you can store existing documents, share information, and create new files.
Notion is a powerhouse: You can set up systems for your team or use it to act as a “second brain” to capture and organize ideas for future use. Add members to Notion boards and turn shared documents into working drafts for the whole team. The platform can also serve as a project management tool thanks to its Kanban board templates and the ability to set due dates, assign boards to people, and create subtasks (among other things).
So, for a collaborative document storage and file-sharing software that’s flexible, be sure to check out Notion.
Co-creation and collaboration tools
Help your virtual team stay organized throughout projects with co-creation and collaboration tools. The success of virtual team projects relies on members’ ability to work together. Co-creation and collaboration tools enable them to organize their work and provide team-wide visibility over what tasks need to be done.
Bringing people together to brainstorm ideas virtually is pivotal in remote collaboration, so tap into these creative tools to inspire productive co-creation and collaboration.
Google Workspace brings together Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other collaboration tools from the search engine. The online nature of this solution makes it perfectly positioned for virtual teams who may need to collaborate on files.
Google Workspace hosts documents in the cloud, allowing team members to access the same document, work on it simultaneously, and see changes as they’re made. You can add comments to communicate with teammates, track changes, and maintain version control to facilitate efficient co-creation.
Virtual teams can use Stormboard as a visual shared workspace. The interactive elements of its digital whiteboard let virtual teams quickly convert shared ideas into actions.
New ideas can be added as text, videos, files, notes, and drawings, allowing team members to contribute in the way that works best for them. This eases the collaboration process so teams can capture and discuss ideas seamlessly. I also found Stormboard’s timer feature useful for stopping teammates from getting carried away during the brainstorming process.
Stormboard and Miro are pretty similar co-creation tools, and which one you choose typically comes down to personal preference. Miro’s whiteboard feature lets teams visually collaborate on projects and share their ideas and input whenever inspiration strikes.
One way I love to use Miro is during team meetings on Google Meet. Miro is installed on Google Meet by default, so it’s simply a matter of a few clicks to open a whiteboard and visually capture ideas mid-meeting. Once the collaboration is over, the whiteboard will be available for later use in your Miro board collection.
Dev teams can also use Miro to build new solutions and apps. This eases friction for developers as they take new projects from idea to conception.
Foster camaraderie among remote teams with a virtual workspace. This category of software lets your team access a shared environment where they work together and stay connected, reducing the isolation of remote work.
Virtual workspaces help team members communicate, find what they need, and build relationships. With the right software, you can generate a positive company culture and sense of togetherness no matter where your employees are located.
Confluence is a remote-friendly team workspace that bridges the gap between individual knowledge and collaboration.
Virtual teams of any size or type can leverage Confluence to work collaboratively thanks to its tiered plans, which range from free to an enterprise level. Share team documents with ease, be it project plans, meeting notes, team policies, or tool troubleshooting guides.
In the Spaces area, your team can work together and access shared documents for their joint assignment. Hierarchical page trees make it easy to link related content, keeping work organized and teams on track.
The Teamflow virtual workspace was made especially for sales teams. On it, your virtual sales team can collaborate, meet, brainstorm, and hang out just as they would in a physical office.
Members can even shadow each other’s calls and dial in together for virtual check-ins. You can see who’s “on the sales floor” or if someone’s on a call, and whenever someone closes a deal, you can celebrate as a team!
While listening in on sales representatives’ calls, you can share immediate feedback and pair new sales reps with seasoned members so they can learn from their peers. Teamflow puts a fun spin on the traditional sales team environment to give its virtual counterpart an equivalent collaborative experience.
For virtual teams split between remote and office-based workers, WorkInSync offers a hybrid workplace solution that everyone will appreciate.
Individual members can share their work preferences such as day, time, and location so other teammates can easily see their availability and location. WorkInSync’s meeting room booking lets team members seamlessly reserve a desk or meeting room in a shared office space. If members split their time between the office and home, the team scheduling feature lets you display who’s where and when.
Another virtual workspace option for your remote team is Kosy.
What distinguishes Kosy from other solutions is that you can actually build a virtual office (think Animal Crossing for your virtual team). Design a virtual workspace that reflects your company culture, add furniture, and style a personal office to suit your tastes. Your team can “sit” together at team desks and interact with one another virtually. By seeing who’s in the office, you’ll quickly gauge who’s available for a meeting, a quick check-in, or a virtual lunch break.
Kosy is an incredibly engaging virtual workspace software that ramps up productivity by combining fun and functionality.
Breakroom is a virtual workspace that embraces the metaverse. It offers an immersive experience for teams that want to interact in the virtual world. Each member creates an avatar that can walk around, interact with the virtual space, and engage with other teammates.
You can even build a Digital HQ that acts as a hub of collaborative activity. Complete with whiteboards, webcam, screen sharing, and messaging tools, this Digital HQ has everything you need for effective virtual team working. Breakroom can also host virtual events and classrooms that emulate real-life experiences with interactive and immersive experiences.
Virtual team-building tools
It sounds cliché, but happy teams are effective teams. With virtual team-building software, you can unite members, boost morale, and increase motivation despite the distance and lack of face-to-face interaction.
Team-building tools help you bring the fun by incorporating a wide range of games and activities. This keeps team members engaged and increases their sense of connection and belonging.
Wildgoose offers online games and team-building activities for virtual groups. These virtual games will have your teammates laughing, solving problems, and building strong bonds.
- Escape room-style games where you have to unravel clues and escape before the clock runs out
- Detective-style investigations and mysteries that you solve as a team
- Exploration games that allow you and your team to travel the world virtually
- Team quizzes where you test your knowledge and take part in creative challenges
Wildgoose also offers hybrid and in-person games, perfect for virtual teams that want to meet face-to-face. The company constantly adds to their catalog, so you can rest assured there will always be a new, fun game for your team to play.
Teamazing markets itself as a one-stop solution for team-building, workshops, leadership development, and more.
It offers a selection of carefully curated team-building activities, games, and workshops that can be as silly or as serious as you want them to be. Use Teamazing to host a virtual team party, compete in online team challenges, or help your team grow with online workshops.
Working as a virtual team can sometimes make it hard to get to know each other. But with QuizBreaker’s icebreaker games, you can learn more about your teammates and build strong relationships.
All you have to do is invite your team to answer fun icebreaker questions—and you can even make your own. Once all the answers are submitted, the fun begins as everyone tries to guess who said what.
Water Cooler Trivia
The office water cooler is the traditional setting for casual office chit-chat. Water Cooler Trivia takes that in-person activity online with its weekly trivia game.
It helps break up the monotony of your weekly schedule by adding a flair of entertainment for the whole team. I enjoy how you can share the weekly trivia via email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams; being able to choose your platform makes it even easier for virtual teams to join in the fun.
Bonus: Tips for managing virtual teams
Effectively managing virtual teams takes practice, and every team is different. Get to know your members, including their strengths and preferred working styles so you can better accommodate each individual and help them work together cohesively.
From my experience with managing virtual teams, here are some of my top tips for building a strong virtual team that performs well:
- Clarify tasks and processes
- Establish open communication channels
- Adopt communication tools
- Create a virtual “water cooler”
- Make sure everyone has visibility over the information they need and their assigned tasks
- Have a well-defined structured
- Build a team hub
- Capitalize on one-on-one meetings
Wrapping up — Embrace essential software for your virtual team
Take time to learn what makes your team tick and what causes them to step on the brakes. Once you understand their inner workings, you can determine which software is essential for their productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction and look for fitting solutions.
Not every tool will be a perfect match though, so be sure to allot plenty of testing time so your team can trial different software and see which works best for them. As your team grows and evolves, the software they need may change as well. Check your virtual team software regularly to ensure it’s still relevant for optimal team productivity.
Published April 6, 2015
Updated January 30, 2023