Written by Team Zumvie

December 12, 2021

Top 14 Best Remote Working Tools for Engineers

Due to the pandemic, engineering teams have grown fond of working remotely in the past year. There are numerous benefits of working from home. Engineers are no longer restricted to a particular workplace; they can work in an environment that suits them. Additionally, teams can work from anywhere with no geographical boundaries. Organizations can also save a lot of resources by minimizing the number of employees in the office.

This kind of work arrangement, however, comes with certain challenges. Time management and communication, for instance, are some of the most significant issues. But you can overcome these challenges by using some quality remote working tools.

There are several tools used by small businesses and big companies to increase productivity and improve the performance of their teams working remotely. This article discusses some of the best tools for remote work that engineers, engineering managers, and engineering teams can benefit from.

  1. Zumvie: On the Jira platform and a Standalone app
  2. Google Workspace
  3. Slack
  4. Zoom
  5. Webex
  6. Todoist
  7. Jira
  8. Trello
  9. Asana
  10. Basecamp
  11. Microsoft Remote Desktop
  12. GitHub
  13. Time Doctor
  14. LastPass

1. Zumvie: On the Jira platform and a Standalone app

Purpose: One-on-one meetings

Cost: Free standalone app, on the Atlassian marketplace, the Jira app is USD 2.50 per user and USD 10 for the entire team for teams with less than 10 individuals.

One-on-one meetings between engineering managers and their direct reports (engineers) are regular in engineering teams. Engineering managers use these meetings to give feedback, resolve issues and help their engineers grow in their roles. 

Before remote working became paramount, many engineering managers stuck with good old handwritten notes to keep one-on-one meeting notes. With the rise of remote work, many of them sought flexible note-taking tools to give them that handwritten note flexibility and this is what Zumvie is designed to do. 

Zumvie is the best one-on-one meeting tool because it gives engineering managers the flexibility of making handwritten notes with other powerful features to improve the remote one-on-one experience. 

These powerful features include:

  • Collect one-on-one meeting “Agenda Items.” and have a dedicated SlackBot to send reminders.
  • Create a neat to-do list of “Action items.”
  • Make “Follow-up items” for future one-on-one meetings with the ability to pin the critical ones.
  • Make “Private notes” to store confidential information about your direct reports.
  • And a “Meeting history log” showing an overview of the previous meetings to give you context.

There’s much more to Zumvie and the best part is that you can get it right on JIRA (if you use JIRA) or as a standalone app for FREE.

2. Google Workspace

Purpose: Collaboration and file sharing

Cost: Plans start at USD 6 per month

Engineering teams need to share many files and collaborate on the documentation day in and day out. Google Workspace makes these tasks easier than ever. From emails via Gmail and instant messaging in Hangouts to storing files in Google Drive and editing documents, Google Workspace covers a lot of bases.

The ease of use and access across different platforms makes Google Workspace one of the best remote working tools. Although there are some other alternatives available, such as Office 365 and Zoho Suite, Google Workspace is arguably the best option.

3. Slack

Purpose: Instant messaging and calls

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 7 per month

Slack has grown in popularity in recent years. Owing to its remarkable features for effective communication, Slack is one of the best tools for remote work. It gives flexibility to create channels for different teams, projects, and even tasks, thus ensuring that all concerned individuals stay on top of things.

Small businesses with limited resources and basic requirements can use Slack for free. However, if one looks at the quality of communication and the increase in productivity that comes with Slack, the cost for premium plans also seems reasonable. For organizations working remotely, Slack is a must-have tool.

4. Zoom

Purpose: Video conferencing and meetings

Cost: Plans start at USD 15 per month

Zoom is one word that every organization has heard in the past year. This video conferencing tool has made it so easy for teams to communicate. Zoom is exceptionally lightweight and responsive on all browsers, desktop and laptop computers, and mobile devices, making it one of the most often used tools for meetings.

Zoom also integrates with Google calendar, thus allowing you to use Google Workspace more effectively. Meetings can also be recorded, which can be extremely helpful. In addition, Zoom is one of the best remote working tools that engineering teams can highly benefit from.

5. Webex

Purpose: Video conferencing and meetings

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 25 per month

Webex is another remarkable remote working tool used for meetings and video conferencing. This tool, just like Zoom, allows teams to join meetings from any device and from anywhere in the world. One of the unique features of Webex is the “Call Me,” where the participants receive a call from Webex and can join the meeting without any hassle.

Engineers working on complicated and highly technical projects need regular meetings with the team and management. Webex is an ideal platform for short and long meetings and promises increased productivity.

6. Todoist

Purpose: Task management

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 3 per month

One of the problems of remote work is task management. It is easy to get distracted and lose focus when working from home. Todoist is one of the remote working tools with the potential to overcome this challenge. This tool, designed for remote and the workplace environment, can have immense benefits for engineering teams.

Todoist helps organize tasks and projects and serves as a tool for collaboration. For example, engineers can work on multiple projects and keep track of the progress using a single dashboard. Additionally, engineering managers can also make sure that everything is going as planned on all the projects that they’re handling at a given time.

7. Jira

Purpose: Project management and product development

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 7.5 per month

Jira is one of the remote working tools that the engineering teams love to use. This tool has a lot of uses. From tracking the progress of a project to test case management, Jira ensures that all products and services have a standard workflow.

Using Jira, engineers can easily collaborate with other team members and make sure that the requirements of a project are being met. For example, engineering managers can use this tool to assign tasks to their team members, keep track of the progress, and resolve issues if and when they arise.

8. Trello

Purpose: Collaboration and project management

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 5 per month

Trello is one of the simplest yet most effective remote working tools. However, using this tool does not require any expertise. Trello is beneficial for startups and small businesses where the workflows are relatively simple, teams are small, and the resources are limited.

Engineering managers can use Trello to create cards and lists, assign tasks to individuals, and keep track of the progress with ease. Trello is one of the most simplified project management tools and is gaining popularity, primarily because of its ease of use.

9. Asana

Purpose: Collaboration and project management

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 11 per month

Asana is another project management tool that is easy to use and does not require expertise. However, when it comes to remote working tools and collaboration in a remote environment, Asana is one of the best solutions in the market.

Asana, like Trello, allows engineers to collaborate hassle-free on multiple projects, that too with a better user interface that is delightful to interact with. For simple projects that do not have a lot of team members, Asana is a perfect solution.

10. Basecamp

Purpose: Task management and communication

Cost: A single plan worth USD 99 for the whole team

Basecamp is a comprehensive solution for engineering teams scattered across the globe. This tool is primarily used for project management and progress tracking, but it has many other features to increase teams’ productivity. One such feature is “Check-In Questions,” which can automate daily standup meetings.

Teams can also use Basecamp to chat and stay connected while working on a project. Engineers can hugely benefit from this remote working tool as it offers many features on a single platform.

11. Microsoft Remote Desktop

Purpose: Remote resource and software access

Cost: Free

A lot of organizations have tools that are specific to the devices in the workplace. This can be for security, a limited number of licenses, and ensuring that the tools are being used for official work. Microsoft Remote Desktop is a free remote working tool that can come in handy in this regard.

With the help of this client software, engineers can access specific tools while sitting at home. The tool is very effective in ensuring the security of the tools and managing the devices accessing a certain tool. Engineers and engineering managers can increase productivity and keep their data secure simultaneously.

12. GitHub

Purpose: Version control and collaboration

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 4 per month

If you were to name a tool software engineers love, it would be GitHub. This tool has a lot of potentials and increases engineering teams’ productivity. Open source organizations and big enterprises use GitHub for version control, collaboration, and software development.

GitHub is an ideal remote working tool as engineers from anywhere in the world can track the changes in a project and add value to it. The version control feature of this tool is unmatchable in the current engineering world. It allows developers and engineers to track all changes in the code and stay on top of things, creating a highly collaborative environment.

13. Time Doctor

Purpose: Employee monitoring

Cost: Plans start at USD 7 per month

Time Doctor is a tool specifically designed for remote work. This tool not only helps in tracking the time spent on a project but is also effective in keeping a check on the productivity of employees. For example, if you’re an engineering manager wondering about monitoring your team’s performance, Time Doctor is a tool with immense potential.

Time Doctor has numerous benefits for individuals as well. At times, engineers and developers need dedicated time to focus on certain tasks. Along with this, tracking the time spent on a certain task or project is also beneficial. All of this is achievable with Time Doctor without any hassle.

14. LastPass

Purpose: Security and password management

Cost: Free with limited features with paid plans starting at USD 3 per month

Security is a crucial concern for all organizations, especially when working remotely. Engineers need access to several tools, and there are passwords associated with almost all of them. LastPass provides an effective solution where all passwords can be stored in a single place and shared with the concerned team members.

LastPass also provides added security by making sure that the passwords are unique. It also helps in creating random passwords that are quite strong and effective. Multifactor authentication helps add an extra layer of security, making it a comprehensive tool.

Conclusion

Engineering teams are quickly switching to remote working environments. Therefore, organizations must adapt accordingly and meet the needs of these highly effective teams. The tools mentioned above can help engineers increase their productivity, resulting in better performance.

Are there any tools you’ve used and fallen in love with lately? Join the Zumvie Slack Community to share them and be a part of a vibrant community of engineering managers.

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