Remote Work Software

The Best 7 Free and Open Source Remote Work Software

The Best 7 Free and Open Source Remote Work Software

Organizations no longer consider remote work as a threat to the productivity and tenacity of their workforce. Businesses have realized that contingency remote work plans are essential to mitigate work disruptions due to climate change, political turmoils, pandemics, office space issues, natural disasters, etc. The adoption of remote work culture has made businesses more resilient to unforeseen circumstances. 

While organizations around the world had already envisioned remote work as the future of work culture, COVID 19 ramped up their speed of expanding remote capabilities. Technology and software tools are the backbones of remote work. They lay the foundation for a virtual office, and without their seamless functioning, remote work is not possible at all. The challenges of managing remote teams, numerous spreadsheets, virtual meetings, tasks, projects, emails, and communications can be mitigated only when organizations deploy the best remote work software for their business needs.

What is Remote Work?

Any workstyle outside the traditional office setup is known as remote work. In a remote work scenario employees and even the management work from home, or remote locations away from the traditional office. The growing remote business landscape has also expanded its reach with traditional industries such as engineering, project management, marketing, legal, education, etc. The flexibility of work is no more privilege but a business necessity that enables leaders to continue their business growth. 

remote work fact

The substantial benefits offered by remote work has mitigated the challenges faced by many organizations that were struggling to operate traditional offices due to a variety of reasons. 

Remote work increases your workforce diversity and provides you access to a global team of skilled workers. 

With no workplace distractions, noisy offices, multiple keyboard typing, people taking calls, gossip-ready water coolers, and chatting cubicles, research suggests that employees become more productive. Flexibility to work remotely has always been considered as an incentive for employees, and thus it reduces employee attrition rate, onboarding cost, and training expenses. 

It saves transportation costs, clothing costs, childcare costs, costly canteen food for commuters. 

It also reduces the burden of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. Working 'remotely' means less need to commute. 

With the flexibility of working remotely, people can spend more time with their families, and the work-life balance becomes easy to manage. Even during illness, employees have a better chance to recover at home. 

Key Challenges in remote working:

Considering the existing economic structures and work culture around the world, the key challenges in remote work environments are:

Comparison of remote work software
 

Wrong assumptions and process failures are reasons for poor, remote work management. For organizations, putting remote work in practice requires strong corporate governance, putting people first philosophy, inclusive work environment, and robust risk management capabilities. A remote work software can help them achieve all the above. 

What is Remote Work  Software?

Remote work software provides application tools to businesses to efficiently manage their teams and workflow remotely. It keeps everyone connected in real-time and empowers the teams to work in an office-like situation. Remote work software is today one of the topmost strategic technologies for the future of work apart from AI, smart machines, and digital architecture. A remote work software assists organizations in managing the five essentials of remote work: 

  • Online connectivity
  • Data security
  • Communication  
  • Screen sharing and  collaboration
  • Project management 

remote work research

What are the benefits of remote work?

Retain Staff:

Sometimes the best employees may face some sudden turn of events in their personal life that may make them unavailable for regular office hours or office settings. However, they can keep contributing to the organization's growth if allowed to work remotely. In such situations, remote work software is required to provide them remote office facilities. 

Easy Hiring: 

A sudden spurt in work or a bagging a new project may lead to more requirements of staff. Especially in the IT industry, a heavily project-dependent industry, a new project may require the industry to hire freelancers and contractual employees. Often, companies can't accommodate them in the office setup. With remote work software, it is easy to fill vacancies by providing work from home or remote working options to temporary employees.

Unhampered work

Regular work may get disrupted in extraordinary circumstances such as earthquakes, floods, pandemics, rail or road closures, protests on streets, political situations, etc. In such anti-work conditions, remote work solutions allow businesses to continue their work by providing WFH facilities to their employees.

Cutting costs

Organizations have to deal with the ever-increasing costs of office spaces and increased operating expenditures. With remote work solutions, organizations can reduce the need for office spaces by taking feasible remote work measures. 

Increased employee benefits

If employees are not required to come to the office, it saves the commuting expenses for them. Especially in costly cities, commuting leads to a significant waste of money and time. By remote work, software organizations can enable staff to save the unnecessary expense for transit and time.

Employee Monitoring 

Companies that provide their employees with the flexibility to work, and do not pressurize them to prove their digital visibility constantly are more likely to perform better than their peers. At the same time, a normalized status update from a remote worker regularly can make him or her feel important and increase overall productivity. Businesses need to monitor if their staff isn’t slacking off on work.

Virtual conferencing

For sensitive issues, managers can’t simply use the chatting method. A digital chat is devoid of human emotions and masks intentions. Therefore, the video chat functionality of the remote work software should be used for more humane communication. For example, constructive feedback, grievance redressal, poor performance report discussions, etc. are better communicated over a video call. 

Other work-specific benefits:

  • With task reports, progress sheets, and real-time data about work in progress provides a manager and efficient tool for monitoring the team progress with enhanced visibility. Once you have scheduled a meeting, you don't need to micromanage as you can set up automatic reminders and notifications. 
  • It is one of the equalizers in the digital age that democratizes access to a skilled workforce irrespective of geographical location. 
  • Remote software can track employee availability across multiple time zones. This helps in the synchronization of meetings and conferences.
  • It lets managers add specific information, personal details, skill set, and professional info regarding their workforce. With a single click, they have all the data required to make decisions on project teams.
  • Remote work software builds a scalable security program for organizations.

What are the key features of Remote Work Software? 

  remote work feature

Remote work collaboration

A remote work software has tools for screen sharing, email sharing, real-time access to projects, etc. for effective team collaboration. Remote workers can connect together with the tools and design and form their own virtual teams. 

Virtual Private Network

Most of the remote work tools run on their own virtual private networks for the secure transmission of data and enhanced cybersecurity. 

Project Management

The remote work solution comes with features for project planning, scheduling, and team collaboration in real-time. Managers can add or remove team members, share files, import or export data after applying filters, and many more.

Chat Tools

The chat tools of remote work software provide remote workers with nuanced communication that helps them to collaborate efficiently. These tools follow the joint team code of conduct to establish clear and concrete communication between team members.

Video conferencing

Remote work software has features to allow teams video conferencing facility with HD recording of a video conference for future reference. It has tools for screen sharing while the call is on. One should use a reliable internet connection and high-quality headphones to minimize video call disruptions.

Office Suite

An office suite is an essential set of productivity tools required for remote office work. Remote work software either has its own office suite application or can integrate with third-party office suite software to provide facilities of spreadsheets, word processing, and presentation programs. 

Centralized office

The remote work software offers managers a centralized dashboard to manage their teams. Managers can monitor, time track, control access, and allot work from a single dashboard. It's the admin area of the software suite and works as the administrative block of a traditional office. 

Third-party integrations

A remote work software can integrate with other third-party applications to provide more features and added functionalities. Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, Zapier, Office suites, Google Calendar, etc. are some popular third-party integrations. 

Productivity Analysis

The productivity analysis feature provides detailed statistics on team members' productivity, the progress of projects, work completion, individual worker progress graph, etc. This feature of remote work software helps managers gauge the overall effectiveness of their remote teams and find the deficiencies, if any, in work. The remote work software detects any loss of productivity, and this alerts the managers to take corrective measures for improvement. Managers can eliminate unnecessary activities and fix loose ends. 

Reporting tools

Remote work software also provides detailed reports about individual workers and teams. Time tracking reports, leave reports, late arrivals, and many more. 

Security 

Remote work software provides a secure working environment, end to end encryptions, and multiple layers of security to keep data safe and files securely. 

The researched list of 7 best free and open source remote work software:

  1. Element
  2. Taiga
  3. Jitsi Meet
  4. Libre Office
  5. Mattermost
  6. Teamwork
  7. Notion

Comparison Chart of 7 Best Free and Open Source Remote Work Software

Comparison Table of Remote work software

  1. Element

Element is a free and open source of remote work software for secure communication and chat. The open global Matrix network team founded element software for decentralized communication. It is safe from data-mining and ads with its end-to-end encryption protection. This application is available for Web, Android, iOS, macOS, Windows & Linux. This remote chat tool gives users full control over their chat data and conversations with no data mining.  

element remote work software

(Source-Element)

Features:

  • Host your account for free on any server: owned by you, any other free server such as matrix.org or any third party hardware 
  • Web, desktop and mobile apps
  • Messaging, voice, video calls
  • Private and public chat rooms
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cross-signed verification
  • Own and control your data
  • File and screen sharing
  • No data mining, no eavesdropping
  • No lock-in period
  • No telephone number required.
  1. Taiga

Taiga is a free and open source remote work software for project management needs of teams and organizations. It comes with an intuitive interface. Its basic version is free for upto three members; if you require more storage space, additional members, and premium features, you can upgrade to its premium or enterprise plan. 

tiaga remote work software

(Source-Taiga)

Features:

  • Uses the scrum method for project completion
  • Follow the real-time progress status of your team.
  • Organize your backlog 
  • Track bugs and enhancements related to your project
  • Manage customer needs 
  • Communicate effectively with its team interaction feature
  • Easy to activate the software 
  • No training required
  • Import your current project
  • Robust data security 
  • Mobile application by third party developer
  • Webhooks integration
  • Import and export CSV reports
  1. Jitsi

Jitsi Meet is a free and open source remote work software used for video conferencing. It is a powerhouse in the video conferencing field and has all features for efficient virtual video sessions. It works on web apps and mobile applications. It has fully encrypted video conferencing solutions for remote teams.

jitsi remote work conferencing

(Source-Jitsi)

Features:

  • Raise your hand
  • Open and Close chat
  • Invite people to video conferencing
  • Security options to add a password for meeting room
  • Video Recording
  • Live Streaming
  • Share youtube video
  • Speakers statistics
  • Mute Everyone 
  • View fullscreen
  • Enter and exit tile view
  • Device settings
  • Profile settings 
  • Calendar settings
  • Moderator setting  
  1. LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a free and open source remote work software for office applications. LibreOffice combines several office applications, such as the Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet, Draw, the drawing program, Impress, the presentation program, Math, the formula editor, and Base, the database management. LibreOffice is compatible with document formats such as Microsoft® office. It is free for use under Mozilla Public License Version 2.0. 

remote work office software

(Source-LibreOffice)

Features:

  • It can be easily expanded with extensions. 
  • Cross-platform availability
  • 117 languages supported and dictionaries for over 50 languages 
  • Supports font variations
  • Document management systems
  • Bug tracking system Bugzilla
  • Import from vector graphics
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Synchronous collaborative editing
  • Dictation and speech recognition
  • Integration of external data sources
  1. Mattermost

Mattermost is a free and open source remote work software that can be downloaded and installed on platforms such as Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, Docker, etc. Its latest version, 5.25.0 got released on July 16, 2020. It also comes with two enterprise versions E10 and E20.

mattermost remote work software

(Source-matter most)

Features:

  • Organized conversations in teams
  • Hundreds of integrations with popular tools
  • Native apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux
  • Multi-language translations and supports
  • Built for security-conscious organizations
  • Deploy on-premises, or in private, public or hybrid clouds
  • Emoji, GIF, and Markdown support
  • File, image, and link sharing
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Organized conversations in teams and channels
  • Fully searchable message history
  • ID-only mobile push notifications
  • One-on-one and group messaging
  • Voice, video, and screen sharing
  • Emoji and rich Markdown formatting
  1. Teamwork

Teamwork is a free remote work software that can be used to manage remote teams and gain better flexibility and visibility on projects. It comes with powerful communication tools to keep your team connected and on the same page. The free version accommodates five team members and two projects. For more features and advanced functionalities upgrade to its premium plans.

teamwork remote work software

(Source-teamwork)

Features:

  • Team chat functionality with the option to search past chats, file sharing on the chat portal
  • Comes with desktop and mobile application
  • Content collaboration and planning
  • Integration with popular work tools such as Gmail, Hubspot, Slack Float, etc
  • Flexible tools for exceptional project management
  • Centralized board view and dashboard management
  • Set up triggers for admin work 
  • Automatic reassignment of tasks
  • Customized templates for project management
  • Feature to manage workload 
  1. Notion

The notion is a free remote work software. It comes with four pricing plans, including a free one. Notion can be used for asynchronous collaboration, team messaging, sending real-time notifications, project management, sharing documents, and organizing remote work. It also provides a detailed workspace setup guide and 'work from home' tips for free. It comes with an SSL encryption, 100% cloud storage, and all-in-one workspace. 

(Source-Notion)

Features:

  • Add unlimited pages, content, blocks, embedded files, to-do lists
  • Add members to your team (only one member is the free and personal pro plan)
  • Invite guest members to your workspace for collaboration
  • View and upload a version history of files upto 30 days. 
  • Real-time collaboration with team members
  • Share secret links to your team members for granting them editing privileges
  • Runs on any web browser, no installation needed
  • Free 40+ block types (images, codes, paragraphs, etc.)
  • 50+ templates for meetings, notes, product roadmaps, etc
  • Build databases with rich properties such as dropdowns, checkboxes, etc. 
  • Bulk export your files in CSV, markdown or HTML format

You can confidently select from the above list of 7 best free and open source remote work software for your business needs and keep your workforce going. If you still need more comprehensive software with better features to manage your remote work, you can add Asana to your list. Asana is one of the most popular remote work software solutions available in the market.  Let us see its features in detail:

Asana

Asana is a free remote work software. Its basic version is free, and for unlocking full-functionalities, one can upgrade to its paid plans. It provides remote teams with all features to coordinate their work and execute projects efficiently. It comes with Slack, Hubspot, Gmail, Google Drive, and Microsoft Outlook integration.

asana remote work software

(Source-Asana)

Features:

  • Coordinate work, respond to requests from one place.
  • Comment on tasks
  • Add tasks to multiple projects and increase team visibility
  • See tasks in the context
  • Keep your team aligned and informed on project progress
  •  Regular status updates
  • Managers can outline the next steps and tag team members
  • Team leaders can use priority custom fields for important tasks
  • Sort and schedule work
  • With 'My Tasks' feature see all tasks and work in one place
  • Use pre-built templates to get your remote team started in Asana
  • Use the CSV importer to import data into any project

Conclusion:

There is a global shift towards software solutions such as live-streaming software, webinar software, and remote work solutions to ensure business continuity. The pandemic caused a faster usual rollout of remote working solutions. 

Businesses should invest in making their VPN solutions, data security, cloud storage contracts, and remote work solutions robust for current sustainability and long term benefits. 

Organizations can choose from any of the free and open source remote work software discussed in this article. Apart from the discussed free remote work software Trello, Basecamp, Wrike, Todoist, Scalefusion, WHFBOX, Paymo, and Zoho Assist, are some other remote work software that you may choose for your remote work needs. We will be glad if you spend a couple of minutes providing your insight and inputs in the comments section below. If you have used any of the free and open source remote work software mentioned above, don't forget to share your valuable feedback with us. 

If you wish to see the functions, pricing, or features of any other software or any software category other than the best free remote work software, then do look at our software directory.
 

James Mordy
James Mordy

James Mordy is a content writer for GoodFirms. A voracious reader, an avid researcher, a logophile, and a tech geek he loves to read about the latest technologies that are shaping the world. He often articulates the very nuances of the tech world in his blogs. In his free time, he loves to watch movies and analyze stock markets around the world.

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