The Best 7 Free and Open Source Remote Work Software

Updated on :July 12, 2024
By :James Mordy

Organizations no longer consider remote work 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 turmoil, pandemics, office space issues, natural disasters, etc. The adoption of a remote work culture has made businesses more resilient to unforeseen circumstances. 

While organizations worldwide 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 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 longer a privilege but a business necessity that enables leaders to continue their business growth. 

remote work fact

The substantial benefits offered by remote work have mitigated the challenges faced by many organizations that were struggling to operate traditional offices for various reasons. 

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

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

It saves transportation, clothing, childcare, and 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 into practice requires strong corporate governance, a putting people first philosophy, an inclusive work environment, and robust risk management capabilities. Remote work software can help them achieve all of 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. 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 sudden changes in their personal lives that make them unavailable for regular office hours or office settings. However, they can continue contributing to the organization’s growth if they are allowed to work remotely. In such situations, remote work software is required to provide them with remote office facilities. 

Easy Hiring: 

A sudden spurt in work or bagging a new project may lead to more staff requirements. 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 be disrupted in extraordinary circumstances such as earthquakes, floods, pandemics, rail or road closures, street protests, 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 must 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, they save on commuting expenses. Commuting leads to a significant waste of money and time, especially in costly cities. Remote work, enabled by software organizations, can enable staff to save on unnecessary transit and time expenses.

Employee Monitoring 

Companies that give their employees the flexibility to work and do not pressure them to constantly prove their digital visibility are more likely to perform better than their peers. At the same time, a regular normalized status update from a remote worker can make him or her feel important and increase overall productivity. Businesses need to monitor whether their staff is not lagging off on work.

Virtual conferencing

Managers can’t simply use the chatting method for sensitive issues. 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:

  • Task reports, progress sheets, and real-time data about work in progress provide a manager with an efficient tool for monitoring the progress with enhanced visibility. Once you have scheduled a meeting, you do not need to micromanage, as you can set up automatic reminders and notifications. 
  • It is one of the equalizers in the digital age, democratizing access to a skilled workforce regardless 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 about their workforce, personal details, skill sets, and professional information. With a single click, they have all the data required to make decisions about 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

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

Virtual Private Network

Most remote work tools run on their own virtual private networks to secure data transmission and enhance cybersecurity. 

Project Management

The remote work solution includes 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 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 to video conference, with HD recording of a video conference for future reference. It also has tools for screen sharing while the call is on. To minimize video call disruptions, one should use a reliable internet connection and high-quality headphones.

Office Suite

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

Centralized office

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

Third-party integrations

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, project progress, work completion, individual worker progress graphs, etc. This feature of remote work software helps managers gauge the overall effectiveness of their remote teams and find 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, including time tracking reports, leave reports, late arrivals, and more. 

Security 

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

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 without 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 is required.
  1. Taiga

Taiga is free and open source remote work software for teams and organizations’ project management needs. It has an intuitive interface. The basic version is free for up to three members; if you require more storage space, additional members, and premium features, you can upgrade to the 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 a 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 and has all the 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. It combines several office applications, such as 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, was 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 free remote work software for managing remote teams and gaining 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 and 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 free remote work software. It comes with four pricing plans, including a free one. The 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 SSL encryption, 100% cloud storage, and an 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 on the free and personal pro plan)
  • Invite guest members to your workspace for collaboration
  • View and upload a version history of files for up to 30 days. 
  • Real-time collaboration with team members
  • Share secret links with your team members to grant them editing privileges
  • Runs on any web browser, no installation is 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 free remote work software. Its basic version is free, and to unlock full functionalities, one can upgrade to its paid plans. It provides remote teams with all the features they need to coordinate their work and execute projects efficiently. It comes with integration with Slack, Hubspot, Gmail, Google Drive, and Microsoft Outlook.

asana remote work software

(Source-Asana)

Features:

  • Coordinate work and 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 the 'M‘ 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 robust VPN solutions, data security, cloud storage contracts, and remote work solutions 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, 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 input 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 feedbackwith us. 

If you wish to see the functions, pricing, or features of any other software or software category other than the best free remote work software, 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.

Read Similar Blogs

The Cost and Feature Comparison Guide to the Top Remote Work Software

The Cost and Feature Comparison Guide to the Top Remote Work Software

A few years back, when the world was plunging into the darkness of COVID-19, businesses created new working norms, such as hybrid and remote working to consiste ... Read more

A Detailed Review of Zoom: Will Zoom Augment its Growth Further in the Video Conferencing and Remote Working Space?

A Detailed Review of Zoom: Will Zoom Augment its Growth Further in the Video Conferencing and Remote Working Space?

Back in 2011, Eric S. Yuan, a Chinese-American businessman started video telephony and online chat company called Zoom Video Communications Inc. Today, Zoom is ... Read more

Top Workplace Trends to watch out for in 2021

Top Workplace Trends to watch out for in 2021

The year 2020 was unlike any other, filled with predictions and inferences. If anything, it upended business models and drastically transformed the way we work. ... Read more