15 Productivity Tools for Working Remotely

As a remote worker, you can only rely on yourself to get your work done. And that's why some productivity tools for working remotely can help you manage your tasks so you can meet all the deadlines while trying to have a work-and-life balance even when you work from home.

From time management to payment and invoicing tools, including advanced project management tools such as task trackers, collaboration platforms, and resource allocation software, there are various tools you can consider using to effectively streamline and enhance your remote working system.

Whether you're a freelancer or entrepreneur, I'm going to share some tips and tools for working remotely in this post. From freemium tools to those requiring a little investment to streamline your online business, here are some productivity tools to work remotely!

Why You Need Productivity Tools as Remote Workers

The good news about being able to work remotely is that your boss won't be likely to micromanage you and your tasks. While it's a good thing if you're a self-starter and a responsible adult, the downside is that remote work environments are often less structured, which could tamper your productivity in completing your supposed tasks.

Some productivity tools help you automate some tasks, while others can help you keep organized. When used correctly, they can minimize distraction and help you focus on completing your tasks. They're even more valuable if you start working with a remote team and you need tools to collaborate effectively despite the time difference or different responsibilities between members.

So, what are the best productivity tools for remote work? Let's dive in!

remote working
Source: Pexels.

15 Essential Tools for Working Remotely

There are five types of essential tools for working remotely, including the following: 

  • Calendar and time management tools
  • Administration tools
  • Project management tools
  • Communication tools
  • Invoicing and payment tools

In this section, I'll create a list of productivity tools and apps for each function so you can consider the best tools for your remote business. 

Calendar and Time Management Tools

If you think it's tough to create a work-and-life balance when working full-time at an office, try working from home as a freelancer. Your home will merge into your office space, so you can barely see boundaries between the two if you're not careful.

Calendar and time management tools enable you to implement time blocking techniques so you can separate your tasks as a remote worker, as well as your responsibilities at home at home.

You also need these productivity tools, especially if you work with colleagues or clients from different time zones. Most calendar tools will automatically adjust any meeting schedules to your local time, so you don't have to worry about missing an important Zoom meeting due to time differences.

Here are some of the best calendar and time management tools for working remotely!

calendar and time management tools for working remotely
Source: Pexels.

1. Appointlet

If you're familiar with Calendly, Appointlet has similar functionalities. It's a tool that enables your leads or clients to book an appointment online with you. Appointlet is suitable for both online and offline businesses, as it helps you streamline your calendar and appointments.

I previously used Calendly for the online appointment setter, but I prefer Appointlet because their features for free accounts are more suitable for what I need in a calendar management tool.

When I used my Calendly free account, I couldn't seem to create an automatic meeting link even though I connected my account to both Google Meeting and Calendar.

But since I signed up for Appointlet, everything has worked out well for me. Not only can I create a streamlined calendar based on my availability, but it also sends a direct confirmation email with a customized Google Meeting link for me. All these functions without me upgrading to their paid plan!

2. Google Calendar

As an Android user, I use Google Calendar for practicality since it's easier to connect and streamline everything for desktop and mobile. It's one of the easiest tools for working remotely, especially if you're looking for a free calendar management tool.

Google Calendar is free to use as long as you have a Google account. There are at least 121 billion email accounts on Gmail, so it's one of the common online platforms that people use which makes it one of the best tools for remote collaboration.

Another benefit of using Google Calendar is that it also automatically converts the date and time to your local time. It's especially important if you work with colleagues or clients from different time zones. I know I had a hard time calculating the time difference when I have to work with clients from places where daylight saving time exists, so this feature is definitely helpful to keep me in the loop with the time difference!

3. Pomofocus

If you're familiar with the Pomodoro technique, Pomofocus is one of the best productivity tools for remote workers who want to maintain a healthy work-and-life balance.

For those who have never heard about the technique, Pomodoro is basically a time management method in which you will work for 25 minutes non-stop and take a small break for around 5 minutes before resuming your work. After 4 cycles of 25-minute work, you can then take a longer break for around 30 minutes.

Pomofocus is a productivity tool that features a timer based on this method, so you can be more committed to accomplishing your tasks and take a few breaks in between to minimize burnout.

4. Clockify

As a freelancer, you can charge hourly or sell your service as a package instead. Typically, you charge hourly when you just started your freelancing journey. Meanwhile, those who have already established their role as freelancers in a specific field are usually more comfortable offering a packaged price instead.

Whether you're a generalist or a specialist remote worker, you can always calculate the time spent on a task at the beginning of your career just to see how much you can sell your service as a package. Clockify is a time-tracking tool for remote worker, which enables you to calculate the time spent and also generate reports to hold yourself accountable for all the tasks assigned to you.

For those who charge hourly, you can assure your clients that you'll track the time with productivity tools for working remotely like Clockify or Toggl to bill them based on the time you spend on the tasks. You can always analyze the average time you work on a task so that later on, you can design a service and sell it as a package instead.

Administration Tools

One of the productivity tools you can use when working remotely is anything that helps you with administrative tasks. It's not a difficult job, but it can be time-consuming so having your administration in place can do wonders for your effectiveness as a remote worker.

From client and contract management to bookkeeping, here are some administration tools for remote business that you can use to streamline your online venture!

productivity tools for working remotely
Source: Pexels.

5. PandaDoc

Once you set up a contract template for your service or business, you may need a platform that enables you and your client to sign it online. PandaDoc is one of the best free tools for working remotely, as it allows you to create contracts and send them to your clients with tracking features for online signature.

PandaDoc comes with a built-in editor feature where you can pinpoint the spot where you and your client can sign the document. You can sign up for free, as their free plan is available for up to 5 (five) monthly documents.

It was a good resource to keep my administration organized when I started my business at Savviesticated, since I almost never sign a new client for more than five a month. PandaDoc also has a few alternatives, including Dropbox Sign. Formerly known as HelloSign, I prefer PandaDoc since the interface is more intuitive.

6. Google Suite

Again, I'm using Google Suite for the practicality since I use an Android phone and it seems like the best option for me. I know Microsoft also has Outlook 365 for this, but I've never tried the feature so I can't share it from my personal perspective.

Google Suite is one of the most helpful tools for working remotely, as it has everything you need to manage a remote team. From Google Drive as a file-sharing platform to Google Form that allows you to create questionnaires for both survey or recruitment purposes, it's a great tool to keep your documents organized!

7. Bonsai

Bonsai is a customer management system that has everything you need to manage an online business. From template contracts and proposals to bookkeeping, it's a one-stop platform if you can afford their plan since unlike the previous platforms that I've mentioned here, Bonsai only offers paid plans starting from $17 USD per month. 

I'd totally recommend it if you have an established business with regular income since you can replace some of the platforms that I've mentioned in this post with Bonsai. With its rich CRM features, Bonsai has built-in features to substitute some of these productivity tools for freelancers: 

  • Calendar and time management (to replace platforms like Appointlet and Clockify) 
  • Online signature platform (to replace Pandadoc)
  • Invoicing platform (to replace Zoho)
  • Project management tools (to replace Trello)

I used Bonsai when I managed my business at Savviesticated, and I was quite happy with their features that streamlined everything I needed for my online business. Bonsai also comes with expense tracking, which is super helpful to analyze the cash flow for my business as well.

I'm not sure if the tax feature is now available for users outside the US, but I know they used to have this top-notch feature that can be super helpful when it comes to tracking your annual tax. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try the features since it was only available for US-based users when I used it.

Another similar tool you can use alternative to Bonsai is Dubsado. The monthly subscription for Dubsado is a little bit more expensive than Bonsai, but you can try out their free accounts for up to 3 clients!

8. PDFEscape

PDFEscape is a great administration tool for working remotely, as it allows you to edit PDF documents for free. Whether you want to do it using your browser or install it on your desktop, you can use PDFEscape regularly when you need to modify a PDF document.

Whether you want to merge two documents into one file or you want to fill out a PDF form, you can do all of these using PDFEscape. However, since it's a free tool, you may want to be more careful about sorting the documents before uploading them on the platform. Just make sure to refrain from uploading any confidential documents if you can help it!

Project Management Tools

When you can't work together with your team in person, project management tools become essential to hold each of you accountable for all the tasks assigned for the project. Due to the lack of face-to-face interactions, project management tools for remote workers can provide a space for all team members to communicate, share updates, and collaborate in real time.

In addition, you can also create the project outline that your team members can refer to so your team can understand it holistically. You can add everything your team members need to know about the project, from SOP to the milestones of each task assigned.

So, here are some project management tools for working remotely you can use for your team!

trello is one of the project management tools for remote workers
Source: Pexels.

9. Trello

Trello was the first project management tool that I used on my remote work gigs. Fast forward to today, almost 7 years since I started my remote gigs, I've tried several other project management platforms for freelancers and I have to say Trello is the tool that I like best for project management!

From Monday.com, Airtable, Asana, and ClickUp, to Notion, I've tried them all. So, why do I stand with Trello as the best project management tool for my remote job?

I think the main reason why I like Trello best is its simple UI/UX design. If Simplicity is the key, then Trello is the winner above all their competitors. If you're looking for more complex project management tools, you may want to consider Airtable, ClickUp, or ClickUp. But if you want something that is good enough to keep your project organized, Trello will work just fine.

While all these project management tools can be used for free with limitations, Trello is also the most affordable option when your business is growing and you're ready to invest in a premium plan for project management tools. Whether you want to build a board from scratch or use their ready-to-use templates, Trello can accommodate everything you need for managing projects.

In addition, you can also use their power-up feature where you can integrate it with the other productivity tools for working remotely. From Google Suite to Slack, you can set the power-up for these platforms at no cost to streamline your projects!

10. TeamViewer

I've used TeamViewer for a long time ever since I still worked my full-time job years ago, and I still recommend it to this date. You can use this tool for both calls and remote maintenance, which can be helpful if you occasionally need to troubleshoot some technical problems with the help of your team.

If you're a remote worker blessed with an IT support team in your company, you can use TeamViewer to let them access your computer and diagnose the problem. There may be a slight delay here and there, but it definitely does wonders even when you and your coworkers are miles away!

11. LastPass

In a world where we need cybersecurity more than ever, one of the most essential tools for working remotely is a tool that makes password-sharing secure. LastPass is one of the tools that help remote workers manage passwords efficiently by securely storing login credentials across websites and applications.

LastPass can be one of the essential tools for remote work, especially if you're responsible for your client's confidential platforms whether it's their social media or even banking accounts.

Since they guarantee secure password-sharing and keep sensitive information confidential, keep in mind that you'll get through some tedious security steps to log into your account, but it's needed if you want to keep your passwords secure. Some other alternatives for LastPass are 1Password or Dashlane.

Communication Tools

When in-person interaction is minimal, the best thing you can do is to maintain communication with your coworkers. And that's why communication tools for remote workers are essential. So, here are some of the best communication tools for working remotely!

slack for remote workers
Source: Pexels.

12. Slack

One of the most popular messaging apps for team communication, Slack not only allows you for real-time chat but it also enables you to integrate it with other productivity tools you use for remote work. You can connect your Slack account with various tools, from Google Drive to Trello.

Their free plan is limited as they only store messages for 90 days, but Slack is still one of the best communication tools for remote team because of its rich features.

In addition to the chat feature, you can also do both audio and video calls on Slack, although group calls are not available for free plans. However, you can still use the feature for 1-on-1 calls on Slack if you need to communicate directly with a team member.

Some other alternatives you can use for communication tools with your remote coworkers include Discord and Skype. Skype is also a good choice, especially if you have to communicate with your clients that require local phone numbers. Skype has features where you can get a local phone number from various countries, from the US to even New Zealand!

13. Vidyard

Here's my confession… I hate unnecessary Zoom calls, especially when you can just send me a message or a video about what I need to know. Well, Vidyard is one of the video-sharing tools you can use to minimize Zoom calls with your remote team.

Whether you want to create a tutorial YouTube video or just share a link to show your team members about new training material, you can do it with Vidyard!

Another alternative option for the video-sharing tool is Loom. In fact, I think Loom is probably more popular within remote workers' communities. I've used both Loom and Vidyard but I have to say that I like Vidyard better for so many reasons.

The first reason is that Vidyard allows you to take a longer video, even when you're in their free plan. You can take up to 30-minute long videos with free Vidyard accounts, while you can only record 5-minute videos with the free version of Loom.

In addition, I've used Google extensions for both Vidyard and Loom and Loom's extension stresses the heck out of me. It's slowing down my browser, and I don't get the same issues with Vidyard. So, if you ask me which one is better: Loom or Vidyard? Then I have to say, I definitely choose Vidyard all the way!

Invoicing and Payment Tools

Here's the hard, cold truth about remote workers: what's the point of getting productive when you don't get paid? I mean, let's be real… Money is that one thing that motivates you to create and be productive, and that's why invoicing and payment tools are necessary for working remotely.

So, to make getting paid easier, here are some invoicing and payment tools you can use for working remotely!

online payment
Source: Pexels.

14. Zoho Invoice

Zoho is a one-for-all platform with various functionalities that can be beneficial for your remote business. Pretty much like HubSpot, Zoho has many software that you can use to grow your online business from CRM, email marketing, to invoicing tools.

However, I want to focus more on the Zoho Invoice as it's something that I've used for my blog and remote business in the past year, and so far I'm quite satisfied with the functionalities. It's free to use, and you can connect it with various payment tools like PayPal and Stripe.

You can also install the Zoho Invoice app on your phone so you can easily create and send invoices on mobile. In addition to invoicing and payment functionalities, Zoho Invoice also has time-tracking and expense-recording features that can substitute other tools like Clockify or digital bookkeeping tools you use for your online business.

I started using Zoho when I realized that my finances were a little bit too tight to pay for the Bonsai plan, and I'm quite happy with the decision. The only downside is that in Zoho, there's no late payment charge feature like Bonsai so you can't implement it automatically if you apply a late payment fee for your remote clients.

15. Wise

When you work remotely, especially when you deal with overseas clients, you want to make sure that you get paid the best rate with a minimum conversion fee for your products and services. This is the reason why I'm not a fan of PayPal since their transactional fee strangles me like no other!

Wise is by far my best bet when it comes to payment tools for working remotely. While unfortunately it can't integrate with Zoho Invoice (yet, I'm hopeful!), Wise allows you to create a unique link with the specific amount of payment you wish to receive from your client.

I usually do this for clients, and add the unique link on the email so they can complete the payment via their Wise account or bank card. Their rate is by far the best compared to other payment platforms for freelancers like PayPal or Payoneer. In addition, it's especially easy for me to receive payment via Wise since I've had their debit card ever since I got pickpocketed in Belgrade.

FAQ About Remote Work

In this section, I'm going to add some frequently asked questions about remote work in general so you can also get some insights about the pros and cons of working remotely on top of the productivity tools you can use for remote business.

remote work
Source: Pexels.

What are the advantages of working remotely?

No commuting is probably one of the main advantages of remote work. Before taking a leap of faith to transition into working remotely, I spent some years working full-time in big cities like Jeddah, Jakarta, and Singapore and I know most of the time my energy got drained just by commuting alone.

It can help you save money since it means you don't need to pay for public transport or gas just to get to the office, and it also saves you time to have enough rest after work. Remote working also gives you some flexibility in terms of where you want to do it as long as you can adjust with the time difference, if any.

Whether you want to become a digital nomad who moves to a new place after a period of time, or you want to spend more time working while taking care of your small kids at home, everything is possible when you work remotely.

You can even take online courses during your free time when you work at home. With plenty of websites like Lumify Learn and Coursera that offer online training programs, you can access virtually any online course you want. 

What are the biggest challenges of remote work?

Loneliness is probably the biggest challenge of working remotely, especially if you live on your own. Lack of human interaction really does it for you, and I think that's the main challenge about remote work.

If you have kids or pets, remote working can also be challenging since as much as you love them, sometimes they will distract you during important things like meetings or catching deadlines.

Another challenge is miscommunication between team members, especially if your coworkers don't have the same commitment to their work as you do. It will hinder the progress of your remote project, which can cause a problem in your venture as a remote worker.

Why is remote work stressful?

When you have to rely everything on technology, things can be stressful, especially when dealing with technical problems. Make sure to use a proper internet plan that can make your work from home easier, and equip yourself with the best working tools for working remotely whether it's laptop or software you need to get your work done.

Remote workers are prone to stress and burnout more than office workers, especially despite no commuting being one of the advantages of working remotely, there are times when you end up working longer hours than you have to when you do an office job.

Make sure to take enough breaks to release your stress when needed. The Pomodoro technique can do wonders for maintaining work-and-life balance when you work remotely.


Choosing the best productivity tools for working remotely is helpful, especially if you want to maintain a better work-and-life balance to avoid stress and burnout when working from home. In addition, you also want to make sure that you can get your work done so that you can work effectively as a remote worker or freelancer. 

Managing an online business rely so much on technology, so you need to be open to adapting to new tools for remote business in the form of apps and software. From calendar management to online payment tools, hopefully this article will help you choose the best tools to streamline your remote work! 

So, which one of these tools do you use for working remotely? Share in the comment, and cheerio! 

marya the beautraveler author profile
Marya The BeauTraveler

I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.


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