From digital collaboration to building a unified team of workers who work remotely, managers are finding they have to integrate the best technology tools into their procedures to keep productivity, morale, and creativity levels high.

For teams who work remotely, some tools that onsite workers use can be beneficial, but other tools are needed to facilitate communication and fuel productivity. From workforce management to productivity pipelines and team collaboration, you can make use of some great tools that ensure remote communication is easier and more effective for your firm.

Check out these innovative tools for remote and freelance workers.

1. Asana

Asana enables teams to manage tasks and project completion notes in a simple format. The program organizes to-do lists, projects, meeting information, conversations, and emails in an easy-to-read dashboard that empowers team members to stay current with whatever information matters on a day-to-day basis.

Popular clients include Mashable, Udacity, and Baggu. The technology is also available for Apple and Android devices, so you can use it on the go.

Freelancers are able to stay in touch as part of a team or only with the people who contract their work. They can stay on top of all their tasks from one easy platform.

2. Toggl

Need to keep track of hours for your job? Toggl is a time-tracking application that will record your work activity however you see fit.

Keep track of how many breaks you take during the day, or start managing your hours for freelance jobs. The click of a button will log your hours for you on a neat and easy-to-read sheet.

Get reports of your activity over time and record your hours as part of a team. Users also have the ability to input forgotten times manually or add data offline that will sync up the next time an Internet connection is available.

3. WhenIWork

For jobs that require driving or employers who need to keep track of time, scheduling, and location from one application, WhenIWork does it all. Freelancers are kept accountable by using this system on a mobile device or computer.

Timesheets, labor costs, and payroll export are all functions of this application which make it a dream for anyone who employs remote workers.

4. Evernote

Evernote allows users to keep notes, research, and other information such as at-home to-do lists in a neat organizational application. Clip interesting tidbits online to file away or store a picture that inspires you.

Whatever you want to save, Evernote allows you to do it in one organized place. Freelancers can benefit from the application by taking their work with them and keeping it all organized wherever they may be working.

Most industries can benefit from the setup of this neat remote working tool.

5. Bitrix 24

Bitrix 24 combines social media with project management, CRM, and document sharing. It allows team members to interact with their work in a social-media inspired manner.

Send colleagues badges for good work or collaborate from afar. Freelancers and other remote workers can maintain communication and task management easily with this tool, which can be available on a computer or any mobile device.

6. Google Apps

Google seems able to do everything, and that goes for remote work management as well. If you need professional email, document sharing, security, and more, Google Apps likely has a solution.

It's available with a wide range of capabilities that can work independently or in concert. Businesses are taking advantage of the remote possibilities that Google Apps provides. The personalized company email addresses are great for freelancers who need to project a professional appearance in business interactions.

7. Google Hangouts

If you need to hold a conference with as many as 10 people, or chat with team distant members with whom you are collaborating, Google Hangouts can keep you connected at home or on the go. Some say that it has even surpassed Skype in terms of video and sound quality.

Freelancers can use this program to stay in touch with contractors, and remote workers who are tied closely to a small team will benefit from its easy-to-use interface and mobile capabilities.

8. Basecamp

Basecamp is designed for project management; it works remotely and on computers. Both small freelance projects and large team endeavors can benefit from the simple interface and scheduling, document upload, and collaboration features that Basecamp provides.

Although it's been around for 15 years, Basecamp is still a great tool, and you can try it out for free first.

Choosing a tool

With a selection of so many great tools that are effective and easy to use, it can be hard to decide which is apt to be the best for your company. Many have pros and cons that make them more suited to certain work environments than others.

Most freelancers and remote working teams will benefit from tools that provide file sharing and easy time recording methods. Be wary of free online tools, though, because they can sometimes limit you to a small number or users, or may not include the security features your company will need.

Don't forget that it's often preferable to pay for tools that meet all your needs than to try and make do with the free options.

The flexible workforce that remote working offers has proven beneficial to many companies' bottom line. It saves on infrastructure, and many workers are willing to take a pay cut to get the flexibility they can enjoy with a remote position.

But without the right tools for the job, a remote team can easily run aground on miscommunication and undocumented assertions. You have to determine your own or your company's needs before you go looking for tools.

That way, you're much more apt to find the tool or tools that meet your criteria. With so many options, there's probably an easy and mobile solution for everyone.

Published on: Mar 12, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.