32 Free Remote Work Tools to Help You Work from Home
Tech companies respond to COVID-19 with a plethora of free offers
One of the defining (and encouraging) traits of humanity is the generosity people display during times of crisis. The global reaction to COVID-19 has been no different, with people quick to donate time, resources, and help one another.
Regardless, millions are struggling to cope in the wake of schools and businesses closing overnight. To help soften the blow, many tech companies are offering free versions of their software, tools, and apps through the summer of 2020. Read on for a list of all the freebies I could find, in alphabetical order.
At the end of this article, I’ve also included a selection of free “remote work kits” and resources I recommend to help you adjust to the world of working from home.
8x8 Video Conferencing
8x8 is a cloud platform offering an expansion of their free, unlimited web-based video meetings product as of March 12, 2020. No contract or installation required. Check out their press release for all the details or to sign up.
Atlassian’s suite of cloud products is now free for remote teams of up to ten people. Offerings include Jira Software, Confluence, Service Desk, and Core. The company also announced that it will be gifting one-year Trello Business Class subscriptions to schools and universities. Get more details at Atlassian.com/free and check out their newly launched remote work hub at Atlassian.com/remote.
On March 12, Box CEO Aaron Levie announced that the content collaboration and storage company would be offering a 90-day free trial for Box Business. Features include unlimited storage, 50,000 API calls per month, Data Loss Prevention, and more. Sign up at Box.com. Read more about their COVID-19 response here.
Through June 2020, the scheduling app, Calendly, is offering Zoom and GoToMeeting integrations free of charge. More details on the Calendly Blog.
CENTURY is an AI tool that supports online learning. Schools and teachers who have been impacted by coronavirus may qualify for free support and access to thousands of CENTURY resources. Apply here.
Effective March 6, Cisco has expanded the features and capabilities of its free Webex offer, which includes an unlimited number of meetings with up to 100 participants. To check availability in your country, visit Webex.com.
Bonus: The Webex team also put together a Work-From-Home Spotify Playlist. 🎵
This IT and cloud security company is making enterprise-level features available to small businesses for free — waiving the price of Cloudflare for Teams through September 1, 2020. The program also includes a free, optional onboarding session to help you get started.
GanttPRO has made their Gantt chart-based online project management solution free for hospitals, teachers, and non-profit organizations through August 15, 2020. Submit your application her.
Shortly before sending 100,000 employees home to work remotely, Google announced that they would offer premium features of Hangouts Meet to all G Suite customers through July 1, 2020. Features include:
- Meeting capacity for up to 250 participants
- Local live streaming for up to 100K viewers
- The ability to record and save meetings to Google Drive
Google is also increasing resources to support increased demand for related services, such as YouTube Live.
Learn how to access Hangouts Meet here and find out more about how the company is responding to coronavirus on the Google Blog.
Microsoft is making Microsoft Teams available for free for anyone with a 365 subscription.
The company is also offering a special Office 365 E1 Trial to help employees and companies adjust to working from home. E1 includes Web-based Office apps and business services such as email, file sharing and storage, meeting and conferencing capabilities, data location controls, instant messaging, and more— all with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime. Organizations that haven’t previously activated a trial are eligible. Find out more here.
Backed by the founders of Instagram, Loom makes communication faster and easier by integrating voice, screen, and video. Valid through July 1, 2020, Loom is offering the following perks to business users:
- Unlimited videos and recordings on Loom Basic
- Loom Pro trial doubled from 14 to 30 days
- Purchase Loom Pro at 50% off ($5/month instead of $10/month)
For the education sector, Loom Pro has been made free forever for:
- Students and teachers
- Administrative staff
- K-12 schools, universities, and other educational institutions
Learn more about Loom’s features and the company’s free offer below:
“We wanted to do everything we can to make Loom more accessible to those that are being impacted by this situation.” — Loom Co-Founder, Joe Thomas
For those affected in the retail sector, the LuxLock shopping platform is currently waiving license fees to help stores continue selling online and avoid lay-offs. Contact CEO, Casey Golden, for details.
Remote desktop and access tool, Splashtop, is offering two free months of services in red COVID-19 zones while discounting other products by up to 50% off.
After struggling to work remotely on a crypto startup, the founders of Tandem decided to solve their own problems by building a virtual office platform. Tandem is now available for free “for the next few months,” to help support newly remote teams. Join with your Slack or Google account at Tandem.chat.
Video: How Tandem, a YC company, is “building the future of work.”
TechSmith, a suite of products with more than 65 million users, is offering free and expanded access to their screen capture, recording, and collaborative feedback tools through June 30, 2020. Apply for access here.
Toggl is an online time-tracking tool that offers a free plan option for up to fiveusers. Sign up at Toggle.com.
Short for “Yelling Across Cubicles,” YAC is an innovative, audio-first collaboration platform for remote teams. According to CEO, Justin Mitchell, YAC will be offering its Pro Plans for free to K-12 schools and universities. Inquire at Yac.com.
Badass Digital Nomads Podcast: How to Yell Across Cubicles with Justin Mitchell of YAC Chat on Apple…
Justin Mitchell is the founder of Yelling Across Cubicles, or "YAC," an audio-first messaging platform that helps you…
Zoho is offering its new remote work suite — Zoho Remotely — for free until July 1, 2020.
On March 12, Zoom became the first business app ever to crack the top 3 most apps in the App Store (behind TikTok and Google), with more than 343,000 downloads. The popular video conferencing platform is temporarily lifting time limits on Basic accounts for educational users. Apply for expanded access here.
Free Remote Work Guides & Toolkits
Once you’ve downloaded or signed up for your remote work tools of choice, you’ll need to learn how to use them. Here are some of the free guides and toolkits I recommend from remote-first companies and thought leaders:
- Advice on navigating remote work by industry veterans, Doist. Also check out their free remote work guides.
- CloudApp’s Guide to Remote Work.
- Crash Course in Managing Remote Teams, by Andreas Klinger, Head of Remote at AngelList.
- Glide Group: Remote Work Safety Guide for UK Businesses.
- Google Cloud Remote Work Essentials: “How IT Can Prepare for a Distributed Workforce.”
- GoToMeeting: Free Emergency Work Kits for health care providers, governmental and educational institutions, as well as non-profit organizations.
- Owl Labs Remote Work eBook.
- Quora /Remote Work Space.
- Remote Work Wiki by Notion, an all-in-one workspace.
- Slack Remote Work Manual.
- WorkPlaceLess: “Preparing for Emergency Remote Work.”
- Zapier Live AMA: “How to Transition to Remote Work in a Hurry.”
Organizers of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference, are holding a free online charity mastermind to benefit new remote workers. Called Remote AID, the event will take place from 11am-7pm PST on April 20th. All proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross COVID-19 Response Appeal.
If you have any questions about adjusting to remote work, let me know in the comments.
Alternatively, if your company has a free offer to help new remote teams, share with your fellow readers below!
If you have remote work expertise to share with those in need, consider volunteering as an advocate with the Remote Work Association.
Kristin Wilson is a remote work advocate, content creator, consultant, and the host of two podcasts: Badass Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad News.