Remote working is on steady rise internationally. In the US, 62% of employees say that they work remotely at least occasionally while in the UK, 50% of the country’s entire workforce is expected to work from home at least in some capacity by the end of 2020.
According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Report, even though those working remotely generally have the freedom to do it from anywhere. It is worth noting that 84% of remote workers prefer to get things done from home.
If you are just starting out working from home, the transition may not be easy. With no strict guidelines to follow or ready-made time management practices in place, staying productive at home may be a challenge.
Luckily, there are lots of helpful tools out there designed for boosting productivity for remote work that can make the change easier. In this post, we have rounded up 10 apps that can help you stay efficient when working from home.
Let’s begin with team communication. When you don’t see your colleagues face to face, getting your ideas across and receiving feedback will have to be done differently. While email can be an efficient way of communication, it’s not exactly convenient when there are lots of little things that you need to discuss. This is where Slack comes in. The app helps employees communicate and keep track of individual projects. What’s more, it comes complete with video calling and file sharing features that can be used together with other remote team management tools like Google Calendar and Jira.
Google Drive, Docs and Sheets
Speaking of file sharing, you will definitely need an efficient tool for exchanging documents, spreadsheets and other files with your team members. There are lots of tools that can help you do that — with Google probably offering one of the most comprehensive services. With Google Drive, Docs and Sheets, you can store lots of different files online, grant access to these files to your team members, make edits, track changes and more.
Working remotely means that a lot of the communication that you used to do by talking to your colleagues will need to be done in writing. If you are not used to typing that much or are simply having a hard time arranging your thoughts on digital paper, an app like Grammarly will be of great help. It is an all-in-one writing and editing assistant that will not only clear out typos but also help improve your overall writing style.
If your work involves a lot of meetings and presentations, you will need a tool that can help you attend or host them remotely. Zoom is now the number one app for making video calls and holding virtual meetings and remote presentations. The app can also be used as a teleconferencing tool and comes equipped with lots of useful functionality like real-time chat, video recording, screen sharing, calendar integrations and virtual background and “touch-ups”.
For many of us, one of the most challenging things about working from home would be staying focused on a task and avoiding all the distractions, including house chores, running errands for family, etc. If this is one of your worries, consider trying out Focus Booster. The app will give you useful insights into how you use your time and suggest what improvements you can make to increase productivity.
Another issue that you may potentially face when working remotely is lack of stimulation and creativity. If you are used to brainstorming sessions with your team, staying inspired from home may become a challenge. An app like Mural can come in handy here: it is basically a canvas for you and your team’s ideas that you will be able to arrange as digital sticky notes and then use them to create flow charts, diagrams, methods and even drawings. Mural can offer a nice change to more standard idea exchanging setups and, thus, boost creativity for you and your team.
If you work in design or web/app development, GitHub is one of the must-have tools. The app will help you efficiently track changes in code and prevent you from accidentally overwriting your colleague’s work. You will also be able to address any issues or questions your team may have right away — you will simply need to tag a team mate to ask a question.
If your work involves doing a lot of research online, you might need a tool that can help you keep your browser’s bookmarks organized and easily accessible when you need them — even if you are not at your computer at the moment. Pocket is an app that can help you save and revisit articles, videos and webpages on your phone and can be integrated with all the popular browsers and over 1,500 other apps. What’s more, you will be able to tag your saved content and organize similar items into groups.
If you are managing a team or a project remotely, there is a high chance that you have already looked into ways on how to monitor employees who work remotely. The truth is, keeping track of individual and team productivity when you don’t get to see your team members at the office can be quite challenging. Traqq is an app designed for automated time tracking, which also gives you several ways to monitor remote employees without interfering with their work, including an option to take video recordings of screen activity. With Traqq, you will also be able to analyze activity levels for everyone on your team, which can help you improve delegation and optimize your team’s overall performance.
If you are a fan of social media and find the “feed” mode of receiving updates convenient, you will probably love an app like Yammer. Dubbed “the Facebook for business”, Yammer is organized in a very similar way to the popular social media app — but instead of pictures of cats and relationship status updates, you get to share news about work and projects you are managing so that other members of your team stay in the know.
So, there you have it. We have tried to sum up some of our favorite tools that can help new remote workers make the transition efficiently. With that, we are very open to suggestions and would love to hear from you. What apps do you find most helpful when working remotely?