Today, economies have halt due to the lockdown, forcing millions in their homes. Our fight with the pandemic seems never-ending but there is still hope which is driving people to work and hustle for a better tomorrow.
In the past month, remote working has risen sharply as more people are getting the day’s tasks done at home. We should not forget that the concept of remote working has become possible due to digitalization. However, it has become equally important to consider that there are still challenges of remote working and getting tasks done at home. The most common problem faced in remote working is struggling to unplug after work.
Furthermore, communication and collaboration is also an obvious barrier when working from a different location than teammates. Nevertheless, there are several apps at our disposal to solve this problem. Other challenges may include lack of motivation when removing all that gentle nudges of having superiors and that sense of being at work.
We are addressing all these challenges in this blog and all of the apps that can be a help to overcome these. Recommended tools in these blogs are free and the once that are paid also comes with a free version. Their tools can be adopted by companies to improve the workflow and turn remote working into a truly life-changing move.
So Let’s see the Top 7 Apps for Working Remotely From Home
#1. Slack (Windows, Android, Web, Mac, and iOS)
Slack is an ideal communication tool for remote workers and is designed specifically for teams. Organized instant messaging channels can be easily joined and leave by team members. This eliminates the problem of receiving
irrelevant messages or notifications. It also gives members options to chat outside of the main topics in separate threads. It prevents such messages from interfering with project-centric conversations.
- Instant messaging: Live communication for seamless collaboration.
- File sharing: Drag-and-drop options for file sharing in the form of PDFs, images, videos, and other types.
- Voice & video calls: Direct voice and video call options.
- Screen sharing: Allows team members to share their screens for real-time collaboration.
The free version of Slack allows users to create a single workspace for small teams while paid versions provide everyone with a fully-collaborative workspace. The free version can be used by small teams within businesses between themselves.
#2. Zoom (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Web)
Zoom offers a full suite of communication and video conferencing tools. Businesses can leverage this application for the majority of remote team meetings and chat.
- Video meetings: Free video meetings and one-to-one video calls for teams.
- Voice calls: Group and one on one voice calls.
- Webinars: Teams can host webinars.
- Messaging: Team can send messages using the application.
- File sharing: Share for better collaboration between members.
Zoom has made group video and voice meetings easy. Its free version can be used for a large chunk of smaller teams. The paid version of the app is also available and only requires hosts to pay a monthly fee. The host has to invite team members to join meetings. These teams can be of up to 100 participants and will only need to upgrade if meetings are longer than 40 minutes.
#3. Serene (Mac)
Serene can help in achieving maximum productivity every day and its free app for Mac. There are two key principles behind the app are: first, it encourages a person to set an everyday goal and stay focused on achieving it throughout the day. Secondly, it blocks access to distracting websites and apps during work sessions.
- Website and App blocker: It blocks those websites and apps that distract users such as social media websites and apps, email, and others.
- Day planner: It defines the daily goal and gets stuff done.
- To-do lists: Manage tasks and helps gets work done by the right team member.
- Focus music: It plays background music to help keep focus.
- Distraction-free sessions: This app lets users work for 20-60 minute sessions with regular breaks to maximize productivity.
- Session timer: Gives a motivation by showing remaining time to complete tasks to boost users towards the end of each session.
- Phone silencer: Automatically put user phone on silent mobile.
Serene help user divides everyday goals into a series of short work sessions and regular breaks. These proven techniques give a person maximum focus while working while adjusting enough breaks to keep the mind fresh.
#4. Chrome Remote Desktop (iOS, Chrome extension, and Android)
Chrome remote desktop allows access to a computer from phones, tablets, and other computers. This means users of the applications can securely access the machine from anywhere without any risks. Users can access the computer by an access URL or download the mobile app for both Andriod and iOS. Its chrome extension gives users faster access from portable devices to office/home computer.
- Remote Access: Its feature enables users to access the computer from anywhere, in real-time from any portable device.
- Screen share: Remote support feature also lets users share screen with team members.
- Remote Support: Team members can also access the computer of their colleagues from different locations.
Some of the other key functions include connecting the user’s device with fellow teammates to provide access to the computer and receive remote support. This is also perfect for getting help with resolving technical issues. In short, users can simply use their features to screen share and allowing everyone to see the same screen for more effective collaboration.
#5. Google Drive (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & web)
Google Drive can be termed as a cloud alternative to Microsoft Office. However, it provides far more useful features for remote workers. The file-sharing and collaboration features for businesses such as team viewing in Google Drive are convenient and better than Microsoft Drive.
Another big issue for Mac users is that the MS apps regularly crash which is not the case of Google Drive. However, google drive and docs have their downside that is they have to be online.
- Cloud storage: It can prove to be very useful for remote teams as it allows them real-time sharing and collaborating on files. This can be attributed to its cloud that these collaborations are without any real lag.
- Documents: It provides word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and essential docs for free.
The application allows team members to work together in real-time on text documents and spreadsheets. Individual remote workers can use the free version of Google Drive as it offers more than enough features. However, for larger cloud storage than the default 15GB space businesses can upgrade storage plans without paying up for G Suite.
#6. Calendar (iOS, Android, web app)
Google Drive and docs come loaded with feature however, Google Calendar doesn’t provide some of the advanced features. Calendar is a more feature-rich alternative that connects all the needs into a single interface.
- One calendar: It integrates all of the user calendars and keeps everything in one place.
- Easy scheduling: It schedules team meetings, eliminating the need for email exchange.
- Meeting transcriptions: Provides automatic transcripts for meetings.
- Synced events: It syncs all the events across other calendar apps.
Aside from integrating all of user calendar apps, Calendar’s star feature is the way it handles meetings. Instead of arranging video chats or other meetings with dizzying emails between multiple team members, Calendar allows anyone to choose and book meeting times during user availability hours while ensuring there are no conflicts with existing meetings or tasks.
#7. Zapier (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & web)
Zapier can save endless amounts of time through its simple automation tool. Users can skip the fuss of constantly switching between multiple apps to and create Zaps to automate these tasks. Zapier can send data between apps such as Gmail and Google Drive to automatically upload email attachments for remote access. It can even automatically add new time entries to a spreadsheet for accuracy.
- Application Integration: It links all apps to allow data sharing and saves time switching between apps.
- Automate tasks: It automates repetitive tasks.
- Custom automation: It provides the in-build feature for the user so they can personally automate apps if they can’t find them in Zapier’s library.
In today’s world automation has become one of the most pivotal tools for maximizing productivity. Zapier can help users easily adapt to automation technology. This incredibly simple app can save so much time iOS users making automation addictive.
Some companies today have been locked down without any proper IT infrastructure in place. Such companies can explore and leverage the benefits associated with these applications and services. These services not only help run organizations remotely but help maximize productivity. Once these companies will start implementing such application the themselves will realize the full benefits of working remotely.
The most crucial effects of this are reduced stress and ease in collaborations. In this critical time, the wrong approach can lead the company to increase stress on employees and the growth of the company. However, the right approach can increase productivity and growth while supporting and encouraging the company at an individual level.
These tools will provide a competitive advantage to the companies as the work can be completed faster with collaboration. This will enable businesses to inculcate healthy working habits among employees. This will help them maximize productivity while staying away from pressure.