According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29% of Americans can currently work from home. However, as a pandemic tears through the country and companies begin to send employees home, nearly every single non-essential worker has recently been forced into the remote working lifestyle.
If you’re new to this kind of remote working environment then it might take you a few weeks to adjust. From learning how to set up a home office space to minimizing distractions, there truly is an art to working from home. Learn how to stay productive at home while also enhancing your professional life in general with our list of the ten best apps to use.
1. Time Doctor
When shifting to remote working, one of the biggest issues most people report is their inability to effectively manage their time. With your bed just inches away, it’s easy to crawl in and “work” under the covers. And, while that might work for some, it can lead to a decrease in productivity for others. Install a time management app on your computer such as Time Doctor, which will churn out reports that’ll tell you how much you’re really working on a specific task.
One study found that 87% of remote workers feel more connected when they use video conferencing. In a time where social distancing is taking its toll on individuals and their mental health, make sure you stay connected with those in your circle. Not only does Zoom help make video conferencing easier (with special, integrated functions) for businesses, but it’s a great way to avoid miscommunication in the workplace. Jump on a quick call, clarify a deadline or project point and then go on with your day.
Team communication is more important as ever as your employees and co-workers are spread out across the city, state or even in various different countries. For the foreseeable future, you’ll have to get used to communicating via technology and Slack is one of the best platforms to use for remote teams. You can create various different channels for different things, such as Water Cooler Talk, Marketing, Deadlines, Billing, etc. This makes it easier to keep communication organized and streamlined.
Zapier is one of the best apps to download if you’re looking to increase your working efficiency (from home or even in the office once things return to normal). It’s an automation tool that helps save you time on repetitive tasks. You essentially create what they call Zaps and these Zaps take care of automated tasks for you. This can include uploading files to Google Drive or sending scheduled emails.
This productivity app is actually free, but it’s only available for Mac users currently. If your issue with remote working is the fact that you’re constantly distracted by incoming emails or tempted by the urge to check your Facebook, this is the app for you. Serene comes with a website blocker, app blocker, and distraction-free sessions to help you stay on task. It also allows you to plan your day, listen to serene music and so much more.
6. Google Drive
It’s worth noting that, if you’re not currently using Google Drive, it’s a great place to start organizing your work-from-home life. Google Drive will allow you to create and share documents, spreadsheets and more all while storing essential material on a cloud drive. This is great for sending and sharing assets with other co-workers who need to quickly make edits or changes before finalizing something.
Like Slack, Trello is an essential tool for any remote teams who want to ensure they’re staying organized and practicing effective communication. Slack is great for messaging and communication, however, where Trello is a real-time bulletin board of sorts that allows you to organize a to-do list and organize team members in order to stay on top of projects and deadlines. If you’re an independent worker, it can help you better visualize your to-do list.
One study showed that 22% of remote workers noted that their biggest challenge with working from home was “turning off” after the workday was over. Because you don’t physically leave the office, this can be a struggle for some. If that’s the case, download an app like Daywise, which allows you to set time restrictions for when you start and stop receiving notifications. If you have an iPhone, simply turn on the Do Not Disturb mode.
9. Remote Desktop
If you’re dealing with sensitive data then you might find that your company has set you up with secure, remote access to all of your company files on your office desktop. However, if that’s not the case, it’s still a good idea to download an app called Remote Desktop. It allows you to access your computer by typing in an access URL into a web browser or from an app on your iOS or Android phone.
Any.do is great for staying organized. If you’re a fan of to-do lists, it’ll be your best friend as you learn to work from home during the pandemic. It’s, at its core, a to-do list app with a great calendar function, too. It syncs seamlessly across all of your devices, making your to-do list accessible everywhere. And, you can even help organize others, such as your spouse, children or co-workers.
Save Money While Working from Home
With so many new tasks to tackle, saving money is likely the last thing on your mind right now. However, it should be at the forefront of your thinking as the world moves further and further into the pandemic and economic crisis.
At Cheese, we think it’s easy to save more money on daily spending while working from home. The Cheese debit card is a cashback debit card with 0 fees that will help you better manage your expenses. No banking fees, ever, plus cashback and saving bonus? Sounds like a deal to us.