Homeworking Hacks: Top 6 Apps for Remote Workers
Whether you are a traditional homeworker, or you are having to work from home temporarily for other reasons, adjusting to the solo-working life is easier said than done. The remote working industry has been of particular interest to tech companies who are in an arms race to provide the best and most functional platforms to help global businesses communicate more seamlessly. As the steady march towards globalisation increases, so does the development of new technology to meet demand. Additional pressure from environmental groups and government climate targets have made this industry rather lucrative, attracting investment from a variety of stakeholders.
Meanwhile, as businesses try to keep their costs as low as possible, most apps offer a partial or limited version of their software for free. This is enough to meet the needs of most businesses and individuals, but if you are a large brand that needs to fork out to get access to the premium functions, the cost is still relatively low.
Below are the topmost highly-rated apps for homeworkers, rated by homeworkers. Whether your a multi-national corporation, an individual with a home office or working temporarily from your bedroom - incorporating some of the following apps into your daily routine is certainly worth considering.
Slack is arguably the best and most popular tool for remote workers. Slack is a mobile and computer app that allows multiple users to meet and connect in a virtual meeting place. You can connect the whole team or you can have one to one virtual meetings.
Slack also features an instant messaging system, so you can send quick-fire messages to individuals and whole teams. The app allows seamless fire sharing and is integrated with Google Docs, Office 365 and many more. There is almost no limit to how many members can join your online team at one time. The app has a 10,000-message history limit and a 1,000 contacts limit on the free version, but if your team requires a larger limit, paid packages start at around $6.67 per month and include a host of additional features.
The easiest way to manage collaborative team tasks online is to use an app like Asana. On the surface, Asana is an online scheduling system designed to be utilised by multiple workers. However, the app can provide you with much more than that! T
Asana allows you to streamline work requests, co-ordinate and delegate tasks to team members, set milestones and track budgets. The app will automatically update itself to reflect team progress, and send notifications to relevant members if projects are running behind schedule. This app is a favourite among creative teams, having instant access to integrated systems such as Abobe Creative Cloud. Sales teams also fair well on this app, having access to Asanas’ own Salesforce feature that tracks and updates sales cycles and brings sales management and CRM tools together for seamless remote working.
If you are a little bit of a home-workaholic like myself then DayWise is a brilliant Smartphone app designed to boost productivity. It’s easy to lose track of time when working from home, shutting down and switching off is much harder when your office doesn’t close!
Daywise allows individuals to set their schedules and working hours - and stick to it. It sends out your notifications in batches, so you don’t have to break your workflow by constantly checking your phone. You can flag important notifications, and set ‘notifications breaks’ and automated responses so you can have that much-needed down-time without interruption. The app has received rave reviews from people suffering from attention, anxiety and sleep disorders. It has also boosted productivity for those who are often disturbed by a constant stream of notifications and other distractions.
Serene is a macOS and iPhone app that uses focusing techniques to help you increase productivity and help you concentrate on one task at a time. If you are an avid multi-tasker who is easily distracted by multiple projects, then this is the app for you.
Whilst switching your attention between tasks can help make your day a little more interesting, it is often not the most productive way to work. Multi-taskers tend to have increased stress levels and clock out much later than most. Serene organises your day for you, prompting you to set goals and breaks your day down into sessions. When you enter a session, the app blocks unnecessary and distracting websites, and can even help you silence your phone. The app employs focus-enhancing techniques by scheduling regular breaks, displaying countdown timers and playing focus music.
Currently Serene is only available to Mac and iphone users, but the developers are working on a version for Windows and Android.
Zoom is perhaps one of the best known and most used apps for video conferencing, virtual meetings and webinars. Zoom is available both as a desktop or mobile app and is perhaps one of the most interactive platforms available for virtual meetups.
The app enables users not only to make one to one and group video calls but also allows users to annotate each other's screens. There is also an option to record sessions and share documents, all within the app. There is no limit to how many meetings you can old on the free version, but all free meetings are limited to 40 minutes each. The paid versions start at $14.99 and allow users to hold meetings for up to 24 hours long. Paid plans also give the users access to additional admin functions and cloud recorded transcriptions.
Ok, so it’s not an app designed for working, but Houseparty is the number one application for those forced to work from home temporarily, or can’t get out of the house for other reasons. Houseparty helps you to avoid contracting Cabin Fever by connecting you with friends and colleagues for some fun and downtime during your home workday.
The app has a user-friendly interface that allows you to connect with friends over video chat, allowing up to eight participants at once. The app features a host of built-in games and quizzes that work seamlessly within the live video function, so your friends, family or colleagues can all stay virtually connected whilst having fun. The best part is the app is 100% free to use, so long as you are willing to register. The app syncs to your phone or Facebook contact list, so finding and inviting friends is easier than ever, and you won’t ever be alone at your virtual house party.
Technology is on the cusp of altering the reality of inter-connectedness. Although Skype and Whatsapp have their place in the world of instant communication, there are plenty of contenders waiting to take the top spot. Furthermore, these apps are offering more functionality than ever, creating a revolution in the way we work and communicate with each other on a daily basis.
As development continues, we will begin to see these apps move out of the office and into our living rooms. As more apps like Houseparty and Daywise continue to use office communication software for more casual purposes, technology will be the next step in the evolution of socialisation. However, whether or not we are ready for this change remains to be seen. Whilst virtual communication devices are certainly helpful for practical purposes, it is at present poorly understood how this method of connecting could affect us in the longer term. For better or worse these apps mark the beginning of a new age of tech. It is up to us to decide if they will bring us closer together, or risk driving us further apart.
Lydia Lorraine is a freelance writer and content creator based in the UK. She has published works on the behalf of healthcare providers, retailers and social networking groups. She has a M.A in Research, and examples of her work and contact information can be found at www.lydialorraine.com.