9 Productivity-Boosting Software Every Remote Worker Should Use
Computer software is as important as IT hardware in any workplace. It spells the difference between getting things done and wasting time completing a job.
If you work from home, software programs are all the more crucial to your productivity. Your colleagues are not physically present to discuss your work concerns. You don't have an IT team at home that can troubleshoot your computer when it crashes. And your boss is not around to keep you on your toes or help you with managing your projects and tasks.
As a remote worker, you're literally left to your own devices. While being hardworking (despite the many distractions at home) is admirable, being smart gets you ahead. Smart employees use the right tools to do their job efficiently.
Want to be a smart worker? Then include these nine computer software programs in your work-from-home toolkit.
1. Antivirus Software
As much as you're protecting yourself from the coronavirus (which is why you're forced to stay at home), your computer needs to have its own defense against malicious programs that can slow down your system and cause data loss and frequent crashes.
Worse, an unprotected computer runs the risk of identity theft and losing money in your bank account.
Even if your computer has a built-in antivirus software, you need something more than just a basic level of protection. Install antivirus software to protect your files and data against harmful viruses and malware.
2. Microsoft Office
The importance of Microsoft Office as a computer software in business can't be stressed enough. Practically everyone uses it for work, school, or personal purposes. It makes computer tasks a lot easier—from preparing presentations in PowerPoint and managing email in Outlook to drafting reports and documents in Word and analyzing spreadsheets in Excel.
However, if you're using the pirated version of this Microsoft platform, you're missing out on the benefit of getting official support from Microsoft should you encounter any issues. Not to mention you'll always be dealing with the pesky notification that tells you to download or subscribe to the original version.
3. File-Sharing Applications
Perfect for remote team management, file-sharing apps like Google Drive make it safe and convenient for work-from-home employees to share files for real-time collaboration. Documents and task updates of individual members are easier to track through such software.
Cloud storage apps like Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive allow backups and sharing of large files between remote workers.
4. Communication Management Apps
Miscommunication happens in any traditional office setting. Imagine how worse it could get when people work from home without seeing each other face to face.
How can you get your team's job done right while working remotely? You've got to use the right online communication tools that will allow people to coordinate properly.
Here are three communication software programs ideal for remote teams:
- Slack - It's a user-friendly instant messaging platform considered most suitable for remote work. Aside from sending direct messages to individual members, Slack allows creating a channel for every team, department, topic, or project so that conversations are organized and easy to track. Because it makes communication quicker and more efficient, Slack reduces the need for using internal emails.
- Google Hangouts - For organizations that use Google for employees' email accounts, using this video chat platform makes sense. It's compatible with all computers, as well as iOS and Android devices. Google Hangouts enables screen sharing and making video or voice calls with up to 10 other people.
- Microsoft Teams - A unified hub for team communication and collaboration, Microsoft Teams keep all meetings, chats, files, and apps in one place. This allows remote teams to work together and share data via a common space.
- Zoom - This video conferencing app makes conducting virtual meetings a lot easy. Just one person has to download Zoom; the rest of the participants can simply click on the meeting link from their smartphone or laptop. Zoom features such as screen sharing, content sharing, and other communication tools help make meetings between remote workers more productive. Also, the app works well even if there's many attendees on a video call.
5. Project Management Software
Having a daily to-do list is good, but you could use a little help from technologies that specialize in project management.
If you or your team handles multiple projects with different requirements and timelines, you need a full-featured project management tool to ensure everything gets done on time.
Here are some online apps remote teams and workers may consider for their project management needs:
- Trello - A Trello board allows managers to view and organize different tasks according to priority and status. Users can assign due dates, receive reminders, leave comments, and drag task items once completed.
- Basecamp - This computer software makes it easy for users to share their work progress with their teammates or clients. It allows data backup through its file storage feature. The app also keeps all members updated on major milestones and other upcoming events.
- Asana - Doubling as a communication app, Asana incorporates task lists with calendars and conversation threads. Its minimalist interface keeps things simple and easy to follow.
- Taskworld - A cloud-based project management tool, Taskworld makes for a seamless collaboration, task monitoring, file management, and communication between members of a remote team.
6. Time Tracking Apps
Time is a precious resource. However, it takes a lot of self-discipline to effectively manage your time when working from home. Good thing, there are time management tools that work like timers, letting you keep track of how much time you spend completing each task.
- Hours - Designed for freelancers and small businesses, the Hours app allows real-time monitoring your work with just one click. It features a visual timeline, smart reminders, and detailed reports.
- Toggl - If you're a freelancer looking for ways to bill your clients accurately, Toggl can help you get paid fairly for the time spent on your projects. It lets you know which of your tasks require more time and attention, so you can allocate your time wisely between easy tasks and those that are time-consuming.
- TrackingTime - This time management app allows managers to measure their remote team's productivity through comprehensive reports that show each employee's tasks and the time spent on them.
- TomatoTimer - The Pomodoro Technique adds a fun element to time management by spending 25 minutes on a task and taking a short break in between each work period. An online tool like TomatoTimer helps you apply the technique while working on a task.
7. Distraction-Busting Apps
Access to social media and even your work email make it challenging to stay focused while working.
So that you don't get distracted when working from home, try using an app like Serene, Cold Turkey, or SelfControl that blocks access to time-wasting websites, apps, games, and other programs.
8. Note-Taking Apps
Keeping track of too much information at work? Keep data organized and easy to share with colleagues through a note-taking application.
A popular app for that purpose is Evernote. Aside from taking notes and jotting down ideas, it allows making checklists, taking photos of documents and saving them as a note, saving online articles, and recording voice notes. You can even share your Evernote notebooks with your teammates for their reference.
Another good note-taking app is the Microsoft OneNote, a virtual notebook with tabs and pages for taking notes. Ideal for project planning, OneNote lets you make handwritten notes and integrate your notes with other Microsoft Office programs.
9. Personal Assistant Apps
If you're too busy or forgetful, a smart personal assistant is what you need to keep track of everything you have to do. Virtual assistant apps like 24me and Cortana enable setting reminders for every important task or meeting. They also let you make to-do lists and take notes.
You don't have to install all the recommended apps listed above. Just choose the ones you think will benefit you most and maximize your productivity when working from home.
Looking for a particular software for remote work? Check out our computer software offerings and let us know what you need. We can help you easily procure IT hardware and software products for your business or work-from-home setup and deliver your order to your office. Contact us today and get a free quote!