Mommy blogger Linsey Knerl once wrote that “working from home takes research, effort, some capital, and the desire to see success.” That’s all true, but she forgot one key thing. Working from home also takes the right apps, and this article shines a spotlight on nine of the best.
Diacarta: Plan Visually
Without a boss hovering over you cracking a metaphorical whip, it takes serious organizational talents to work well from home. A planning app is a great companion to your own innate skills. But there are so many of these apps in the virtual marketplace that it’s tricky to decide which one is for you. If you’re one of the estimated 60 to 65 percent of people who are visual thinking, then the decision is easy. Diacarta is the only one you need to download.
Diacarta doesn’t just have an aesthetically pleasing presentation, but it also uses icons to create a visual map of your time. Select one of more than 50 images to visually represent your appointments or create your own. Diacarta also syncs to all your devices so you can easily access your calendar no matter where you are.
Kingsoft Office: Create and View Business Documents
Unless you’ve got an employer to foot the bill, a complete office software suite is probably an expense you’d rather avoid. There are also several apps that do the same job on the virtual marketplace, but most of these also come with significant price tags. Thankfully, Kingsoft Office Free is the functional and intuitive exception to the rule.
This surprisingly sophisticated app allows you to create and view Word documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. It takes its cues from Microsoft Office, so if you’re familiar with that program you’ll find Kingsoft very user-friendly. Its comprehensive range of features, including a spell-checker and formatting tools, is surprising in a free application.
Pocket: Store Passwords and More
You’ve probably got a swag of log-in details for email accounts, accessing company documents, and much more. Add in strings of numbers for everything from your bank account to driver’s licence, and it’s no wonder that important information can easily be forgotten. In fact, one in five people admit to regularly forgetting key passwords. The user-friendly Android app Pocket helps you keep track of all this information while keeping it secure.
It may seem scary to store your passwords and account details on a device, but Pocket takes security seriously. The app encrypts your sensitive data using the industry standard ARS-256 algorithm. It also backs up these private details to Dropbox. This intuitive program also locks after sitting idle for two minutes and clears its clipboard to protect your details. If you’re still nervous, remember that Blackberry mobile device management and other similar MDM systems allow you to wipe the app if your device is lost or stolen.
Mobile VPN: Connect to the Office Securely
About 65 percent of companies say they’re concerned about unauthorized access to company data and systems when employees work on their own devices. It seems they’ve got good reason for nervousness, as a quarter of American adults have been victims of malware or hacking on a personal electronic device.
You can help ease your company’s fears with the free Mobile VPN app. The app, which is available for both Android and iOS platforms, lets you securely access the corporate documents you need and make Voice over IP calls using a complete layer-3 Virtual Private Network tunnel. This encrypts the transmitted data to keep it safe.
Google Drive: Collaborate With Colleagues
You don’t need to be in the office to collaborate with co-workers and clients thanks to Google Drive. This free app, which integrates with Google Docs, allows you to share Word documents, spreadsheets, PDF files, and Google presentations with anyone in your network. The app supports real-time editing; although, you’ll need to give users the privileges to alter your work. Users can also add and resolve comments in this digital workspace.
WorkSnug: Find a New Workspace
Don’t let the name fool you. People that work from home don’t always work from home. When your internet connection fails, when you’re away on business, or when you’re simply craving a change of scenery, an app like WorkSnug is your best friend.
This clever free app doesn’t simply tell you where you can find Wi-Fi like so many others on the market. It actually gives you a clear picture of nearby hotspots, with comments about the atmosphere, noise levels, and even the coffee’s quality. These comprehensive reviews let you find the most laptop-friendly workspaces near you.
Team Viewer: Access Files On the Go
Team Viewer is another great app for telecommuters on the move. Simply install it on your home computer and you can get access to all your files via the free mobile app. It also lets you transfer your home files to your Android tablet or smart phone. This clever app is perfect for those times that clients want urgent changes when you’re far from home. Team Viewer helps you feel like you’re working from home no matter where you’re at.
White Noise: Kill Noise Pollution
Traditional offices are noisy, but the symphony of photocopiers and colleague chatter can become a kind of white noise which is easily tuned out. Home offices typically don’t have the same kind of background noises, so any sounds that do crop up are particularly jarring.
When the neighbor’s dog is barking, there’s construction work across the street, or your kids are home for the holidays, the White Noise app can come in handy. White noise has been proven to help people focus by blocking out the other sounds their brain tries to latch on to. It creates a kind of sound buffer that can help you work more efficiently and meet your deadlines.
Invoice2go: Get Paid
All your efforts working from home will be for nothing if you don’t remember to invoice. Some telecommuters are lucky enough to have an accounts team taking care of the finances, but invoicing is a necessary evil for many work-from-home employees. Invoice2go helps streamline the process with tools to create, preview, and email your invoices and quotes to clients.
With these apps loaded to your smart phone or tablet, you’ll work more efficiently and effectively from home or anywhere else.