Currently, many people are forced to work from home due to the pandemic. Either their teams have switched to working remotely, or they lost their job and have found a work-from-home opportunity.
Working from home might seem easier than going to the office, but it comes with its own challenges. You may not have to worry about commuting or formal clothing, but communicating and coordinating work with colleagues can become a big hassle. Not to mention how distracting it can be to manage your home and work life together, especially if you have kids.
I am working from home for the last 10 years, and I have worked solo and with different teams. Many apps have made it easier for me to work from home. Whether it’s communicating with team members, collaborating on a file, creating a balance between work and home life, or simply making sure my work data is safe, there is an app to make it easier.
In this post, I will list some apps that can greatly help those working from home. Whether you are working solo or with a remote team, these apps will help you.
If you need to work with a team from home, Slack is definitely one of the best communications apps for teams. You can create a personal team space where your team can chat and share files. You can also make channels to discuss different projects and even make private channels to discuss topics with limited members.
Team chatting, file sharing, and channels are completely free features that should work fine for a small team. Although if you have a bigger team or want more features, then upgrading to a premium plan is worth it. Some of the premium benefits include unlimited history, unlimited third-party apps integration, connect with other organizations on Slack, export data, group video calls, screen sharing, and much more.
Available on: Web | Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Android | iOS | Chrome | Firefox
Need an alternative to Slack? Check out open-source messaging platforms.
Zoom offers many video communication solutions, but while working from home, you will like its video meetings solution for large and small businesses. It lets you create video meetings with hundreds of participants at the same time with real-time communication.
You can host free meetings with up to 100 hundred participants lasting for 40minutes each, while one-on-one meetings are unlimited.
If you want to host more participants or want meeting times up to 30 hours per session, paid packages can handle the need. You can save your recordings, generate meeting transcripts, have a dedicated company branding, get phone support, language interpretations, and more, depending on the plan you choose.
Paid plans also come with add-ons like cloud storage and large meetings of up to 1000 participants that can be bought separately.
Available on: Web | Windows | Linux | Mac OS | iOS | Android | Chrome | Firefox
There are more Zoom alternative solutions for web conferencing.
Apart from data storage and sharing, the Google Drive office suite is essential for working from home. You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more for free using dedicated programs. It lets you collaborate with other team members to create and manage a file using collaboration features like comments, annotation, history, and suggestions, etc.
You get 15GB of free storage to manage all the data, and you can upgrade to get more space as needed. I personally use Google Docs for all my documents, and it makes file collaboration a snap without any confusion.
You can try Google Workspace for business, which offers email, drive, chat, meetings, and a lot more to manage your online business.
Available on: Web | Android | iOS
While Working from home, you’ll have to depend on more online services to get the job done, which leads to managing more login details. This makes a password manager like LastPass essential as it’s impossible to have different and strong passwords for each service and memorize them.
LastPass will automatically save all your login details in an encrypted vault and auto-login when needed.
Not only that, it has a bunch of features to make password managing easy. You can save unlimited passwords in the free version and sync them to a single type of device, either PCs or phones. You can also generate strong passwords, share passwords with someone securely, and save notes like addresses or credit card numbers.
Although the free version is enough for most people, you can get many more features with paid plans. Some of these features include sharing passwords with multiple users, 1GB notes storage, dedicated security dashboard, emergency access, sync over all devices, and more.
Available on: Extension for all the popular browsers | Android | iOS
Losing focus is another big problem of working from home as you are usually near family or simply have more freedom to mess around. Pomotodo is the perfect app to help you focus on work while still enjoying short breaks to be productive without stress.
Based on the Pomodoro technique, Pomotodo takes it a little further by offering a timer to follow the Pomodoro technique and work as a journal to track tasks and collect ideas. You can create a to-do list, track tasks, add notes, set reminders, generate timesheets, and get detailed stats of your weekly work.
Available on: Windows | Mac OS | Android | iOS | Chrome
Another app to help you with focus and possibly relax. myNoise is a white noise web app that offers hundreds of different white noise tracks that help in different ways. The website has divided the tracks under categories of what you want to achieve. For example, “I want to sleep”, “Need to focus in a noisy environment”, or “I’m a writer in need of inspiration”, etc.
Just find the right category, and you’ll find many tracks that help achieve the goal. The track’s page consists of multiple sliders that you can use to customize the sounds yourself. There are also buttons below the sliders that you can use to adjust volume, animate sliders for constant change, add a bell sound, set timer, and reset.
I have personally tried many white noise apps to calm the baby, and myNoise is definitely the most comprehensive one that is highly customizable. Best of all, it is completely free without any ads.
Available on: Web | Android | iOS
Computer and online security is another great concern for those who work from home. Office work usually consists of sensitive information, and when you bring that to your home, you need to make sure your PC is secure not to compromise it. Avira Prime is the perfect solution for all your computer security needs.
It protects your PC from malware and online attacks in real-time and scans your PC for viruses. Not only that, but it also has a built-in VPN to ensure your connection stays secure and private. It can also manage your passwords and syncs everything across all your devices. Overall, if you want an all-in-one security solution, then Avira Prime will not disappoint.
Available on: Windows | Mac OS | Android | iOS
If you are the head of the team and looking to make sure other members are working properly and not wasting time, give this app a try. With Time Doctor, you can track other work PC’s activity. It can track time spent on a project, create lists of tasks, take screenshots, track other apps and URLs accessed, and much more.
Using it, you can ensure that your team is doing exactly the task you told them to do. In case they wander off, the app will also notify them to stop. It can also track breaks according to the allotted time. You can view a complete report on each member and how productive they were using Time Doctor advance reporting. It doesn’t have a free version, but you can try it using its 14-day free trial.
Available on: Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Android | iOS | Chrome
Although taking screenshots is essential for any PC work, it becomes much more important when working from home. Apart from helping with work, screenshots make it very easy to share ideas with teammates and communicate better.
The app can take a screenshot of different screen regions and quickly share it using multiple methods. You can directly paste it in chat, share it over Imgur, send it to an app, or automatically save it to your preferred destination. You can also annotate the image using a bunch of built-in editing tools.
Available on: Windows | Mac OS
If your team lives in different time zones, then it’s essential to know the exact time in their area to sync work properly. Timezone.io will make it easier to track time zones by showing different time zones in one place and listing each team member in their respective time zone.
You can register the name and picture of each team member in the web app, and Timezone.io will put them to view in a single glance.
Available on: Web
Most of these apps have free versions that should work fine for solo workers or small teams. Although if you are working with a large team, getting a paid version for each member becomes mandatory. For team coordination, I believe Zoom and Slack are more than enough when used together. Slack can handle all the project discussions, and Zoom can make mass video meetings a snap.