WFH (working from home) culture has gained global popularity lately due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the cure for the disease hasn’t been discovered yet, the only option to stay safe from the global pandemic is social distancing and isolation. With the world shutting down, companies around the globe have moved their operations remotely and adopted work from home culture. Though, if you are a freelancer or a solopreneur, working from home is nothing new.
Working remotely from home is often considered as eternal bliss. Though, it is not always sunshine and rainbows. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is staying productive in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-starter and self-motivated individual, working remotely makes things stale in time.
Have you ever caught yourself binge-watching cat videos on the internet, stalking Facebook friends or window shopping online for hours? In the absence of a boss looking over your shoulder, it’s very easy to fall into the vortex of distractions. By the time you realize it, the day has ended and you’ve got no work done. Oops!
Thankfully, we live in an era of technology. There are plenty of apps that not only facilitate your work from home activities but also enhance your productivity. Here are the top 10 apps to boost your productivity when working from home remotely.
1. World Time Buddy
Working from home becomes a nightmare if your team is operational in different time zones. It becomes really hard for people to align their work timings and interact remotely on a need basis. If you have been working from home and struggling to come up with a time slot to organize a single conference call then this tool is for you.
The tool is called World Time Buddy. This tool helps you monitor different time zones around the globe. All you need to do is enter different time zones representing your team’s operational hours to find the best overlapping time slot for your next collaborative meeting.
2. Google Drive
The second most important tool to help you stay productive when working from home is Google Drive. Google Drive is one of the best tools for collaboration and information sharing when working from home. With this tool, you can manage all your documents in one place. Furthermore, you can create and share different types of files such as documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides along with many others.
This tool enables you to invite comments and feedback from concerned stakeholders and make changes accordingly. The documents are instantly updated, so everyone can access the latest version of the document. Plus, having it on the cloud means you’re not wasting time constantly emailing documents that may or may not arrive in the recipient’s inbox.
When working from home, planning is the cornerstone of success. Since work from home minimizes, if not completely eliminates face-to-face interactions, it is crucial for team managers to devise a concrete action plan in order to achieve desired objectives. A smartly crafted action plan helps employees working remotely to have their eyes on the prize. WeekPlan is an amazing tool that can help you with that.
With its prioritization feature, WeekPlan helps you decide what matters and what doesn’t. WeekPlan’s Quadrant View is inspired by one of the top bestsellers ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’. This feature helps you prioritize your workload to optimally utilize time at hand.
WeekPlan helps you identify HITs (High Impact Tasks) and shows you the way to incorporate them into your action plan to derive more significant results. The tool guides you in setting quarterly targets and breaking them into HITs. Through Week View, you can evaluate weekly performance and current standing with respect to the metrics set to measure your productivity.
WeekPlan is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and many other devices. This helps its users to stay connected and aligned with set objectives on the go. With more than 1000 integrations with different apps, connect your carefully orchestrated plan with the tools of your choosing.
4. Pomodoro Timer
It is really important to track employee activities when working from home. Due to minimal or no supervision, employees might end up wasting a lot of time in leisure or unproductive activities. Tracking time helps you in keeping up with priority tasks and monitoring employee activities when working from home.
You can use a Pomodoro timer tool to track productivity and working hours of respective teams working from home. Though, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The tool not only tracks your working hours but also ensures that you have taken proper rest by allotting breaks in between time slots.
Pomodoro timer splits working time slots into two phases: 25 minutes work and 5 minutes rest. The rest time can be utilized to take a break from work, scroll your social media timeline or take a power nap. Pomodoro timer is one of the features of WeekPlan and can be integrated with your work plan to track time spent on allotted tasks by teams working from home.
Zoom is one of the best collaboration tools that can be deployed in a work from home setting. Minimal supervision is the essence of a work from home culture. Though, at times, tasks require collaboration due to the interdependency of different team members.
With Zoom, you organize meetings and stay connected in a remote work setting. You can also invite your team on a conference call for daily task updates. Need help with one of your tasks? No worries. With Zoom, you can share your screen with your team and get assistance with the task at hand. Overall, Zoom is a must-have tool for coordination and collaboration when working from home remotely.
It’s easy to get distracted with news, industry-related information and other content that interests you. Instead of reading everything while working from home, mark out a time in your calendar to catch up on your reading.
In the meantime, add your favorite content sources to ‘Feedly’ which will collect all the latest articles for you to read during your scheduled reading time. You can read your favorite content amid your work breaks. This way you never miss a thing, but you’re not wasting precious work time either.
Listening to music helps people focus. Though, it can sometimes be distracting. At times, there’s a song that gets stuck in your head and your brain keeps playing it on the loop. You can also get distracted from tasks at hand and end up singing the lyrics out loud with the vocalist. If you are easily distracted but can’t work without music then this tool is for you.
The tool is called [email protected] It is a multi-channel music app – designed to bring you music that helps with focus and productivity. The app promotes itself as a neuroscience-backed app. All the tracks you listen to are edited and re-mastered to soothe your brain’s fight or flight mechanism which in turn helps you concentrate.
8. CyberGhost Chrome Proxy
There are some sites that restrict their content access with respect to user location. When working from home, your ISP might as well block certain websites and limit you from accessing content required to execute the task at hand. This tool can help you evade geographic restrictions and barriers put in place by your ISP.
CyberGhost proxy is an add-on for the Chrome browser which enables its users to mask their real IP with the one representing the connected location. All you need to do is install the proxy on your Chrome browser, select a region and connect the tool. The tool allows you to connect the United States, Netherlands, Germany, and Romania. With the help of this tool, you would be able to bypass content restrictions and access desired information when working from home.
Have you ever tried to watch a YouTube tutorial, only to find yourself waiting for the ad to finish before you can get started? Don’t let online ads distract or annoy you while you’re trying to work. Install the AdBlock extension on Chrome and eliminate ads from the content you consume online. This would help you access your preferred tutorials to learn new skills with ease.
How many times have you hit a “reset password” because you just couldn’t remember it? This happens to the best of us as we use a number of tools and apps to execute daily tasks when working from home. Forgetting login details and wasting time retrieving such information is a nuisance. And you definitely won’t want to save your passwords on a spreadsheet or something that can easily be viewed by someone else.
LastPass is your online login vault. Create, store, access and even share login details via the tool. All you have to do is install the Chrome extension. The tool would prompt you to save new passwords, and auto-fills login details for you the next time you try to log in to a service.
Work from home culture is growing. Enterprises around the globe are transitioning out of traditional tactics and adopting new ways of working. In this article, we shared the top 10 apps to boost productivity when working from home. We know that if equipped with the right tools and tactics, companies can achieve more than what was planned. Hence, the recommended apps were compiled to fulfill your personal and professional needs in a work from home setting.
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