More and more of today’s workers are gaining the freedom to work as remote employees. Working remotely, however, comes with a number of pros and cons. On the one hand, you are free to work in your pajamas without anyone looking over your shoulder. On the other hand, you have to be more responsible than ever for how you budget your time and how effective you are at getting work done.
You also have to remain in close communication with both your superiors and co-workers – who may be spread out across the city or even across the country. To help make this happen, it’s important to have all the right tools in place. Thankfully, there are many apps available today that can help you stay ahead of the game.
Here are some of the best apps that will help you be more effective and efficient as a remote worker.
1. Flat Tomato
Flat Tomato is a productivity app that can help you work smarter. It is based on the Pomodoro technique which involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. You repeat the cycle four times and then take a longer, 15-minute break. This method of working is great because it helps you break down large projects into smaller time-based tasks.
Flat Tomato helps you keep track of these intervals and offers a fun and friendly way to power through big projects. It’s simple and easy to use. Just tap to start a project, touch and hold to stop all tasks or double tap to stop the current task and record a distraction.
The app features animations, sounds, and colors that change according to the task currently running. It also features a calendar to record your tasks and estimate the effort for activities to make each cycle more effective. There’s a number of different themes to choose from to match your task or mood.
RescueTime is a great tool for tracking what apps and websites you spend the most time on. This helps you gain an accurate picture of what you are doing with your time.
As you are working on your computer or mobile devices, RescueTime runs securely in the background and gives you detailed reports on your web browsing activities as well as what you accomplished throughout the day.
RescueTime can also block specific websites during certain times. This can help you focus on what you need to accomplish.
You can also set alerts to tell you when you’ve spent a certain amount of time on a certain activity. For example, set an alert to tell you when you’ve spent too much time on social media or when you’ve spent enough time working and need a reminder to take a break.
Wunderlist is one of the best list apps on the market. It allows you to organize and share daily work tasks, set due dates, reminders and even assign to-dos to someone else. Wunderlist is great for both group and individual projects that need to be broken down into a number of tasks, either individually or collaboratively.
You can simultaneously create lists for both work-related and personal projects and tasks and share them with family, friends, and colleagues. Best of all, Wunderlist is available for free on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire and the Web. No matter what kind of device someone else is using – or if they don’t have on at all – they can still access your Wunderlist.
If you work from coffee shops, hotel rooms or airports when you’re on the go, you, naturally, need access to Wi-Fi. However, you need to be careful because connecting to a public wireless network can be dangerous. The safety of your data could be at risk as hackers could intercept anything you download or upload.
With the help of SaferVPN, you can avoid the risks involved with connecting to public Wi-Fi. The app creates a Virtual Private Network, which allows you to connect to a remote server that offers bank-level encryption for surfing the web through a secure network.
With SaferVPN, the second you connect to an unsecured public WiFi hotspot, your secure portal is automatically activated. Not only will this app protect your personal and business data from hackers and snoopers, but you can even change your IP address to match any location you prefer, allowing you to use the internet as if you were in any country in the world.
5. Google Drive
To access your work-related documents from any device, anywhere at any time, you will need to store them in the cloud. One of the best apps that offer cloud storage is Google Drive.
This cloud-based storage system allows you to store and easily share your files with your colleagues so you can collaborate on them. With advanced search features, you scan photos and PDF’s to find terms you are looking for using optical character recognition (OCR) and place restrictions on certain files. This allows you to control who can see a document and who can edit it, who can download or copy it and who can’t.
Google Drive’s file synching service ensures that you can access the same documents or information from any computer or device without losing any of your work. Google Drive also allows you to export in different file formats so a document created in Pages can easily be opened in Word and vice-versa.
Staying focused as a remote employee while still maintaining good group or team dynamics can be a challenge, but can also be immensely rewarding. Luckily, today’s smart devices provide a wealth of options to help today’s remote employees accomplish tasks smoothly and efficiently.