The number of people working from home is growing rapidly. More companies and even individuals are farming out work to freelancers and home-based entrepreneurs. Joining their ranks just requires an internet connection and some unused space around the home that you can transform into an office. You also have to invest in functionality like lighting, furniture, and office equipment. Under that last category comes finding the best digital tools to help you get things done efficiently.
There are always more apps appearing. They can fulfill just about any need you have, such as billing, scheduling, file sharing, and more. However, not all apps deliver the same features or performance. Finding the right digital tool for your work can be time-consuming and confusing.
Here are eight apps that can boost your productivity. Most of these can be downloaded for free. Take the opportunity to investigate several different apps before you start investing money in home office tools.
You can consider Trello to be a digital version of a pinup board where you attach notes and images. You can create and manage a pinup board for any project you have in mind, and organize the material in any way you like. This enables you to maintain an easy-to-follow, easy-to-update visual display of workflows or requirements for yourself or as part of a team. It also works smoothly with apps such as Toggl or Google Drive.
There a free version of Trello as well as a paid edition with additional features.
Wunderlist has gained a loyal following among freelancers and mobile professionals. It allows you to create lists to track your tasks, employees, expenditures, or material needs. The uses are limitless for both business and personal needs, as it’s easy to create, edit, and manage multiple lists through the interface. There are also time management and scheduling apps provided so you can work all these lists into your daily routine.
Microsoft acquired Wunderlist a while back, and launched their own To-Do app which they hope will replace the original app once all the features Wunderlist offers are implemented.
Wunderlist not only works across most major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle, but it’s free.
When you work from home as part of a team, you’ll find a good use for Slack, designed for team management needs. It’s user-friendly and includes options such as sharing of documents and emails. It also enables team messaging across different platforms, social media, and multiple workgroups. You can log into several different projects at once and receive notifications as changes appear.
It works seamlessly on Windows PCs but also over Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone devices. There’s a free version with a sliding price scale for additional features.
Box is a cloud-based file sharing service. You can leave comments, store, edit, and share files with clients or team members in real time over a secure platform. As a smartphone app it allows a lot of flexibility for mobile business professionals who rely on having the right documentation available. One of its strongest features is that it’s designed from the ground up for smooth integration with many other platforms, including Slack. It also works seamlessly with major productivity software like Office 365 or G Suite.
Pricing starts at just $5 per user per month, but Box does offer a 14-day free trial.
24me app is an ideal tool for becoming more productive if you spend long periods of times working alone at your tasks. It’s a customizable time management app intended for busy individuals. It functions as a personal assistant that will help you set schedules, deadlines, meetings, and organize assignments while providing timely reminders and alerts to keep you on track.
Intended primarily for iOS devices, 24me is available as a freemium download.
Houzz is known for its home DIY expertise. How that fits in with your home office is that their app will help you with maintenance tasks. An efficient office requires regular maintenance to reduce clutter, remove dirt, and keep everything in good working order. Beyond cleaning, Houzz will also provide access to information on its website that will help with other projects you might need to expand, redesign, or upgrade your surroundings, as well as general home improvement tips.
Houzz is free and available for iOS, Android, and Kindle.
Many home workers find it’s essential to conduct meetings with clients. This can be hard if you’re trying to maintain a professional atmosphere and don’t want strangers coming to your home or customers tripping over you dog. iMeet gives you the capability to arrange and conduct online meetings through essential features such as video chat, audio calling, and file sharing. Available in 12 languages.
iMeet for iOS is free, but with several advanced pricing plans that include a 30-day free trial.
PandaDoc will help you to create and edit official documents to support your operations. Contracts, HR forms, quotes, agreements, and similar documents are a vital part of many businesses. PandaDoc will enable you to automate generating the paperwork you need when you need it. You’ll be able to present customers and associates with impressive professional documents on a variety of business functions with minimal fuss straight from your home printer.
PandaDoc is available for iOS and Android devices. It’s available at a sliding subscription cost but does offer a demo version.