Remote work is the future of work. A Bloomberg survey showed that 39 percent of employees would quit their jobs if their bosses don’t offer flexible work conditions. Among millennials and Gen Z, the figure shoots to 49 percent.
Most companies are ready to embrace this change, with one estimate showing that 36.2 million U.S workforce could be working remotely by 2025. This represents 22 percent of the overall workforce – a staggering 87 percent increase from the total remote workforce before the pandemic.
With the transition to remote work happening faster than we thought, the right home office tools will ensure smooth business operations and increased productivity.
Why You Should Invest in Work-from-Home Tools
Working from home offers more flexibility, less commute, and better work-life balance. No wonder 80 percent of U.S. workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer hybrid or remote work.
If you’re in the process of adopting this work trend, you will need certain tools to facilitate aspects like communication, collaboration, and project management.
Investing in home office tools will help:
- Improve team flexibility. With people working in different locations, you can hire the right skills, when you need them. Remote work tools make it easier to use an on-demand workforce to grow your business.
- Increase team visibility. An employee tracking software ensures visibility and transparency across teams and projects, which is crucial for any manager delegating tasks. Such tools enable you to track project progress in real-time and see how employees use company time.
- Boost productivity. Being able to track the performance of team members and projects is necessary for any kind of business, especially with remote teams. These tools help you keep project timelines in check and motivate your staff to improve their performance.
- Promote better discipline and morale. A free clock in and out app can help you monitor the number of hours an employee works. It also allows you to track attendance patterns and get an overview of who arrives late for shifts. The data can be useful when dealing with disciplinary issues.
To ensure you or your employees are at peak productivity, here are 12 essential tools for working from home.
Best Remote Tools for Time Management
Time tracking is one of the most crucial parts of managing a remote team. TMetric offers a reliable time management solution to log work hours and boost productivity.
The app lets you set timers on tasks and projects, so you can effectively manage remote workers and their activities. You can also calculate time off with ease and ensure accurate payroll.
If you want a free time tracking app that also offers employee monitoring and productivity tracking features, Traqq is your best option. It gives managers insights into what the remote teams are doing throughout a workday.
The tool snaps periodic screenshots to ensure people aren’t abusing company time. If someone forgets to activate the timer, alerts pop up on the screen to remind them to do so. Plus, users can add time manually to ensure all worked hours are accurately logged.
Additionally, Traqq’s automated features simplify your work when it comes to invoicing and payroll processing.
Best Remote Tools for Communication
Smooth workflows wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated communication tool like Slack. It offers real-time messaging, collaboration, and file sharing, hence promoting a streamlined work process.
You can create channels for team work or chat with individual team members. Slack also offers voice and video calls to enhance face-to-face collaboration. Its ability to connect with other leading productivity apps like Salesforce, Google Drive, and Trello makes it even more powerful.
Dialpad is a must-have home office tool for boosting team communication. It’s powered by AI, which ensures teams no longer forget action items or need to take notes during meetings. Instead, they can fully focus on conversations and agendas.
Those who didn’t make it to the meeting can pull out an automatically generated transcription to keep abreast of what was discussed.
Brainstorming face-to-face is more impactful than doing it over chats. GoToMeeting takes virtual meetings to the next level. Unlike most communication tools, users can join meetings without downloading the app.
Some of the features it offers include HD video; screen sharing; keyboard and mouse sharing; in-session chat; and conference calling.
Best Remote Tools for Productivity
Sometimes, it’s difficult to focus with all the distractions surrounding a work-from-home environment. A tool like Brain.fm creates and plays music that helps improve focus. The app takes a scientific-first approach to create music that actually enhances the neural response in your brain.
All you need to do is choose your mental state, and the app plays music to help you get there.
On any typical day, the average remote worker switches between multiple remote work tools. What if you could manage all your apps from one workstation? That’s what Shift offers.
It lets you add all your favorite apps, email accounts, browser extensions, and even access the web from one place. You no longer have to open each app separately. Plus, with the unified search across Calendar, your Mail, and Drive account, you can quickly find anything you want.
8. Tomato Timer
Do you use the Pomodoro technique? If yes, then you should check out Tomato Timer. It is a free online tool that helps you manage the Pomodoro method from your home office.
It offers a great way to keep distractions at bay, which can be a major challenge for remote workers.
Best Remote Tools for Creativity
Whether you’re a designer or managing a team of designers, Canva is the right tool to help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. It lets you build out designs using a drag-and-drop feature. You don’t need prior design knowledge to use the platform.
It has unique features like free templates. You can upload your own images, choose custom colors and fonts, and so on. It supports team collaboration where coworkers can leave feedback, get approvals, and work on visuals together.
Creative teams who want to organize projects visually will find Milanote instrumental in their work. The app lets you collect everything in one place, from images and videos to web pages and to-do lists.
Its cloud-based board gives you access to your private visual notepad on the go and even supports brainstorming with teammates.
Best Remote Tools for Project Management
Asana is a well-known project management software that helps streamline project tracking and collaboration. The platform has unique visuals and designs that promote team engagement.
Asana’s timeline and boards ensure managers and their teams see pending and ongoing tasks, so everyone can be on the same page. The tool also automates routine work to eliminate repetitive work.
Trello is another great project management tool for freelancers and small teams who want to collaborate through Kanban-style lists. Not only does the app help you and your team stay more organized, but it also enables you to keep track of daily tasks.
Trello cards ensure all tasks can be tracked and shared with coworkers. The timeline view simplifies project planning, and the built-in calendar promotes effective time management.
The program lets you add team members to different boards based on project needs. Each person can then update you with their work progress throughout the day.
Choose the Right Remote Work Tools for Your Team
The availability of home office tools allows teams to work more efficiently and effectively. Even with thousands of miles separating team members, these programs, plus many others, ensure teams work together and continue being productive.
With technology ever advancing, remote work is becoming more and more manageable. It’s up to you to choose tools that not only suit your business model but also fit your company culture and employee needs.