14 tools to help you stay on task while you're working from home
Trying to adjust to working from home? Here are the best tools to keep you on task
Like the rest of the world, odds are you're confined to your home right now. With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across nations, most of the world population has been forced to stay indoors.
For professionals and workaholics, these are testing times. Most businesses have been compelled to allow employees to work from home. Consequently, the global workforce has to contend with a new normal.
Granted, this won't be a problem for seasoned freelancers who are used to working from anywhere. But not everyone is conditioned to work away from the immaculate work-setting of an office environment. In fact, for most people, working from home is much less productive than working from the office.
But it need not be. Technology today can offer us a huge variety of software tools that can be used to effectively collaborate and work remotely. Using these online platforms professionals can easily participate in virtual work environments. This not only allows them to get the job done but also facilitates the completion of tasks in a timely and effective manner.
Trouble is, there are a wide variety of such tools available on the internet. While there are a large number of online guides purporting to solve the remote work problem for work-from-home professionals, all they do is list a few sponsored software tools that don't really take care of every aspect of remote working.
However, you don't have to worry about that anymore. To make sure that you can work from home with the same, and hopefully better levels of productivity as at the office, we've gone ahead and made things easier for you.
The following is a comprehensive and unbiased compilation of some of the major tools that you can utilize to effectively work from home. Using these platforms, you can ensure that you and your team are on the same page, and can collaborate as though you were sitting in the same office.
Also, we realize that not everyone's work-from-home problems are the same. So there can't be a one size fits all solution. Different professionals have specific problem areas when it comes to remote work.
Keeping this in mind, we've segmented the tools according to the various pain-points that every person who is forced to work from home faces. After going through this resource, you are sure to find tools that appeal to your specific problem area.
So, without further ado, let's get working.
Best tools for time management
The most significant, and at the same time the most common problem that people face while working from home is that of time management. While in the office there are set work hours that allow us to dedicate our entire focus, at home the distractions are limitless.
Therefore, to ensure that that you don't spend the entire time playing with your pet, here are some software tools for managing your time better.
First up on our list of time management tools is Time Doctor, an app that's as simple to use as it sounds like. This is an app that allows you to track every task that you are handling.
What's more, it even alerts you in case you are distracted by too much social media. For freelancers, this app has nifty features such as automatically generating bills for your clients. In short, a complete tool for time management.
This is an app as simple as its name. Incorporating a clean interface, this app allows you to log all your work hours in one place. The app even provides you with a visual timeline of your work, allows you to set reminders for important tasks and even helps you generate reports. In short, a no-frills tool that allows you to focus on your work, while it takes care of the time.
The final time management tool on our list is Toggl, one of the biggest names in time management today. The tool provides you with a handy dashboard that allows you to track time and create reports with ease. It can even connect with other productivity tools to give you a unified work-from-home experience.
Best tools for team management
One of the greatest advantages of working in the office is that you can directly collaborate with your team members. The direct interaction with your co-workers lets all of you be on the same page regarding shared tasks. This is something which most would miss while working from home.
However, it's not really impossible to achieve. There is a slew of apps that can help you collaborate and manage your team effectively even while working remotely. The following are some of the best ones that you can use.
When it comes to team and project management, Asana is one of the best tools around. The app is perfect for making sure that your team members stay organized and ahead of the curve. The app allows you to assign tasks to your team members, set priorities and deadlines, and even comment on individual tasks.
What's more, unlike other team management apps that stick to the same visual interface, Asana allows you to change the task visuals according to your preferences. Now that's a nifty feature if there ever was one.
Next up on our list is Ryver, a hassle-free team collaboration tool that allows you to easily manage teams, assign tasks and track progress.
Using the app, you can also create and collaborate with multiple teams. What's more, the app even enables you to set up projects, create chat threads and link out to different other tools.
This app provides you with a high level of breakdown of tasks across teams. It allows you to manage individual members, track deadlines and progress and also share project timelines with the clients.
In short, Teamweek is an app that lets you keep all team members and stakeholders in the loop. Perfect for remote teams collaborating on shared tasks.
Best tools for project management
Apart from managing teams remotely, you also need to keep in mind individual projects and deadlines. This high-level view of the task breakup is essential for efficient project management.
The following are some tools that allow you to do just that. Keep in mind that many project management tools overlap with the team management tasks, so you can use many of the apps in the above section for project management as well. Just as these apps are also suitable for team management.
OK, OK. We're admittedly biased about this one. But when it comes to putting together projects and teams, we're all going to have to get used to new ways of working. And that means building and scaling remote teams to work on projects.
Freelancer.com provides users with all the remote working capabilities that are needed for any work-from-home setup. Whether you're a freelancer working for multiple clients or a professional managing a number of projects and teams, Freelancer.com can be your go-to platform.
The platform is equipped with all essential features such as project management, time tracking, video and text. The platform even manages billings and payments for you, so you can bring your clients on board with ease.
And the cherry on top? The platform can easily be accessed from mobile, using the dedicated app for iOS and Android. Which means you can easily collaborate on the go.
Whether it's project management, task management or team management, Basecamp does it all. Using a simple, easy-to-follow interface, this platform allows you to create and manage projects, track project progress and even communicate effectively with team members.
The app has a message board and group chat functionality that ensures you don't miss a beat. What's more, it even has provisions for file management and allows you to add multiple integrations for customizing the app as per your needs.
If you are part of an agile software team that's working remotely, then don't look further than Jira for project management. Using Jira, teams can manage the entire process of software development from one simple interface.
The software has provisions for the creation of stories for individual users, sprint planning and real-time reporting, to name a few. On top of that, the platform even provides support for integrating with over three thousand additional applications.
For those looking for a complete project management solution, you don't need to look further than Wrike. Designed to give collaborators a complete overview of any project, the software has provisions for task prioritization, file management and more. It even incorporates email-based collaboration, thus allowing it to centralize team efforts.
Best tools for stress management
Now that we've talked about some of the main pain-points related to remote work, we need to tackle one of the biggest impedances to productivity. Yes, you guessed right: we're talking about stress. Stress at work is one of the biggest reasons for burnout and can kill productivity like no other factor.
And don't think for a while that working from home is inherently stress-free. In fact, coupled with domestic distractions, this can give rise to greater stressors than usual.
But don't fret; we've got the solution in the form of some software tools that can help you manage stress better. So just take a deep breath and let's see what they are.
Meditation can be a great stress buster. But with constant mobile notifications and regular remote oversight, things can get tense. Add to that other distractions and you've got the perfect recipe for burnout.
Enter Headspace, an app that allows you to turn your smartphone into a meditation center. With different levels of meditation exercises, this is the perfect stress-busting tool while working at home.
Negative emotions are one of the biggest sources of stress. Repressed feelings and negative thoughts can affect your work in myriad ways.
And this is exactly where Happify comes in. The app trains users to develop the required skills for managing work-related stress. By helping users discover the sources of their stress, it allows you to turn negative emotions on their head and get to work.
The final tool on our list, Runtastic is an app that tracks your daily activity and sleeps patterns to ensure that you get the required forty winks. With a good night's sleep, you no longer have to worry about a hard day's work.
This one's not a tool, per se, but we still think it's pretty helpful. We've put together a piece on helpful breathing exercises to manage stress. The piece includes videos to guide you through each of the exercises. Take a few minutes and give the exercises a try, and we're confident you'll feel more relaxed and ready to tackle the work ahead of you.
And that's it! Using the software tools and platforms mentioned above, you can easily arm yourself for the battle against the Coronavirus. If experts are to be believed, this is going to be a long stretch. With work-from-home slated to be the way forward, make sure you have the above tools in your arsenal.
So, get equipped, get ready, and get going. The world is facing an unprecedented threat, and the only way to get back to normal is by taking unprecedented measures. We urge the world, stay home, stay safe.
And get to work.