Working from the home office. Everyone is doing it and chances are good that you’ve likely worked one or two days this month from the comfort of your own home. Technological advances, web services, the cloud and other useful resources have made the stay at home shift no only possible, but easy – and convenient! This isn’t ideally suitable for everyone, particularly those who’s job requires some face to face contact or perhaps the boss simply needs to keep you under watch. It sounds easy, and perhaps it sounds fun, however, after working remotely at least part time for 15 years now, I can say comfortably that it really isn’t ideal for everyone.
The home worker needs to be organized, trusted, and passionate about their job. Distractions are plentiful and need to be handled accordingly, however, with a properly designed, professional work space it can be accomplished by pretty much anyone. Physical space aside, there’s plenty of great technology out there that can enable you to be just as productive from the home office as you would be in your cubicle.
I depend on a number of apps, services to help me do my job from just about any place. The following a 5 of the TOP apps / web services that can make your work from home life much easier and quite productive:
Sure, we all use google apps, however, the home worker should embrace the entire portfolio of cloud services. I’m an Android mobile device user (have been for many years), so I route pretty much all of my email through Google Gmail. This provides me with near unlimited storage, hardly any down-time, and excellent mobile access. Gmail integrates with my calendar nicely (think mobile alerts) and also ties into G+ very well. I also use google calling and have a dedicated number specifically for business use. this means all my calls can be routed straight to voice mail where I then get mobile notification and transcripts of messages. Google hangouts enables group chat, webinar style events, and also provides me a free mobile messaging service so I can text or call anyone around the World any time. Google docs is also priceless when it comes to collaboration. Most of the documents, notes, and spreadsheets that I create are hosted by Google and thus I can share very easily and best of all, access any time, any place!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard about slack. this service is ideal for team collaboration and discussion. Easily create project folders where you can archive all your discussions and project related materials. Slack has a nice mobile client which also can be set up for direct message communication. I even use Slack for my own bookmarks and notes so you really don’t even have to be a team to take advantage of it
Google Docs satisfies most of my office type needs, however, it just can’t handle everything. I have a couple of detailed e-books in the works and also receive many Word Docs for business in the course of a day. Office 365 is the Microsoft cloud offering of the Office suite. For less than $10 a month I have the full suite of apps (desktop and mobile) and I can cancel / restart any time I please. Best of all I can auto pay with PayPal, something I really like, particularly for record keeping!
Not everyone is on Google hangouts (although they should be!), particularly in the corporate world. For those without Google you can be sure that they are Skype users. It really is a must to have a skype calling name, just in case, and chances are good that when you work at home some of your colleagues will be hardcore Skype enthusiasts. My skpe account is always loaded with some calling credits (I load $10 of time and this lasts me months) and this way I have cheap (almost free) calling enabled no matter where I travel to in the World. The calling credits enable skype use when you aren’t on WiFi
Email definitely isn’t dead, however, for most of us it really is overwhelming. Most consultant or home workers have several email accounts to mange and most of these are likely plagued with spam and loads of non-required mail. Twitter really is my go-to form of communication for short messaging, particularly when I travel. If you absolutely need to get my attention ASAP, nudge me, or send me a tip then Twitter is the way to go. The best thing about Twitter though is that it was created for mobile use so what better way to stay connected?
These are just 5 apps that I use, however, there are many more that any work from home person can take advantage of. What apps do you depend on? Share your tips wit me @gletham