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Best Work-From-Home Apps

To assist in mitigation efforts for the coronavirus (COVID-19), many workplaces are closing their physical locations, or restricting the number of employees who report to the office for work. In some cases, these closures are government-mandated. For affected companies who now have some or all employees working remotely, what can business owners and managers do immediately to facilitate and maintain productivity levels and communication? Read on!  Below are some of the best apps to use for communicating with others on your team, tracking time, and collaborating. The good news is, most of these are free! No sense removing money from the bottom line if you don’t have to.

While WTE Solutions has a physical office, we also have many remote employees who telecommute. The apps below are an integral part of our work life on a daily basis. These apps work for us, and they may work for you as well.

(Basic level is free, $6.67 per month for paid version)
While Slack may have an anti-business sounding name, it’s actually a VERY powerful messaging platform designed for teams. Think of Skype, but with a lot more built-in features. Instant messaging is organized into “channels” which team members can join and leave. This is a great feature so that people do not receive irrelevant notices that can cause distractions. Team members can also chat individually or with just a couple of people, if they need to have a discussion outside of the main channel.

Key features
  • Cross platform - Slack is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access. Take it everywhere.
  • Instant messaging - confined to channels based on topics
  • Statuses - team members can set a status so you know everyone’s availability. Are they at lunch, in a meeting?
  • File Sharing - drag and drop files for sharing with your team
  • Voice and Video calling - this can occur directly within Slack. In the free version, this is a one-to-one feature. In the paid version, up to 15 members can be on a call at once.

Google Drive
(Personal use is free, store up to 15GB. GSuite for business is $8 per user per month)
While Microsoft Office may be the standard for document and data management in the business world, Google Drive offers many of the same useful tools perfect for remote users. In fact, this very email was composed on Google Docs! One key note - you must be online to use Google Drive and Docs.

Key features
  • Cross Platform - Google Drive  is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access.
  • Documents  - word processing, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, all free!
  • Collaboration - real-time collaboration allows team members to be making changes to the same document at the same time.
  • Cloud storage - Google Drive works as cloud storage which makes it very useful for remote teams. This makes creating, uploading, and sharing very simple.

($12 per organizer per month. A small to medium business should really only need one organizer)

GoToMeeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package. It allows people to meet via the internet in real time. It’s designed to broadcast the desktop view of a host computer to another group of computers. One nice feature of the app is that outside people (think potential new clients) can access the meeting either via the web or phone without having to download anything extra.

Key features
  • Cross Platform - Windows, iOS, Mac, Android, and web access
  • Meeting recording - record the video and audio of a meeting and convert it to mp4 for posting later or store it for later use. WTE Solutions often uses this feature as a tool to capture the details of a new client call so that all relevant information can be passed on to our development or design teams.

Google Hangouts
(Free unless used as part of GSuite)

Google Hangouts is a messaging, voice, and video calling app. It allows you to have group chats with up to 150 people. You can video conference up to 10 people at once. If you have a Google Voice account, you can sync it to make phone calls, SMS text, and send people to voicemail.

Key features
  • Cross Platform - Google Drive  is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access.
  • Chat
  • Video Conferencing
  • Can be integrated into Google Calendar for one-click meeting calls
  • Screen-sharing to present documents, spreadsheets, or presentations

Google Calendar
(Free - must have a gmail account unless part of GSuite)

Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google. It allows users to create and edit events. Reminders can be enabled for events. Locations with access to mapping and directions can also be added. Additional calendars can be created and integrated into a single calendar making it ideal for team use. Each person on a team can be assigned a different color within the calendar so you can see at a glance when everyone is tied up or free. It does have a built-in task list, but unfortunately, doesn’t offer reminders.

Key features
  • Cross Platform - Google Drive  is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access.Some features only work on the desktop version, including adding new calendars.
  • Color coded individual calendars
  • Set reminders for events
  • Integrates Google maps for driving directions for events
  • Built-in Holiday calendars for many countries and religions to help in planning events

(Free. A premium version ($3 per person per month) allows you to add an integration into Slack or Outlook to create a task with one click)

ToDoIst is a very robust to-do list app that works over multiple platforms so that your list is always synced, no matter what device you’re on. It allows you to add tasks, set reminders, group tasks together into projects, color code items, set priority levels, etc. It’s very customizable! For a small team, it also allows up to 5 people to share tasks, assign responsibility, and set due dates.

Key Features
  • Cross Platform - Google Drive  is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access.
  • Reminders - for single and recurring tasks
  • Color coded projects and tasks within projects

If WTE Solutions can be of help to you in working with these apps, or in any other way during this difficult time, please let us know. We’re here to help! Contact us at www.wte.net/Here-to-help.