2022 marks two years since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which became the catalyst for the remote work culture worldwide. Working from home is no longer an uncommon phenomenon, and 52% of employees worldwide have been working remotely at least once a week. (1)
Those working from home have had to use different apps and resources to facilitate efficient pricing, tracking, budgeting, communication, management, etc.
But the sudden onslaught of these apps, tools, and resources has left remote workers confused: which one’s best suited for their needs?
Luckily, we have assembled this detailed guide to help you discern which work from home apps are worth investing in, depending on your business type.
The Best Work From Home Apps For Companies And Teams
It is vital to ensure that the work from home apps your teams use are reliable and give you the bang for your buck.
Let’s face it, the more people you have in your team, the more expensive it can get to buy subscriptions and memberships for everyone. So, most of our recommendations are applications that are free (or minimal cost) and won’t let you down.
Let’s take a look at some of the best work-from-home apps for companies and teams.
Otter.ai – Best All-Rounder Work-From-Home App
Once in a while, we come across a stellar app that’s great for entrepreneurs, team managers, remote workers, and students alike. It’s rare, but it does happen. We have to talk about Otter.ai because it is a versatile app used for educational, organization, and individual uses.
What does Otter.ai do? Well, it acts as an AI-powered assistant that can help improve your productivity and collaboration by generating notes from lectures, interviews, meetings, and other voice chats.
You can play, organize, search, share, and edit conversations at ease no matter the device you use. And, you can review and record, all in real-time!
Otter.ai allows you to sync images, text, and audio to ‘smart notes,’ which you can easily share with others.
All you have to do is use Otter.ai on either your web browser or phone to record conversations. You can also integrate it with Zoom and sync or import recordings from other apps.
So, within just a couple of minutes, you can get notes that are to-the-point and searchable using speaker IDs, key phrases, text, images, and audio.
Also, it allows you to stay organized as you can create groups and then invite collaborators. It helps improve communication, keeps you on track, and writes notes without typing a word.
Another fantastic thing about Otter.ai is that it is pretty smart! Since it works using Ambient Voice Intelligent, it keeps learning and automatically recognizes voices and understands unique terminology.
It is perfect for those who may suffer from a reading disability such as dyslexia, for those who may need to multitask quite often, and for those who retain information better by listening rather than reading.
Zoom - The Best App For Video Conferencing
Sometimes, emails just don’t cut it. Having face-to-face meetings can help teams stay motivated, and software like Zoom can help you facilitate those sessions effectively. Moreover, it also comes in handy for training and interviewing purposes.
That is one reason why 8 out of 10 (or 81%) of Americans have been using video conferencing and calling apps since the pandemic started (2). It makes it easier to connect to people you need to work closely with.
Educational institutions and for-profit and non-profit organizations of all sizes took to Zoom for lessons and meetings. It is simple to use and doesn’t cost much. Plus, it offers helpful features to users, such as:
- Space for 100 active attendees and 50,000 viewers at one time
- End-to-end encryption
- Password protection
- Waiting rooms
- Meeting ID customization options
- Option to record meetings
- Remote control
- File sharing
But, overall, it is a secure and reliable audio and video conferencing app. You can hold webinars, online meetings, one-on-one chats, group icebreakers, and more. Plus, it is compatible with most browsers and devices such as Firefox, Chrome, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, and Web.
Forest - Best App For Staying Focused When Working In A Team
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” —Andrew Carnegie
Forest is a work-from-home app that is quite innovative with how it deters workers from using their phones. As the name suggests, it gives the fate of a tree (a virtual one) in your hands. Basically, the less you use your phone, the more the seed will grow. If you switch to another app, the tree will start withering and eventually die.
So, the whole point of this app is to help a tree grow by not using your phone and feel accomplished with how productive you have been. Now, there are some cool features you and your coworkers can use:
- Unlock different white noise sounds, and 30 different tree species
- Compete with colleagues to see who put away their phones for the longest time
- If you are working collaboratively, you can plant a tree with your colleagues to symbolize the work you share
- Unlock rewards and achievements the better you do
If that doesn’t seem to be enough of an incentive, Forest offers another fantastic feature. You can sponsor an actual tree if you stay productive. So not only will you be getting your work done efficiently, but you’ll also be helping the environment. In addition, they have teamed up with the Trees of the Future org to have a real-world impact as well.
You can use this brilliant app on Firefox, Chrome, Windows Phones, Android, and iOS.
Basecamp - Best for Organizing and Collaborating
If you struggle to organize your projects and make it easier for your teams and clients to collaborate with you, then Basecamp is just what you need. It is a tool that helps you manage projects, tasks, teams while clients directly collaborate too.
It cannot be easy to constantly stay in touch with teams and clients when working from home. Basecamp allows you to include not just team members but clients within a project so that you can complete it more efficiently.
You can forward emails directly to the Basecamp app, message clients, and share to-do lists with them. But, you can mark some things that only team members can see. You can also communicate through message boards, store documents and files, create to-do lists, create a group chat, and track deadlines within calendars on Basecamp. Essentially, it allows you to streamline collaboration on a project.
One of the best parts of Basecamp is its check-in feature. It allows you to ask your team questions such as, ‘what did you accomplish today?’ and you can see replies within one easy-to-find thread. You can use Basecamp on Firefox, Chrome, Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Web
Private Internet Access (PIA) - Best For Staying Secure
If you would like your teams to browse securely, then Private Internet Access (or PIA for short) is your best bet. It is a VPN service that is open source. And how can it help you? Well, besides using it when using public Wi-Fi, it can even protect you at home during the following scenarios:
- If you need to borrow your neighbor’s Wi-Fi during an emergency
- If you are visiting a website that isn’t encrypted
- If you need additional security when accessing another device remotely
- If you would like to use websites that are not accessible within your country
The best part is that this can run on ten devices simultaneously and block malware, ads, and trackers, making it perfect for small teams working remotely.
Google Drive - The Best App For File Sharing And Storage
Google Drive is a file storage application that needs no introduction. However, if your team struggles with storing and sharing files and collaborating on presentations, spreadsheets, word documents, then Google Drive is the best solution.
It allows you to edit posts, create proposals or other business documents with your teammates while working remotely. Furthermore, Google Drive has Google Sheets to compile and edit statistical business data and create graphs and charts to visually represent all the data.
Google Slides allows you to create presentations with your team and clients and present them remotely. And the best part is that Google Docs will enable you to create documents and write content, lists, anything, and collaborate with your team members in real-time. Moreover, the edits and changes get synced and saved automatically.
If you want to share any file, audio, video, or text (no bigger than 10 GB per file), you can do so by simply dragging and dropping.
Another great feature for Android users is that you can snapshot your documents (such as statements or receipts) to save them in the app and store them within Google Drive as PDF files. You can access Google Drive on Android, Web, and iOS.
Spark - The Best App For Email Management
Spark allows you to prioritize emails, placing priority conversations at the top so that you can reply to them before others. So how does it do this?
Well, it essentially only notifies you when you get an email from people you know, meaning you can reply faster to colleagues you frequently correspond with on email.
Other than that, Spark allows you to snooze emails when you would instead focus on other, more pressing matters. But the best feature is collaborative emailing, which lets users discuss important emails with teammates and even write emails with others using a real-time editor.
You can use Spark on Android, iOS, and macOS.
Zapier - Best For Automating Repetitive Tasks
Working from home means spending pretty much the whole day in front of a screen, doing the same things over and over again. You don’t have any colleagues around that you can gossip with for a change of scenery, and it can get tedious real fast.
Zapier to the rescue! Instead of repeating the same tasks manually dozens of times in a day, you can use this app.
It enables you to improve your productivity levels and streamline your time all from the comfort of your home. Moreover, it integrates well with leading platforms and apps, such as Dropbox, Outlook, Google Drive, Slack, Gmail, and more.
They also offer ‘Zaps’ which are pre-designed workflow templates that allow you to send automated personalized messages to leads, share content across all your social media accounts and save your media and files to the cloud.
You also get the option to create customized Zaps by connecting the apps you would like and then automating the actions and triggers as per your requirements.
Best Work From Home Apps For Individuals
Here are the apps we think would work brilliantly for different scenarios if you work all by yourself:
1Password - Best For Staying Secure
Passwords are like underwear: make them personal, make them exotic, and change them on a regular basis.” -SecureWorld Atlanta-
It might be hard to keep track of your passwords if you are working independently. The solution to that is to have a dependable password manager. 1Password acts like a vault where all your passwords reside safely.
All you have to do is sign up to 1Password, write down a ‘Master Password,’ and then you can add your passwords for all your other accounts and websites in the vault. And voila, you’re done.
What’s the fuss about? Well, 1Password, allows you to have a complex and different password for every app and website because you won’t have to remember them individually. It also offers a password generator tool that creates secure random passwords to keep your devices safe from theft and malicious activity.
You can use this on several browsers, such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Android, macOS, Windows, Web, and iOS.
StayFocusd - Best App For Staying Focused
The worst part about working by yourself, and that too from your home, is that you may succumb to distractions a lot quicker and easier. However, we know a great way to stay focused. And that is through the app, StayFocusd!
It blocks out websites so that you don’t waste time on them. Additionally, it allows you to set a specific limit to online browsing.
How does it work? It’s pretty simple; all you need to do is specify the websites you will be avoiding when working. Then, define how many minutes or hours you can spend on the specific site per day. But, of course, once the time you decide ends, you can’t enter those websites.
Pretty genius, right? It essentially forbids you from procrastinating! And limiting screentime is the best way to avoid wasting time. You may not realize it, but we check our phones over 58 times per day on average! And, worst of all, 30/58 times is during the time we are supposed to be working. (3)
StayFocusd holds you accountable and is quite strict. That’s because you can’t get around its time limit. After all, you can’t delete the websites you have blocked from the list until the new calendar day starts.
StayFocusd has an extension called ‘Nuclear,’ which is excellent if you need to complete a specific task. Once you turn the nuclear option on, your access to the blocked websites will be ‘nuked’ for some time (you can set it yourself). After that, you can create an ‘Allowed’ list for the work-related websites using the Chrome browser.
Todoist - Best For Automating Repeat Tasks
It is an app that helps you manage tasks by defining them within a list. For example, you can add the date the assignment is due and track progress accordingly. In the end, you can simply checkmark them once you’ve completed the job!
However, it has several other features, such as converting emails received from your clients or vendors into comments and tasks as soon as you open them. You can even convert websites and articles into tasks while browsing as long as you have the browser extension.
However, that isn’t even the best part. It allows you to set up recurring, automatic deadlines for specific tasks that will be activated automatically depending on the time taken to finish similar jobs before.
You can use Todoist on Wear OS, macOS, iOS, Firefox, Chrome, Windows, Apple Watch, Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, Web, and Android.
nTask - Best For Organizing And Collaborating
Business owners and entrepreneurs have their work cut for them. Even if you are running the show all by yourself, you might need to hire freelancers to help accomplish specific tasks.
Thus, to ensure you can successfully collaborate with remote freelancers while keeping things organized, you can use nTask. This software helps you manage tasks and processes while keeping track of your freelancers so you know how progress is going. Why is the perfect work at home app for individuals this 2022? Well, it has an intuitive design, and its interface is easy-to-navigate. Those using this app will likely get the hang of it pretty quickly and ensure they get their tasks done.
Here are some of the features it offers to help you organize and collaborate:
- Deadline tracking
- Calendar management
- Cost estimating
- Timesheets and time tracking
- Slack, Google Calendar, Zapier, Zoom, etc. integrations are available
- Project planning and task management
- File sharing
- Issue management
- Meeting minutes tracking and meeting management
- Grid view, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, list view
- Risk management
- Meeting agendas
The best part is that it is available for free, and the paid version starts at $3! Organization without breaking the bank.
Microsoft OneDrive - Best For File Storage
When working from home by yourself, you will probably have a lot of essential business documents and files to store and keep track of. To keep things organized and safe, Microsoft OneDrive is the best option.
It is a cloud storage application where you can save attachments and files and access them whenever you need them. You get 5GB of free space when you sign up, and you increase the storage space for a minimum payment. Their plans start at $5 per month, which is quite affordable.
Moreover, it offers support for most types of files, it allows you to use Microsoft Office Online and also syncs to your Desktop.
GitHub - Best App For Coders Working From Home
If you want to try your hand at developing software or are a coder who wants to work freelance from the comfort of your home, then GitHub should be your go-to.
It is essentially a platform that hosts code, and you can easily create software straight from the app itself. You can try out the app before deciding whether you want to buy it. Pricing starts from $4 a month. Here are some of the features you receive:
- Code hosting
- Project management
- Bug tracking and integrated issues
- Social coding
- Over 6 million git repositories, hosted
Surely you would agree that working from home would not be as easy as without the great applications available for us to use. There is an app out there for every little work-related thing that helps our working lives at home be more breezy.
Thus, there is no excuse for not being productive even while working from home, as you have the technology and apps you need to conduct several important activities. In fact, a Stanford study showed that people opting to work from home saw their productivity increase by 13%. (4)
Ensure your 2022 goes well even if you have to work from home using the apps we mentioned in this article!
- Owllabs, State of Remote Work
- Pew Research Center, The Internet and the Pandemic
- Adrienne Matei, Guardian
- Stanford, Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment