Home Office Software

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Updated March 23, 2023

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There are thousands of options in the software that remote employees—and the businesses that employ them—choose to use. We think it’s important to keep a few principles in mind when choosing the right software for you:

  • Employer restrictions. Before you start looking into software alternatives, it’s important to understand your employer’s policies and guidelines. They may insist you only use certain types of software, for privacy, security, quality, or other reasons. You’ll need to learn about any restrictions they have in place, and talk to your supervisor if you have any questions.

  • Individual needs. Because you’re a remote worker, you have slightly different needs than people who work in a traditional office. The right types of software can help you manage your tasks, stay in touch with colleagues, and maximize productivity.

Although some software will be specific to your particular business, there are more general areas where it’s important to find the right solution:

  • Communications platforms. These help you remain in close touch with your colleagues, supervisors, and team members (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Twist, et cetera).

  • Project management software. Allows you to stay on top of multiple projects and track all the tasks you’re managing or have been assigned to you. (Asana, Basecamp, Microsoft Project, and others)

  • Backup software. You’ll need something that copies your local data to the cloud or possibly to an external harddrive. You’ll want to check your employer’s policies about data management and privacy before selecting.

  • Time tracking. There are plenty of options to help you maintain your schedule and understand how you’re spending your working day (Toggl, Harvest, Clockfy, and more).

  • To-do lists. Pick your favorite tool that helps you maintain focus and ensure nothing gets missed. (Todoist, Trello, Tick tick, et cetera)

  • Your devices. Some software works better on specific types of devices. Although mobile phones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular for working on the go, you’ll often get better productivity by working from a desktop or laptop. You can try out software across multiple types of devices and learn how easy it is to use.

  • Try before you buy. Choose any type of software—communications, project management, to-do lists, email, document creation, accounting, time tracking—and you’ll find dozens or hundreds of options for each one. So many options can be overwhelming, so we recommend talking to your other team members, reading reviews, and using trial versions of applications before you commit.

  • Integration and automation. The prevalence of cloud computing and “Software as a Service” have made it much easier to automate interactions between the software services you use. Services like Zapier and IFTTT make it easy to automatically transfer data between applications. For example, if you get an email assigning a task, an automation service could add it to your project management, calendar, to-do list, and time tracker apps. Zapier gives a great overview of how to use its services. Again, check with your employer to understand their software-use policies.

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