Working from home is every employee’s dream. About a quarter (23 percent) of all American employees worked from home in 2014. This is a major paradigm shift from the conventional 9 to 5 business model.
In fact, most businesses are ditching the 9 to 5 business model to provide a more flexible working environment for their employees. This has a positive impact on the productivity of the employees because they do not have to be in the office to work.
There are several tools that can help you work from anywhere in the world if you are one of the lucky people who have that kind of privilege.
Boomerang is a great tool for working abroad. When working abroad, chances are that your time zone will not be the same as that of your clients or even your employees. Boomerang is a great tool that will help you schedule when your emails will be sent out to your clients or employees. Each email will be sent out at different times of your choice. And Boomerang is compatible with Firefox, Safari and even Google Chrome.
Basecamp is the brainchild of 37Signals. It is a commercial project management tool that can help you manage all your projects at a go. It comes with a number of useful functionalities for business people, including but not limited to to-do lists for groups and individuals, messaging, file sharing and so much more. While it is not open-source software, it is relatively cheaper than renting an office space. It will help you stay on top of all your projects irrespective of your location on the global map.
3. A VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an encryption software that routes your internet traffic through an offsite secure server. Working anywhere may mean via public WiFi at your local coffee shop or abroad in a country with restricted internet access. A VPN will protect you from the cyberthreats on public WiFi by encrypting your connection and ensuring that no average hacker in a coffee shop will waste their time attacking you. A VPN also aids in circumventing governmental geo-restrictions by masking your IP address and letting you choose from the many servers in many countries, so you can access any resource you need regardless of the country you’re in. It’ll even help you get around those pesky Netflix restrictions, so you can unwind at your hotel after a long day of work.
Dropbox is an obvious tool that you cannot afford to ignore if you intend to work from anywhere. This is a virtual storage location that helps you store information that can be accessed from anywhere. The beauty with this storage location is that you will also be able to allow access to a few people who need that information. Once you store your information to Dropbox, you can be able to access it from anywhere in the world.
Trello is one of those tools that can help you visually track a project. When you use this tool, you will be able to know where you are with your current project and who is working on what in the project. It allows you to define different tasks in a project, drag a task from one list to another and even assign different tasks to different employees. If you want to keep track of an ongoing project from the comfort of your hotel room halfway across the world, Trello is your friend.
Time management is probably one of the biggest problems facing business people in the modern world. One minute you feel like you have all the time in the world and the next minute you have no time at all. If you are one of those people who have a problem managing time, think Toggl. Toggl will help you keep track of your time and help you understand how you are utilizing your time. You will be able to tell where a large chunk of your time is going and so on.
You probably have heard about Skype but have no idea how this tool could be of any help as far as your communication is concerned. Well, the truth is that Skype is one of the cheapest ways to communicate via video calls, voice calls or through the conventional text message chats. You can be able to directly communicate with your employees or with your clients through video calls and get to know what is happening with your business in real time.
When you start feeling overwhelmed with too much documentation and you are even losing your valuable information, Evernote will be your lifesaver. Evernote helps you store all your documents in a proper manner and also allow you to seamlessly clip notes from your emails.
If your business involves a lot of customer service, you might want to know how your clients are being treated by your employees. Zendesk is your solution. With Zendesk, you will be able to keep track of all the interactions between your employees and your clients. Nothing will be lost with this tool. All evidence will be there for you to see.
Are there any other tools that you would suggest to businesses to help them run efficiently? What differentiates those tools from ones discussed above? Share with other readers below and help businesses operate efficiently.