Remote work — sometimes referred to as “working from home” or “teleworking” — is no longer a nice-to-have workplace feature. It’s become a dominant method for many Australian workers to enhance their productivity during these challenging times.
While we’ve seen some partial and staggered returns to offices, many workers are continuing to choose remote work as their primary mode for getting the job done — whether that’s for a few days or the entire working week.
According to figures from Global Workplace Analytics, it’s estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will still be working from home offices by the end of 2021.
Depending on your business operations, that figure could be much higher, of course.
The 5 tools worth investing in for remote work
Getting the tools that help boost productivity when working from home — or indeed anywhere — is a little more complex than typing up a Word document and emailing it to your boss.
Just as job needs vary, there’s no one-size-fits-all office app that’ll meet every need, so we’ve highlighted a range of choices.
Read on to see which office apps you should be using to maximise your remote work-life productivity.
1. Virtual Private Network tools
If your workplace doesn’t mandate using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you might want to let them know how important it is to keep hackers away from sensitive data, whether that’s email communications or vital company files.
A VPN encrypts your online traffic as you send emails, making it hard for third parties to snoop on your exchanges.
Your productivity has real-world value, so why risk it on the open internet?
While there are free VPN office apps to choose from, they often come with risky propositions in their own right. Here are a couple things you’ll need to research before getting started:
Check online reviews on details surrounding whether or not your VPN provider logs usage. Ideally you should opt for a no-logging VPN, because it means that your private communications are genuinely private and more secure.
Points of presence
You’ll also want to check where they have points of presence. The fewer points, the slower the service is likely to connect to your office network or computers.
It’s worth noting that any VPN you choose will slightly slow down your actual internet connection — a casualty of the realities of safely routing your information. However, it’s worth considering if you’re telecommuting on a slow or flaky mobile data connection.
Below you’ll find some of the top VPN office apps worth investing in:
2. Team communication tools
There are a few challenges bosses may face when considering a remote work environment. One is how to keep team communication flowing — whether it’s for formal meetings or informal chats.
If you’re not in the office, it’s far harder to lean towards your colleagues to check a figure or discuss ideas for a new initiative.
Communication apps can cover text-style group chat messaging for any size business. If you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription from GoDaddy, you could also opt for the more advanced Microsoft Teams.
This feature of the popular Office suite handles anything from group messaging to video calls and much more in between. It even allows for document sharing and collaboration, which is great for boosting team productivity.
Other team communication apps to consider include:
Remember, any communication app you decide to incorporate into your business plan will help your dispersed teams stay connected and organised for all your project needs.
3. Video meeting tools
Although remote work is quickly becoming the norm, there’s still some solid business benefits to face-to-face meetings. Meetings don’t have to stop just because your team is working from different locations.
Zoom is easily the best known video meeting app on the market. It’s a good choice for hosting small group chats or all-hands-on-deck, company-wide announcements.
Slack can also handle small-scale video chats or you could consider more enterprise-centric apps that offer more expansive features.
Here are some of the top video meeting apps you could choose from:
Related: How to set up Zoom conferencing
4. Cloud storage tools
If you’re working remotely, it’s not useful for you to store that critical document on your desktop — especially when somebody else on your team needs to add figures or check details on the same project.
That’s where shared, secure online storage comes into play.
These office apps add layers of collaboration and backup for your daily work. Plus, they offer a backup in cases where your computer crashes or you accidentally delete the wrong file.
Cloud storage options to consider include:
5. Time management tools
One of the biggest bugbears that plague office managers with remote workers is tracking how they’re using their time.
A time management app is a vital tool for tracking minutes spent and project completion. Many time management apps also dip into project management and distraction-free workplace practices to keep remote workers focused and on-task.
Here are some helpful time management apps worth checking out:
For more on how to create a productive work environment at home, read this post.
The benefits of remote work for the future ahead
There are plenty of benefits for workers who operate outside of the office on a regular basis.
A study from the Boston Consulting Group found that Australian working parents reported significant improvements in their productivity when working from home.
And although some office workers struggled to adjust to work-from-home conditions at first, most found their way to a healthy work-life balance.
Here are just a few examples of how work-from-home trends have impacted worker’s lives in a positive way, according to researchers at Swinburne University of Technology:
- The lack of commuting time is easily the biggest positive for remote workers, with 90% of Australian workers favouring less time spent on the road.
- 65% of remote workers noted financial benefits — not just in commuting costs, but also cutting costs from coffee purchases and office lunches, too.
- Almost half of the respondents (48%) claimed they are able to spend more time with family or friends.
Even with more workers heading back to the office, the concept of a hybrid workplace (working some days in office and others at home) will most likely be adapted by more managers and business owners in the future.
From office apps to cloud storage, it’s all here
While there’s a definite learning curve in setting up a remote office, there’s an ever-expanding array of tools that can help you and your team stay productive during these challenging times.
Whether it’s managing meetings or demonstrating to your boss that you’re keeping on top of work, office apps are here to help.
Remember, remote work can save time and mental stress, while also remaining as productive as in-office work.
Additionally, these tools don’t have to cost a fortune to run. Choose the ones that are right for you and aim for improving your productivity beyond what you’d see in a traditional office setting.
The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement or advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.