Since March 2020 when the pandemic first began to be taken seriously by anyone, life and work, as most of us know it, has changed drastically. One major disruption of the typical work routine was running a business remotely as a safety precaution. So congratulations if you invested in Zoom, a video conferencing tool, when the pandemic started! From March 9, 2020 to its highest point on October 12, 2020, the Zoom stock rose 522%, and was still up 300% at the end of March 2021.
Running a business remotely has become normalized since the pandemic outbreak, and many businesses had to adapt. Since then, these businesses have realized that working remotely has become the preferred method by employees. A December 2020 survey indicates that 27.3% of employees reported they would rather work from home 5 days each week, while an additional 48.9% reported they would rather work from home 1-4 days each week. Businesses unfamiliar with having remote workers had to quickly figure out a way to accommodate this new working format and have since found that using the appropriate software can save time and money. Below are five apps to run your business effectively from a remote location.
Use These Apps When Running a Business Remotely
A major issue related to working remotely from home is ignoring distractions and staying focused. When a remote worker wants to go into ‘lockdown mode’, the Freedom app will help remote workers stay focused by allowing them to block certain websites or all websites on the entire Internet. It will show a green screen instead. Freedom will additionally block distractions from all of your devices at the same time. Therefore, when you begin a session, distractions will be blocked from everywhere. They even will let you listen to soothing ambient background noise (nature, coffee shop) that is hopefully not distracting. It is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Chrome, and the premium version currently starts at $6.99 per month. If you would like to test it out, there is a limited trial version that lets you run 6 distraction-free sessions.
Today’s messaging is not just simply a form of communication. Today’s communications are about essential work collaboration tools. Microsoft Teams is great for remote teams that need to work closely together. Teams includes the ability to mix chats, meetings of up to 10,000 locations, calls, screen sharing, the use of custom backgrounds, and finding, sharing, and editing files in familiar business applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Other features include language translation, setting an availability status, staying up-to-date with the activity feed, and co-authored shared files for real-time collaboration. Teams also provides ample support with articles, tutorials, a blog, and there’s a free monthly webcast with an instructor. There is a free version plus paid upgrade packages, and it is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Google Drive is a cloud-based system where you can store files and folders from any device (mobile, tablet, computer), and it’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android & the web. With Drive, you get free access to Word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and then use the cloud to store them along with creating, uploading, sharing, and collaborating using those files. Collaborate with Google docs instantly, and simultaneously work on documents, slides, or spreadsheets with other team members in real-time. Google Drive will also let you store over 100 file types in its cloud. You’ll get 15 GB of space for free, and then there are upgraded storage plans that cost.
This is an app for e-signatures When being in close proximity to other people is not recommended (such as during the pandemic), HelloSign is a useful tool to have. You can have signatures from up to 20 people and then each of them will receive the final signed document in addition to the initial recipient. This allows custom branding with your company’s logo, and it sends a notification when a document is signed or renewed. HelloSign’s other features include document templates, bulk sends, audit trails, Salesforce integration, and a free version with up to three signatures each month. There are also paid plans.
Whenever there are work teams, outsourcing, or freelancing involved while running a business remotely, there will be people unfamiliar with a particular software. Userlane makes software learning much more user-friendly than it can be. You don’t even have to know any code, and you can still create software walk-throughs and step-by-step guides that will show team members how to use a specific software tool. You can automatically record paths and include supporting materials such as links and images. It also allows you to send messages and information, and ask for feedback. This app will let you segment your audience, have access to user analytics, and direct in-app messaging. They have a free trial plus paid packages.
Since people are working from home and a home often has unexpected sounds and noises, Krisp was designed to eliminate or reduce that noise. When your call, it will you background noise or any other noise that is not your voice. For instance, if the mailman drops off some letters to your mailbox, it will not be heard. And if your barking dog doesn’t like the mailman, the dog will not be heard either. In addition to your own space, you can you noises coming from your teammates. It works with all headphones and microphones. There is a free plan that is limited to 120 minutes plus paid plans.
As the pandemic fades, there will be businesses that eventually will want their employees back in the office together again. However, there has been a monumental shift in how business operations are occurring, and working at home will be the norm for millions of employees from now on. These business apps will help you in your business to keep smooth-flowing operations, and you just might not easily remember if there are any advantages of working in an office.