Working from home has many benefits that I love:
Pros of Working from Home
1. I don’t have to deal with delays on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) that seem to be occurring more frequently these days. At my former job, it used to take me 40 minutes to get to work each day even though I lived downtown and my office was uptown! That is 80 minutes each day that I now save on commuting time.
2. I don’t have to spend at least 45 minutes each day getting dressed professionally, applying my makeup and doing my hair.
3. I don’t have to spend a ton of money on a business wardrobe.
4. I can move freely within my day. For example, if I want to go for a walk or sit outside and read for 25 minutes, I can do that…whenever I want. I can also go for a hair appointment or do my groceries when it’s not so busy during the week.
Cons of Working from Home
Of course, there are cons to working from home. For example, there can be many distractions that interrupt your work, especially if you are a parent or even if you are living with someone. Working from home can also be very isolating if you are a particularly social person. There is also more of an onus on you to keep up-to-date with the latest technology, trends and news that you would typically learn about in the workplace.
Technology, however, is making it easier to work from home. Here are my six favourite apps to help people who work from home.
It’s important to stay connected with colleagues and clients when working from home and the Zoom app helps you do that by providing a video conferencing feature that can be used on a desktop or mobile. You can record your session, work collaboratively on a project, share files and send messages. Zoom can also be used to host a webinar. Zoom is free to use for one-to-one video meetings or for meetings of up to 100 participants for a maximum of 40 minutes. Zoom is available on iOS and Android.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to go for long periods without a break since you don’t have colleagues to interrupt you. That’s why Break Reminder is a great app for remote workers. Ontario Government regulations state that computer operators should take a five minute break every hour. I definitely need to be reminded to get up and stretch and by personalizing the settings on Break Reminder, I can receive a message or ringtone to remind me to do so. If you tend to take long breaks, you can enter a setting to remind you to return to work too. Break Reminder is available only on Android.
You probably use PayPal to pay for products online, but you can also use it to create invoices for your clients. You can create unlimited invoices for free; PayPal does charge you a payment processing fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Since PayPal is one of the most popular online payment systems, it makes sense to make use of their invoicing feature, which will keep your accounting organized.
Many people who work from home like me receive hundreds of emails a day. It isn’t enough to simply say that you will keep on top of them because when you receive a great quantity of email, they take up so much of your valuable time reading them, filing them or deleting them. Luckily, Spark is an email client that categorizes and prioritizes your emails so that you are notified only when you receive important emails. The app’s Smart Search feature will find any email. The app can assign emails to your team to action and will provide you with follow-up reminders on important emails. And those unimportant emails? You can “snooze” them for later viewing. Spark is available on Mac, iOS and Android and is free, although a paid premium plan includes more features.
Notejoy is a collaborative notes app for remote workers working in a team. You can create a Personal Library for your own notes and drafts; and a Team Library where all team members have access to notes. Team Libraries contain Notebooks (folders) which contain notes. Notes can be styled with headers, footers, bullets, checklists and can include images, videos and Google and Office documents. A Chatter box beside each note allows people to add comments. You can also receive notifications when people had made new entries in notes. The basic version is free.
Admittedly, the Water Drink Reminder app can be used by both people who work from home and people who work in offices. This free apps determines how much water you need each day based on your weight and then reminds you at intervals throughout the day to drink it. until you have reached your designated quota. The app allowing you to customise the size of the cup that you drink water in. The great thing about this App is that it won’t nag you all day and night, you can set a time period for when you are awake and the reminders will only buzz in that time frame. Water Drink Reminder is available only on Android. Daily Water Tracker Reminder is a similar app available on iOS.
You might be interested in reading, “A Guide to Working Out at Home“.