Male hands using smart phone and laptop computer

Due to recent global events, working from home is becoming the “new normal”. It falls to you to maximize your time and resources, given the circumstances. However, several apps can make working from home easier. We’ll look into a few of them.

Any of the following apps would be a great addition to your workstation at home as they offer all-round productivity. However, it’s also vital to stay safe while you work. Using a VPN with any apps will greatly improve your safety.

What is a VPN? Virtual private networks (VPNs) establish a secure connection between your device and a network while encrypting all traffic in-between. It gives you protection from hackers or anyone trying to get access to private information in your systems.

Without further ado, here are five apps to help you work from home by improving your productivity and comfort:

1. Serene

Category: Productivity

Price Range: Free

Serene allows you to attain maximum productivity in two ways. The first is by setting a single goal for the day and ensuring you concentrate on achieving it. The second way it increases productivity is by denying you access to certain distractions such as apps and websites.

Key Features

  • App and Website Blocker: You can use Serene to block those tempting apps and websites that would naturally pull your attention away from work.
  • Day Planner: Start your day by setting out the goals and tasks you want to achieve before the end of the day.
  • Session Timer: It measures the time spent on specific tasks and displays the time left to complete them. This feature serves to motivate you to complete each session.
  • Phone Silencer: It automatically puts your phone on silent mode while you work.

Serene offers a combination of tools for focusing and planning. Therefore, it’s a wholesome productivity app.

2. Trello

Category: Project Management

Price Range: Free and paid plans that start at $5/month

Trello helps remote teams with their project organization and follow-up duties. Team members receive notifications for all changes within the system.

Key Features

  • Board and Card System: Increase workflow efficiency by assigning one board per project and card per task. This way, everyone knows what their duties are.
  • Secure: Keep all your data secure by managing information access, guest restrictions, board visibility settings, and more.
  • Workflow Automation: Manage simple tasks with due date commands, rule-based triggers, calendar commands, etc.

One great feature is the quick voting system. Team members can easily deliberate on an issue and show their approval or disapproval in real-time, so decisions don’t take too long.

3. Basecamp 3

Category: Project Management

Price Range: Free Personal plan and a Business plan at $99/month

Basecamp 3 assists you in the planning and management of all your pending projects. It has file storage, to-do lists, automatic check-in questions, message boards, docs, real-time group chat, and lots more.

Key Features

  • To-Dos: Quickly assign to-dos to various people and set a date range or due date. You can also include extensive details about the work and what you expect.
  • Automatic Check-In: Gather responses from your coworkers or team members when they check into work.
  • Group Discussions: Use campfires to communicate with your teammates in a group chat. They offer a means to ask questions about a project and share links.

You can integrate third-party tools into Basecamp 3. Feel free to utilize time trackers or other software that will help you to accomplish your tasks efficiently.

4. Toggl

Category: Time Management

Price Range: Plans start from $9/month per user

If you’re seeking an app that lets you know how long you take to accomplish tasks, Toggl might be the way to go. It identifies which tasks take longer than they should so you can make adjustments.

Key Features

  • Periodic Reports: Toggl generates reports that show the results you’ve been able to achieve in different time frames.
  • Time Tracking: Apart from monitoring how long it takes you to perform tasks, it can also do the same for your teammates.
  • Cross-Platform: Toggl is usable in any of the major operating systems and devices. It’s great if you like to switch devices regularly.

Toggl is an amazing tool for remote freelancers because its reports will be useful in quoting accurately and generating invoices.

5. Zapier

Category: Automation

Price range: Free (100 tasks/month) and $19.99 (750 tasks/month)

Zapier performs all of your repetitive tasks, thereby allowing you to save time and accomplish more. It uses zaps, which help you to handle tasks without switching apps.

Key Features

  • App Integration: Link all of your most-used apps together on Zapier so you can have all the data in one place, and you don’t have to switch between apps.
  • Task Automation: Use zaps from the extensive library of automation workflows to quickly perform repetitive tasks between apps.
  • Custom Automations: If you can’t find the automation you want in Zapier’s library, you may build yours to perform unique tasks in your stead.

Zapier can help you to upload attachments from Gmail to Google Drive or automatically add entries to Google Sheets without switching apps.