The days of putting in eight or more hours at the office are slowly becoming a thing of the past as more and more people work from anywhere but the office.
Millions of people now work from home or travel the world without missing a moment of work. If you are one of these people, there are hundreds of tools you can use to make your day even more productive. Here are just five to get you started.
Yes, we understand that this is cheating, but Google does offer tools for everyone. They’re developing more all the time, too. What used to just be a search engine and email is now so much more.
You can synchronize your schedule across devices with the calendar, create and save important documents which coworkers can then access, build spreadsheets, craft presentations (complete with charts, graphs, and other visual aids), or call up maps that give you exact directions to any place in the world.
It’s difficult to use just one tool to get things done – if your office is anything like many people’s, you’re flitting between Drive, email, and the search functions.
Even with everything integrated and synchronized, there are those times when you need to access files on a computer back at home or at the office. Before GoToMyPC, such an unfortunate person would have just been out of luck.
This software allows you to use any browser or wireless device to control your PC remotely, just as if you were sitting there in front of it. It’s easy to send yourself that important file you forgot or to access your hard drive with this very useful service.
Not so long ago, there was a time when the video phone was considered science fiction. Today, video conferencing is a very common means of communication.
The biggest name in this field today is Skype. For a very low cost (often free), Skype allows you to talk to anyone else on the Skype network anywhere in the world. For a small cost, the person being called does not even necessarily have to be on the Skype network.
Since it doesn’t use a telephone, you can keep the same contact information no matter where you go, as long as you have an internet-ready device with a camera and microphone, which includes any smartphone or tablet. Skype can also double as a phone service, using the internet to carry your voice to whoever you need to call.
While Google has great document and sharing tools, Basecamp goes farther. This is a site used to post information for bigger projects, allowing coordination between collaborators who don’t have the ability or opportunity to meet regularly. Thousands of businesses use this tool to run their day-to-day operations.
It includes lists of assignments for members of the team to perform, ways to refine and critique the project, a unified calendar, and many other features that help to make what you’re working on come together. Of course, these tools are useful for someone working a project alone.
Not sure about Basecamp? They even run online classes and offer publicly published projects so you can see with your own eyes just how Basecamp works.
Getting paid (or paying others) is certainly a major part of most work that we do. PayPal makes this incredibly easy. After a few minutes of setup, any two people with an online connection can pay or be paid, using either a credit card or a bank account.
Individuals doing freelance work or buying and selling online use it, but it can easily be used by small businesses or even larger enterprises to handle the transfer of funds. It is one of the most popular and useful banking tools available, because it takes away a lot of the hassle of arranging payments.
These five tools cover a lot of area, but they are really just the beginning. It is easier than ever to work online without ever setting foot in an office. It’s getting easier all the time, too. The most important thing is to take some time and figure out what combination of apps work best for you and your particular business.
You may not even need five — or you may need many more than five. Each business and businessperson is unique. See what’s out there and find out which tools are your favorites.