Working from home can be a tough process. When you’re not around your teammates, it’s difficult to work collaboratively. You can often lose the sense of accountability that you derive from working around others. And you may even start to feel like there is little to no progress from the rest of your team as communication breaks down.
So whether you’re forced to work from home due to injury, or you chose to make working remote jobs a part of your career, staying grounded and motivated can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a few apps and gadgets that can help you stay fit and productive.
Check out these cheap and free products to help you become an efficient remote worker.
One of the biggest issues with working from home is the lack of a sense of progress. When you’re around others, you can both see them working every day and talk to them about projects and tasks you’ve completed. When you’re working from home, that chance to talk doesn’t come as often.
That’s where Trello comes in. Trello is a project management tool that allows you to organize your projects, set out tasks, assign responsibilities, and record progress. With Trello, you can both keep up to date on the work of your teammates while at the same time keeping them informed on your work. It keeps everyone accountable, and drives the team to work in an organized and efficient manner.
Another issue with working from home is lack of contact. When you’re alone at your house with little conversation or human interaction with your co-workers, it can become a challenge to stay motivated for your work. After all, many of us get energy and drive from working around others.
Sqwiggle can be of great help in alleviating the lack of contact issue. It is a web application that lets you stay in contact with your team in a joint chat room. The app takes webcam snapshots every few minutes to show the mood and presence of each team member. You can make funny faces or stay serious, but you’ll always be able to switch to a tab on your browser and see how your team is doing. Sqwiggle also allows you to start quick, impromptu video chat sessions for when you need to talk something out in detail.
3. Cold Turkey
Distractions are a surefire way to keep you from being productive. While some slacking off and errands are expected as part of a work-from-home routine, it's best to truly set yourself into a focused mode for blocks of the day so you can get things done.
Cold Turkey let's you block websites, applications, and set timers & goals to keep yourself away from them until you get things done. If you don't have pristine self control, definitely look into Cold Turkey.
When you’re working from home, you can’t simply call a teammate over to your desk to check out something you’ve been working on. And often, it’s better to just have them look immediately alongside you rather than emailing them a file or link. That’s where Join.me becomes useful for remote workers.
Join.me is a web app that allows you to share your screen with anyone. With just a quick download and a shared link, you can invite anyone on your team to view your screen through their web browser. They can see it live and in real time, allowing you to collaborate effectively. And Join.me even creates a conference line so that you can communicate with your teammates by phone.
Working from home is a surefire way to sit through the entire day. It’s a natural byproduct of doing your job in a place of comfort. But it’s also ridiculously unhealthy. Being immobile in front of your computer all day will quickly make you miss those moments of getting up from your desk for a chat with a co-worker or going out for lunch.
Don’t allow the comfort of your home to damage your health. MyFitnessPal will prompt you to keep focus on your well-being while working from home. With smart reminders and food and exercise tracking options, it’s an all-in-one fitness app that will keep you accountable to your health goals.
6. Standing Desk
Another way to stop yourself from sitting all day is to get a standing desk. A standing desk is a platform that you can place your laptop or monitor and keyboard on to allow you to stand while working. Working from home may drive you to sit on the couch all day, but that can have negative long-term effects on your health. Spending at least an hour or two a day working while standing up will help alleviate those effects.
And you don’t necessarily have to buy a standing desk either. If you have a laptop, any platform or shelf in your house can be used as a standing desk. So the next time you feel like you’ve been sitting too much while working at home, grab your laptop, set it down on a medium-sized bookshelf, and get back to work.
CableDrop is a cable management system that will allow you to stick small clips to your desk to manage the various cables you may need during the workday, such as your phone charger and your laptop cord. Rather than having to find your cables, deal with tangled cords, and bending down under your desk, you can have all your cords easily accessible with no hassle.
A cheap, low-cost alternative is to use binder clips for cable management. You can simply thread your cables through a binder clip and then attach the clip to the edge of your desk, allowing you to reach easily for any cable.
8. Amazon Echo
Part of working at home is that you can take advantage of some cool, fun, smart home technology to help you stay organized. The latest contender in the smart home automation field is the Amazon Echo, a device that will allow you to do things like set reminders, ask questions, play music, and even create shopping and grocery lists, all with voice commands. Using Echo can automate both home and work tasks so that you can focus on what matters most during the day -- your job and the task at hand.