Before COVID-19 started, much of the world had already been using apps on a daily basis, either for personal or work-related reasons. However, as the pandemic worsened and companies were forced to implement new challenges of working from home, certain apps rose above the rest, providing the value and features that people need. Some are go-to favorites used by freelancers and the self-employed, others only appearing in the last year as a result of the unexpected worldwide event. We have curated what we considered to be the cream-of-the-crop apps for work.
We’ll start with arguably the most crucial aspect of work, communication. There are many ways to go about this, depending on what type is needed. The majority will be text-based; some will need video/audio, while others, such as project planning and design-related, will require visual-based collaboration platforms.
A SaaS, this tool was already amongst one of the most popular in its early years. Having the free version already brought the majority of the needs for small, boot-strapped teams to utilize for communication. High customizability for chat “channels” is helpful for companies with various divisions, such as Marketing, R&D, and HR. File sharing is also a breeze, and keyword notifications are also a unique aspect that many find helpful. With reliable customer service from the get-go, Slack understood users’ needs and adapted accordingly. How Slack worked and operated was very much in the “next generation of work” mentality, making it truly a refreshing product that was also appealing to all.
A platform designated for video conferencing, it has become the lifeline for companies to use between employees, managers, bosses within, and others outside. A 40-minute, 100-participants limit for the free version was usually enough for the majority of organizations, ironically perhaps a relief as well for employees. Password protection, integration with calendar apps, compatibility across various platforms are just reasons people love this app. Zoom became the #1 downloaded app on the Apple App Store, which should prove its capabilities and as a crowd favorite. Yuan’s vision was that “…video is the future of communications”. I am sure even he did not expect that vision to become a reality as fast as it did.
But Zoom is not the only video-conferencing platform out there. Google Meets is a fantastic alternative, primarily due to the syncing of all of Google’s products that make workflow, planning, and communication extremely efficient; Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Meets, Google Drive, and more. In addition, for some who have issues registering and using Zoom, Google Meets is a very straightforward, simple app. If you already have a Gmail or company Gmail account, starting or planning out a video conferencing call is a piece of cake.
Planning & Time Management:
Staying ahead of the game is what many wish for, but most usually fail to even keep up in the end. Hence, proper tools for planning and getting things done are especially crucial in the world of WFH, with no one watching your back and the comforts of home at times a distraction.
Sometimes you must plan things for yourself properly before you can plan for or with others. Life gets crazy, especially the at-times chaos caused by shifting to WFH, or just something that happens during WFH. As a result, you need an app that can really put things in place and is on the checklist for completion. Quick adds (basically organizing in just a few seconds), recurring due dates, sections and subtasks, priority levels, task delegation, boards (and within, labels and filters), are just a few of the many wonderful elements that are available at your fingertips to customize and utilize. If you love taking notes planning out your day, you will feel right at home here. Small things like errands and big projects for a client can be organized into suitable methods that will help you be on your A-game.
A stellar management tool. Projects for work, organizing for personal plans, it is some of the few apps that truly have uses in both aspects of life. If you love making lists of all the things to do and plan out how to do them, this is the app for you. Although a subscription will be necessary to access all the features, the free version provides much of what most would need. Vast customization for boards and lists makes it truly able to cater to the needs of any individual. Even further, there are functions called “Power-Ups” tools you can add to each board; limited number for free users, unlimited for paid.
File Management & Sharing
The beauty of the cloud is the ability to have a flexible platform to store and or share files for work or personal. Of the various options out there, two names stand out above the rest, and for the right reasons. Because of the tremendous resources and amount of people both have behind the scenes, it is without a doubt either option would be both reliable and of the very best.
Just as previously mentioned about Google Suite’s tremendous synchronization across all its different apps, Google Drive’s primary ability is to organize things into folders. This can be for Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, Word Docs, PDFs, and many other file types. Although the free storage space caps at 15 GB, for a monthly rate, Google One jumps to 100 GB, with a maximum of 30 TB. Extremely reliable, a clean UI, easy to share with both workers within an organization and outside of the email system (even those not using Gmail), it’s no wonder Google Drive has been such a trusted file-management and sharing service that is used globally.
Some consider it to be the ultimate file-sharing tool. Showing what the cloud is capable of, billions of files have been stored by countless users and used across various industries. Hence, the ability to access your files from multiple devices is stored safely and with file recovery capabilities should you need it. From students to major organizations, Dropbox provides the infrastructure and security for peace of mind.
To wrap things up, these are the most recommended apps in their respective categories for WFH. Having already been solid platforms before the pandemic occurred, the increased need for apps for working from home resulted in the ever-more importance of choosing the right tools to get the job done, whatever that may be.