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Helpful Tech Apps for Working at Home

Updated: Apr 25

Want to re-create some semblance of being in the office even though you're working at home? Here are some ways to close the gaps as much as possible:

Loom is a browser extension that lets you share your screen and record video messages. You can do both at the same time with its camera bubble feature, which shows you talking off to the side of your screen recording. It lets employees:

  • Make a presentation, ask for help or share an item they came across. The app lets anyone send that item to their teams so that recipients can view it at a time that's convenient for them.

  • Reduce the number of videoconferences by sharing material that can be viewed later. It's more inclusive for anyone who can't be online all day — for example, people who have to step away for any reason, including caring for kids.

  • Send progress reports and morale-boosting messages to managers, clients and teams.

  • Participate easily in how-to training and FAQ videos. This is especially useful now that in-person trainings are frowned on.

With Slack, you can integrate with Google Drive to automatically import any files when you share them. This program lets staff:

  • Share a Google Drive link on Slack, after which a Slack bot will ask whether the user wants to integrate the material.

  • Get a notification if anyone in the channel he or she is sharing with doesn't have permission to access the document.

  • Receive comments and changes to the document.

Many workplaces use Slack for text-based communication, but it can work for online meetings too.

  • Video calling with Slack allows a transition from a chat to a video call while the chat remains open so users can still take notes.

  • Slack's screen-share function lets callers take notes on the screen, which may cut down on misunderstandings.

  • Slack's Google Calendar app connects schedules to the platform to let users know when they are trying to message a co-worker that the co-worker is in a meeting. This helps when there's no in-person visual cue such as seeing whether someone is at his or her desk.

Asana allows employees to integrate with the Google Suite to keep everyone on top of all their to-do items and priorities along with due dates. Employees can see on their calendars which tasks and projects need to be completed — and when.

PinItTo.Me describes itself as an infinite virtual corkboard that lets you and a team collaborate as though you're using Post-Its. All employees can create their own notes and drag and drop them for sharing. The tool is great for brainstorming, scheduling or anything else you'd use a bunch of Post-Its for. Each corkboard has its own URL, so you can easily come back to it later.

Deep-focus apps These programs can help workers manage their work lives for maximum efficiency. SelfControl lets you block all the websites that you frequently visit, so that you can stop robbing yourself of productivity. You set a schedule for the app to block those sites. This is a great service for those with tight deadlines.

Two programs in particular can help you focus when you're trying to create a report or presentation — for example, WriteRoom blocks out your whole screen so all you see is the text you're writing, and OmmWriter turns off email and chat notifications and lets you choose a soothing background.

These are just a few of the apps that may help. Reaching out to colleagues, social media friends and contacts in professional associations can help you find more.

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