Working from home is more popular now than ever before, and technology has made the concept a lot more efficient.

For many people these days, their ‘workplace’ is a room or workstation in their own home, and going to work requires nothing more than turning on a laptop. You’re able to choose your own hours and your shift doesn’t require a uniform or smart clothing. Pajamas are the new suit and tie.

However, some find that working from home can be difficult, especially when it comes to staying organized with your own work and the work of other members of the team. Fortunately, there are apps and programs that will help you to stay on task from the comfort of your humble abode. Let’s take a look at five of the best…

1. Slack vs Facebook: ‘Work Chat’

Slack is an app that allows co-workers who operate remotely to communicate with ease, meaning you can handle business related issues in real time, rather than having to send emails back and forth.

You can create different channels to suit your company’s needs; for example, if you have different departments (accounting, sales, etc.) they can have their own area to handle their specific issues. Administrators can deal with permission settings and access across the whole team, and there are plenty of preferences and customization settings to fine-tune Slack to fit your work style.

But Facebook has just released their rival to Slack. Work Chat makes Facebook at work a productive tool, rather than something people would do to waste time. Facebook at Work uses everyday features (news feed, groups, messenger, events) and adapts them to work as effective workplace tools.

It’s a brand new release from Facebook, so it will no doubt require some tweaks and updates, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you have multiple co-workers who work from home.

2. Google Apps

You will most likely have heard of Google’s apps, whether it’s because you already have a Google account or have heard about it online. There are some messaging/task-related apps like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk, as well as apps for collaborative purposes such as Google Docs and Google Sites.

There’s also Google+, which adds a social networking aspect to Google’s services. For business, it can be used as a brilliant tool to reach out to potential clients or industry professionals—both of which are a very beneficial connection to make.

Whether you’re a freelancer or work remotely for a business, Google Apps has become one of the essentials you’ll soon be using on a daily basis.

3. Dropbox

If you are yet to check out Dropbox, you need to do so. Dropbox allows you to store your important files and data ‘in the cloud,’ preventing the heartbreak of data loss through damage or misplaced storage devices.

You can also sync all of your devices to your Dropbox account, meaning that by a simple drag and drop system, you have access to any necessary files from your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.

This is perfect for working from home because it means you no longer require physical hard drives, which can easily be damaged, lost, stolen, or forgotten when you’re in a rush. This could be catastrophic in certain situations, but having a Dropbox account enables those important documents to stored and ready to use whenever you’re next online.

4. Hubstaff

As a manager or business owner, monitoring your employee’s day-to-day activity can be difficult if you work from home. Programs like Hubstaff are a game-changer in this aspect, ensuring productivity and accountability throughout your remote team.

By giving you daily and monthly reports of anyone who is signed up to your company’s Hubstaff, you can keep track of work hours and activity. It’s by no means a surveillance tool to spy on your employees—just a great way to monitor their progress.

Also, by having an accurate report of work hours, it means you have a much simpler task when paying employees, rather than having to follow them up for their own reports and estimations.

5. Accounting Software

Although “accounting software” doesn’t point you in the direction of one particular program to use, there’s a good reason for this. There are a fair few top runners to choose from—the most notable being Xero, FreeAgent and Kashflow.

If you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, this type of software will be your best friend. Instead of having a hand-written journal tucked away in a drawer that acts as your business books, you now have software that organizes your incomings and outgoings, and shows your financial progress on a graph. It’s also amazing for handling your taxes, which can be a stressful situation as an independent business.

Each of the accounting software companies mentioned above offers a free trial, so it’s worth trying them to see which one you like the most and decide on one that suits your business best.

The Internet has completely revolutionized the business world, and advances in technology have made freelancing and working from home more common than ever. Not only do companies have the ability to reach out to customers all over the world, but they can also now have employees actively working for them from locations all over the world.

These apps are just a few of the abundance of tools out there with the purpose of assisting freelancers and small business owners in their everyday tasks, helping them to work as efficiently as an everyday workplace.

Author: Nimesh Odedra is a business coach and mentor based in the UK. He teaches others how to achieve their own dreams of freedom and financial stability. Through his work as a business coach, Nimesh will assist you in becoming your own boss, so you can work when and where you want.

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