Software Tools to Improve Your WFH Productivity

18 Oct · 11 min read

Software Tools to Improve Your WFH Productivity

Over the past couple of years, the whole world has been involved in working remotely from home. It has become the biggest in history and a new normal to work from home. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many companies and organizations to take on remote working. Even organizations which are having the stiffest policies have adopted the remote work model and allowed staff and employees to work from home.  According to a report by the “Office for National Statistics, UK”, less than 30% of the employee workforce worked from home before the pandemic. During the pandemic, a great extent of people within the global market worked from home, either on a regular basis or occasional basis. Even after the lockdowns are completely lifted, people are expecting to work from home on a permanent basis in this new normal. Yet, the key concept to continue working from home in a flawless manner is Productivity. 

Working from outside the office can be troublesome at times if workplace productivity is not matched properly. This might leave businesses to face diminished output or employees having to work for long hours which might lead to budgeting problems. Fortunately, WFH’s productivity problems can be rescued with the help of advancing technologies that are available today. And there are plenty of productivity tools that you can leverage to upgrade your everyday job and work you do from home.

There might be usual distractions at home that you can not slack off like laundry, kids, or your charming pets. Your productivity might get derailed by a lack of resources when you are trying to do your work either from a coffee shop or your dining table. You may seem to feel like everything should run fluidly in work-from-home situations, but there are assured hiccups that you might face. Let us see some of the pain points that you might face or have already faced while working remotely from home as follows:

  1. Poor Internet connection or insufficient Wifi Speed
  2. Tech Fails
  3. Stretching for longer work hours
  4. Communication gaps
  5. Work-life imbalance
  6. Problems in prioritising incoming workloads
  7. Time zone constraints
  8. Shortfall of cross-functional team collaboration
  9. Higher stress levels

Which tools are suitable for you?

To resolve the most common challenges of WFH, numerous surveys have been published in recent years, especially during the pandemic. And, while working from home, it might be a challenge for you to be productive while keeping up a work-life balance and staying healthy. If you are engaged working in a team in which your team members are split up over multiple locations, the subsequent list of tools below is all geared to solve most of your common hindrances of working from home, both as an individual or you being part of a team. 

For optimal productivity while working from home, you should look out for the following traits in a software tool or platform that you are going to use:

Simple to Use

It is crucial to choose a tool having top user-friendly ratings which makes it simpler for employees to want to use it. The simpler the tool is the more chances of spending time being productive at a very good pace.

Cost Effective

You should be aware of the incurring cost that might arise before accessing some of the premium features offered by the software tools. It is not a false fact that “To make money you must spend money”, but cost still matters. Implementing a budget-productive software tool will preferably boost your overall input towards your working from home. 

Creates Alignment

The tool that you are going to pick should keep all your work visible so that you stay in alignment with one another in your team. Not only will this increase your self-productivity but also your company’s core worth.

Overall Effectiveness

Keep your mind that along with your company’s productivity, self-productivity is also very important. The right software tool will do what it is meant to do for you to add core values and to make your job efficient and essentially, be successful. 

Studies show that in recent years, working from home has been challenging sometimes after the first outbreak of coronavirus. The tools we’ll be looking at in this article are designed to solve the most common challenges and issues while working from home, hence making the workload easier. There are different types of productivity tools and applications that are categorized under each of the following purposes: 

Team Communication:

Boosting up your productivity while working at home is one thing but being well-organized and efficient in a remote team is much more of a challenge. You must have a smooth experience interacting with your team members without any problem even for the most basic office interactions. For example, asking your team member next to you about where a needed file or document is located, might become a big challenge for you once your team is split up over multiple locations. Tools for team communications have evolved a lot over the last decade. Thus, your productivity does not need to fall off while you work from home. 

Tools for team communication:

  • Slack
  • Chanty
  • Spark

Project Management:

Project management tools are specially targeted for managers and management individuals to set daily objectives along with organizing and planning their tasks. Software tools for project management provide you with a platform that encounters the requirements of project managers and individual team members you work with. Here are a few of the allround project management tools that you can make use of:

  • Zoho Projects
  • Asana
  • ProofHub
  • Wrike

Boost up your productivity with Focus Apps:

Focus tools and apps keep you concentrated on the task at hand and helps you to get more of your job done effectively on time. No doubt, you face it as the most complicated problem to keep your focus when you are enclosed by surrounding distractions. Apart from using any of the productive apps to increase your focus. You need to make sure that you create a committed workspace at your home. Ideally, an isolated room where no one will interrupt or bother you. Now, you are ready to enhance your productivity at your home with the following focus-intensifying apps:

  • Freedom
  • Forest
  • Serene

Schedule Team Meetings Hassle-free:

You can get rid of the hurdle of organising team meetings and video chats while you are working from home. As part of a team working together remotely, you might face problems in getting everyone in conjunction for meetings. You do not want to get delayed in indefinite email exchanges and conversations just to organise a team meeting. Well, the following tools are going to help you in organising and scheduling all of your meetings by picking a time that suits every team member who is working on a flexible schedule over multiple time zones:

  • Doodle
  • Calendly
  • StrawPoll Meetings

To-do List Apps:

Be in charge of individual tasks both for your personal and work life. To boost up team productivity, you have to be self-productive enough to finish your assigned and to-do list of tasks. These apps will help you create your own comprehensive checklists and will help you in scaling the project performance. Below are few of the to-do listing apps:

  • Microsoft To Do
  • Todoist

Apps for Video Calling:

Some of the best applications that are available for video calling and group meetings are listed below. Since the coronavirus pandemic, you must have emerged with the trend of using different apps for video calling. It becomes important in times when you have to be in sync weekly or monthly with your seniors and fellow team members. You might have heard of or even used Zoom to connect with your team or using Skype for business-related meetings. Here are a few alternatives that you can rely on to have your video calling experience to a top-notch level and parallel have your productivity game stronger altogether:

  • Google Meet
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom

Tools for Time Tracking:

There are few apps targeted for both managers and individuals to keep a trace of how much time is spent on each number of tasks to meet your to-do list goal. It is crucial to make a note about the amount of time we spend over the small tasks that sum up to a bigger task while working from home. And you might miss the deadlines for the bigger task if you won’t track your time efficiently. Here are a few apps and tools that you can use for time tracking or just monitor how much time it takes to complete a task under a stipulated amount of time:

  • Everhour
  • Toggl
  • Harvest

Document Sharing and Collaboration:

It might seem to be easy to share documents with your teammates when you are working in an office but this becomes absolutely essential when you work from home. Get the ease to create, collaborate and share documents on the go with cloud services. When you are working from home, sending and receiving files via email might lead to a mess. Hence, a cloud-based, centralized system is very important while working from home so that you can collaborate and be on the same page as other team members. Here are some tools to help you with sharing and collaborating:

  • Google Docs
  • One Drive
  • Dropbox Paper

Screen Sharing:

There are ample tools and applications available which are integrated with screen-sharing functionality required for the times when you need to dig down into any particulars by sharing your screen with fellow members in your team. Whether you are collaborating on an assignment trying to fix a technical issue or running a presentation, the following tools help you to share your screen with intended audiences:

  • Google Meet
  • Slack
  • Dead Simple Screen Sharing

Tools for Remote Access:

It may occur at times that a particular task needs to be done by someone on your behalf. Or you can think of getting technical support by giving access and control to other team members from their systems. Allowing remote access makes sure you are well connected and properly guided for issues and concerns you might face on your device. There might occur sometimes when screen sharing is not enough and you need to gain or provide access to someone else’s device or system. Here are some tools that you can use for remote sharing:

  • Chrome Remote Desktop
  • TeamViewer
  • AnyDesk

Automate your Repetitive and time consuming Tasks:

There are some small and repetitive kinds of tasks that you ought to do which remain invisible to your clients or teammates. Tasks like uploading files, copying and pasting texts, or formatting excels and documents can be automated so that you spend more time on your priority tasks. Here are some automation tools that you can take leverage:

  • Zapier

Password Management:

You must have realised by now that working from home requires you to make use of a larger set of software tools and applications. The cumbersome part between all of these is that you need to remember and manage a bunch of login credentials. You can either manage passwords for your team or of your own. You need to have a safe and effective password manager and the following tools are a must-have for that cause:

  • RoboForm
  • LastPass
  • Dashlane

Switching off after your Work:

You do not want to get involved and work all day long thinking of increasing your productivity. You should know when to stop and take a break from your job. You need to make sure you switch off after work to restrain your entire life spinning around working from home. You might have faced this while working remotely from home, and switching off after work is one of the big challenges. The thin line between work and personal life can not be ignored because every second lost to wretched productivity eats into your personal life. Being all the software tools for different purposes is important, but it is also crucial that you develop habits that ensure you can clock off when the day is done. The company and client you work for should respect your desire for “off-time”. If you ever find it hectic to switch off or clock off after your work, the following tools will help you to get there:

  • Daywise
  • Flipd
  • Cold Turkey

These tools will not only encourage you to make most of your time scalable but also it will enrich your daily life routine. You will find yourself spending less time struggling to balance your lifestyle and more time developing the optimized product. It will help in creating a better practice while working and a healthy work-life balance.

Working from Home is only going to get effortless

You might face difficulty in understanding the kind of work culture that has creeped into our lives since the pandemic. It becomes very important to achieve a work-life balance while working from home because things are going to get easier with the tons of applications and tools that are ready to back you up in all your needs to keep up the top-notch productivity. You should be aware of the fact that there are no solid guidelines of norm or policies that are present to support and help people working from home and corresponding challenges it comes with.

If you are owning any business, you might need to reassess the need, safety, economics and efficiency of your staff and employees coming into office. You have to re-evaluate the existing work culture to help your staff achieve productivity while working from home without burning themselves out. Though various software tools serve to fill the gaps created through shifts in hybrid and remote work, it will improve the overall productivity.

There are ‘n’ number of productivity apps and tools are present today, and many more to get launched in coming years, however you need to keep in mind the most exigent aspects of working from home, i.e. alignment of new regulations for home staffers to make sure the line between home and work remains in place.

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