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More and more people are starting to work from home in recent months, with the global pandemic being an obvious reason why this has been spurred on quite so much. If you are one of those people, or you are thinking of starting to work from home soon, you might be curious to know how exactly you can make it as easy and successful for you as possible. One way is to make sure you have all the right tools to work with, so that is what we are going to take a look at now. Here are some of the most important tools that could help you to work from home better.
If you are working as part of a team, one important concern you will need to think about is how you are going to effectively communicate with the other people in your team, who might all be working in separate locations. There are a lot of tech tools to consider for this, but one which has grown particularly popular recently, and with good reason, is Slack.
Slack is a communication management app designed to be effective for remote work. You can essentially create a separate channel for each team or department, and communicate via direct messages or group chats, quicker and easier than using email or even Whatsapp. It can even just be used as a kind of virtual water cooler.
One kind of technology that has really come into its own in this pandemic is cloud computing. This is where data or information is stored on a cloud server – essentially just an external server – which can then be accessed by a number of terminals or computers at once. If you have ever used Google Docs, you have used a cloud server, whether or not you were aware of it at the time.
One cloud-based tool that is very commonly used, and very useful, is Dropbox – the data-storage and -sharing platform which is used by individuals and teams and businesses all over the world. With Dropbox, you can share data with other people – or just with yourself. In either case, it’s a very useful tool that you should consider – and its free option is perfectly suitable enough for most people.
Not all tools are technical ones – sometimes the use of a simple physical product can make working from home that much easier and simpler tool. A great example is the standing desk, which – while not a new invention at all (Hemingway used one) – is nonetheless gaining traction as a freelancer’s and home-worker’s dream.
Why? Simply, with the standing desk you don’t have to worry about all of the health problems that might beset you were you to sit at a desk all day. That might include spine problems, bad posture, pain and more – even problems like carpal tunnel are increased by sitting at a desk rather than standing. If you want to make sure you are looking after yourself – and working more comfortably – you might want to think about getting yourself a standing desk.
The Office suite has long been a favourite around the world, and it’s easy to see why. It probably remains the single best office suite there is, and the Word and Excel pieces of software are, of course, absolutely standard in so many businesses and offices. If you are going to be working from home, no matter what kind of work you are doing, there is a very good chance you are going to rely on Office 365 at some point. Therefore, you should make sure that you have the latest version.
Gone are the days when you could simply but it once. These days, you have to take out an annual subscription. If you would rather avoid that, you can get almost all the functionality of Word using Libre Office anyway – which is a unix-based, open source and free of charge alternative that many people swear by.
How often do you see documents come through in PDF? It remains an extremely popular way of showing documents, and as such you are going to be missing out if you do not have a quality PDF reader to read them with. There are a lot of options out there, from Adobe’s official version to any number of non-proprietary and open source ones. But whichever you go for – you will need one.
Beyond that, you should think about how to combine PDF files and how to ensure that they are extracted, compressed and stored properly, which could require using other software too. As long as you are able to work well with PDFs, you are going to find many everyday tasks on your computer so much easier and more straightforward.
If there is one program that has been in the news throughout 2020, it is Zoom, the video conferencing software. There are of course other options out there, but Zoom works well, is reliable and trustworthy, and everybody is using it, making it a viable option if you want to speak to people easily. Plus, it only takes up about 30MB on your hard drive, so it is significantly smaller than many of its rivals such as Skype.
If you don’t already have Zoom, you might want to think about installing it. It is bound to come in handy pretty soon, and probably before you know it.
Do you always find yourself forgetting things? If so, you might need to find a way to keep notes to yourself – and what better way to do so than through the popular tech app Trello? This is a trusted software that works just like a notice board with post-it notes, and it’s perfect for when you need to keep a number of disparate and separate notes on something, or if you are feeling generally disorganised and want to improve that. In either case, it is a program that you should absolutely look to if you are working from home.