Over the years, more people have adopted a work-from-home lifestyle. There are even people who have adjusted their lifestyles completely to live and work in their RVs or vans. And then you have the digital nomads who support themselves by working as they travel the world one country at a time.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, more people suddenly found themselves thrust into the world of working remotely. Many found themselves struggling to adjust to a work-from-home lifestyle, especially since it might as well be uncharted territory for them.
Life is slowly starting to return to normal, but many companies have decided to allow their employees to continue working from home if they wish.
If you find yourself struggling to adapt to working from home or wanting to optimize your workflow so you can be as productive as possible, this list of the best work-from-home apps might just help you streamline.
Benefits of Work From Home Apps
Working from home has its many advantages and disadvantages. These days, many of the apps created to help remote workers try to improve upon the disadvantages of work-from-home positions. Here are some benefits you can expect from WFH apps.
They Can Boost Productivity
Although many workers have reported that their productivity increased when they shifted to working from home, not everyone is experiencing a positive change. Some may find that without the inherent pressure of being around an office environment, they struggle to find the motivation to be as productive as they would like to be.
Work from home apps can help this problem by doing things such as:
- Keeping better track of tasks and goals
- Improving time management and efficiency
- Allowing regular contact and collaboration with colleagues
- Setting KPIs and monitoring performance
- Working with psychology to help workers lean into motivations
- Helping employees keep everything organized, preventing them from wasting time trying to find files or past communications
There’s no doubt that a good work-from-home app can significantly improve certain aspects of working from home. With the right suite of tools, you can streamline your process and take out many tedious and repetitive tasks so you can focus on the things that matter.
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Better Collaboration and Communication
One of the things that people might miss from working in an office is the ability to just pop by someone’s workstation to communicate with them about a task or situation that needs to be addressed. Productivity tools centered on communication, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, makes keeping in communication with your team much easier — all without having to rely on email (which might as well be snail mail at this point).
Collaboration becomes easier when you can refer back to notes and messages sent in the past. The best part? Because everything is in writing, you’ll always have a record to show in case anything goes wrong.
Helps You Keep Your Work and Life Separate and Balanced
Many workers who are new to working from home may find that one of the hardest things to do is keep the balance between their work and personal lives. Working from home can mean that people may feel entitled to reach out to you at any time of the day or night. You might say it could be easy to ignore the emails, calls, and messages until the next workday, but not everyone is wired that way.
Work-from-home apps can help you establish and maintain your boundaries, ensuring that you only work when you are supposed to. Many tools, such as RescueTime, can even help you figure out where all your time is going so you can make adjustments to improve your workday and productivity. That way, when you finish your “office hours,” you can rest easy.
Can Give You a View of the Long Term and Help Boost Your Motivation
When you’re working on a project that involves many steps and different people, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. As a result, you may not feel as motivated to do your part of the project until the deadlines start nearing.
At the same time, when you’re working from home, it can be easy to lose your motivation — especially when you don’t necessarily see what you are working towards. It can also be discouraging when you spend tons of your time working without noticing any visible progress.
Work-from-home tools, such as project management apps, can help solve these problems by giving you better deadlines, goals, and milestones to work toward. Some apps even allow teams to have project timelines, making it easier to understand why you need to do your part and what it means for the project as a whole. Plus, seeing others complete their parts of a project can be a great motivator!
Even if you are an individual or a freelancer, project or task management apps can help you set goals and milestones, stay organized, and track the progress you’ve made. Plus, ticking off a box to complete a task can really give you a fulfilling dopamine hit.
Now that we’ve talked about how beneficial these remote work apps can be, let’s take a look at the 11 best apps for remote workers.
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Remote Work Apps for Communication
You can’t work from home without somehow keeping in touch with your employers, colleagues, or clients. While many simply use e-mails or good old phone calls and text messages, many use communication apps instead.
It’s true — some of the best apps for working from home are designed for messaging, VoIP calls, or video calls. And, nowadays, face-to-face meetings and conferences have also been adapted to the work-from-home lifestyle.
If your company or clients don’t have a preferred communication app, here are a few you can look into.
Slack – Best App for Instant Cross-Platform Team Communication
- The ability to create channels makes organizing chat topics a breeze
- You can set channel privacy
- Instant messaging makes it easy to communicate and collaborate in real-time
- Excellent security keeps your data protected within the platform
- Use in the browser, through the desktop app, or via mobile app
- Many will attest that Slack has a sort of addictive quality to it — makes it hard to disconnect from work after your workday!
- If you want to make sure your messages and files don’t get deleted in the team Slack, your team Slack needs to be on a paid plan
Slack isn’t a new app by any means. The company has been around since 2009, and it slowly grew over time — and even before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, it was already one of the most popular work-from-home apps around.
Slack has many features such as channels, Slack connect, app integrations, and more. It’s so beloved that big companies like Netflix and Uber also use it for remote and in-office workers.
The best part is anyone can use Slack for free, and it’s cross-platform and cross-compatible as well.
The free plan allows access to the last 10,000 messages sent within the app, so if you want access to your archives, you, your employer, or your client will have to pay for a subscription. Slack’s free plan also supports integration with ten third-party applications, one-on-one voice and video calls, and five gigabytes of total storage.
Slack has a Pro plan for $6.67/user per month (billed annually) or $8/user billed monthly if you want more features. They also have more features with their Business+ plan for $12.50/user per month (billed annually) or $15/user billed monthly.
Zoom – Best App for Videoconferencing
- Has a free forever plan that works quite well
- Works well even for larger meetings and audiences (as many as 10,000 attendees in some cases!)
- Stream any meeting to Facebook
- Integrates with Google Calendar
- Scalable business solution; works for any size of business
- Easy and intuitive to use
- Many Zoom services require subscriptions, and many services are add-ons (meaning you pay more on top of your subscription)
- High-definition video isn’t always standard, most calls have 720p quality for the speaker’s camera
- Requires an app, cannot be used from the browser
When the global pandemic hit, Zoom exploded in popularity. This app offers video calls for individuals, teams, and companies of any size. Zoom’s popularity grew because it proved much more reliable than other options like Skype and other Zoom alternatives, which at the time suffered from calls freezing, lagging, or dropping.
Many others started using Zoom because of the ability to share screens and presentations, and it’s for this very reason that Zoom also became synonymous with online school and classes. Thanks to the accessibility of this app, it’s grown exponentially with no sign of stopping.
Zoom is cross-platform and cross-compatible, with apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can also use it straight from the browser. There is a free option for up to 40 minutes of meetings (of up to 100 participants) and more. However, the paid plans get a bit pricier, starting at $14.99/month per license. See their other pricing options here.
Microsoft Teams – Best Collaboration Tool for Larger Teams and Companies
- Has a free plan that allows up to 60-minute meetings with as many as 100 participants
- Works really well with other Microsoft products
- Tons of integrations
- Makes collaborating and communicating easier
- Not for everyone — smaller teams or individuals may do better with Google Meet or Zoom
- Relatively high system requirements makes it harder to run on older or less-capable systems
- Mobile versions need improvement
Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack. It’s part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite subscription but also has a limited free version available. As a Slack alternative, it offers many similar features.
If you would like to use Microsoft Teams, you can experience the app through their trial period. The paid subscriptions start at $5/month per user.
Although Microsoft develops it, Teams is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Skype – Best Free Tool for Freelancers
- Screen sharing options
- Make calls to any phone (for a fee)
- Easy to install and use
- Group calls available
- Skype has made significant improvements over its previous service (lag and garbled audio are now extremely rare)
- Left behind by the times — Skype used to be one of the most popular video calling tools out there
- A bit gimmicky
- Not for larger teams
As other communication apps grew popular, Skype started falling more and more out of favor. However, many still use Skype as their communication app of preference. Skype remains quite popular as a work-from-home app among some freelancers, as it offers many of its features for free. Skype allows for audio calls, video calls, group calls, and text chats.
Skype also offers integrations with the Microsoft Office Suite.
You can use Skype for free or go pay-as-you-go. You can also do a subscription if you prefer.
Skype is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Bonus: Krisp – Best Standalone App for Improving Calls
- If you don’t make a lot of calls or attend a lot of meetings, the free version (up to 240 minutes weekly) is enough
- AI-based noise cancellation removes room and acoustic echo
- HD voice feature helps improve voice quality
- You can use Krisp with any mic, headphones, or speakers
- High CPU usage means this app is not for everyone
Nothing can be more frustrating (for you and people in calls with you) than unclear and noisy audio. Background noise can make it extremely difficult to understand each other, and the amount of time wasted trying to correct things lost in translation could be spent being productive instead.
Krisp is a noise-cancellation solution that helps remove echo and background noise from online meetings. You can use Krisp for free for 240 minutes per week, and paid plans start at $5/mo. The best part is that you can use it with other work-from-home applications.
Best WFH Apps for Collaboration and Project Management
Working remotely can sometimes make efficient collaboration difficult. Project management can also become problematic without the proper tools and the right apps to work from home with. It’s not impossible to collaborate with someone when you’re working online, but why make it more difficult than it has to be?
There are many apps and services online that help you manage your tasks and projects. Some of these apps also allow you to manage larger projects with your colleagues while also breaking down tasks into more manageable subtasks.
Some of the best apps for working from home can help you manage deadlines and project assignments more easily. Here are three of the best and most popular task management apps that might be able to help you.
Asana – Best Project Management App for Larger Teams and Projects
- Really easy to use, even though it can get really intimidating to start with
- Tons of integrations available
- Focuses on collaboration
- Excellent for larger-scale projects and teams
- Great task management tools
- Has a free forever plan
- UI can be really intimidating for a new user
- No time tracking available
- You can only assign one user to a task at a time
- Suffering from success — too many features
Asana is one of the most popular project management apps and services around today. It’s a great help to collaboration and helps many with keeping track of tasks. It also helps teams with communication and accountability while maintaining a record of communication done within Asana.
Asana has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can log in and sync your account across all platforms, and everything gets updated in real-time. You can also fully customize your notifications, so you only get the push or email notifications you want to get.
This app has many features that help users organize, prioritize, track, and collaborate on projects. Some of these features include:
- Customizable dashboards
- Email integration
- Tracking and prioritization
- Tasks and subtasks
- Project assignments
- Notifications and reminders
- Custom calendar, reminders, and notifications
- Tags and comments
You can use Asana for free with their basic plan, with limited features. Premium starts at $10.99/user per month, billed annually. Business plans start at $24.99/user per month, billed annually.
You can also get custom-made templates for Asana, like this Asana Project Board Template Bundle.
Trello – Best Kanban Style Project Management App
- Really simple and intuitive interface makes getting started a breeze
- Internal automation system (Butler) works well, even for free accounts
- Butler makes it easy to automate simple and repetitive tasks
- Tons of third-party upgrades and customizations are available
- Best for small to mid-size projects; managing larger-scale projects can get troublesome
- User permissions feature needs improvement; you need to be able to trust your team not to destroy, move, or manipulate cards
Trello is a project management app similar to Asana. You can often find articles comparing the two, but in the end, the choice between them will come down to your preference.
Trello is an app trusted by teams and users in the millions. What sets it apart from other apps like Asana is how it uses a board and card system for project and task management and tracking. Boards track projects, while cards within the boards track the specific tasks within each project. Through this system, users can prioritize tasks and track project progress while keeping teams accountable.
Thankfully, Trello is also cross-platform and cross-compatible. You can use it on browsers or download apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Logging in to any platform will keep your account synced in real time so you can always see what’s going on.
If you want to give Trello a try, you can sign up for a free account which will allow you a good (albeit limited) look into the system. If you’re ready to commit to a subscription, you can go for a standard plan starting at $5/user per month billed annually, and premium offers more features starting at $10/user per month billed annually. They also offer an enterprise package for organizations with a minimum of 25 users.
Todoist – Best Task Management App for Individuals and Teams
- Yearly subscription is quite affordable, but if you don’t want to pay the annual amount the monthly fee is affordable too
- Intuitive task creation
- Switch between lists or Kanban boards
- Works best for individuals and smaller teams
- Lots of integrations available
- Not the best for larger projects or teams
Todoist is another work-from-home app that helps users with project and task management.
Todoist allows you to create tasks, sections and subtasks, and even recurring due dates. This app also allows users to favorite tasks and set priorities. Like Trello, Todoist also has boards and cards to help with organization.
If you want to give Todoist a try, you can use it straight from the browser or via a browser extension (for compatible browsers). You can also use their app for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This app also works with WearOS (Samsung smartwatches) and Apple Watch. It also offers many app integrations to make your life easier.
You can try Todoist for free with limited features. Pro plans are affordable, starting at $3 per month billed annually. Businesses can use this app for $5/user per month billed annually.
Best Apps for Productivity and Time Management
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is time management. Managing focus and avoiding distractions can also be a pain, especially for people who struggle with focus, to begin with.
If you often get distracted or have your mind drift off in the middle of a workday, some of the apps below can help you get everything back under control. Time-management apps can help you with increasing your productivity and finishing all your tasks by their deadlines.
Rescue Time – Best Time Management App for Individuals
- Works really well in the background and is unintrusive
- Tracks the time you spend using apps or websites
- Great reporting and customization tools
- Lite version (free forever) available
- Mobile apps need improvement
RescueTime does exactly what its name says — it helps you take control back and rescue your time from all the distractions around you. The app tracks your activity and helps you stay focused and motivated. In the end, it might just help you increase your productivity.
This app has a smart coaching feature that lets you know when you’re spending too much time multitasking or entertaining distractions. It also allows you to set goals to help you stay on track throughout your day. With the goal system, RescueTime might also help you slowly increase your focus and discipline over time.
At the end of your workday, you receive an automatic account of how you spent your time during the day. This breakdown can help empower you to change your habits where needed.
If you’d like to give RescueTime a try, they have a lite version that you can use for free. There is also a two-week free trial if you want to try paid features, and paid plans start at $6.50 per month.
RescueTime is available on Chrome browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Time Doctor – Best Time Management App for Team Managers
- Web portal has great UI
- Multiple integration support
- Works well for team managers and leaders
- Not as great for individuals
- Software on the employee end can get intrusive and/or frustrating
Like RescueTime, Time Doctor is a time management app that helps you make every second count. It works great for individuals but works even better for teams — especially for managers. This app tracks users without any invasion of privacy, and it reports how users spend time throughout the day, which can help with habit-correcting and accountability.
Time Doctor is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Mobile users can also use this app on Android and iOS.
If you’d like to try Time Doctor, there is a two-week trial available, no credit card required. For more features, you can choose between the basic, standard, and premium plans (1 user per plan only). Basic starts at $7 per month, standard starts at $10 per month, and premium sits at a pricy $20 per month.
Bonus: World Time Buddy
- Helps you keep track of everyone’s timezones without having to convert every time
- Available on browser, Android, and iOS
- Free version is available
- Still in development, so features and syncing are still not the best
You probably know that when you work from home, there’s a pretty big chance you’ll have to keep in touch with people from different time zones. World Time Buddy is an app that can help you keep track of time zones more easily and convert between them effortlessly (even with daylight savings time accounted for).
You can use World Time Buddy right within the browser. There are also mobile apps available for Android and iOS, and you can use them for free, but you can upgrade for a one-time in-app purchase. There is also a subscription available through the website.
World Time Buddy is currently still in development, with its creators working towards having sync available through different platforms.
Tips for Working From Home
If you’re newer to working from home or just looking for ways to make it easier all around, the tips below may help.
Set a Schedule — and Stick to It
Office workers clock in at a certain hour and leave the office at closing time (unless doing overtime). Remote workers don’t have the same ability, but you can at the very least set your “office hours” unless your contract explicitly states you must be available at certain hours.
Of course, this tip won’t work for everyone, but it may benefit you to set a work schedule and stick to it. Doing so can significantly improve your work-life balance and help you stay happier and healthier overall. Set and enforce your boundaries! For example:
- Tell your family not to interrupt you during office hours (unless absolutely urgent)
- Tell your colleagues that you won’t reply to emails and messages or answer calls past a certain time
You can also consider setting specific times of the day to check and respond to emails and social media.
Designate Your Workspace
Working from home may seem quite appealing at first. Who wouldn’t want to be able to answer emails from bed, from the couch, or lounging out in the sun? Working from wherever in the home can work for some people, but it won’t work for everyone. At some point, you may realize that working from bed makes you much less productive — and you may even have fallen asleep a time or two.
It’s best to designate your workspace and, as much as possible, do your work there and only there. Doing this can help you control your environment, keeping it clutter and distraction-free so you can focus on your work. Having a dedicated “office” or workspace can give you the feeling of “shifting into work mode” when you finally sit at your workstation. Conversely, it can also help you feel like “it’s quitting time” when you finally move away from your workspace at the end of your work day.
Minimize Physical and Digital Distractions
Some people aren’t bothered by a little clutter, but others simply can’t work with any physical distractions present in their space. Minimizing physical distractions can be relatively easy. Digital distractions, on the other hand, might be a little more difficult to get rid of.
When working from home, there’s no doubt you’ll often be hearing your phone or computer going off with notifications. You might even see some banner notifications in the corner of your screen. It’s easy to click on these notifications and start addressing them, but the next thing you know, you’ve wasted an hour.
You can use tools to help you stay focused. Apps like RescueTime and Forest can help you minimize your digital distractions and keep you on track during “focus times”.
Use Tools to Make Your Life Easier
These days, there are countless tools to help you streamline your work process. You can use a remote work app or two, write in physical organizers and notebooks, and surround yourself with things that help motivate you to work. If and where you can, find things that help ease your work day.
Breaks, Breaks, Breaks!
It can be tempting to work through lunch or just sit for hours and hours until you finish a task, but it’s important to take breaks. Taking breaks can keep you energized and productive. Plus, it’s just good for your mental health to step away once in a while.
Make Daily To-Do-Lists for the Dopamine
Finding the motivation to work from home every day can be a little challenging. If you’re finding it difficult to get your day started, make a to-do list every single day. Include even smaller things like getting ready for work, going for a cup of coffee, or having breakfast. Ticking things off your to-do list can give you the fulfillment and the dopamine hit, helping you get that little extra push to finally start tackling work tasks.
Avoid Multitasking, But…
Multitasking isn’t the best way to do things. It can make you inefficient, keep you distracted, and just add to your stress, so it’s best to focus on a single task where possible. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things here and there along the way. For example:
- Turn on your coffee machine on the way to the bathroom so you’ll have a fresh pot ready whenever
- Turn on your robo-vacuum on the way for a cup of coffee
- Toss a load of laundry in the wash while you’re waiting for something to print or save
You get the point. You don’t have to multitask, but doing things along the way to tasks can give you more free time after work!
Meal Prep and Other Preparation Can Go a Long Way
Let’s face it — ordering food for delivery can get expensive and unhealthy. When working from home, it may benefit you to do some meal prep whenever possible to keep you healthier (and your wallet fuller)!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which app is best for working from home?
There is no single best app for working from home — the answer to this question is quite subjective and depends on your needs. For example, if you’re looking for a project management app, the best one depends on whether you are an individual, a small team, or a large-scale company with large-scale projects. The best way to figure out what works best for you or your team is to give various tools a try. Fortunately, most apps these days have free trials or free plans that can allow you to give features a good shot before you decide to commit to a paid account (or not).
Which app is safe for work from home?
Most apps for working from home tend to be pretty safe and secure to use. The only exceptions where an app might be unsafe would be if you downloaded your copy from an unreliable or untrustworthy source, or if you are using proprietary software given to you by your employer. When choosing apps to add to your work-from-home suite, make sure to look into each app’s security features to ensure your data remains safe.
What kind of jobs can I do online?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the shift to remote work accelerated at a rapid pace. Work that was previously thought impossible to do remotely can now be done online. There are various jobs you can do all without leaving the comfort of your own home, including but not limited to:
- Content, technical, and creative writing and editing
- Graphic design
- Video editing
- Art commissions and illustration
- Data science
- Social media management
- Digital marketing
- Admin work (digital assistants, social media assistants, etc)
- Data entry
- Teaching and tutoring; English as a Second Language teaching
- Voiceover work
- Ecommerce management
- Search engine optimization
There are many more things that can now be done online — you may want to look into whether your field of interest has remote positions open. Alternatively, you can go at it by freelancing, though that can be a different ballgame altogether.
Choosing the Right Apps for You
When it comes to choosing the right work-from-home applications, what works for others may not always work for you. Your workflow is deeply personal, and only you know how well an app works for you. This reason is why most productivity apps have some form of a free version or a trial period so you can try them before you buy.
As you slowly figure out which apps are best for you, you’ll be able to develop a personal suite of software and services that help you thrive.
Here’s a tip: Don’t buy a year-long subscription to one of these work-from-home apps if you’re not yet sure you’re happy with them.
We hope you find some of these awesome work-from-home apps useful for your productivity in 2023 and beyond!
Want to become even more productive as you work from home? Check out some of these useful guides:
- Top 9 Best Chrome Extensions for Productivity
- The 5 Best Apple Watch Alternatives
- How to Combine PDF Files into One Document (Easy Tutorial)
- Top 13 Best Dropbox Alternatives for Better Cloud Storage
- Top 10 Remote Work Communication Tools to Streamline Efficiency
- How to Share Screen on Google Meet [Desktop & Mobile]
- How to Record a Google Meet Call
Chriselle has been a passionate writer for over 10 years, working with many publications worldwide. She currently writes for Productivity Spot, The Grad Cafe, and Hackr.io, among others.