The Best Apps to Help You Stay Organised Working from Home
Whether you’ve been working from home for years or have recently taken it up, you’ll know that it can sometimes be difficult to maintain motivation, productivity, and organisation. Having the right home office setup can go some way to helping you keep organised when working from home. But once your home office is properly equipped, you might need help to manage your time, keep on top of your projects and communicate effectively with your team. There are a huge number of apps available which can help you do this.
Below are some of our favourite apps to keep you organised when working from home. These are all available on both Apple and Android devices, and most come in a range of subscription options.
Communicating with your colleagues is essential, but with people working remotely it can be difficult to keep in contact. Slack is a messaging app specifically designed to keep people in business connected and able to work as a team, no matter where they’re working from. As well as making it easy to contact people in your organisation, you can also add professional contacts who might not work directly for your place of work.
A real advantage of Slack is that you can set up dedicated channels to make conversations more relevant, for example, having separate channels for individual teams or departments. As well as messaging, you can also share files and use the search function to find information from previous conversations, which can help you keep organised.
When working away from the office, you might find it trickier to keep on top of your various projects and tasks. This can be made even more difficult if you have multiple team members working on one project and you all want to be able to collaborate properly.
Trello uses a combination of project boards, task cards, and detailed to-do lists to help you organise your work. You can see at a glance what there is left to do, and you can also drill down into the detail if needed. The app allows you to assign projects and tasks to the relevant team member, plus you can attach files and set due dates. Trello also integrates with other apps that you might already use, like Slack, Dropbox, Outlook, and Gmail.
Miro is another app that can help you keep organised working from home by supporting collaborative working. With virtual whiteboards, you can work with your colleagues to plan projects and ideas, using virtual sticky notes and writing directly onto the board.
You can also attach files and images to each board, so you can refer to it later and with all the information you need. Miro is great for virtual meetings and workshops, allowing everyone to work together to plan. As well as more creative ideas, it can also be used for strategy planning and making diagrams.
It can be all too easy to lose track of time when you’re working from home. This can be an issue if you need to keep track of how many hours you’ve been working on particular projects, especially if you’re a freelancer. Toggl Track lets you monitor your hours, so you’ll know exactly how long you’ve been working on a project. It can do this automatically or you can manually input the time if you forget to set the timer.
Toggl Track can integrate with your calendar so it can include your events and meetings into your time tracking. It presents the data in different types of graphs so you can easily see where you’ve been spending your time. If you have an Apple phone, it can also be used to track your use of other apps on your device.
If you’re working from home, you might struggle to stay organised with the number of online meetings and phone calls you have to keep in touch with your colleagues. You might struggle to focus on the conversation if you’re also having to take notes.
Otter helps with this by recording your conversations and turning them into smart notes. It lets you search the transcript and also share them with others. As well as meetings, you can also use it to capture your own thoughts, letting you record ideas without having to worry about writing them down. With the app you can also take photos, for example of a specific slide during a presentation, and attach them to the transcript, so everything can be kept in one place.
A big problem with working from home is staying focused when you might have lots of distractions. Forest is an app that can help you stay focused on your task and also encourages you to not use other apps on your phone.
Forest works by letting you plant a virtual tree and watch it grow while the app is open. If you come out of the app when it is still growing, the tree will die. Every time you let a tree grow to its full height, it gets added to your virtual forest – so you can really start to see your productivity build up. A bonus to using Forest is that the developers use some of the profits to plant real trees, with over 1,200,000 trees currently planted thanks to Forest users.
It’s difficult enough to keep on top of organising paperwork at home; it can be even harder to keep your online files organised. Dropbox is an app that helps you safely keep all your documents filed properly. It also makes them easily accessible to other members of your team, so you can work together more efficiently.
Using Dropbox means you won’t have to juggle files on your own desktop or use up storage space sending files over email. With Dropbox, your organisation can choose who is allowed access to specific folders and you can even use it to share files with people outside of your organisation. It also means you can access your files from wherever you are, which is especially helpful if you’re hybrid working and spending some time working from home and some time in the office.
Headspace might not be an app that can directly help with organisation when working from home, but it can help with your mental wellbeing – which can in turn help you to feel less stressed. Research shows that people who are stressed are less engaged in their work and have reduced productivity. By meditating and employing mindfulness in your day-to-day, you can reduce your stress levels and increase your motivation.
Headspace has a range of meditation programmes, including how to cope with stress, how to deal with anxiety, and how to focus better. There are also tools to help you employ mindfulness as a habit and tools to help you get better sleep. All of these can help you feel more motivated and happier at work, which can help you to keep your work life organised.