This episode of Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week focuses on apps ideal for use by remote workers (telecommuters). For people working from home, you'll learn about smartphone apps that can help you stay connected with your employer, collaborate with your coworkers, stay organized, manage your time, and become a better communicator.
Mobile Apps Featured Within This Episode
The mobile apps discussed within this episode are available from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android).
Featured apps include:
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Jason Rich's Featured App of the Week – Episode #15
Welcome back to the Featured App of the Week podcast. I’m Jason Rich.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has changed dramatically during the past few months, and many of us have been forced to work from home - or telecommute - as opposed to working from a traditional office.
If you’re one of these people, you’ve probably had to learn a new set of work-at-home skills that allow you to accomplish your job’s responsibilities remotely.
Available for your smartphone are a plethora of optional apps that can help you manage your time, keep yourself organized, maintain focus on your work objectives, and maximize your productivity.
The focus of this episode is to introduce you to smartphone apps that are nicely suited to remote workers. For easy reference, you’ll find links to each of the mobile apps and services I’ll be talking about listed within the notes for this podcast episode.
For starts, virtually all of the applications you’ve been using from your computer to communicate and collaborate with your employer, coworkers, customers, and/or clients also typically have a smartphone app counterpart that will allow you to work from virtually anywhere.
For example, all of the popular video conferencing and virtual meeting applications, including: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, and Facebook Workplace have optional mobile apps available that allow you to participate in virtual meetings, as well as video or Internet-based voice calls from virtually anywhere.
From the App Store if you’re and Apple iPhone user, or the Google Play Store if you’re an Android-based smartphone user, you’ll also find mobile apps for popular private and group messaging services, including Slack, as well as apps that allow you to access and utilize cloud-based file sharing services, such as: Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive, so you can send, receive, and collaborate using a wide range of file types – right from your smartphone.
Microsoft also offers a suite of mobile apps that provide scaled-down versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft 365 applications.
Due to the small size of a smartphone’s screens, I don’t recommend trying to compose long Word documents or manage complex spreadsheets from your phone, even if you’re using an external keyboard.
However, these smartphone apps allow you to read, annotate, and review Microsoft 365documents and files with relative ease from your mobile device.
To get the most out of the Microsoft 365 mobile apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, you’ll need to be a paid Microsoft 365 subscriber. Individual subscription plans start at $69.99 per year to be able to use these applications on your own smartphone, tablet, notebook computer, and desktop computer.
If your work requires you to deal with a lot of paper-based documents, you’ll likely find it useful as a remote worker to install a scanner app onto your smartphone.
There are many scanner apps, like Scanner Pro, available from the App Store. Any of these apps will allow you to use the rear-camera built into your iPhone or Android-based phone to scan paper-based documents and transform them into PDF files that can then be viewed, annotated, printed, and shared from a mobile device or computer.
An app called PDF Expert is just one example of a versatile app that makes it easy to work with PDF files using a smartphone. This app allows you to view, organize, edit, annotate, sign, print, and share PDF files.
As a remote worker, your smartphone can also be used as a powerful time management and organizational tool.
In addition to the Calendar and Reminders apps that come pre-installed with the iOS operating system on the iPhone, for example, the App Store offers many optional scheduling, time tracking, and to-do list management apps that can be customized to meet your personal needs and work habits.
If you’re new to working from home, one of the biggest challenges you’ll likely face is learning how to properly manage your time during the workday, while avoiding non-work-related distractions happening in your home.
Using a customizable to-do list manager app, I recommend spending the first or last 15 minutes of each day compiling one or more detailed to-do lists that outline your objectives and required tasks for the day ahead.
As you compile your to-do list, set alerts or alerts for items that are deadline related or time-sensitive. You can also prioritize items within your list by color-coding each item, for example, for easy visual reference.
Plus, when you have a major goal, add it within your to-do list, and then below it, break down what needs to be accomplished into a series of smaller, more easily achievable sub-tasks, which should each be listed separately within your main to-do list.
Being able to work from a detailed to-do list each day will help you stay focused and on-schedule, since you’ll know exactly what needs to be accomplished and when.
As you complete each item on your list, be sure to mark it off as completed, so you can track your progress and accomplishments throughout the day.
Also from the App Store or Google Play Store, you’ll discover many powerful to-do list managers. Each can handle an unlimited number of individual lists, and each list can contain an unlimited number of items.
The tools used to organize and prioritize your list entries will very between apps, so it’s important to choose one that’ll work best for you and your established work habits.
To discover the to-do list management app that are available, enter the term “To-Do List” within the Search field of the App Store or Google Play Store. Then, when browsing through the various app listings, read each app’s description and pay attention to the app’s ratings and reviews.
Some of the To-Do list management apps you’ll discover include: Do!, Any.Do, Microsoft To Do, Google Tasks, Evernote, Things 3, SimpleNote, and Trello.
If you already use a scheduling application to manage your time, meetings, calls, and appointments throughout the day, choose a to-do list management app that integrates with that scheduling application.
You’ll also discover that many of the to-do list applications allow you to sync your lists between all of your mobile devices and computers, plus share specific lists with other people as needed, so these are useful features to look for as well.
Yet another application that’s extremely useful to remote workers is called Grammarly Keyboard. This is an optional grammar and spell check app that works in conjunction with many of the email, text messaging, and social media applications you’ll be using with your smartphone.
As a remote worker, developing top-notch written communication skills so you can communicate clearly and concisely is critical.
The Grammarly Keyboard app will help you by automatically proofreading all of your outgoing messages and emails so you’ll avoid embarrassing typos, errors, and miscommunications that could lead to problems or misunderstandings.
Grammarly Keyboard automatically proof-reads your messages and emails before you hit send.
The basic Grammarly Keyboard app is free, but a Premium version with a more robust set of features is available on a subscription-basis. While a monthly plan costs $20.99, an annual plan for the Premium Grammarly service, which also works with notebook and desktop computers, is priced between $97.99 and $139.99.
Yes, this is a bit costly. However, Grammarly is a useful tool if you need to improve your written communication skills and ensure you’re able to communicate clearly and accurately with your work-related contacts.
What’s great about using many of these smartphone apps is that you can get work done while sitting at your desk, or easily stay in contact with your employer, coworkers, customers, or clients while you’re out and about or on-the-go.
Again, when choosing which mobile apps to use as a remote worker, select ones that work in conjunction with the applications you’re already using on your notebook and/or desktop computer.
Also make sure the mobile apps are fully compatible with applications being used by the people you’re sharing content or collaborating with to avoid complications and confusion when sending or receiving data, documents and files.
Even if being a remote worker is a temporary situation for you, when you go back to work in a traditional office environment, you’ll likely find many of the apps I’ve discussed will continue to be useful in your professional life.
That’s it for this edition of Featured App of the Week. I’m Jason Rich. Thanks for listening.