Work-from-home professionals have a wealth of tools at their disposal to help manage their time with speed and efficiency. By simply downloading key apps to your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to effectively schedule meetings, gather notes, record expenses, share files, and much more.
Having a mobile device full of helpful home office apps allows you to work on the go. The more things you can get done while you’re out taking care of routine tasks (and exercising your work flexibility!), the more time you’ll have to be home and not working.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the best home office apps for freelancers, telecommuters, and anyone who works on the go:
If you’re tasked with setting a meeting time for a group of coworkers who all work remotely, give Doodle a try. This online calendar tool offers more effective time management by allowing you to send a Doodle Poll to various team members who can then select the date and meeting time most convenient for them. Once you’ve compiled each pollster’s answer, select the date and time that works for the majority.
Doodle offers a free individual plan, a private plan for professionals at $49 per year, and a business plan for teams at $69 per year.
To-do lists: Evernote
Another of the most useful home office apps is Evernote — the ultimate note-taking app where you can easily create to-do lists, jot down notes, take photos, make voice recordings, or otherwise have your ideas preserved for future use and before they slip your mind.
The best part is, all these notes are organized and searchable. So, even if you forget what you entered, it’s easy to find it later. Evernote syncs across all your devices as well, so you can access your saved ideas anywhere. This basic plan is free for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms; paid plans include Evernote Premium at $7.99 per month and Evernote Business for $14.99 per month.
Concentration: Ambient noise
If you simply can’t concentrate without sound (but actual music tends to distract you) or you need to drown out background distractions, this app makes it easy. White Noise Pro — $2.99 for your iPhone or Android phone, desktop, or iPad — gives you a relaxing sound buffer that promotes focus without any annoying advertisements. The app comes with several different sounds, such as Stream Water, Ocean Waves, Thunderstorm, and Air Conditioner, so you can experiment until you find which ones work best for you.
There’s also a free version called White Noise Lite — which is the same program, though there are fewer sounds to choose from. Other ambient noise generators include: Hipstersound, Rainy Mood, Jazz and Rain, and Taptanium.
Recording business expenses: Expensify
Expensify is an expense management software with a cloud-based app that allows you to easily record, store scanned receipts, and submit reimbursement requests. Perhaps you’re purchasing new equipment for your home office; with Expensify, you can simply scan the receipts using the SmartScan option that will automatically read and code the receipt details for you. The program also helps you track mileage expenses and syncs your credit card to your accounting system for simplified tracking.
Expensify offers a free individual plan, a team plan for $5 per active user monthly, and a corporate plan for $9 per active user monthly.
Reminders: Remember the Milk
Evernote is great for simple to-do lists, but if you need something a little more sophisticated, consider Remember the Milk. In this task-management app, you can construct to-do lists, mark items complete, prioritize items, manage tasks offline, and set reminders — including tweet reminders. New additions to the app include the capability to attach files to the tasks created, access via Siri and Apple Watch, the ability to import items from Wunderlist, and more. The app syncs with Gmail, across devices, and with Evernote.
Remember the Milk offers a free option as well as a Pro option for $39.99 per year.
Video Calls: Skype
Skype offers the capability to instant chat, make calls, video chat, and use SMS messaging — all from the same interface. With Skype, you can stay in touch with coworkers, chat with clients, hold video conferences, and make convenient hands-free calls — all while you’re working at your computer.
Skype is free to download. The instant chat is free, and you can make free Skype-to-Skype calls. You can also use Skype to call landline phones or to call and text mobile phones. Pay-as-you-go credit or subscriptions start at $2.99 per month for unlimited calls and texts in the U.S. and $13.99 per month for calls and texts worldwide. Other options such as Skype Number and Skype to Go are also available.
File backup and sharing: Dropbox
Working on the go can be frustrating, especially if you forget to load the right files on your smartphone or tablet. With Dropbox, you won’t have this problem, because the app allows you to access your stored files from any device with an Internet connection.
In addition to online storage, Dropbox synchronizes your files across devices. So, anything you store in Dropbox with your mobile device will be waiting for you on your PC or vice versa. The app provides a convenient and secure backup for your work, wherever you happen to be. You can also share files safely and securely with coworkers or clients.
Dropbox Basic is free and comes with 2GB of storage, but a Dropbox Plus subscription starts at $9.99 per month for 1TB, and Dropbox Professional is $19.99 per month.
If you’re hunting for a particular email message on your phone, you can either swipe through the inbox until you find it or attempt to use the laborious search function. Neither is a good time-saving choice. Enter Inboxcube — the app that sorts your emails in cubes that gives you an instant visual identifying what the email contains.
Inboxcube sorts various email categories into boxes with different functions. You can have a cube for messages that need your response, one for attachments, one for contact information, and another for emails that don’t need your attention right away. Swiping cubes lets you perform more actions quickly. The app offers a free option that allows you unlimited cubes, connecting up to two accounts with an upload limit of 10MB. Inboxcube Pro is $4.99 per month and allows you to connect to up to eight accounts with an upload limit of 250MB. And, last but not least, Inbox Business is on the horizon as a future offering.
One of the most popular social networks for business professionals is available in app form. The LinkedIn app helps you stay connected with colleagues, professionals in the same field, and friends — an especially important feature for people who work from home, which can be isolating at times.
You can use this app to search for connections, respond to requests, make recommendations, participate in group discussions, share information, and more. LinkedIn offers a free basic plan for all platforms and paid premium subscription plans.
Whether you’re working solo or collaborating remotely, Asana is a fully featured, easy-to-use project management platform. You can use it to keep track of tasks and subtasks, assign work to other people on your team, track milestones and project development, and more.
You can set it up to send you reminders and notifications for just about anything, like when a team member posts a task or comment or when an upcoming project is due. You can also upload and share files and use workspaces to separate different types of projects. Like many of the other apps listed, Asana offers a free basic service and options to upgrade.
With so many useful apps out there, it’s easy to keep your home office organized and productive, whether you’re actually there or on the go.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.