Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular option for companies of all shapes and sizes. Along with saving businesses significant money on office space, telecommuting offers a number of benefits, such as greater productivity, reduced overhead and lower employee turnover. In light of these advantages to both the employer and its staff, it’s no surprise that the number of U.S. employees who work remotely has grown 79% in the past decade.
Despite the trend toward virtual work, implementing a strong telecommute program is not without its challenges. The companies that get the most out of telecommuting are those that take advantage of modern technological developments to keep their employees connected and productive. That push towards productivity keeps app developers constantly innovating new ways to help employees work on the go.
Here are five of the best mobile apps for effective management of telecommute workers.
Have you ever tried to diagnose one of your employee’s IT problems from a distance? One of the highest-rated desktop sharing apps on the market, TeamViewer lets one individual access another person’s computer remotely, making customer and employee tech support a breeze. As an added bonus, the app includes an option for permanent remote access, so you won’t need a password to troubleshoot future issues.
Additionally, TeamViewer helps facilitate employee communication. Along with allowing businesses to keep tabs on worker progress, the app lets you access employee files and applications and even hold online meetings. You can host a company-wide sales presentation or conduct a team training session without leaving the comfort of your own home office. Finally, TeamViewer lets you attend meetings using multiple types of smartphones, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on an important conversation while traveling.
Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Desktop Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Price: Free for non-commercial use. Commercial use varies by user count and platform.
It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets make it easy for businesses to access information on the go. However, individuals who utilize multiple devices for work may run the risk of losing track of their files or even overwriting important documents. That’s where Dropbox comes in.
A great resource for telecommuting companies, Dropbox allows you to synch files between multiple devices, including your tablet, smartphone and desktop computer. You can also upload photos and videos and label files as favorites for easy viewing. Get 1TB of space for $9.99 each month, or sign up for a business account starting at $15 per user per month. Not only does the business account come complete with unlimited file recovery, but customers also enjoy priority support from Dropbox’s tech team.
Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Desktop Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux (Debian and Fedora)
Price: Free for a Basic membership (2GB, 1 user). $9.99/month for Dropbox Pro (1TB, 1 user, non-business). $15/month for Business membership (1TB, 5 users).
As a busy telecommuter trying to build your business, it’s important that you have a reliable method for tracking sales and sending invoices. With InvoiceSherpa, companies can prep and track billing statements on the go to ensure nothing is forgotten or lost in the shuffle. Furthermore, because the app includes custom invoice templates, you don’t have to worry about sending clients documents that look less than professional. As an added benefit, you can use the app to track paid invoices as they come in.
Supported Platforms: Integrates directly with accounting software, including QuickBooks.
Price: 30-day free trial. Plans start at $9/month
Looking for a truly sophisticated online meeting application? With ClickMeeting, companies can conduct face-to-face meetings with offsite customers and employees from all over the world and record them for easy viewing later. Not only does this free, easy-to-use app allow for phone and VoIP access, but it also lets you conduct private meetings within a larger conference call.
You can provide additional information to managers or clear up miscommunication issues before they escalate into more serious problems. Additionally, you can opt to share your whole desktop or just a portion of it with other people in your meeting.
Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Desktop Platforms: Windows, Mac OS
Price: 30-day free trial. Then $30 to $280/month based on maximum number of attendees; annual pricing includes 25% discount.
If your company allows telecommuting, then you know how difficult it can be to supervise workers based in different locations. Asana is free project-management app that lets businesses track employee progress and assign tasks and subtasks in a single program. Additionally, workers can share their files, as well as send and receive reminder notices and comments. Whereas it’s easy to lose track of an email, Asana notifications are all stored in one spot for easy viewing. You can even customize your dashboard to provide regular updates on the tasks that are most important to you. Businesses can also integrate Asana with many other popular web services, including Google Drive, Slack, MailChimp and more.
Managing a sensitive project? Asana is also a great option for businesses that need to keep certain projects confidential. Instead of sharing information with everyone in the company, supervisors can create premium accounts and limit access to smaller groups. Up to five workers can utilize a premium Asana account for just $21 per month.
Supported Platforms: Works through your web browser. Apps available for Android and iOS devices.
Price: Free. Premium plans start at $21/month, paid annually, and includes priority technical support.
Keep Your Remote Employees Connected
Not only does telecommuting enable businesses to save money on office space and supplies, but offering remote work is also a great way to draw top employees from all over the country and even around the world. Thanks to new technologies that allow for digital conferencing and cloud hosting, remote work is easier than ever. Take the time to research all the top business apps on the market, and rest assured knowing your telecommute employees will stay connected as your company grows.