The rise in popularity of remote work means you can pick anywhere in the world as your home base. The problem is, it’s hard to pack up your home office and take it with you.
Luckily, you don’t need a home office to work remotely; you just need these five types of tools.
1. An Email Client
Email has been the main form of business communication for the past two decades. If you want to get in touch with somebody or send over some documents, email is a must. (Sorry, phone calls and fax machines.)
Unlike other forms of communication, email is accessible worldwide. Whereas cell phone providers require you to pay for international use, email is free and available wherever you have an internet connection. Additionally, there is no need to change your email address based on your location.
But why do you specifically need an email client? Why not just log into your email account through a browser? Logging into an email client, like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, will always keep you up-to-date on your incoming messages, as you can set it to notify you whenever a new email arrives.
Additionally, it’s optimized for searching and saving functionalities—while you can search and save emails when logged into your browser, the interface is more simplified in an email client app.
No matter what business you are in, you will need to be able to communicate with other people. An email client will let you do that and make sure you are always in the loop.
2. A Word Processing Program
There is not a single industry that refrains from using text-based communication. Even if you work in an industry that primarily relies on verbal communication, you’ll need to write some things down at one point or another.
While you can write down ideas in your email client and send them to yourself, this method of writing is limited. You won’t have access to useful tools like a full spell-check, a thesaurus, and advanced layout options.
More importantly, you won’t be able to easily edit text. For example, if you want to change a phrase in the notes you send to yourself, you’ll have to copy the text from your original email, paste it into a new email, and then make the changes.
Word processing programs, like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, give you a host of tools not only to write and edit your text, but also to design its layout. The ability to design layouts is incredibly useful when sending specialized documents, like cover letters or resumes.
If you’re not sure how to effectively use those layout tools, here are eight places you can download Microsoft Word templates from. It might seem obvious, but a word processing program is a must-have for remote work.
3. A PDF Reader
Another must-have for remote work? Access to a PDF reader, such as Adobe Acrobat or Sumatra PDF. Many documents are sent as PDF files in order to preserve the integrity of the original layout.
In particular, contracts and other financial documents are often sent as PDFs. You’ll need to be able to read these documents and, perhaps more importantly, you’ll need to be able to mark up these documents. A PDF reader will allow you to do just that.
Even if you don’t regularly deal with these types of files, it’s important to be able to access PDFs on the occasions when they’re sent to you. You will most likely encounter PDFs at some point, no matter your industry.
4. An Internet Browser
This may seem like another obvious one, but that’s also why it’s essential: you need to have an internet browser like Firefox or Google Chrome on whatever device you’re using for work.
There are almost too many reasons to list why you need an internet browser. Of these reasons, there are three that stand out as being the most important.
- You need to be able to do research, whether that involves conducting an in-depth exploration of a project proposal or googling a term you don’t understand. (And if you need ways to look something up other than Google, here are some alternative search engines.)
- You need to be able to access industry-specific resources. While these five types of apps will cover most of what you need to work remotely, there are probably industry-specific websites you will need to access in order to do your job.
- You need to be able to access multimedia resources. A video player or photo viewer is not an essential work from home app in most cases because you can find and view videos and photos online.
Internet browsers are so ubiquitous that it might not even occur to you to add one to your list of work from home apps, so don’t forget to install one on your work device.
5. Cloud Storage
The old adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is incredibly pertinent in the digital age. It may be tempting just to save your files to your laptop or tablet and be done with it, but you shouldn’t. Instead, use cloud storage, like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.
Saving all of your files locally puts your files at risk. If your device breaks, you lose everything. Cloud storage allows you to access your work from any device and at any time.
The accessibility of cloud storage is particularly important if you plan on being a digital nomad. No matter where in the world you are, and no matter what devices you bring with you, you’ll be able to access all of your essential files from anywhere as long as you have a cloud storage app installed.
You Can Work From Anywhere
Today, working from home is more prevalent than ever. If you want to join in on the permanent work-from-home phenomenon, it’s essential you have five types of tools: an email client, a word processing, a PDF reader, an internet browser, and a cloud storage app.
With these five tools together, you can work from anywhere. It may seem daunting to switch from going into an office to working from wherever you want, but the change is easy and worth it.
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