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April 10, 2015

Apps and Tools to Increase Productivity for Road Warriors and Telecommuters

With the advancement of mobile technologies within the last decade, it’s no surprise that road warriors – frequent business travelers – and telecommuters are growing.

According to statistics from the American Community Survey, the number of telecommuters rose 79 percent between 2005 and 2012, accounting for roughly 3.2 million workers. Those numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that those who work outside of their 40 hour work week in the evenings or on weekends were not included in this survey. Access to internet and portable work tools like laptops, tablets and mobile devices have made the shift toward taking our work wherever we go possible. 

Here are a few helpful tools for road warriors and telecommuters that can help make working remotely an easier and more productive experience.

Increase your speed

One of the major challenges faced by road warriors is accessing and uploading data in an efficient manner, while only having access to Wi-Fi in places like coffee shops and hotel lobbies. Network variability can be attributed to a number of things, from the number of people drawing on a single router or the types of data being uploaded and downloaded to the limitations that the host puts on the network.

Since many companies have begun migrating to the cloud, road warriors increasingly have to access applications and documents through the cloud, requiring a better and faster internet connection to maintain productivity. SuperTCP is a tool that can deliver fast file transfers, allowing you move large files faster to and from the cloud, video conference with clear audio and video and generally increase the user experience. Using a tool like SuperTCP will not only boost your productivity, but it will also cut down on the amount of time you spend frustrated and unable to deliver and access the files you need.

Manage your passwords

Considering the number of usernames and passwords used between your personal and work life, it’s nearly impossible to remember unique passwords without some help.

Using a password manager like LastPass can alleviate all your password worries. The app stores all your usernames and passwords in one secure location so you can stop hitting the reset password button every other week. For accounts that store sensitive work documents, password managers can generate strong, unique passwords to guard against data breaches and hackers. If you’re working from a computer, the LastPass plugin will automatically fill in your login information and sign you in, saving you from searching through Post-It notes or Word docs for the necessary login. A password manager will also allow you to share passwords with your colleagues in a secure manner, allowing you to safely collaborate on projects.

Delegate from a distance

Research shows that remote workers are often more productive than those who work in traditional offices. But managing a team remotely presents its own set of unique challenges. Without face-to-face interaction, it can be difficult to assess the progress of individuals and teams.

TaskWorld makes managing even easier and lets you keep tabs on your team from wherever you are. The platform allows you to track performance and consolidates collaboration so that teams work effectively. TaskWorld is like an amped up to-do list, streamlining workflow to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and when. You can organize tasks by category, provide instant feedback and view project metrics in real-time. With documents, comments, dates and assignments all stored in once place, you won’t waste time looking for what you need.

Organize your contacts efficiently

If you’re a road warrior, you probably spend a considerable amount of time networking with potential clients and meeting with current clients. All those new faces and their business cards add up quickly and can easily get lost in the shuffle of traveling from one location to another.

A contact management service like CircleBack makes it easier to keep track of everyone you meet, their job title and contact information. Contact management apps allow their users to completely automate contact organization and update with scanning technology to import and store business card information. These apps also conduct intelligent searching across inboxes to capture and collect information from email signatures. You can also set reminders within the app to follow up with contacts you add so even when you move on to your next destination and shift focus, you’ll remember to send important emails.

Access office suite programs

Working from the road or from home requires that you get things done on whatever device is available at the moment, be it your smartphone, tablet or laptop. For many tasks, you simply must have a good word processing application.

If you (or your company) don’t want to cough up the cash for Microsoft (News - Alert) Office on your laptop, LibreOffice is a great alternative. LibreOffice has a clean interface and comes with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation drawing, flowchart, database, and mathematic applications – nearly all the features that Microsoft Office offers and has a very lucrative price tag (News - Alert)-free.

If you need to work from your tablet or smartphone, try Pages or iA Writer. Both are reasonably priced ($9.99 and $4.99, respectively) and have some lucrative features to keep you productive. iA Writer boasts a “Focus Mode” which zooms in to show you just three lines to help you concentrate on the task at hand. Pages is a more comprehensive word processor complete that fully integrates with Apple’s (News - Alert) iCloud so you can seamlessly access and edit your documents from whichever document is most convenient at the moment.

Are there any apps you use that make working remotely simple? 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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