Long gone are the days of lugging around a huge 5-pound laptop. Today you can work remotely toting a featherweight smartphone or tablet.
Smartphone apps allow employees to work remotely with the same functionality on their smaller devices as they would have access to on larger ones. With so many productivity apps being introduced each year, companies are beginning to see real ROI in allowing staff to work remotely. The fact that they can be used across devices makes them highly desirable.
If your job duties include travel or you just need to step away from the desk a few times a week, productivity apps may be just the link you need to stay connected to the office while you’re away.
Purchases and expenditure
We’ll begin with an extremely pragmatic, convenient option. If you’ve ever had issues organizing purchases and expenditures on the fly, you should consider using a budget and planning app.
Budget apps, such as SmartSheet, allow you to send purchase requests directly from your smartphone or tablet. You can also include additional information, like the need for an immediate approval. This makes it possible to work remotely and still be engaged in your company’s purchasing process.
And it doesn’t matter what part of purchasing falls under your job description. Not only can purchasing requests be made from these apps—they can also be review and approved or denied from the same app. No need to read an email, search through it for the price, or call to obtain a reason.
You’re working remotely, away at an important business conference, but your office in DC has a mandatory meeting you simply cannot miss. It’s not pragmatic or even possible to jump on a plane, make the meeting, and then fly back to the conference.
A video conferencing app like Skype for Business resolves that issue, allowing you to be in two places at one time.
According to PGI, 56% of CFOs invest in video conferencing due to its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Video Programs such as Skype are available 24/7 and are fully secure. It also has an IM feature allowing participants to type questions and concerns during the video conference.
Sales and prospects
With the advancement of CRM software, your entire team can see wins, losses and prospects directly from their smartphones and PCs.
Apps such as Salesforce and PipeDrive enable you to see lead, prospect and closing information in real time from anywhere. Even if you’re working remotely, you can see live data the moment it updates. You can even type notes in these screens to help guide your team while you’re away.
If your job includes the need to update contact information for potential customers in the funnel, you can change their info directly from your phone using the app.
No business can afford to lose contact with customers. Traveling frequently, working remotely or otherwise being away from a landline can prove costly. Long distance and international cell phone plans are not always the most cost-effective options for communication in these scenarios.
And no one wants to have to rely on their personal phone number to communicate with customers.
VoIP services provide you with a way to take your work phone with you on the road. You can forward calls to your smartphone, make calls from your smartphone, access voicemail and much more—as if you were in your office.
VoIP is especially useful in the event of a disaster. When blackouts, bad storms, floods, power outages, and other forms of outage take down your network, a cloud-based VoIP system will still be online. That allows you to continue business as usual from any location, even in the midst of chaos.
Need to share a secure document while you’re working remotely? Simply send it using a cloud-based sharing program via your smartphone.
Document sharing apps give you the ability to safely transfer files and can make a real difference in the collaborative environment of your office. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of using an app like Office 365 is its complete compatibility with the desktop and cloud-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Instant messaging is important whether you’re working remotely or in the office. Apps like Teams, Slack and Yammer are excellent in this capacity. Yammer, for instance, allows companies to create their own social network. Employees can chat with each other and even create private group chats to discuss daily tasks.
Slack makes use of channels to organize IMs, making it easy for groups of employees to cluster by project, workgroup or interests. And while all three integrate well with Office 365, it’s no surprise that the integration in Teams is easily the deepest and richest of the three. If your office relies on Office 365, Teams is the must-have IM app for working remotely.
Working remotely with ease
One peek in the app store of your choice reveals an unbelievable number of downloads for apps that make it easier than you would have thought to work remotely. Really, there’s little wonder.
The work-from-home workforce is growing each year. In 2017, The New York Times reported that at least 43% of Americans worked at home for some part of the year. And in 2018, that number is expected to grow even more.
As demand for working remotely increases, so will the need for business productivity apps such as the ones listed above. If you’re not already looking at smartphone apps to enable you to remain productive from anywhere, we highly recommend starting the process now.
If you need a hand, reach out to your managed IT services provider. They can almost certainly point you in the right direction.