Free Tools for Working Remotely

working remotely

Whether you’re travelling, working from a home office or changing locations, working remotely is inevitable for most people, and it can present a whole new set of challenges in terms of productivity and meeting deadlines. Technology has been quick to catch up to our evolving demands, which means there’s a whole host of tools and applications available to make remote work easier and more efficient.

Skype/ FaceTime

Need to be across an interview or conference? There are several professional remote conferencing tools available for businesses, but if you’re looking for a free tool, you can’t go past Skype or FaceTime. Skype is available for desktops and as an app for smartphones and tablets on both Android and Apple products. It also offers multi-person capabilities, so you can video chat with up to 10 users at once.

If you’re an Apple user, FaceTime is also a great tool for one-on-one video chat, and there are no additional sign ups required since it is directly connected with your Apple ID.

Dropbox/ Google Drive

Want to have access to a selection of important documents while you’re working remotely? There are a plethora of cloud storage systems available, but Dropbox and Google Drive remain two of the most popular options for those who only need access to a small to medium-sized number of files while on the go.

Both are free to use, offering a limited — although still sufficient for many people’s needs — amount of free storage space. Google Drive users have access to 15 GB of free storage to share across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Dropbox accounts start with 2 GB of free space, although you can earn You can earn up to 16 GB of additional space free by referring your friends and having them create an account.

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You can access both platforms on a desktop, tablet, smartphone, or over the web by signing into your account from a different computer.

Pages/ Numbers

If you’re an Apple user and you need to be able to view, edit and write documents or spreadsheets on your iPad (or even your iPhone), Pages and Numbers are a solid alternative to Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel. They’re free (unlike the Word for iPad app, which requires a subscription to Microsoft 365), easy to use, and they’re compatible with Office so you can send documents to colleagues back at the office for them to open and edit.

Pages is the Apple equivalent of Word, offering a selection of templates, text and formatting styles, tracking changes, and the ability to insert tables, images, graphs and hyperlinks. You can send a copy of your document to team members as a Word doc or PDF, or share a copy of your documents via iCloud.

Numbers is the Apple equivalent of Excel, offering a range of table, header, cell and formatting options and hundreds of calculation and filtering functions for added convenience. You can send a copy of your spreadsheet as an Excel doc, PDF or CSV file, or share a copy via iCloud.

WPS Office

If you’re an android user, WPS Office is well worth a look, having been described by Gizmodo as the “essential app for your new Android phone or tablet”. With more than 300 million users worldwide, and a 4.4 star user rating in the Google Play store, WPS Office is fully compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, making it simple to view and edit documents on any device.

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Loaded with features similar to what you’d find on a PC office solution, this application includes advanced text and paragraph formatting options, the ability to add and edit images, shapes, tables and charts, and compatibility with DOC, XLS, PPT, TXT, PDF formats. You can also share your files via email, Evernote and more, making it a great solution for staying online at the office, even if you’re on the other side of the globe.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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