Working from home has become increasingly popular. Many organizations and small businesses have the opportunity to conduct their businesses from the comfort of their own homes or favorite coffee shop. This has been made easy with cloud technology and with an increase in a variety of software and applications. Virtual office spaces have evolved to become more functional and productive.

As obvious as it may seem, having a powerful computer is the key to any successful virtual office. The programs used can only be as strong and fast as the capacity of your computer. If your computer is generally slow then your software, applications and tools will also be slow. Investing in a powerful computer will only amplify your tools. To compliment the work done on your laptop, here are some useful tools we have found helpful working from home.

Slack

Slack is a messaging tool that brings all your communications together in one place. It has real-time messaging, as well as an archive and a search capability. This application is a free service that is easy to sign up for and install. You can access your slack account from your phone, tablet or even set it up directly on your desktop. Not only does it allow team members to speak directly to one another, but it allows you to upload files, pictures and videos. All content posted in Slack is archivable and easily searchable at a later date. Lastly, the best feature is the option to create channels for specific conversations. This way, you can keep conversations in specific streams or divide them based on projects, without disrupting the rest of your team. Along with the channel option, you can decide which team member can see which conversation. This is a fantastic tool that can clear up your emails, and redirect conversations, reminders as well as file uploads to Slack.

OneNote

Many organizations prefer to use Google docs or other cloud based document sharing applications, but it can become difficult to keep track of changes and filing the documents properly. Microsoft’s OneNote is a free application and a great way to work on documents as a team. You can see the edits in real time and even see who made the changes. Apart from the easy editing feature, the application is set up as a notebook. You can create different notebooks for different projects, and tabs within those notebooks for different subjects. Did I mention that all of the tabs and notebooks can be color coded? Creating a notebook does not automatically share it with your team. You can select who can view, edit or even have access to a specific document.

Bria Softphone from CounterPath

A softphone is a software program that enables a desktop, laptop or workstation computer to function as a telephone. It can replace or complement your desk phone, allowing you to make voice and video calls over the internet. The software is fairly inexpensive, and you can use your existing business or cell phone number. You will just need your phone provider to assist with the setup. The benefit of a softphone is that you are not limited to remaining in your office in fear of missing a call. You can call and receive phone calls anywhere that an internet/wifi connection is available. The audio from your calls can be heard through your computer speakers and your voice picked up through the computer microphone. However, for the best sound quality we highly suggest the use of a headset.

Skype & Google Hangouts

If you prefer to have face to face conversations Skype and Google Hangouts are great ways to hold video meetings with an individual or a group of colleagues. Neither of these platforms require you to own Apple products like FaceTime does and they are  free to use. Similar to the softphone application a headset will allow you a more clear conversation.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an email marketing application tool that allows you to design a variety of different email templates. Anything from newsletters, surveys, event invitations and e-flyers that can all be customizable for your brand. Furthermore it allows you to track which customer opened your email, and if they engaged with the content. The price of this application is based on the amount of emails you have; the more emails you have the more you pay. The best part about this application is that it allows you to create clickable photos, that can be displayed in your emails.

These are just a couple of examples of tools we use at NRG TeleResources. What kind of tools do you use for your business that have helped you work from home?

Lisa has worked in the telecom industry for over 15 years. As the president of NRG Teleresources she provides her clients with the perfect headsets and audio conferencing solutions. For more information or to help you find the best headset device for your business needs, please contact Lisa at lisa@nrgteleresources.com or 1-888-753-7300. Learn more at www.nrgteleresources.com