13 Free Tools and Apps That Make Working Remotely Easier

13 Free Tools and Apps That Make Working Remotely Easier

Technology has virtually changed the face of business enabling more people to work remotely. Remote work seems to be the wave of the future. It is estimated that by 2020 over 50% of the Australian workforce will be working remotely.

When most people think of remote workers, they probably picture someone lounging in their pyjamas. The reality is often very different. Working remotely is less about the clothes you wear, but more about the freedom to produce your best work. That can mean waking up at 3am to connect with an international office, or working around your kids or carer duties.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, writer, developer, marketer, or remote worker, we all share the same challenges when it comes to working remotely. Whether it’s finding a good Wi-Fi connection or the focus you need to get things done, there’s an app to help you stay on track, find a sweet co-working space, improve communications and manage your data.

Here are a few of my favourites to use when I’m working on the go.

1. WiFi Map - Find Free Internet

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Find free Wi-FI near you no matter where you are. Having no Wi-Fi can be a total workflow killer when you’re on the move, especially overseas. Through the magic of crowdsourcing, the Wi-Fi Map app lets you find over 100 million free hotspots around the world, complete with passwords and download/upload speeds submitted by users. How good is that? You can also find out if the  host has coffee so you can grab a bit to eat and a cup of the good stuff while you’re mooching. 

Available for: iOS, Android

2. Google Drive - Online Backup

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This a brilliant app that allows you to store all your files in the Google Drive cloud. I don’t know where I would be without cloud storage. Google drive is amazing because it’s very generous giving you a whopping 15 GB of space for free! You also have access to Docs, Slides, Sheets which is Google’s answer to things like Word and Excel, which means you can literally work off a tablet anywhere you are.

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

3. Voxer - Walkie Talkie Messenger

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This cool little app combines the best of voice, text, photo and video with walkie talking messaging. When I’m out and about, especially when I’m driving I don’t have time to text back which can lead to not replying to someone for two weeks because I’ve forgotten all about it. Voxer helps me communicate with my friends and colleagues via walkie-talkie type voice messages. 

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

4. Trello - Organise anything, together

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Trello is fantastic for project management, collaboration and can be used for pretty much anything from product development to content planning and managing freelancers to daily task management. Trello is incredibly easy to use, allowing you to drag and drop files, text, and images from your clipboard onto cards to collect them together. You can assign due dates, labels, team members, and comments to both plan out a strategy and track its progress.

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

5. Hours Keeper - Timesheet, Tracking & Billing

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Hours keeper is great for freelancers that get paid by the hour. You can use this app to clock on when you commence work and clock off when stop. You are then able to send your clients your timesheet with ease. I find this super helpful when it comes to invoicing as I don’t have to go through my diary to try and figure out when I did what. Very simple. 

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

6. Receipt Bank - Store all your receipts in one place.

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Never keep or lose receipts ever again. The receipt bank app allows me to take photos of my receipts and submit them for processing. I used to used this app but have now switched to Xero Expenses which plugs into my Xero account. 

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

7. Google Translate: Translate the world around you

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This app has been invaluable in communicating with our exchange student, but also very useful when you traveling abroad to a place where you don’t speak the native language.  

I love the camera feature that helps your read text that is physically in front of you. Simply snap a picture of the text (or scan it using the Google Assistant app) to see an overlay of the translated version on top of the original. Magic! 

You can also speak into your microphone and the app will translate what you say out loud into the language you’ve set. Specific words and sentences can be saved to a phrasebook that you can easily reference later.

8. TripAdvisor: Discover the unexpected

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Not all the apps on this list have to be about work, when you’re on the road it’s nice to find a few unexpected activities to enjoy your new sights. Remote work or any work for that matter wouldn’t work without balance afterall.

TripAdvisor allows you to browse and compare flight and hotel bookings, and find activities to do in the city of your choice, along with reviews, prices, pictures, and more.

Want to check out the best local restaurants? See the most talked-about attractions? There’s a variety of stuff to do during your downtime while traveling or working abroad.

Available for: iOS, Android

9. Hangouts: Remote communication

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 Sometimes text messaging doesn’t cut it and you need to meet face-to-face or the next best thing: over a video call while screen sharing.

Google Hangouts is one of the best tools out there for this, particularly because the person on the other end doesn’t need a Google account to accept your call. Plus, it integrates with Google Calendar to make scheduling calls easy.

You can conduct 1-on-1 conversations or host a group meeting, sharing your screen to make it easier to walk through instructions, discuss results, and give or get feedback on an idea. 

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

10. Zapier: Save time with automation

Automation can free up more of your precious asset, time. If you have mundane repetative tasks that take up too much of your time but still need to be done, chances are you can automate it with Zapier. There are a ton of ways you can use these services to take some of your work off your plate and complete them while you’re sleeping. Things like downloading photos posted under your branded hashtag, or creating spreadsheets of mentions of your name or products on Reddit, Twitter etc. Connect two apps that don’t normally integrate.

Available for: Web

11. IFTTT - Make all your apps talk to each other.

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Sick of wasting time posting the same information across multimple platfroms? Save time with IFTTT. Post your photo anywhere and see it everywhere. IFTTT helps social media play nice together. This tool also makes your voice assistant more personal. Just say the word, and IFTTT will help you stay in-sync across systems as you go through your day. Over 600 apps work with IFTTT including Twitter, Telegram, Google Drive, Twitch, Weather Underground, Instagram, Gmail, and devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, and your iPhone. The IFTTT app also integrates with the Health app, so you can easily track and maintain your habits. 

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

12. Evernote: Collect ideas on the go 

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Every entrepreneur needs an ideas journal, to collect ideas, research, and inspiration. Evernote allows you to have your journal with you no matter where you are. With Evernote you can create notebooks to store specific notes that can include images, links, text, and snippets of important information with its web clipper tool.

Available for: iOS, Android, Web

13. Work From: Work-friendly environments near you.

If you’re a seasoned traveller, sometimes it’s nice to create a temporary space to call your office. The Work From app allows you to search local recommendations from a large community of remote workers. Whether it’s a coffee shop or a co-working space, you can find locations near you to meet your needs.

Available for: Web

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