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As Internet connections speed up, and the disdain for commuting gets greater, the desire to work remotely from home becomes more desirable. Remote working is great — everyone here at MakeUseOf are remote workers, and we’re all happy campers. But in order to become as efficient as possible, you need to have the right work tools How Apps Can Help Any Freelancer Or Small Business Owner Be Productive How Apps Can Help Any Freelancer Or Small Business Owner Be Productive There are so many app for Android and iOS that can improve your productivity as a freelancer or small business owner; let's find the best of them. Read More behind you.

Tools such as jobs boards 37signals Launches 'We Work Remotely' Job Board 37signals Launches 'We Work Remotely' Job Board 37signals, makers of project management app Basecamp and the Ruby On Rails programming language, has launched a new online job board meant specifically for remote workers. Read More and LinkedIn can help you find a job Working Remotely Is The Future! This Is How LinkedIn Can Help You Working Remotely Is The Future! This Is How LinkedIn Can Help You A remote or telecommute job is the holy grail of job searching. Leverage the resources on LinkedIn to find your dream job. Read More , but here are 5 tools you can use to make sure you do the best job possible.

TransparentBusiness

TransparentBusiness is a web app which gives remote teams an easy way to maintain an overview of their colleagues and what they are working on. This includes the number of hours each employee is working, their projects, their clients, invoices, reports and much more.

If your business is 5 users or less, then TransparentBusiness is free of charge. When it starts going from 6 users and up, the paid option is $39 per user per month. So don’t hire anymore than 5 employees and you have a cracking service on your hands.

Harvest

Continuing the theme of time tracking, Harvest enables workers to keep a record of their work hours, and submit timesheets to the company. You can start and stop timers for each project, and each employee will receive an automated reminder to turn in their timesheet in time to get paid.

You can export those hours to create client invoices, and also create reports showing billable, non-billable, employee or contractor hours. As a nice touch, you can then export your reports to CSV, Excel, Google Drive and more.

Harvest is free for one user who has 4 or less clients. After that, you get a 30 day free trial, and then $12 a month for up to 3 users. The paid levels go up from there.

Teamgum

TeamGum is a browser extension (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera), which advertises itself as “the quickest and easiest way to share anything on the web with your team”. With your team in the sidebar, you can have discussions, and drag and drop images and files. There’s no need to switch tabs to communicate — everything stays on the same page.

Up to 10 members is free of charge. After that, paid plans start at $30 a month, with some extra features thrown in. 

DocSecrets

When working with a rem0te team, using Google Docs How Google Docs Can Help You Come Across As A Professional How Google Docs Can Help You Come Across As A Professional Google Docs has a huge, free repository of ready templates that you can use for almost any professional scenario. Let's take a look at five common documents needed in the workplace. Read More is a great way to work on documents together, as well as send documents which will need regular edits done. But security can be paramount if you are working on something sensitive to the company. DocSecrets can help in this regard.

After creating a passphrase to encrypt and unencrypt documents, you can then highlight text which can be hidden, much like redacted documents. Only the passphrase will be able to unlock the redactions.

DocSecrets is a free add-on from Google Docs themselves. This page explains how to set it up.

Hoffice

If you’re a nomad traveller 7 Friendly Communities for Every Traveling Digital Nomad 7 Friendly Communities for Every Traveling Digital Nomad Being a digital nomad can involve more spent time alone than you may like. But is having a community while traveling really important? And if so, which online communities are the best to join? Read More out on the road, then you will have worked in a variety of places — cafes, trains, hostels, the beach…but what about a complete stranger’s home? That is the concept behind Hoffice, which aims to bring together someone who is looking for a free workspace with homeowners willing to throw open their doors. Yes, that’s right, I said free. Just register and see what’s available.

If you are working remotely, what are your favourite tools? Any unique ones that deserve some publicity?

Image Credit: Happy businessman with laptop via Shutterstock

  1. lottie
    March 30, 2015 at 8:37 am

    How about Beesy? An all-in-one productivity tool that allows you to get organized (notes, projects, participants, automatic reports..), especially since they've integrated Livescribe 3 smartpen!

  2. kayzfiq
    March 18, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Yah this is a great list and you should probably add slack to the list

  3. Jessica C
    March 10, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Freelancers may find Toggl a useful alternative to Harvest - it's a little more lightweight 'one-click-and-done', and doesn't force you to upgrade to the Pro version when you have more than 4 clients.

    Plus apps for mobile devices!

  4. Nick
    March 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I tried many apps for time tracking, but also stopped on Harvest. great app and has Android client. plus easy invoice making.

    Would add Todoist (for tasks), Hipchat (or Slack, as mentioned before), iDoneThis, Inbox (by gmail), appear.in (no sign up video calls), Quip (docs) and Deezer (can't work without music)

  5. Rob
    March 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Hoffice looks amazing! Definitely going to be trying that out soon :) I would also include Slack in this list- it's fantastically simple to be able to keep up to date with myriad conversations in a far better way than email :)

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