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9 Free Remote Work Apps to Help Cope With Working From Home

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COVID-19 forced a mass transition to remote work. cloudHQ is here to help.

As the number of positively-confirmed cases of the Coronavirus worldwide tops 300,000 and rises to nearly 33,000 in the United States—with experts continuing to predict 40-70% of the global population will contract COVID-19—social distancing safety responses have heightened in scope and intensity. In the working world, this has meant a dramatic shift towards remote work.

Tech started a landslide when a who’s who list of major companies including Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Amazon began canceling large conferences, prohibiting non-essential employee travel, and encouraging employees to stay home to work. Then, major universities closed and went remote. And soon, shelter-in-place lockdowns may have many more of us working from home. Remote work has always presented general benefits, like overhead savings and productivity improvements among them. Unfortunately, however, companies are being forced without much preparation to transition immediately to an entirely work-from-home model, and they may suffer while employees need time to adjust to their new workflow.

It’s crucial that your company transition to remote work to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. But you’ve probably noticed: remote work is remarkably different. To make it productive and easy, you’ll need to be equipped with the right resources. Below, we offer a list of free tools that will take you and your company smoothly through this transition.

9 Remote Work Apps to Help Enhance Your Productivity

No matter what role you play in your organization, you’ll find something in this list that will help keep your productivity going strong while you might be working from home during this global pandemic.

Resourceful Employees Working From Home

More than ever, it’s really important to be productive so that your business can still function in a healthy way and contribute to the economy. These next four free tools will prove highly effective for helping you stay on top of all your projects with minimal effort, arming you with quick remote work techniques for seamless remote work communication.

1. Free Screencast Recording for Gmail

In a decentralized workplace, the majority of communications take place on cloud-based SaaS platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Flock. These apps have been wonderful advances for intra-company connectivity. Unfortunately, they can be bustling, distracting hubs of communication where important information can slip through the cracks, get buried, or just get misunderstood. In order to clarify your communications, use Screencast Recording for Gmail.

Screencast Recording for Gmail records your screen and audio from your computer’s microphone. Then, when you’re finished, it creates a unique URL from which the video can play. You can embed the video in an email message, or you can send it as a link in any chat.

Why is this so effective? Instead of writing a long paragraph about a certain process—which can waste time for both the writer and the reader—just complete the process on your own computer and narrate into your microphone as you go. The audio-visual approach to communicating is incredibly clear and registers immediately for your recipient. This is particularly good for all troubleshooting, and for giving complex instructions.

There’s no need to download special software, export videos to your desktop, or upload anything to a third-party site.

Additionally, Screencast Recording for Gmail has a subtle benefit that may be more important than you now realize. The State of Remote Report 2020 found that, of the biggest struggles for remote workers, collaboration and communication was tied with loneliness for the number one spot. Anything you can do to combat the feelings of loneliness after decentralizing helps. In times like these, we’d often rather hear our colleague speak (“Ah, I miss their voice!”) than read some dry words on the page. Use this tool for a personal effect that communicates lightning fast.

2. Gmail Screenshot by cloudHQ

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. When working remotely, you’ll need your communication to pack a punch. Another highly effective tool to do exactly that is Gmail Screenshot by cloudHQ. Once downloaded, click a button and you’ll be taken to a separate tab with your screenshot where you can annotate it.

Options include writing text; drawing attention to certain sections with colorful rectangles and arrows; using pencil or paintbrush tools; pixelating any section to hide images or information; adjusting image quality; and cropping. Then, when you’re done, click a button to create a unique URL for the screenshot. You can share the screenshot in any message thread. You won’t clog up a thread with an image: instead, you’ll just send the link that opens to the image. Did someone say handy? This one is gonna be your friend now.

3. Meeting Scheduler for Gmail

In a recent statement, the Director of the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Nancy Messonnier offered that “businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options.” She’s right. But without an easy way to schedule meetings, this can easily turn into an overload of requests on different communication channels. Worse, if you’re not used to this, you might double-book yourself.

Don’t chance it. Request that someone schedule an appointment with you on your Google calendar. How? First, open a new email: then, with the click of a button, a box of options will allow you to (1) pick a specific window of time that you’re available (2) pick a length of time for the meeting (3) rule out Saturdays and/or Sundays, if you like (4) include a physical location for the meeting, if you want, and (5) customize the text of your request.

After you decide your parameters, your request will appear as a text hyperlink in the email you’re writing. When your recipient clicks that link, they’ll see a list of possible meeting times and can choose one. You’ll get a notification of the meeting time and so will they.

We’ll be doing a lot of conferencing in the near future. Make the scheduling easy.

4. Share Emails via Secure URL Link

Another trick to have in your bag is Gmail Email Links by cloudHQ. Need to share an email with someone, but don’t want to forward it along to their email address? Try this tool. What Screencast and Screenshare do with video and image, this tool does with email, exporting your email message to a secure URL that can be opened by anyone who has the link. You can share the link—and, therefore, the content of the email—in WhatsApp, Skype, a text, etc. Undoubtedly, this will save you time. It can also open up lines of communication. In a remote work environment, all lines of communication are active. This tool allows you to cross-pollinate, easily sharing an email as a digital link.

Effective Managers and Business Owners

This fifth tool, deserves a special standing ovation for how much time it’s about to save you. Export Emails to Google Sheets, is perfect for managers and business owners. You won’t believe how useful and fast it will be to get all of the important information out of your emails, and into a spreadsheet. It’s without question, a business manager’s necessity.

5. Export Emails to Google Sheets, CSV, or Excel

Teams that work remotely must use cloud-based tools to share information. In order to keep your team on task and in the know, you’ll probably want to be keeping track of your information in a secure and accessible data file on a platform such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. For example, order and shipping notifications, or leads for prospective clients, need to be cataloged immediately so that the entire decentralized team is up-to-date with accurate information in one centralized location.

Export Emails to Google Sheets uses artificial intelligence to allow you to export specific information from your emails into an organized Google Sheet, Excel spreadsheet, or CSV file. You can determine rules about what kind of data you want to extract from your emails, like for exporting all phone numbers, email address, or URL links from the body of your emails.

Best of all, you can save your settings so that all new emails that enter a certain label—say, an “Orders,” “Inquiries,” or a “Registrations” Gmail label—gets automatically organized into a spreadsheet for you, and you don’t even have to click a button because our AI will do the work for you. The free version of the tool affords you 50 uploaded emails/month; the premium model offers an unlimited package. Click here to read more.

Sales Professionals and Marketing Teams

6. Email Templates

This next multi-faceted extension is perfect for sales and marketing teams who want to reach out to their customers. Gmail Email Templates is great for creating newsletters, discount sales, virtual workshops, or even emails that let them know you hope their families are safe and sound. The extension offers a wide variety of attractive email templates accessible directly from Gmail. You can choose from a library of:

7. Free Email Tracker

Working remotely means you have to stay on top of the game. Every company looking to not fall behind on its sales leads due to COVID-19, or to keep open rates for email campaigns up, should use Free Email Tracker by cloudHQ.

What does it mean to track an email? You’ll be able to see when a recipient opens your email, and any links or attachments from your email. A central dashboard shows the status of all emails being tracked simultaneously. You’ll get reminders if your email goes unopened. It helps to have every data point you can, including whether or not your messages are being read. This extension is ideal for salespeople, customer service representatives, head hunters, and more.

8. SMS Email Tracker

This deserves its own distinguished mention because of just how useful it is: you can opt into SMS text updates so you know exactly when your email was opened, even if you don’t open your email to check. Don’t take your eye off of the big lead!

9. Gmail Copilot by cloudHQ

Working with many clients can become confusing. Enter Gmail Copilot by cloudHQ: a mini Customer Relations Manager in your Gmail, it serves as a gentle friend in your inbox.

Following up with a customer? Copilot will display a holistic view of your email history with that person on a right-hand taskbar, and you can click through the emails to see what’s been said, so you can tailor your emails on an individual basis, building upon previous conversations. You can also set reminders for yourself to reach out to particular contacts so you never let yourself drop the ball.

Read more here.

Let’s take care of each other.

This is not a simple time for the world. We’re going to see a lot of changes as COVID-19 spreads. Stay educated and stay healthy. (Additionally, you can always read this “silver lining” article for a good laugh.) Meanwhile, as we prepare for some new times ahead, it’s best to use all of the resources we can to keep improving, producing, and creating for tomorrow. The tools above are some of cloudHQ’s best. We hope they serve you well as we move forward together.

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