Business Tech

5 Apps Your Remote Workforce Needs

5 Apps Your Remote Workforce NeedsUtilizing remote workers comes with a number of benefits. You have access to a nationwide (or worldwide) pool of talented workers, as opposed to your local applicant pool. By hiring remote workers, a typical business saves $11,000 per person per year (TeleworkResearchNetwork).

Take the money that you save via hiring remote workers and invest it in the software and apps that your employees need in order to communicate and collaborate effectively.

1. Chat

Chat clients can be free or paid, web-based or software-based. No matter which chat program you install, you can use it to keep closer tabs on your remote workers and foster communication. If a worker has a question that doesn’t necessitate a phone call, but they don’t want to wait for an email response either, they can ask it over chat.

  • Many chat clients save a record of the conversation, so that you can refer back at any time to revisit the discussion or confirm a decision.
  • Try
    • imo (Android/iPhone/iPad/Blackberry/Nokia)
    • kik messenger (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry)
    • Skype - Video Chat (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry) 

2. VoIP Communications

When you have employees working from many different locations, the cost of long-distance phone calls to each worker can be exorbitant. However, contacting your remote workers over VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) can be much cheaper – or even free. VoIP services tend to be less expensive than traditional phone lines, and many allow you to place computer-to-computer calls for no additional charge.

  •      Even if you don’t implement a business VoIP network in your main office, you can still use web-based VoIP to keep in touch with your remote workers. These programs enable you to communicate through video- and web-conferencing while using whiteboard, chat, and file-sharing features.
  •      Try
    •      Skype (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry)
    •      Viber (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry/Nokia)
    •      iCall (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone)

3. File Sharing

Collaborating on a single project necessitates you and your workers to share various kinds of files with each other. This process can become confusing when multiple individuals work on multiple versions of the same file that are transmitted over email in multiple batches.

Keeping your files organized during a project can eat up hours of your time – even without having to deal with the confusion and lost work hours that result from file mix-ups and mistakes.

  •      Hosting your documents on a file sharing application takes the hassle out of remote collaboration. Only one version of the file exists, and it is hosted on a server accessible to all. Everyone can make edits, and everyone can see those edits in real time.
  •      Try
    •      kik messenger (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry)
    •      Dropbox (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry/Kindle Fire)
    •      Bump (iPhone/Android)

4. Cloud-Based Software

Cloud software is hosted on a third-party external server and accessed by your workers through an online portal – no installation needed. When your business software is hosted in the cloud, you, your office staff, and your remote workers can all access the same data and use the same programs.

There are thousands of cloud-based software programs available on the market. Sales, CRM, accounting, HR, and many other applications can be run in the cloud and used by your on-site and off-site workers alike.

  • Try
    • Wunderlist (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone)
    • Evernote (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry)
    • Dropbox (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone/Blackberry/Kindle Fire)

5. Desktop Virtualization

What if you have already purchased a number of on-premise business software systems and can’t make the switch to an entirely cloud-based system? Your remote workers can still access the programs they need through their own computers via virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology. VDI consolidates your complex systems into a single cloud-based interface that your remote workers can access from anywhere. This affords you greater security, enabling you to control your remote devices, implement stronger security, and manage all of your systems through the cloud.

Your remote workers need several technologies to help them collaborate more effectively and keep in touch with your main office. By utilizing VoIP communications and cloud-based programs, your workers can do more from a distance.

  • Try
    • Splashtop ($6/user/month for Business edition) (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone)
    • LogMeIn (Pricing Varies) (Android/iPhone/iPad/Windows Phone)
    • JumpDesktop (Pricing Varies) (Android/iPhone/iPad)   


Bio: Megan Webb-Morgan writes for about small business software. You can follow their tweets @ResourceNation.