Amazing Apps for Working Virtually

9/6/2017 Rhonda Jones


Today's virtual office offers such an insane array of tools for the remote worker, it can be difficult to know which software best fits your needs. Here are a few of the most amazing ones to get you started.

Get Creative!

Canva is one of the easiest graphic programs to use. Create your own logos, banners, flyers and much more with their intuitive interface. Up to 10 members can get your graphic design on for free with a basic Canva account. The midrange option with extra features for a larger team runs $12.95 per user, per month. And if you really want to get crazy with team size and even more features, there is a Canva Enterprise option, but you have to engage with them to get the pricing.

Adobe Creative Cloud offers a $49.99 per month package that includes all apps, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and anything else you can think of. If you are interested only in Photoshop and other photography apps, such as Lightroom, there is a $9.99 per month package. You can even pare it down to a single app for $19.99 per month. Access to all apps plus Adobe Stock royalty-free photos and graphics library runs $79.98 per month. 

YouiDraw offers vector graphic design software. The site compares its product to Adobe Illustrator, and works with Html5 canvas and JavaScript. After your free trial period, your pricing options are monthly for $9.99, and yearly $99.99.

There are a few other cool freebies as well, including a vector graphics editor called, well, Vectr. Whether you want the freedom of from-scratch design tools or the ease of drag-and-drop templates, BeFunky is there for you. And then there is the full-featured, cross-platform vector design app, Gravit Designer.

Online Collaboration

Some of the most amazing tools available to remote workers are the ones that make online collaboration and project management possible. But be warned: visit the Basecamp website and you may actually drool on your keyboard. Basecamp is an all-in-one platform that allows you to view your entire work world on one screen, and eliminates the necessity of clicking back and forth among a bunch of get-it-together apps. There is a filesharing feature, a group schedule, a chatroom, a message board for posting announcements and updates, and a task-list feature for tracking everyone's progress. One of the coolest features allows you to schedule automatic check-ins to help keep everyone motivated, reminded, in the loop and on the same page. The awesome site even offers suggestions for making automatic check-ins work on different levels, with nudges ranging from, "What will you be working on this week?" to "What are you reading?" and "Tried any great recipes lately?" Pricing is pretty straightforward, at $99.99 per month for businesses, with no per-user fees. Nonprofits and charities get 50 percent off; teachers and students get it free.

Don't want to scrap your a la carte apps, but still want to work from a central hub? Asana may be the option for you. You can use Asana with Dropbox and Slack, add tasks from webpages in Chrome and use the Google Drive file chooser to enable you to attach files like a boss. Where Basecamp is super-streamlined, Asana is all about the features. There are tons of them: task lists, project boards, a customizable sections-and-columns feature, project templates, subtasks, a feature for converting tasks to projects when they start taking on a life of their own – and that's just the beginning.

If you prefer the a la carte approach, Dropbox is an easy-to-use filesharing app with a few options. The basic account is free and provides 2 GB of storage, which you can increase by completing the Dropbox Getting Started Guide and by referring others to the service. If your team still needs more, there is always Dropbox Plus, which provides 1 T of space, and Dropbox Business, which charges based on the size of your team. Go team!

Google Drive provides you with 15 GB of free cloud storage (to start you off) for any type of file you can dream up, that you can access from any device. But you can also invite your crew to view files, without using another service like email.

This doesn't even cover the tip of the iceberg, but if you're looking for ways to make your remote job easier and – more importantly – more fun, these services are a good place to start. And of course, once you fall down the online rabbit hole, there are even more goodies to be found along the way.

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