7 Cloud Tools Every Telecommuter Should Use

Cloud Tools for telecommuters

The Telecommuting Challenge

When the word “telecommuting” comes to mind, what image pops into your head? Someone in their 20s hacking away at their keyboard at Starbucks? Or maybe a stay-at-home mom, working on a report while her children roam around the house? If you think that all telecommuters fit these two profiles, you’re highly mistaken.

According to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, a typical telecommuter is a college graduate, somewhere in his/her late 40’s, working for a company with at least 100 employees, and earning an average of $58,000 a year. And this growing trend isn’t stopping anytime soon, it’s becoming the wave of the future.

Cloud Tools for Telecommuters

Whether you’re already one of the fortunate individuals who telecommutes, or are hoping to one day become one, you need to know which tools you should be using to get the job done.

There are seven types of cloud tools that every telecommuter should use to manage desktop workflow, share documents, communicate with the team, and manage projects. In each category, we’ve used and reviewed the tools, and chosen a selection of the top 4 or 5 of each type. Each of the tools that we have awarded recognition here are cloud-based from the beginning, and each could help you do your job more effectively.

7 Tools All Telecommuters Should Be Using

Cloud Tools for telecommuters

Cloud Tools for telecommuters

1. Cloud Storage

Gone are the days where you only saved documents in one place: your computer’s hard drive. With cloud storage, you never have to worry about losing important data should your computer happen upon some kind of misfortune. Cloud storage services can be accessed through a cloud compute service, an API, or by applications that utilize the API, such as cloud desktop storage, a cloud storage gateway, or web-based content management systems.

As a telecommuter, you especially should upload everything to a cloud storage system so that your co-workers can access your documents. When it comes to cloud storage providers, you have plenty of options. Most companies offer a limited amount of storage for free, or allow you to pay only for the storage you use.

Check out some of our favorites:

2. Mobile Hot Spot

With a mobile hotspot, you can create an Internet connection for up to five mobile devices on a 3G phone, and up to 10 on a 4G LTE smart phone. The phone creates its own secure Wi-Fi network, which your devices can join.

A mobile hot spot enables you to work anywhere you’d like. Although most coffee shops and restaurants now offer free Wi-Fi to customers, it’s comforting to know that you can stay online and in touch with your co-workers and supervisors anywhere you go.

Check out some of our favorites:

3. VPN

Even if you’re using cloud storage for collaborative sharing, chances are your company also has a private network where data and content are stored. A VPN (virtual private network) enables you to access your company’s private network over a public network, such as your in-home Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot. Your employer should be able to provide you with VPN credentials to access their private network.

4. Instant Messenger

When you need an answer ASAP, you don’t have time to make a phone call or wait for someone to respond to an email. Everyone wants instant gratification these days, so who can blame you? This is where instant messenger comes into play. Sending an instant message to a co-worker will probably elicit a response much faster than an email. Your boss may even use it as a way to monitor when you’re online.

Another perk of using an instant messaging service is the group chat feature. Instead of spending time on conference calls, you can easily create a private, group chat to collaborate with your co-workers. Some instant messengers, like Google+Hangouts, also have video chat capabilities.

Check out some of our favorites:

5. Task Notes Applications

Many applications keep great to-do lists, and many (like Wunderlist) share information with your team. But there’s something else you need all the time – not the to-do item itself, but all the details that go with it. IP addresses, dates, phone numbers, the configuration you wanted, the key requirements, promises you made in the meeting, and settings you found that finally worked. And more. These are the task notes.

Digital task notes have become popular in the recent years. There are big advantages to using a note taking application instead of a physical notebook, the greatest being that you can collaborate and share content with team members. Task notes can be sorted into folders, tagged, edited, given comments, and you can also create to-do lists and add images. Keeping all of your task notes together with a cloud tool saves time and increases productivity.

The content stored in a task notes cloud tool can be accessed across your computer, phone, and table, so they’re always with you.

Check out some of our favorites:

6. Project Management Tool

When you’re not in the office on a daily basis, your co-workers and supervisors are going to want to know what you’re working on. With a project management tool, you can keep them updated with what’s on your to-do list. This type of tool let’s you keep track of your projects, add details, comment on and assign tasks to specific people within your organization.

7. Screen Sharing Application

If you telecommute full-time, meaning you have never and probably will never step foot in your employer’s office, then you need a way to present projects and ideas to your co-workers and supervisors. The easiest way to do this is with a screen sharing app. These apps allow you to start a private meeting and invite others to join you. During the meetings, you can display your computer’s screen to present information, or show someone how to do something.

Check out some of our favorites:

References – Cloud Tools for Telecommuters