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8 Must-have Software Applications for Telecommuters

Whether you’re a freelancer, own a work-at-home business, or are a full-time virtual employee, you need software applications to help you perform your job. From the obvious to the ambiguous, we have found options that will keep you productive, organized, and on task.
1. Microsoft Office Suite. The standard for business productivity software is Microsoft Office Suite. While there are open source options for Microsoft Office, think twice before using them. Open source products are not the same as the original, and can have errors when opened by someone using genuine Microsoft products. Worse, they may not open at all, creating a poor impression on clients or employers.

2. Reminder Software. Need help making sense of chaos? Evernote’s motto is “Remember everything” and that’s exactly what it helps you do. Create collections from cards, memos, e-mails, brainstorms and anything else that comes your way so they’re easily retrieved.

If your Microsoft Office Suite came with OneNote, be sure to give this relatively unknown younger sibling to Word and Excel a look. It collects your important information and makes it easy to find, and it works well with your other Microsoft applications.

3. Task Management Software. If you want a simple, no-frills task manager, try Google Tasks. Google offers versions for Gmail, iGoogle, Calendar, and even a mobile app. They are all free and have Google tutorials to help you figure them out.

4. Security Software. Try Avast! for a free antivirus option. It’s critical that you make sure your client or employer can trust that you won’t be sending them viruses. The cost of getting your computer cleaned up if it gets infected is small compared to the cost to your reputation. Trust Avast! to help you keep your computer safe. If you want to upgrade, their top versions are less than $50.

5. Project Management Software. Donedesk will help you track, manage, share, assign and report on tasks, even if the other person doesn’t use Donedesk. It can also help you keep your personal life on track so you’re giving attention to those personal projects, too.

6. Time Tracking. Harvest is a time tracker to consider because it can create reports, timesheets, track expenses, billable hours, and has a nifty time widget. For a Solo User, it’s $12/month, but you can try it out for free. It also has a cool mobile app to create additional productivity.

Grindstone also tracks your time, tasks and generates reports, and it’s free. Rather than a widget, it uses a ribbon as a timer. Since you can try both for free, you may want to see which one works best for you.

7. Budgeting Software. Mint can help you design budgets so you can track where your money is going and make adjustments if needed. No more trouble with late fees, because Mint will remind you when payments are due. You can also use it away from home with the free mobile app.

8. Meeting Software. While there are a lot of options out there, Skype is pretty hard to beat. The basic version is free, and it allows you to video conference, desktop share, send instant messages, interview, collaborate and otherwise meet with your customers and employees around the world.

What about Apps? If you’re looking for mobile apps for telecommuters, check out Kimberly’s post on the 10 Best Apps for Telecommuters.

About the Author
Mare is a Registered Nurse with a BS in Business Management, and is a social media fanatic. She’s had 18 years of experience working from home, and can be found at LiveWorld, where she’s a moderation manager. Mare found a position through Virtual Vocations back in 2007, and has been a fan of the site ever since.

image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Note: Virtual Vocations has not received any free products or payments for selecting these items.

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