Essential software for the home office

2020 has seen a great shift of millions of staff that usually work on company premises to a new arrangement of working remotely from home. Although most people have had little control over this new mode of work, it is an ongoing trend that has gradually been gathering pace over the last decade.

More employers have become flexible regarding personal working arrangements, and the global pandemic has accelerated this process. In years to come, work is likely to be a much more fluid activity that people will take with them whether they are in a café, a co-working space or at home.

In order to guarantee IT solutions are implemented and maintained, securing IT support in London could be a sensible course of action for businesses in the capital. This will ensure that there are no technical challenges and support is available at any time, a reliable IT support provider is one of those much-needed resources to keep the home office running.

There are also certain types of software programmes that are especially important when working from home.

VPN

When you need to access the corporate network or sensitive client data from a remote location, security is a major concern. With so many more people working from home as a result of the pandemic, cyber criminals are able to target any potential vulnerabilities and exploit them. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are vital in securing the home office by creating an extension of the encrypted network. However, home networks also need to be cleared for malware.

Popular VPNs include ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Endpoint security

There is no use connecting to the corporate network if your computer or network is likely to introduce malware. Now more than ever it’s imperative that all devices are kept clean and healthy. If you have opted for the cheapest option in the past then it may be a good time to upgrade. Reliable antivirus solutions don’t need to be expensive, and they can provide comprehensive protection, including firewalls, anti-malware and URL filtering.

BitDefender, Avast and Sophos are possible options.

Time management

One of the biggest challenges for people working at home, or independent from the team they usually work alongside, is managing time effectively. Some people are better at managing their time and maintaining a healthy work-life balance than others. Fortunately, there are time management apps that can make this easier. Useful functions and tools include time tracking, task and project logging, time management and reports, and alerts and reminders.

Time management apps include Toggl, Rescue Time and Focus Keeper.

Collaboration

Whether working in the same office or at a distance, teams that work together need to have a central tool where they can share messages, files and other media. In the time of full or partial lockdowns, this is all the more important, as we all rely more on digital forms of communication. This is an essential tool for bringing people together, and each platform has a particular range of features and functionality.

Useful platforms for collaboration include Slack, Trello, Asana and AirTable.

Video conferencing

Another tool helping millions get through the difficult days of the pandemic are video conferencing apps which have surged in popularity over the course of 2020. This includes the use of the leading platform, Zoom. In April, use of Zoom increased by thirty times. This meteoric rise in popularity may be due to services offered for free during this period.

Other popular video conferencing apps include Google Meet, Skype, GoToMeeting and Cisco WebExMeetings.

Password manager

In 2019, weak passwords caused 30 percent of ransomware, and as many as 23.2 million global victims of cybercrime had ‘123456’ as their password. To prevent any common yet damaging practices, password managers are here to ensure that all passwords are kept in a single, secure place, that passwords are always impossible to guess, and they are changed on a regular basis.

Popular password manager services include Dashlane, LastPass and Keeper.

Fitness

When you’re trapped in the same room all day long, it can be difficult to continue working. Research has shown that regular physical exercise aids mental stimulation, the ability to concentrate and overall happiness.

When people aren’t sure why they are beginning to feel depressed, the reason is often a lack of physical activity. The answer could be as simple as a walk or jog around the neighbourhood, but sometimes some physical activity that is more engaging is in order. If you have gym equipment this is good, but sometimes all it takes is a yoga mat and a reliable app.

Try Aaptiv, Asana Rebel or FitOn.

In this day and age, there is an infinite number of software applications for every working and leisure need. These are just some of the key areas that are especially helpful when working at the home office.

With higher numbers of people working from home, this is likely to continually develop over the next few years to provide for the new trend. So we have new technologies and capabilities to look forward to. If you are part of a business looking for help transitioning your workforce to a home work environment, an IT company like EC-MSP should be able to help.

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