Best Work From Home Apps: Top 12 Work at Home Software Tools
In 2020, we were all witnesses to a sudden change in the world of work when the then-novel coronavirus forced a shift from in-office to remote work. For millions of people and teams worldwide, this meant an added pressure to stay productive, connected, and aligned.
Today, almost one year since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 shows no signs of slowing down. Many of us are still working from our homes, struggling to maintain a work/life balance.
Luckily, there's a plethora of tools that are built specifically to support remote work.
The best work from home apps range from messaging platforms like Slack and file hosting services like Dropbox to project management software like Asana—each one accessible from any location in the world.
The power of these crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me tools is that they make it easy to access information, communicate with coworkers, and work more rapidly.
On top of that, these tools have also been making working from home a little bit easier to handle, decreasing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection.
Here are the top 12 work from home apps that are great if you're a company who's looking to improve collaboration between team members or a freelancer who's eager to stay more productive.
Work from home application comparison chart (top 12 highest rated)
Pricing (per month)
Best tool overall
$9.99 /month (flat)
Cloud storage and file sharing
To-do list management
Remote retrospective meetings
Small team collaboration
Large team collaboration
What are the best work from home apps? Here’s our top 12 list:
The best work from home apps include well-established names in the tech industry such as Slack and Zoom that have gained their reputation for being, well, effective.
Some other work from home software we'll mention in this review include lesser-known apps like Clockify and Nozbe that undoubtedly have the potential of conquering the world of work.
Known or unknown, hip or not hip, these 12 best work from home apps have landed on our list for their impressive features, incredible ease of use, and most of all, affordability.
Let's jump right into it!
Slack (best work from home app overall)
Slack is the epitome of working from home. Released in 2013, it has taken the world of work by storm.
You can say many teams use it just because it's hip, but there's no denying its existing features are powerful, practical, and effective—and new ones are coming out consistently.
In Slack, the magic happens in channels. If you want to create a dedicated space for communicating with your engineering team, you create an #engineering channel.
Need first-hand info about travelling to India? Head over to the #travel channel.
The options are limitless.
If there's something in the channel you want everyone to know about, you can simply pin the document, which is shown in the information menu.
You can respond to a message in a thread, use a wide range of emojis to react to any message, tag your teammates if the matter is urgent, and share files with a single click.
Slack’s secret sauce is that it integrates with basically every other service you probably love to use.
Zoom? Check! Google Drive? Check! Jira? Check!
Integrating Slack with all the other tools you love to use will save you valuable time hopping from one app to the next, giving you a solid boost in effectiveness and productivity.
Slack is best for:
Teams of all sizes.
Zoom (top working from home choice for video communication)
Zoom is more than just tropical beaches and snowy mountain backgrounds.
It's the software that outshined tools like Skype, Webex, and GoToMeeting to become the world's leading video conferencing platform for teams, students, and freelancers.
And the company is doing pretty well, to say it modestly. It reported $777.2 million in revenue during its third-quarter, while its fourth-quarter revenue is expected to reach $811.0 million.
One major reason why teams worldwide are flocking to Zoom is its affordable pricing plans and a free plan that offers 40-minute-long calls.
Another reason is its ease of use. Customers report no more "Wait, what do I click on" hesitations while using the software. For instance, if you get invited to join a meeting, there's no need to create an account. You'll only be required to set up an account if you want to organize a meeting and invite others to join.
Even better, Zoom works on iOS/iPadOS, macOS, Android, and Windows. In other words, all of your devices are covered—it works pretty well on Linux, as well.
It stands out from the crowd with its impressive call quality, regardless of how many people attend a meeting. In fact, you can have up to 1,000 interactive participants with Zoom's Large Meeting add-on.
Other super-cool features include the ability for multiple participants to simultaneously share their screens, hand raising, and putting attendees on hold. You can also share documents, audio and video files, and even screenshots while you're in a meeting.
To sum it up in plain words, it just works.
Zoom is best for:
Those who are looking for a generous free account.
Teams, students, and freelancers.
Spotless video communication.
Asana (best workflow management tool for teams)
Asana, together with Slack and Zoom, makes up the Holy Trinity of work from home apps. If Slack is the app of choice for team communication and Zoom is the preferred tool for video collaboration, Asana is the leading workflow management tool that millions of people have grown to love.
If you haven't tried the tool first-hand, you may be wondering: "What's behind Asana's rise to popularity and widespread adoption?"
A couple of things.
For starters, it has a simple user interface that makes finding your way around the app a breeze. As its main use is to help users manage tasks, you can easily track everything from daily tasks and large projects to long-term company goals.
You can see your tasks in a list form or arranged in a calendar. There's also a board view that lets you view your tasks as you move them through stages.
Another practical aspect of Asana is that you don't need a chat app to stay in touch with your team. The app lets you send each other messages with @comments or by adding notes on tasks.
Some of its most notable features include creating and scheduling tasks, assigning tasks to team members, commenting on tasks to inform others of your progress, and adding relevant materials to those tasks.
You can even use the tool for solo project management as there's a free plan that comes with all the core task management features. Best of all, there are no limits to the number of tasks or projects you can create.
Give the app a go if this review got you intrigued. Even if you find that it's lacking a feature that you could use for your workflow, let the people at Asana know. They're avid listeners to their customers and are regularly rolling out new major features.
Asana is best for:
Project management for all kinds of tasks.
Medium and large teams.
Larger scale projects.
Clockify (best time tracker and timesheet app)
Created by previous Toggl users, who wanted a free time-tracking application, Clockify is a time tracking app used by millions.
Its main use? Tracking productivity, attendance, and billable hours.
You can categorize time by project and task, add tags, mark time as billable, and edit existing entries. On the plus side, you can add manual time, as well.
Another way to log time is to use the timesheet. The only thing you need to do is select the project or task and then enter your time. That's all!
Jumping from tracking one project to another can be done with a few clicks, which many freelancers may find useful.
Another fantastic feature is the Dashboard that shows you a visual breakdown of your tracked time. For example, you can view valuable data such as Top projects and Top clients.
If you transfer to Team mode, you can see all time logged by your team, along with what others are currently working on.
You can track time in a browser or by downloading the app to your computer or smartphone.
It's quite impressive how generous Clockify's free plan is. There's not a limit to the number of users, projects, or reports. Also, it integrates well with other tools so that you can track time inside other web apps.
In case you need extra features, you can always opt to subscribe to one of its three paid plans.
Clockify is best for:
Affordable time tracking.
Remote teams and freelancers.
Small and medium businesses.
Google Drive (best for cloud-based storage and file sharing)
You don't have to be a tech stack expert to have heard about Google Drive. It's the umbrella brand for many of Google’s productivity products we can't live without.
There's Google docs, the famous tool for creating, editing, and collaborating with others on documents in real-time. Other popular collaboration tools include Google Sheets and Google Slides.
With Drive, you can:
safely store and access your files from anywhere
quickly locate files by name and content
share and set permissions for files and folders
view your content while on the go and offline
receive notifications about activity on your files
Even better, Google Drive syncs with other G Suite apps like Gmail and Google Calendar for seamless online collaboration.
The platform works well on Mac and Windows, and there are mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Best of all, it's free, as long as you don't need to store more than 15GB of data.
FYI, it also integrates with everything.
How's that, Dropbox?
Google Drive is best for:
Website: Google Drive
Todoist (best to-do list app)
Productivity enthusiasts will fall in love with Todoist. It's a top-notch task management tool for taking tasks out of your head and transferring them onto your to-do list.
People seem to love the app for its outstanding intuitive design. It's easy to create new tasks, sub-tasks, projects, sub-projects, and dependencies. You can even add deadlines to a specific project and label your lists with different colors.
Plus, if you're a calendar fan, there are quick buttons for Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar integration.
If you're working with a team, there's a feature that lets you delegate tasks and receive notifications when collaborators post comments or complete a task.
Other outstanding features that may convince you to download the app this instant include natural language input and productivity reports.
On the plus side, it has a generous free plan that lets you collaborate with up to five people per project and manage up to 80 projects.
Todoist is best for:
To-do list management.
Personal task management and lightweight teamwork.
Spark (good email app for team collaboration)
Spark is a fast, smart way to manage your email. It's the best app if you're looking to spend less time in your inbox and focus only on important emails.
You can link it with all popular email platforms, including Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, YahooMail, and IMAP.
Some of its most attractive features include sorting out important emails and receiving notifications when emails come from people you know.
You can also use Spark with your team to delegate, create, and discuss emails.
Spark has mobile apps for iPhones and Androids. There’s also a desktop version for macOS.
There's a free version that includes 5GB of storage, two active collaborators, five email templates per team, and standard support.
Spark is best for:
Businesses of all sizes.
Nozbe (great collaborative to-do app for GDP followers)
Whether you need a tool for tracking your personal to-do list or work-related projects, Nozbe covers all these needs.
Everything starts by creating a project. Projects can then have tasks. Tasks can have a due date, time estimate, assignee, and comments. Features like @mentions, admin/guest roles, attachments, and categories make it ideal for managing small and large-scale projects.
You can also invite people who don't have a Nozbe account to collaborate on your projects.
Nozbe can be an excellent app for Getting Things Done (GTD) followers. It gives you an Inbox, which is where you can dump all of your tasks as they come to mind and sort them out later when you have the time.
It integrates with all the most popular business apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Evernote, and Microsoft OneDrive.
There's a desktop version that you can use in any browser such as Chrome and Safari, as well as a mobile app that's compatible with Android and iOS.
The only downside is that it doesn't have a free plan, except for a 14-day free trial. After that, you have to subscribe to one of the three paid plans that range from $8 to $778 per month.
Nozbe is best for:
Tracking personal tasks.
Tracking work-related projects.
Teams of all sizes.
Parabol (top remote retrospective and meeting application)
As much as people love to romanticize working from home, in reality, it can often feel isolating and unmotivating.
That's why team leaders have to think of effective ways to stimulate meaningful interaction between their remote workers who could be scattered across the globe.
That's when a tool like Parabol can come in handy.
Parabol is a remote retrospective and meeting app that makes every real-time meeting more productive, memorable, and fun.
It supports creative brainstorming and other types of business-critical meetings. Its main power is giving structure to poorly structured meetings that make participants sleepy instead of focused.
There are two major features: Retrospective Meetings and Check-in Meetings.
Retrospective Meetings aim to help teams evaluate the bigger picture, whereas Check-in Meetings are created to help teams make small, iterative improvements.
Parabol's software will lead your team through various stages that are carefully created to engage, empower, and stimulate team members.
Good news: It's open-source and free to use.
Even better news: It nicely integrates with Slack, Github, and Jira for a smooth workflow.
Parabol is best for:
Retrospective meetings for all kinds of teams.
Trello (best collaboration software for smaller teams)
One of the most common hesitations people have when hunting for a project management system is deciding between Asana and Trello.
The major difference between Asana and Trello is that Asana offers more workflow functionality, whereas Trello is a more basic tool for task management.
Trello uses the Kanban project management system to help you organize and track your projects. You can create cards for each project and then add lists, due dates, and attachments to each card. Each card can be moved left or right as the work on the task progresses or slows down. Cards also have a comment feature so you can communicate with your team members.
If Asana was specifically built for medium and large teams, Trello is more geared toward simple task management. That's why many people find Trello to be more intuitive and easy to use than Asana that comes packed with too many functionalities. It's the go-to option for many freelancers, startups, and smaller teams with clear processes that need a simple software they can master quickly.
Trello is best for:
People looking for simplicity.
Microsoft Teams (top collaboration software for large businesses)
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that combines chat, video meetings, calling, and files into a single, integrated app.
The app's star functionality is the group chat that comes with great features such as editing, deleting, pinning messages, as well as starting a new thread and sharing files.
It also has the threading feature many teams love. All you have to do is click reply on someone's message.
And when texting becomes too exhausting, you and your team can quickly jump on an audio or face-to-face video call with one click of a button. Even better, you can also record your meetings and share your screen.
Microsoft Teams is best for:
Teams that are already using Microsoft products.
Website: Microsoft Teams
Headspace (best app for mental health)
Even before the pandemic, people's mental health was already cracking.
Lockdowns and social isolation only made things worse.
Caught between struggling to adapt to remote work, manage work/life balance, and stay safe, people have reported feeling stressed out, anxious, and depressed. Words like “depressing monotony,” “on the verge of a panic attack,” and “added pressure” are used to describe how people are feeling.
The Headspace app can be a wonderful way to de-stress and add a dose of mindfulness into your days, whether you're a freelancer, team leader, or a CEO.
The app targets four big issues: sleep, focus, stress, and anxiety. It does so by teaching you meditation techniques such as breathing exercises, visualization, sitting still, and achieving focus. There are guided meditations for every aspect of life, including coping with cravings, dealing with distractions, handling sadness, and mindful eating.
There are SOS exercises when you really need a break, group meditations to feel like part of a community, and bedtime stories to sink into restful sleep.
So, if you find yourself struggling to write an article, code an app, or put together a presentation, Headspace can help you stop freaking out and get the thing done.
Headspace is best for:
Maintaining good mental health.
Dealing with distractions.
What’s the best work from home software tool for you?
It's a tricky question.
The best work from home software tool for a freelancer is not the best work from home software tool for a startup. Or an enterprise.
Freelancers are often solo practitioners who don't require too powerful or robust software solutions to manage their work from home business. The best tools for these self-employed individuals are a simple to-do task management app like Todoist, Zoom for quick video chats with a client, and Headspace when the day gets too overwhelming.
On the other hand, startups generally manage a handful of employees. As such, they require more advanced tools such as Trello for project management, Slack for instant messaging, and Google Drive for file storage.
As for enterprises, an ideal work from home tool would be Microsoft Teams that can handle hundreds of users, along with Asana that was specifically built for more complex workflow management.
To sum up, before committing to a work from home tool, think of your needs and the needs of your team. Don't go for a tool just because it's hip—the tools you'll choose need to have widespread adoption at your company. A good tip is to get input and buy-in from your team. Otherwise, you may end up paying for a tool that nobody uses.