Working from the road has often meant compromise — underpowered gear, software that has been clunkily ported for mobile devices and forced downtime. But those days are largely behind us. Thanks to the cloud and ever-better hardware, you can achieve a lot with just a few select apps. Here are five to get you going.
Lots and lots of apps image via Shutterstock
Brought to you by Telstra’s Workforce Mobility Solutions, empowering your people with the collaboration and mobility tools they need to act in the moment.
Compiling and filing expense reports isn't a lot of fun. You have to write down mileage and hours, keep all your receipts in a pile somewhere, and then find time to document and lodge it all. It takes ages, and you have to do it otherwise you can personally lose money.
Expensify brings the 21st century to filing expense reports. Enter the house you've worked, your hourly rate, and let the app do the calculations. Take a picture of your odometer, or use the phone's GPS, to easily track mileage. Automatically generate a report based on your travel itinerary. And take pictures of your receipts and let the app scan and categorise them. You can even sync Expensify with your bank account and credit card, allowing the app to attach receipts to the related expenses.
At the end of it all, you can generate an expense report from within the app. It can be approved from within the same system, email it to your manager, or even saved as a PDF for later.
Many companies are starting to ditch email, and services like Slack are a big reason why. Rather than long email chains, cluttered inboxes, and irretrievable attachments, group chat programs allow you to dip in and out of conversations, and catch up when it suits. Create different rooms for different projects, and the entire history is searchable for you to refer back to later.
Slack has apps for most platforms and browsers, so you can tune in to the conversation when and where it suits you. The company has also opened up its platform to developers, meaning there are new and interesting integrations launching every day. You can already integrate Slack with Google Drive for collaborative editing, and ask the in-chat bot to remind you of things or order an Uber. Depending on what expense program you use, you might be able to integrate your expenses as well.
Evernote is the perfect place to stash everything you might need for later projects. At it's very basic form it is a notetaking app, but it can be an incredibly powerful productivity and creativity app if used correctly.
Evernote syncs across browsers and platforms. It has numerous add-ons and apps that extend it. It plays well with all media - text, photos, audio and video, and includes the ability to search within photos. This is especially valuable when you're on the go — just snap a picture of a whiteboard or some notes and they become a searchable for reference later.
With urban sprawl and more people cramming into our cities, it's harder and takes longer to get around. Google's Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app, may make a dent in your commute. The service crowd-sources real-time traffic and road information, allowing you to avoid congestion and police traps, and find the cheapest petrol.
Waze collects data two ways — by having the app open you passively send data on traffic and road data to the rest of the community. You can also add more information - on accidents, hazards, new routes or anything else that crops up. These two factors often mean Waze maps are the quickest to update, and have the best information to get you on your way.
Dropbox has been trying to market itself to business users for years. Many of us already use it to sync our files across devices, platforms and browsers, but it can be a lot more powerful if you let it. Dropbox has partnered with a bunch of companies and developers to allow you to save, edit and create files from within the app itself — Microsoft documents for example.
If you're a fan of cross-platform productivity apps like iaWriter, Dropbox is almost an essential. AL lowing you to sync your files and work across your different workstations. Allowing you to truly go mobile.