With much of the United States experiencing bitter cold temperatures and news channels throwing out words like “polar vortex” and “bomb cyclone” like it’s normal, you may be wondering how you’re going to survive the next few days. Roads are too dangerous to drive and the kids will be home from school, but you still need to get some work done. Fortunately, there are some apps that can help you survive the winter storm from the comfort of your home.
- Google Drive
Known for file storage and synchronization, Google Drive is the perfect tool for remote working. Because it allows everyone to work on the same document in real-time (and then stores the information in the cloud), you can ensure that everyone has access to what they need. Plus, you never have to worry about losing your work if the power goes out before you have time to hit the save button. Other options, depending on which tools your company prefers, include Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive.
Communicating with team members should be easy, even when you’re all working from home. Slack is a messaging platform that allows you to chat one-on-one, in small groups, or in channels comprised of entire teams. Using the tool, you can easily send messages and share documents, without the formality of the traditional email. Alternatives include HipChat/Stride and for those of you who use Workplace by Facebook, Work Chat.
- BlueJeans (Obviously!)
Instant messaging is a fantastic tool, but there are times when it simply isn’t enough. Thankfully, remote working is still a possibility when using BlueJeans as your video conferencing tool. You can easily jump into meetings with one click, see and hear your colleagues like you’re all in the same room, and share your screen for presentations. And perhaps best of all, Dolby Voice ensures that the noise from your kids screaming in the background doesn’t get transmitted to everyone in the meeting.
- Storm Shield
No work can get done when you’re worried about your safety, so you always need a good weather app whenever there may be dangerous storms. With location-based technology, Storm Shield can send you weather alerts for wherever you may be, and the app itself provides severe weather forecasts, live video feeds, and up-to-the-minute radar maps. Plus, it provides voice alerts that can wake you in the middle of the night to provide you urgent information when you’re not looking at your phone.
For everyone expecting feet of snow, it’s best to stock up on bread, milk, and eggs before the stores run out. However, for those of you who are just experiencing cooler temperatures (without all the snow and ice), GrubHub has you covered. We’re big fans of the company because they use BlueJeans to communicate with their internal employees and external partners, but you’ll like them because their delivery service will bring food from your favorite restaurants straight to your door… without ever requiring you to step outside into the cold. It's the perfect solution for when you don’t have time to stop working to cook lunch for the kids.
If you’re going to be stuck inside, you might as well learn something, right? Download the iOS or Android app to explore more than 2,000 free videos with talks from some of the world’s most remarkable people. With presentations on everything from technology to psychology to history, you’re sure to find something that will both interest and educate you while you wait out the storm.
What would a snow storm be without a little friendly competition? When you’re looking to tease your brain and waste a little bit of time, QuizUp is the perfect option. Choose a topic of interest (like Game of Thrones, SAT vocabulary, or NBA teams) and then challenge either people you know or strangers from around the world. All you have to do is answer questions correctly to win the game and earn your bragging rights.
No matter which apps you decide to download to keep you productive and entertained, the most important thing is to stay safe! Tell us in the comments which ones you're planning to use to make the winter as enjoyable as possible.