Working from home comes with many advantages, offering the flexibility of setting your own work hours and schedule; saving time by avoiding unnecessary office interruptions; and spending less on transportation or gas by eliminating daily commutes. However, and for a successful work from home experience, you need to set up your personal office space in a way that will promote productivity and efficiency. Accordingly, you invest in a roomy desk, comfortable chair, and a powerful, trusty laptop – and for the latter, you will want to get your hands on the most practical software. 

Finding the best software to meet the needs of your work is usually a daunting, time-consuming endeavor. From conference calls, security, productivity and synchronization, to Wi-Fi woes, there is a number of must-have software that will make your home office near perfect. In this article, we shed some light on essential software that will make it easier and more fun to get your work done.

1. Email Client 

Some people function just find with their email in a browser window, while others seek the additional efficiency features an email client carries. 

Mailbird is a free desktop email client for Windows that can accommodate up to three separate email accounts. It also supports Facebook, Dropbox, Google Calendar, Evernote, and Google Docs. Another good alternative that’s been around for ten years is eM Client. It supports Gmail, Exchange, iCloud and Outlook, and features an integrated chat app. 

2. Password Manager 

Since it is always advised to keep separate passwords for each of your accounts, and to periodically change them for optimum security, it is almost impossible for anyone to memorize all of their passwords. And given that you might have to access a number of different platforms for different clients, you are likely to need some assistance. 

A program like LastPass offers a free cloud-based password manager that securely stores your passcode when logging into online accounts. In addition, it provides personal information storage, as well as an option to share passwords with family members or work colleagues that may need to access your account. Another option is Dashlane, with free service limited to one device, and a more expandable premium package that comes with a VPN bundle.

3. Writing Efficiency Tools 

Productivity and efficiency tools and apps for the free-location writer makes it easier to structure your work and maximize what you get out of your precious writing hours. 

Since everyone – even the most experienced writers – make mistakes, grammar checking software is indispensable. According to this Self Development Secrets review, “Grammarly is especially suited for people looking to become stronger writers.” And since it’s an extension that you can install to your browser or word processor, it wouldn’t take up too much space on your computer. Other writing productivity tools worth exploring include Google Docs, Evernote and Trello.

4. Antivirus 

Security is essential for everyone’s computer, especially if you’re using it for work – the last thing you want is your client’s upcoming confidential project infiltrated. Since it’s always better to be safe than sorry, having an Antivirus installed will significantly increase your cyber security, even if it won’t solve every single security issue out there. 

Contrary to popular belief, a reliable antivirus doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, for there are various free tools available for download. One of the most popular free options is Avast free Antivirus, available for Windows, Mac and Android laptops. On the other hand, some of the high-end recommendations include Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avira and Panda.

5. PDF Editor 

You are very likely to receive a lot of PDF documents that need editing, or just your comments. AbleWord is a free word processor that offers a PDF editor, a very useful feature for viewing and editing PDF files. However, if you need to edit a scanned PDF, it is recommended to also download the FreeOCR software, which will make the editing process that much easier. 

The program is available for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and all the later versions, and the user interface is very similar to Microsoft Office. Other free PDF editors worth trying include PDF-XChange, DocHub and Foxit Reader. 

The final decision on which programs and apps to equip your computer with will be determined by the nature of your work. But now that you get the general idea, we encourage you to go ahead and continue your research, you may need to further complement your tools with a photo editor, a firewall, or a VPN, depending on the kind of tasks you are assigned in your line of business. There are also several free options out there that act as alternatives to Word, PowerPoint and Excel, making working on a budget a whole lot easier. 

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