So lonely: Install these 15 apps before you start working remotely

Which apps are key if you move to a location far, far away from your employer's central office?
1 of 19 Andrey Popov/iStock

15. Cuddlr

Working away from the office? We've found apps that cure everything from endless email chains to downright loneliness.

Sometimes a freelancer far, far from home just needs a hug. Or something. We suggest a tumble with Cuddlr, the strictly platonic app that promotes more wholesome and huggable clinches close to home.

Unfortunately Cuddlr seems to be currently "un-coupled". But we're hoping the honchos haven't called it quits and are simply spending time spooning with their VC. Who they met on Tinder.

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14. Slack

If you're part of the "distributed" workplace, then out-of-the-loopness is your chief occupational hazard. Slack's chatroom software for Android and iOS is a good way to stay connected AND curb that scourge of modern office culture—the miles-long email thread. The good news? Slack integrates seamlessly with all the other apps and tools your company is already using, and the benefits don’t end there …

3 of 19 Slack

Slack: Drag it. Drop it.

Useful features include robust file sharing, easy searchability, drag-and-drop image and video sharing and 256 encryption for security's sake. It's priced from free to $15/month per user, and more for enterprise.

4 of 19 Giulio Fornasar/iStock

13. Sqwiggle/Speak

Meetings can be the worst part of office life, but ironically, being left out of meetings is one of the worst parts of working remotely. That's where Sqwiggle (now Speak) shines, with audio and video chat (with screensharing) that gets you some of that all-important face time with the home office or other digital nomad coworkers. Plus, there’s a way to keep big talkers in check …

5 of 19 Speak

Speak: Stay social at a distance

Speak updates each user image every eight seconds (or at a different interval if you prefer) and you just push to talk. Not simply for formal meetings, you can keep all of your main collaborators in standby mode on your desktop or mobile screen, and just click on one or more when you need to chat.

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12. Spotted by Locals

Ironically, part of fitting in as a remote worker is getting comfortable in your distant location. It pays to be less needy.

Cue this app and website, which gives you the inside scoop on what to do from locals in European hotspots from Amsterdam to Zurich and big stateside cities as well. Download current local reports for $2.99 per city. Otherwise, how else will you know where to get the best štrukli in Zagreb? You're welcome.

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11. Workfrom

Not everyone is cut out to be a sweat-pants hero pounding out code from home offices.

Enter workfrom.co, the website that helps you find great cafes, bars and co-working spots worldwide, so you can get your stuff done in a comfortable public space where they don't chase you out right away.

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10. iDoneThis

Pointedly bad grammar aside, iDoneThis does its thing well. A free iPhone app (or $3 web subscription), iDoneThis is a surprisingly simple to-do list turbo charger. At the end of the day, the app asks what tasks you finished and bounces you a summary email the next morning.

Easy peasy. But what began as an individual reporting app, also works well for groups …

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iDoneThis: All the gossip, none of the cattiness

For the distance worker, iDoneThis is an essential kind of updating, because you're not only documenting your work, but keeping up with everyone else, too. iDoneThis provides a general overall outline of project statuses and who's working on what—the sort of 411 you might soak up in the hallways of the home office but which can easily drift off into the ether if you work remotely.

10 of 19 Giuseppe Esposito/iStock

9. Deliveries

Working from home, even if home is half a world away, it's vital to keep track of the important packages coming your way.

This app can set up alerts to your Apple Watch or iPhone or Android device to ping you if you're out running errands when your carrier is going to make a delivery so you can be there.

11 of 19 Robert Kneschke/iStock

8. World Time Buddy

It may sound trivial, but knowing what time it is for collaborators across the globe is a vital resource to have close at hand.

World Time Buddy is a nifty free web service that makes it easy to plan a meeting for a scattered workforce without leaving your brain scattered. Sporting a sweet interface and a straight-forward task to accomplish, this is one buddy a far-flung workforce shouldn't try to do without.

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7. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is much to-do about something. This killer, free app for mobile and desktop lets you easily add or tweak daily tasks as well as organize bigger tasks and (our favorite) delegate them to others.

Because of course the absolute best way to do tasks is to have someone else do 'em, amiright?

13 of 19 Wavebreak Media LTD/iStock

6. Hackpad

Working together over distance can sometimes get teams and individuals out of sync and out of sorts, which is why interactive tools like Hackpad can be key to staying engaged while working remotely.

Like Google Docs on steroids, Hackpad lets you write and edit text or code, take notes collaboratively and insert multimedia into group-created documents. A team can kick around ideas, and it's all instantly noted who wrote or suggested what. Plus, there’s a way to claim credit for stuff without having to shout it from the rooftops …

14 of 19 Shannon Fagan, XiXinXing

Hackpad: Subtle credit via remote

Not that you need to hog credit, but seeing your name in the annotations does help counter the "out of sight/out of mind" problem. Now that it's been acquired by Dropbox, rumor has it Hackpad will soon arise in a new guise but with all of the same attributes and maybe some new features. Prices range from free to $2/month per user.

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5. MeetUp

Don't forget this old reliable website/app for locating like-minded folks wherever you may find yourself.

As noted above, local social interaction is a vital part of securing successful outcomes for distant workers, so wherever you are, you can find fellow local microbrew enthusiasts, hiking mavens or superfans of The A-Team who want to share in a box-set binge watch.

And, yes, we pity the fools.

16 of 19 ForeFlight

4. ForeFlight

Not all long-distance workers are coder geeks, of course. If you're a pilot, or if you just log a lot of miles in the sky, you might like ForeFlight.

This electronic flight bag is a cool and comprehensive iPad app packed with pre-flight and in-flight resources like approach charts, weather graphics, GPS, flight-plan filing and countless other essentials. You can also utilize the program with and iPhone & Apple Watch.

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3. Evernote

A versatile note-taking app and web client, Evernote is a flexible program that almost does too much. Not only are collaborations easy with other users, but also the program captures web pages, marks up PDFs, records audio and can manage your tasks (among a dozen other capabilities).

Yeah, it can be pricey (up to $50 a year or $12/month/user), but that’s powerful for you.

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2. Dropbox

If you've ever needed to move massive Pro Tools files, graphics for print work or photo archives from one machine to the next, you know email is not your friend. That's when Dropbox is a godsend.

Some users prefer Google Drive's superior collaborative tools, but if you just need to exchange files without copying to a thumb drive or disk, you can't squawk about Dropbox's simple setup and use. It's free for 2 gigs of storage, so why wouldn't you? And Google doesn't need to have ALL of your data, do they?

19 of 19 Trello

1. Trello

Like a less-flashy Pinterest for to-do lists, Trello doesn't look like much but it seems to help users do quite a bit. Which is the point, right?

Each task is a virtual card that gets pinned to a board via drag-and-drop, and then prioritized. Boards can be public or private, or viewable only to a select few. Available on desktop and mobile, Trello is also handy to brainstorm and/or manage large projects. Ranging in price from free to $45/yr, Trello is so intuitive it hurts.

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