How Android can assist your work from home experience

Learn how to ease your work-at-home stress a bit with the help of your Android smartphone.

Busy Mother Working From Home With son

Image: iStockphoto/dragana991

By now, your company has probably relegated you and your team to working from home. For some, this change hardly registers on the emotional or mental scale; for others, it's a tectonic shift in how you think, behave, and work. 

To those who find this a struggle, what do you do? Fortunately, you have plenty of tools to make this transition a bit easier. One such tool is your Android device. Believe it or not, that tiny smartphone can help your work at home experience be a bit less troublesome.

"How" you ask? You'd be surprised at just how well Google's platform is able to make this new world order a bit easier.

Let me explain.

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (TechRepublic download)

Your backup network

Probably the biggest way your Android device can give you an assist is by serving as a backup network. I've already seen instances of my home network struggling a bit, when it previously had zero problems. This is due to the added load brought about by so many more users working, streaming, and gaming on home networks. 

Under normal circumstances, this might not be a big issue. However, you've now found yourself depending on that home network to actually do business. Should that network go down, what do you do?

You tether a desktop or laptop to that Android smartphone and make use of your carrier network as a backup. The security of knowing you have a backup will go a long way to ease your mind as you make the transition from company to home office.

Time for timer

Although you probably don't get that Saturday morning (hanker for a hunk of cheese) cartoon reference, you most likely get the idea. Timers. While working from home, your time becomes quite a bit more precious than it ever was. Shifting between home and work life, when your home and work environments are one and the same, might require you to be a bit more diligent than usual about monitoring your time.

To that end, make use of the built-in timer tool (in the Clock app). Set timers for lunch, for breaks, for work periods, and just about anything that requires you to stay or get on task.

Reminders

Speaking of timers, you're going to need reminders. Working within this new environment is going to throw you for a loop or two--you'll inevitably forget things. Because of this, you should set reminders. Thanks to Google Assistant, setting such reminders is actually quite simple. 

Set reminders for team meetings, conference calls, billing schedules, and anything that might possibly slip your mind. Until you get into the groove of working from home, don't hesitate to lean heavily on those Google Assistant nudges.

Your phone, improved

You're used to having a work-horse phone system to use in your office. There's no reason why Android can't serve that same purpose. You already have the ability to hold calls, switch between calls, and do conference calls, with the help of such tools as Hangouts and Zoom. The one thing you'll be missing is a headset. You do not want to spend a good portion of your day propping your smartphone to your ear with your shoulder. Instead, get a Bluetooth headset or pair of headphones with a built-in mic. I would highly suggest the latter, as you want the headphones for both music and calls. 

There's no reason for you to let sensitive information spill into prying ears, simply because you had to place a call on speaker phone. You'll probably find yourself having to drown out the disturbances from family, friends, and neighbors.

SEE: The tech pro's guide to video conferencing (TechRepublic download)

Apps, apps, apps

There are apps and services you're going to require to get you through this period. Many of those apps are already available on the Google Play Store—apps like Slack, Zoom, bill.com, Nextcloud, voice recorders, and more. Since those apps are so easy to install on the mobile platform, why bother taking the time to install them on your home or work computer? Because some of these apps are exponentially easier to install and use on Android--it's a no brainer.

Instead of having to mess around with connecting a webcam to your desktop and getting it to function with Zoom, just use your mobile device. It already has an outstanding camera on it, so why go to the effort of buying, installing, and configuring a third-party piece of hardware?

Any chance you can, use the Android app.

Messages for web

You're probably going to find that you'll start to receive a lot more text messages now that you're working from home. Instead of trying to type out messages or responses on that tiny keyboard, connect Android Messenger to the web-based version of the tool. You can go to https://messages.google.com, open the Messages app on your device, tap the Menu button, tap Message For Web, and scan the code.

Once you've connected the service to your web browser, you can then manage your messages with the help of your mouse and a regular keyboard—which is exponentially more efficient than using the mobile interface.

Use your creativity

With just the slightest bit of creativity, that Android device can become quite the little helper in making your transition from company to home office easy. Don't think this is a situation where you have to use one (your PC) or the other (your Android device). Use them both to create a flexible, powerhouse of a home office. 

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