Free and Low-fee Resources for Working from Home
-by Carol White Llewellyn
If you're not used to working from home and you've suddenly been thrust into that position, not only do you have the challenge of arranging your day around an online world instead an in-person presence, staying focused and on-track to get work done, and perhaps even jockeying for workspace with family members, but you may also still be struggling to find the right resources to handle your workflow without the tools available in your traditional work environment. And since you'll return to work after this is over, you want to be conscientious about cost.
Below, we share some free or low-fee resources to help you with your online, digital workflow.
Communications and Instant Messaging
- Facebook Messenger – free (offers in app features for purchase) all-in-one communication app, complete with unlimited text, voice, video calling and group video chat features.
- Slack - One platform for your team and your work, including instant messaging, file sharing, channels, shared channels and voice and video calls. Basic service is free. Group features require upgrade.
- What’s App - Fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free (data charges may apply), available on phones all over the world.
- Zoom – Zoom Basic is a one-on-one or group videoconferencing app with group collaboration ability. Free basic version features meetings of up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. More features available with upgrades, starting at $14.99 per month.
- GotoMeeting – Connect with anyone, anywhere on any device. Includes Screen Sharing, Web Audio, Dial in Conference Line, Unlimited Meetings, No Meeting Time Limits, Business Messaging, Personal Meeting Room. Plans start at $12/month, with extended features for upgrades.
- Facetime - Make free one-on-one or group video and audio calls from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
- Google Hangouts - Free Google Chrome-based app in which you can message friends, start free video or voice calls, and hop on a conversation with one person or a group.
- Skype - Low cost calling plans available for most countries/regions around the globe that works on any device.
Audio Creation and Editing
- Anchor - Anchor is an all-in-one platform where you can create your prodcast or audio message, as well as distribute, and monetize your podcast from any device, for free.
- Audacity -- Free, open source, cross-platform multi-track editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
- GarageBand - GarageBand is a free, fully equipped music creation studio for Mac — with sound library that includes instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and percussion for music creation as well as recording and editing.
Video Creation and Editing
- Blender - Blender is ta free, open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline.
- OpenShot – OpenShot is an easy to use, quick to learn, open source, free and powerful cross-platform video editor that works on for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
- ShotCut - Shotcut is an open source, free video editing software program that works for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
If you need to make a video, but you have no video equipment, don't forget about your phone! These days, phones do great video. And if you need better audio for an interview, consider a PowerDeWise microphone for around $25 on Amazon.