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Free App Friday: Get Work Done When You’re Not At Work

How to collaborate, communicate, and connect from just about anywhere.

Spring is here, which means it’s time to find any excuse possible to get out of the office for a few hours. Once on the loose, here are a handful of great free apps that can help you TCB while you’re AFK.

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1. Keep everyone on the same page.

Don’t make your coworkers suffer just because you’re not at your desk. Use Quip (Android, iOS, Web) to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and to-do lists, pulling them in from popular cloud-based storage services and exporting them to Word, Excel, or PDF formats. There’s real-time chat built in as well, so you can hold virtual meetings with your team no matter who’s playing hooky.

2. Never stop to answer “where are you?” again.

Glympse (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) is a simple but powerful way to share your location with people for up to four hours at a time–perfect for keeping your team informed about your whereabouts without having to constantly update them manually. Your invitees get a text message or email with a link they can use to track you, and they don’t need have the Glympse app installed themselves, which is a big selling point.

3. Take your Wi-Fi to go.

If you pay Comcast or Time Warner Cable for internet access each month, you’re more than likely entitled to connect to their network of Wi-Fi hotspots at no charge. Fire up the Xfinity Wi-Fi (Android, iOS) app or the TWC Wi-Fi Finder (Android, iOS) app to find and auto-connect to nearby hotspots. Comcast boasts “millions” of hotspots (here’s how that’s possible), while TWC says it’s got a network of 300,000.

4. Make and take calls as though you’re at your desk.

If you work for a large-ish company, chances are pretty decent that you’ve got a fancy Avaya phone on your desk. If you do, you might be able to use the Avaya one-X Mobile (Android, BlackBerry, iOS) app to route calls to and from your smartphone while your clients are none the wiser. You can look up colleagues via your business’s phone directory and deal with your voicemail while on the go as well.

5. Keep an eye on things from afar.

The mice tend to play while the cat’s away, so make sure everyone’s getting their work done. You can use Alfred (Android) or Manything (iOS) to turn an old phone into a web-based surveillance camera that you can tap into from your current phone. Both options are free for basic surveillance, while Manything offers paid plans that include the ability to record footage for later playback.