Remote working is a trend that's here to stay. In fact, the latest report from Global Workplace Analytics indicates a 103% growth in employees working from home since 2005. It's a trend that positively and significantly impacts a company's bottom line. The same study found that if people with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so just half the time, the national savings would total over $700 Billion a year!

Businesses could save $11,000 annually per employee.
Telecommuters would benefit from savings between $2,000 to $7,000 each year.

Now, that's the kind of math I'm sure business owners and employees can appreciate. And it isn't just the savings. A survey conducted by Microsoft -- the results of which were summarized into a report titled, Work Without Walls -- outline the key benefits of working from home. Higher productivity, fewer distractions were a just a few of the benefits that made the top 10 list.

With the plethora of software apps and tools that make it easy for small business owners and employees alike to take their work on the road, how do you know which ones to choose? In this post, I've outlined the top 12 tools a small business owner needs to run their business from anywhere.

1. Asana

Asana keeps your business projects organized, on task and on time with their powerful project management software. It's free for up to 15 people, which makes it an excellent solution for small businesses that are just starting out or have small teams. Even in their free plan, you can manage unlimited projects and tasks. Their file upload and team conversation functionality also means you can keep all your project deliverables in one place, from drafts to final versions. 

2. Canva

Canva is "amazingly simple graphic design software" that can turn your graphically  challenged marketer into a drool-worthy designer. The app's drag-and-drop functionality paired with its robust repository of free and paid images makes it easy for anyone to design stunning documents. Saving their best feature for last, Canva also includes templates for everything you need from social graphics and flyers, right up to magazine covers.

3.Close.io

Close.io is a small, business friendly alternative to larger CRMs. In their own words, Close.io is a sales tool, built for sales people by sales people. You can automatically log calls, emails and all sales activity so that you can spend more time closing deals, instead of worrying about data entry.  

4. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a app that helps you organize your marketing calendar and team, all in one place. Loop your content marketing team into the conversation so that everyone is on the same page, manage your social channels by creating and scheduling your social content simultaneously and, most importantly, plan your content efforts before you publish each and every post.

5.Grasshopper

Grasshopper is an excellent business-class VoIP solution for small businesses and startups that need to put a phone system in place fast. They offer a virtual phone system that lets you take calls from anywhere and helps your business stay organized and connected. You don't need to invest in any new hardware -- your team members can use their existing phones and even have work calls routed to their mobile phones directly, so they don't have to be chained to their desks.

6.Groove

Groove is the perfect small business app for all your customer support needs. With their handy in-app help widget, customers can quickly scan your knowledge base for product-related wisdom or easily reach out to your customer success team for personalized questions and advice. The reporting metrics help keep you accountable by measuring average response times, customer ratings, etc. Your inboxes are also synced up with Groove so that you can get those tickets answered, even when you're on the road.

7. Mailchimp

MailChimp stays true to their brand -- sending better emails has never been simpler with their easy-to-customize email designer. With their integration to a number of e-commerce platforms that automate all your marketing efforts and a comprehensive suite of mobile apps, you can reach your customers at anytime and from anywhere in the world.

8.Satismeter

Satismeter is a must-have app for companies that are serious about customer happiness and retention. With a quick installation of a snippet of code, either in-app or on your website, you can get real-time Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from your customers using their automated emails and surveys. Customers can also share feedback through the surveys, which can give you more insights into what makes them tick.

9.Slack

If you haven't heard of Slack, you've essentially been living under a rock that is covered by more rocks. Slack is a real-time messaging app for teams that brings all your communication together. The app makes life simpler, more pleasant and more productive by making it easier for your teams to organize their conversations around channels and even select team members. The file sharing feature also means your co-workers have no excuses for sending you mega-sized attachments via email any longer.  

10. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is the #1 Cloud accounting and bookkeeping software for small businesses. Keep track of your sales and expenses, send invoices and sales receipts on-the-go, and connect your bank and credit card accounts to automatically download all your financial transactions. With QuickBooks Online, you can transform your small business into a well-run business.

11. Wagepoint

Employees need to get paid and taxes need to be filed, even if you aren't at the office. Wagepoint is a simple, fast, and friendly online payroll app, built just for small businesses and backed by world-class support. Everything you need to pay your employees while staying compliant with federal, state and local taxes is included in one simple plan.

What tools do you use to run your business from anywhere? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Published on: Aug 27, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.