Home Browsers 5 top Chrome extensions for work-at-home productivity

5 top Chrome extensions for work-at-home productivity

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Sent home with orders to stay productive during the pandemic, workers struggle to figure out the new normal. Pants versus PJs? Socks versus slippers? DIY haircut or an MLB hat? Office versus G Suite?

That last might well be answered by employers, of course. Now separated from whatever IT oversight had taken place in the workplace, employees may have considerable freedom in the choice of accessories that make remote existence bearable, even easier.

And there’s no business tool that can match a browser when it comes to accessorizing. Whether dubbed add-ons or extensions, these small programs can customize the browser in what seems an infinite number of ways.

With Chrome being the most-used browser by a country mile — in March, it accounted for almost 69% of all browser activity — it makes the most sense to highlight its add-ons. Computerworld selected five that should make work-at-home work time more productive.

Office

This Microsoft-made add-on saves the steps it takes to open the office.com website and sign in to a Microsoft or Office 365 account. Like that Office home page, the extension provides quick access to all online apps available through the user’s subscription, from Word and Excel to PowerPoint and Teams.

Remember: These are the online versions of Word, Excel and so on, so they are not up to the snuff of locally-installed applications.

Microsoft

Clicking on the Office extension’s icon — marked by the arrow — brings up an app launchpad and the most recently-accessed files from OneDrive.

After installing the add-on, click the Office logo icon next to the address bar, and select the appropriate choice; those with access to a Microsoft or Office 365 account should pick the bottom-most of the pair — “Sign in with a work or school account” — and then enter the credentials if necessary.

From the drop-down menu that appears when the icon is clicked, choose one of the apps available for that subscription, or one of the most-recent files accessed earlier from OneDrive. Alternately, clicking “Upload and Open” displays a file selector, from which a locally-stored document can be opened by the appropriate app. (Before that file opens, it is automatically uploaded to OneDrive, deposited in a folder named “Office extension.”)

Download the Office add-on here.

Use Edge rather than Chrome? Although this add-on works in the Chromium-based Edge, the same functionality has been baked into the browser’s new tab page. After signing into Edge with credentials linked to a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription, the user can select “Office 365” from the drop-down menu that appears after clicking on the new tab page’s gear icon.

Zoom Scheduler

If your company or organization now leans hard on Zoom to hold video meetings and relies on Google productivity tools, including Calendar, you’ll want to add this extension to Chrome.

From the new Zoom-ish icon beside the address bar, you can launch a Zoom session on the fly, with or without video switched on to start, or schedule a later Zoom meeting on Google Calendar. For both immediate and future Zoom meetings, Calendar shoots an invite to named participants, giving them a link to click.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 COMMENT

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